Blog

After Cataract Surgery; You have choices and benefits – PaulaTheOptician

Has your optometrist said you need to see an ophthalmologist for a cataract consult? I want to take a minute to break down your options as well Your eyeglass benefits.

Let’s start with the referral   Many times an optometrist refers you to a particular surgeon (Opthalmologist) for a reason, but it’s not always the best reason

Here are a few of the reasons….

1. They are friends with the surgeon.  While it’s not uncommon to recommend people to friends or family in many businesses, sometimes the friend isn’t the best option or might not be a great surgeon in general.  I know an optometrist who referred all of their cataract and lasik candidates to a friend who, in my opinion, had a lot of unhappy patients.

2.  The optometrist is getting a “kickback” from the surgeon for their referrals.  Again, doesn’t mean the surgeon is bad or the optometrist is just out to make extra money.  It’s a concern only if it’s the ONLY reason they are referring to the surgeon.

3.  The optometrist has looked at your individual situation and, after considering the many surgeons they refer to, feel there is one in particular best for you.  This is obviously the best reason a particular surgeon is recommended.

At the end of the day, I still suggest doing some homework on your end as well.  Ask your friends who have already had cataract surgery.  Look at the reviews (if there are any) online.  Understanding you have a choice in the ophthalmologist you see for any surgical needs, not just cataract surgery, is the first step to finding the right one for you.

About a month after your cataract surgery, either your ophthalmologist (or your optometrists) will do a final refraction to determine if you need any eyeglass correction or not.  There are a variety of options when you have cataract surgery now and depending on the options you choose, you may, or may not, need eyeglasses.  If you have Medicare, they will cover the cost of one pair of glasses following cataract surgery.

Here is how that breaks down.  They will cover $65 towards a frame.  Any optical location who bills Medicare for post cataract surgery glasses have to have some frames priced to be covered in full.  This doesn’t mean you will like the selection and you have the right to choose any frame you want, just be aware you will be responsible for any cost of the frame over $65.00.  Medicare will also cover the cost of single vision or lined bi-focal / tri-focal lenses.  Anything above and beyond the basic lens is at your cost.

Post cataract surgery will almost always leave you a little more sensitive to glare and sun so make sure you talk to your optician about a good quality anti reflective coating (no glare) and either a second pair of polarized sunglasses or a custom clip on so you have proper protection. They will cost you a little out of your pocket but your eyes will thank you.

Not everyone will bill Medicare for glasses after cataract surgery. Some places will only bill Medicare if they are your prescribing optometrist or the surgeon who performed the cataract surgery. If your optometrist does NOT bill Medicare for your eyeglass benefit, you are welcome to ask other optical locations. You do not have to fill your prescription at your optometrists office. You can even ask other private offices if they will accept your insurance. There are a lot of reasons offices won’t bill Medicare so don’t feel frustrated. If your surgeon’s office has an optical attached to it, ask them if they bill.

One thing to know is Medicare does not allow for any discounting of any additional items not covered by them. The office isn’t trying to charge you more. This is 100% a Medicare thing. You are always welcome to see if the office offers discounts and would you save more money using their discounts instead of billing Medicare. I know I’m always willing to calculate it both ways for a patient.

The most important thing to remember is you have options. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Have a great day everyone! 🤓

What’s more important? The pills or the pill bottle? Spending your eyeglass dollars correctly – PaulaTheOptician

Selecting the right frame for someone is fun for the most part. There are so many factors I take into consideration, including cost if the patient has expressed a concern about their budget. As an optician, it is my responsibility to make sure the patient can see out of their glasses first and foremost. Sometimes it appears the patient confuses cost of the frame with the quality of their lenses. All too often I have someone come in to see me saying they can’t see and they spent a fortune on their glasses. “The frames alone were $800!” If the frames alone were $800 and you only spent $1000 on your glasses, you probably didn’t get a great pair of glasses. You purchased a beautiful pill bottle.

What is more important? The pills or the pill bottle?

I use this example often with my patients so they can understand the importance of filling their eyeglass prescription with a quality set of lenses first and then, if they don’t have a budget and can spend what they want on the frame, great. If they have a budget then let me help them find a frame within their budget which will also look great and fit well.

Sadly, from experience, I can tell you, not every optician feels this way. Some opticians are not really opticians, they are sales people. They sell you a more expensive frame, tell you you’re getting the best lenses, and then put a progressive lens from 2003 in your frame. You might have trouble seeing but you’ll look amazing!

Imagine going to a pharmacy and the pharmacist saying, I’ll fill your prescription but let’s take a look at these amazing pill bottles you can choose. They range from free to $1000+. I know this is a little over the top because pills only last 30-90 days but I’m trying to stress the importance of focusing Your budgeted dollars in the right direction when cost is a factor.

Don’t get me wrong, anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE finding the perfect frame and how much I love the unique and whimsical frames. Unique and whimsical in a lower cost isn’t always as easy to find but as the frame buyer at my office, I do try to find them so I can offer them to the patients wanting unique on a budget.

Frames costs range from low to high for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s the difference in material, sometimes it is where the parts used in it come from; for example, if a frame has hinges made in Germany vs hinges made in China, the cost may be slightly higher, where the frame is designed, as well as where or how the frame is manufactured. I am not saying NOT to purchase a nice frame. I just want to stress the importance of making sure you are putting the right lenses and features into the frame you selected.

If you have vision benefits such as VSP (Vision Service Plan) or Eyemed, it is important you utilize your benefits as fiscally wise as you can. If you wear contact lenses as well, have the optician price out both ways. It is almost always better to use your benefits for eyeglasses and pay for the contacts.

For progressive lenses, make sure your optician is selecting a lens suited for how you are going to use them. If you are someone who ALWAYS takes their glasses off to drive or watch TV, then talk about an occupational pair of glasses instead of a normal progressive. If you are on a laptop a lot, make sure the progressive lens has a wide intermediate area as well as some type of blue light protection.

It is important to have confidence in your optician. He or she is a crucial part of you seeing the world as clear as possible!

Have a great frame you love? Share a picture of yourself wearing them! I’d love to see them.

Have a great day everyone! 🤓

Photo courtesy of Gabriel royal.com

If you like the pill bottles in the picture, please visit the site I found them in by clicking here

Frame Friday – June 22 – Dilli Dalli Collection

Today’s Frame Friday is going to be a little different.  I wanted to stay with the theme of sun protection for your eyes with next Wednesday being National Sunglasses Day.  One of the most forgotten ages for sun protection for the eyes is in infants and toddlers.  On a hot summer day, I see parent’s putting suntan lotion all over the skin, but then, when it comes to protecting their child’s eyes, most don’t even give any thought to it.  I understand it’s a lot easier to put suntan lotion on than it is to get the infant or toddler to keep a pair of sunglasses on, but I want to talk about the importance of it as well as talk about another obstacle faced, getting a pair that fits!

When my friend’s son was born, I wanted to get him a good pair of sunglasses.  I ordered “infant” size ready-made sunglasses and they were horrible.  When he was in his car seat, the pressure from the seat pushed them off his head.  I ordered another pair from a different company and while they were better in the car seat, they still slid off him when we picked him up.

Pre-made ones falling off at the dog park, I'm sporting MyMaui Maui Jim's with Neutral Grey bi-gradient lenses
Pre-made ones falling off at the dog park, I’m sporting MyMaui Maui Jim’s with Neutral Grey bi-gradient lenses

I had worked with Dilli Dalli frames for young children who needed prescription glasses, so I decided to custom make a pair of sunglasses.  We ordered the frame in and then I sent them to the lab to have plano (no prescription) polarized lenses made in them.  I added the scratch coating to give them a two-year warranty but, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t recommend it for an infant because he / she is going to grow out of them before they can scratch them unless you plan on having more children and want to use them for the other infants, I would just do the plano polarized lenses.

First Pair Already too Small - he looks like a little professor!
First Pair Already too Small – he looks like a little professor!

I will admit, I have already had to order a second, larger pair for him and I did put the scratch coat on them because I figured he would be able to wear them a little bit longer.

Dilli Dalli frames come in a variety of sizes from infant to their newly expanded sizing which extends to some 3 and 4 year olds.

DILLI DALLI MUD SLIDE
DILLI DALLI MUD SLIDE – a new extended size version Photo Credit: Clearvision Optical

You can see the variety of frames, the shapes, and the sizes by clicking here.  The Dilli Dalli frames are soft and comfortable.  When you first put them on the infant or toddler, they won’t like them.  They will pull them off, they will want to play with them.  The best advice I can give any parent or grandparent is to put them on OUTSIDE so the world doesn’t look too dark for the child and then immediately distract them with something to keep their hands busy.  The more they wear them, the better they will get used to them, to the point they will know, if the sunglasses are going on, then they are going outside!  Parent’s of children who have to wear glasses for vision correction go through it all of the time, having to teach their child to leave their glasses on.  It is possible, it just takes some time and some patience.

Now let’s talk about WHY  a good quality pair of sunglasses are so important.  Let’s start with suntan lotion.  WHY do you put suntan lotion on your child(ren)?  Why do you put it on yourself?  Most people say it’s because they know it’s not healthy for the skin to burn.  They want to try to minimize their exposure to the sun.  They want to minimize their chances of getting skin cancer.  The sun damages the eyes AND the skin around the eyes.  Plain and simple.  The same UV damaging your arms and legs is doing the same amount of damage, if not more, to your eyes.  The difference is you don’t always feel the sunburn on your eyes the way you do on your skin and it is not reversible.  It is the beginning of long term damage to the eyes.

YourSightMatters breaks down some of the harmful effects of the sun

  • Photokeratitis— Also known as sunburn of the eye or “snow blindness.” Photokeratitis can cause loss of vision for up to 48 hours.
  • Cataracts— This progressive clouding of the lens of the eye can cause slow vision loss.
  • Pterygium— Commonly known as “surfer’s eye,” this condition causes a growth (not cancerous) on the eye’s surface that can itch, swell and be bothersome. Surgery may be necessary to remove it, but the growth can return.
  • Age-related macular degeneration— UV rays can damage the macula of the eye, which can blur vision and dull colors.
  • Cancer— UV rays can cause cancer of the eye, eyelid or skin

Children with blue eyes, or lighter color eyes, are more susceptible to the sun’s UV than a child with darker eyes, but all eyes can be affected.

Another thing to take into consideration is children spend a lot more time looking up into the sun as they talk to adults or older children than adults do.  Studies have shown half of the lifetime sun exposure occurs in the first twenty years of life. Children are generally outdoors much more than adults.  Many times parents think hats solve the problem of the sun and it doesn’t.  While it may protect somewhat from directly above, it doesn’t take into count the time looking up, as well as the reflected UV from water, sand or concrete.

In the end, it is important for everyone to wear quality polarized lenses when outside.  Just like our skin, the sun doesn’t always have to be completely visible to cause damage.  Teaching a child the importance of sun protection in all factors at a young age will help protect them throughout their lives.

Have a great weekend everyone and stay sun safe! 🤓

Frame Friday – Maui Jim Lava Tube – June 15th

Hey everyone, I think Spring and Summer had a meeting and decided to merge their seasons because it has been HOT!!! While I’m not one to only talk about outdoor lenses (aka sunglasses) when it’s hot, I figured today would be a good day to showcase a new Maui Jim sunglass I am falling in love with. It is the Maui Jim Lava Tube. The one I’m wearing in the video is the Satin Sepia with Maui Sunrise lenses.

I’ve been a fan of Maui Jim sunglasses for years. The clarity is amazing. Colors are sharp. While I’ve tried all of the lenses, my favorite has always been the neutral grey bi-gradient lenses. Today, while I was doing the video I looked around for the first time with the Maui Sunrise lenses and I was pleasantly surprised. The clarity is similar to my grey lenses. They are pretty. The colors were vibrant. I will definitely have to get a pair of the Maui Sunrise lenses!

Maui Jim sunglasses are available in prescription, non- prescription, readers (meaning no prescription on top, just a reading segment on the bottom), and customized. For example, if you wanted a Satin Sepia Lava Tube frame with HCL bronze lenses in them, you could do it. I am always customizing Maui Jims for patients.

Lava Tube Satin Dark Gunmetal
Lava Tube Satin Dark Gunmetal with Blue Hawaii Lenses Photo Credit: Maui Jim

If you like aviator style frames but they just don’t look right on you, the Lava Tube is a nice alternative option. As a modified aviator, it will look good on multiple face shapes. Overall, the new Lava Tube is sharp looking, lightweight, and fits a variety of people, from a larger head, like mine, to a smaller head.

Lava Tube Gold Matte
Lava Tube Gold Matte with HCL Bronze Lenses Photo Credit: Maui Jim
Lava Tube Black Matte
Lava Tube Black Matte with Neutral Gray Lenses Photo Credit: Maui Jim

I hope you liked today’s Frame Friday and have a great weekend! 🤓

Frame Friday – Calvin Klein 18106 – June 1st

Today’s frame is from the new Calvin Klein collection. It is the Calvin Klein 18106. From the unique single “double bar” look to the titanium nose pads, this frame is sure to catch some attention.

It comes in 4 colors. Gunmetal Black, Gunmetal Brick, Silver Navy, and Gold Brown

Calvin Klein 18106 Silver Navy Photo Credit: Marchon Eyewear

This is a sharp looking frame.

For those of you with VSP (Vision Service Plan) insurance, you would get additional money towards this frame.

Calvin Klein 18106 Gunmetal Black Photo Credit: Marchon Eyewear

I hope you like this Calvin Klein frame for this week. As always, have a great weekend! 🤓

Frame Friday – FYSH 3607 – May 25th

****Video coming shortly****

placeholder://

Wow, here we are again….another Friday.  But this isn’t any ordinary Friday, it’s the Friday before Memorial Day!  I am definitely looking forward to a long weekend.  It has been a busy couple of weeks.  Today’s frame is another FYSH frame.  I normally wouldn’t select a frame from a company I have highlighted so recently, but this is a brand new frame and I love it!  The picture doesn’t really do it justice.  It is the FYSH 3607.  It is available in three colors.  Rose Shimmer, Storm Shimmer, and Gold Shimmer.  It is a 53-16-140 so it should fit an assortment of face sizes and shapes.  One of the things I noticed immediately is how it appears to almost have a matte finish on in, yet also has a shimmer!  You get the best of both worlds.  Matte finish frames are very popular right now, but adding the touch of shimmer makes this frame very appealing.

FYSH 3607 Storm Shimmer
FYSH 3607 Storm Shimmer Photo Credit: Westgroupe

Another thing I really like about this frame is the actual shape.  Because it has a slight taper along the outer (temporal) side, it will flatter a lot more faces.  If you have really round or high cheekbones, it will help accent them.  If you have a rounder face in general, it will compliment it.

FYSH 3607 Gold Shimmer
FYSH 3607 Gold Shimmer Photo Credit: Westgroupe

I have said it before, but it’s worth saying.  FYSH make really nice frames.  They have great colors, the frames hold up well over time, and they fit a variety of faces, including larger heads like mine.  The collection is definetly worth looking at when you are in the market for a new frame.  You can find a FYSH retailer near you by clicking here.

Hope everyone has a wonderful, and safe, weekend / holiday for those in the USA! 🤓

Frame Friday – SW06E – May 18

Today’s Frame Friday is more about the package I’ve put together than it is about the frame itself.  As the weather is getting nicer, a lot of us start working on our projects or our  “to-do” lists. Maybe it’s keeping the yard nice or building a swing set.  Every day we put ourselves into situations where we could, potentially, harm our eyes.  A stick or stone could fly out and hit your eye, a piece of wood could fly out and embed itself into it.  So many things could happen, it is important to remember to wear the correct eyewear to protect ourselves.

My yard lighting changes drastically from the front yard to the back depending on what time of the day I am cutting.  Or the trees cause a lot more shade in some parts than others.  Because of this, wearing sunglasses just isn’t always feasible.  I almost ran over a family of baby bunnies one year and it traumatized me so I am constantly on the look out now for things in my yard.  My dogs also have a habit of leaving their toys outside so I sometimes have to stop and pick something up. Having a pair of safety glasses that adjusts to the lighting outside is helpful.

I paired the safey frame Uvex by Honeywell SW06E with the Transitions Vantage Lenses so I would still have the polarized feature when I was outside in the sun and then used a private anti-reflective coating our lab offers to keep the cost down a little since they are just safety glasses.  Depending on the work you’re going to be doing, you could even skip the anti-reflective coating and just do a good scratch resistant coating to give you a good two year warranty.

SW06E Safety Frame in Black/Yellow
SW06E Safety Frame in Black/Yellow

The nice think about the SW06E is that it fits a variety of face sizes, it has different size nosepads to help it fit better, and comes with a replaceable sweat / brow bar to help absorb the sweat when you’re working in warmer conditions.

SW06E Frame with the different nosepads.
SW06E Frame with the different nosepads. Photo Credit: Honeywell

The frame also comes in Orange / Black as well as an all black frame with smoke colored lenses already in it.  You can buy these frames just as they are and use them.  The frames are Z87.1 Frames which means they can be used in any area where OSHA requires safety eyewear to be worn.

SW06 in Orange Black
SW06 in Orange Black Photo Credit: Honeywell

Overall, these are a great pair of safety glasses to be worn and will last me for a few years.  As I mentioned, there are a few tweaks I could do to make them a little less expensive so a good optician will always help you find a pair of safety or sports glasses that will keep your eyes, and face, protected while also remembering to stay within your budget as best as they can.

Have a great weekend everyone! 🤓