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What do you know about UV exposure?

baby wearing sunglassesLet’s talk about sunglasses and UV light exposure. Why are sunglasses important you ask? I will tell you. We all love living in the south where the sun seems to always be shining and the weather draws us outside to exercise and play at the beach or our favorite county park.

Most people are very aware of the effects that too much sun exposure can have on our skin because a bad sunburn is not something you soon forget, but not many people think about how the sun and UV can affect their eyes. Just like we put on sunscreen to protect our skin it is very important to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the harmful UV-A and UV-B rays.

These harmful rays from the sun are what cause cataracts, macular degeneration and pinguecula/pterygium. UV light is also emitted from welding machines, tanning beds and some lasers so you need to be careful around these sources as well.

When picking out sunglasses there are a few things that you want to be aware of. The sunglasses you wear should be wrap around and fit snug to your face. The idea is to keep out as much light as possible. The lenses in the frame should block 99%-100% UV-A and UV-B rays. Typically, gray lenses are better for color recognition, but lens color is definitely a subjective thing. Polarized sunglasses are best to provide good UV protection and decrease glare which can be a huge problem while driving.

I hear patients tell me all the time that their lenses change, or transition, when they go outside, so they do not have a pair of sunglasses. Transition lenses are fabulous and I do highly recommend them, but I stress the importance of minimizing sun exposure as much as possible. Therefore, I believe that people should have both Transition lenses in their dress pair of glasses for short periods of UV exposure AND a pair of wrap-around sunglasses for times of longer exposure, like a day at the beach.

Have you ever heard the old saying, “We pay for the sins of our youth?” Unfortunately, it is true. 80% of our UV exposure leading to cataracts, macular degeneration, and pinguecula/pterygium happens before age 18. The sooner we can get people wearing sunglasses to protect their precious eyes and eye sight, the better it will be.

Progressives vs Bifocals & Trifocals

North Charleston, SC multifocal lensesOffering a much more natural and seamless progression than traditional bifocals or trifocals, progressive lenses offer multiple focal points for almost any visual need. Also known as multifocals, progressive lenses offer clear vision from distance to near vision, with an intermediate vision area in between.

Progressives offer the ability to finally look up and see across the room or down the street while driving. You can likewise look ahead at your PC or a friend sitting at the table through the middle vision area. Then, when you look down to read the fine print, you will see it all comfortably and clearly through the bottom of the progressive lens.

There is a passage that runs vertically down the center of the lens and measurements are taken of the patient in order to fit the lens passage in the correct place so you will be able to access all powers easily and comfortably.

With progressives “image jump” is not an issue at all. Image jump occurs in bifocals and trifocals when the lines on the lenses make a sudden change in power which causes pictures to seem to jump as you move from distance to close up vision. Progressives make a smooth, more agreeable move from distance to close up and back.

The most up to date, state of the art progressive lenses offered today provide the closest thing to natural clear vision that is possible for a person with presbyopia. Although the price of progressive lenses is generally higher than traditional bi or trifocals, most people find the higher price a small price to pay for the ease of transition from near to far vision, and back again, as well as the much sought after no-line and youthful appearance of the progressive lenses.

Overall, progressive lenses give a continuous, seamless view with a gentle and progressive change in focus from far to near, and everything in the middle, without the conventional bifocal line and jump, that is so unseemly to most people. Ask your optometrist about progressive lens options today!


Four Types of Progressive Lenses

Also known as no-line bifocals, progressive lenses correct presbyopia (a condition that occurs in people over the age of 40 that no longer allows your eyes to accommodate to help read things close up). Many individuals who require the utilization of a bifocal lean toward progressive lenses since they offer an invisible blended appearance between the distance and near vision portions of the lens. The focal points contain no obvious line and increase in strength while you look lower down the lens.

There are different types of progressive lenses. They vary in cost, contingent upon brand, size and purpose. Additionally, progressive lenses must fit correctly. The following are the four main types of progressive lenses available today.

Standard Progressive Lenses: On the off chance that you are searching for a different option to bifocals or trifocals, standard progressive lenses work fine for the vast majority, and are the most economical option. In spite of the fact that the cost of standard progressive lenses is more than regular flat-top bifocal or trifocal lenses, they are still very reasonable.

Offering a pretty wide reading area, standard progressive lenses, however require a specific sized frame to permit enough vertical space to provide a seamless transition from distance to reading vision.

Short Corridor Progressive Lenses: Today, there’s no need to give up on fashion and style for progressive lenses. Short corridor progressive lenses are specifically created to fit into a smaller frame. As a result of their size, it takes a knowledgeable optician to fit them appropriately. You may experience issues adjusting to short corridor progressive lenses in light of the fact that the area (corridor) allotted for reading is not wide, bringing on mild distortion when you look out of the reading area. In the event that you look down to read, look straight ahead, not out of the sides. A good rule of thumb is to always point your nose in the direction where you want to look so you won’t have the distortion.

Office Progressive Lenses: Known also as computer progressive lenses are intended for use in an office setting and designed to give clear vision at around 16 inches through six feet. These office progressive lenses are a fantastic option for individuals requiring clear vision at near and intermediate distances, for example, people on computers most of the day, writers, editors, specialists, painters, designers, dental specialists, beauticians, and mechanics.

For anyone who uses the computer over 4 hours every day, these office progressive lenses are perfect and reduce computer vision syndrome, also known as eye fatigue.

Additionally, these lenses likewise make it much easier to hold your head in a more natural way.

Premium Progressive Lenses: Called by many names, such as “free-form design” or “wave-front technology”, these premium progressive lenses give a much more extensive, distortion-free reading zone. Vision is most often clearer than other progressive lenses, as these progressive lenses are completely custom ordered, sized, and designed specifically to your measurements, and are generally 100% digitally surfaced or ground. This offers the client the clearest and closest to perfect natural vision offered today for someone with presbyopia!

Rather than compacting the lens into the frame, as with a short corridor lenses, this premium lens is completely customized, therefore no matter the different ranges of power, they fit perfectly into any frame you may choose.

Buying Eyeglasses & Contacts Online

Contact lense fittings in North Charleston, SCWe interviewed Dr. Lesslie on the topic of “Ordering Eyeglasses and Contacts Online.” So Dr. Lesslie, please tell us, why shouldn’t we buy our eyeglasses online?

Dr. Lesslie: Cheaper isn’t always better, and in today’s world, we have to be very careful about that since it feels like everyone is trying to get our money. There have been a great deal of advancements in eyewear, and there are now many things which one can only get from their eye doctor as opposed to purchasing them online – things that truly are better for their eyes.

For example, because of the research regarding the effects of blue light from the computer screens and mobile devices, we make sure we provide the appropriate coatings to the lenses, depending on the patient’s specific lifestyle, in order to protect their eyes.

Whereas, if you order online, you don’t have anyone personally discussing all of the details with you, making sure you are getting the best product for you. Yes, you might get a pair of glasses, but they many not necessarily be the best product to protect your eyes.

Many times people try to take their own measurements and order their glasses online, but their measurements are off. They receive a pair of glasses which they don’t see well with. This makes them think that their prescription is wrong, but in fact it wasn’t the prescription at all – their measurements were off.

So, what about contact lenses?

Dr. Lesslie: People like to think that when they get a prescription for contacts that they can just send it off and get exactly what has been prescribed by the doctor. In fact, this is not always the case. With contacts, some companies have been known to replace contact lens prescriptions with a lens that is “close” to what the patient was fit in or just change brands and fits all together.

Such products can actually damage someone’s eyes or possibly cause them to go blind. We believe that it is never a good idea to order contact lenses online from a third party company.

Is it really cheaper to order eyeglasses and contacts online?

Dr. Lesslie: Surprisingly, many times no. We try to keep the prices of our contact lenses quite competitive with the online stores because we don’t want our patients to order online and get a bad product and possibly damage their eyes. Also, many times the online stores may have the actual box of contacts a few dollars cheaper, but they will charge you shipping.

Why Do We Need Glasses?

JanBlogThe most well-known part of a comprehensive eye exam is the basic vision test. When you have a general vision test, one of the main conditions the eye care practitioner is checking for is a refractive error. A refractive error means there is an abnormality in the shape of the eye, changing the eye’s ability to focus light directly onto the retina.This causes blurred vision and can usually be corrected by wearing prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses and possibly, alternate treatments such as vision therapy, ortho-k, LASIK or refractive surgery such as LASIK.


The term, “refractive error” refers to a problem with the process of refraction that is responsible for sight. Normally, light rays that enter your eye are refracted or bent through the cornea and the lens, and ultimately converge or are focused onto a single point on the retina. From the retina, messages are sent through the optic nerve to the brain which then interprets these signals into the image that we are seeing.


In order for this process to work effectively, the anatomy of the eye including the length of the eye and the curvature of the cornea and the lens must be just right to be able to focus the light onto the retina. When this is not the case, a refractive error will occur.


There are several different types of refractive errors, depending on which part of the eye is affected, and it is possible to have multiple refractive errors at the same time:

Myopia or nearsightedness:

In myopia the length of the eyeball is too long which results in light coming to a focus in front of the retina, rather than on the retina. This allows the individual to see well when objects are close but not clearly when looking at objects at a distance.


Hyperopia or farsightedness:

Hyperopia is when the eyeball is shorter than normal and can result in near objects being blurry. However, people experience hyperopia differently. Sometimes distant objects are clear while other times people may experience overall blurred vision near and far or no problems at all. In children particularly, the lens may accommodate for the error allowing for clear vision but may cause fatigue and sometimes crossed eyes or strabismus. Hyperopia causes eyestrain or fatigue especially when looking at near objects for a period of time. Often people with 20/20 vision may still need glasses at their desk to relax their eyes and improve concentration.



Astigmatism is usually the result of an irregularly shaped cornea (although it can sometimes also be due to a misshapen lens). The cornea, which is normally round, is more football-shaped in an eye with astigmatism, resulting in multiple focus points either in front of the retina or behind it (or both). People with astigmatism usually have blurred or distorted vision to some degree at all distances, near and far.


Presbyopia is an age-related condition which usually begins to appear sometime after 40. As the eye begins to age, the lens stiffens and can no longer focus clearly on objects that are close.


It’s important to note that presbyopia is often confused with hyperopia, as both cause problems focusing at near distances. However, high hyperopia can also cause blur at far distances as well, especially in dim lighting, and depth perception problems can result in motor vehicle accidents. In these instances people with hyperopia could use glasses at any distance.

If you are having trouble seeing, it is important to have an eye exam to determine the cause of the problem and to effectively correct your vision. Even if your vision is fine, you should schedule a routine eye exam on a regular basis to ensure that your eyes are healthy and that any potential problems are caught early.

‘Tis the season for giving, and parents, grandparents, family and friendschristmas_gifts_blog need to know which toys and games to leave off the list because they can pose a risk to children’s health and eyesight. Last year nearly 252,000 emergency visits were due to toy-related injuries, almost half of which were to the head or face. Further, about 1 in 10 children’s eye injuries treated in the emergency room can be traced back to toys, most of which occur in children under 15 years of age.

The most common types of eye injuries that occur from toys can be anything from a scratch on the cornea (the front surface of the eye) to very serious injuries that can threaten vision such as traumatic cataracts, corneal ulcers, bleeding inside the eye and retinal detachment.

Most of these injuries can be prevented by taking the proper measures to evaluate the safety of gifts before they are purchased and to supervise children during any play with toys that could have the potential to cause damage or harm.

Here are some tips on how to select safe toys for children this holiday season:

  1. Check age recommendations on all toys to make sure they are age appropriate and suitable for the child’s maturity level. If younger siblings are present, ensure that any toys made for older children are kept out of reach.
  2. When possible, check toys for a seal of approval that the product meets national safety standards from a toy safety testing organization such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the Canadian Toy Testing Council.
  3. Do not purchase toys that have a projectile or sharp, protruding parts. Toys such as darts, guns, arrows or sharp propelling toys can cause serious eye injuries that can lead to permanent eye damage and even vision loss. Even high-powered water guns such as super soakers or soft foam dart guns can cause significant damage when shot at close range.
  4. Purchase safety eyewear with polycarbonate lenses to accompany sports equipment, chemistry sets or woodworking tools. Speak to your optometrist to learn more about the best option for your child’s hobby of choice.
  5. Check that toys with sticks or handles such as swords, fishing rods, pogo sticks, brooms or pony sticks have rounded edges or handles and avoid or supervise use with little children.
  6. Any toys or devices that have a laser or bright light (such as laser pointers or flashlights which are sometimes used by kids to play laser tag) can be dangerous. Bright lights such as those produced by high-powered flashlights can cause temporary vision loss that can lead to a risk of a fall or accident. Further, laser pointers are not safe for use by children as the light intensity can cause permanent vision loss if shined in someone’s eyes.

When purchasing a toy for a child that is important to you, make sure you are considering what is most important – their safety. Ask us if you have any questions about the eye safety of a toy or gift you are considering.

Have you ever thought about how vision works? Seeing is an incredible gift made possible by a system in which the eye and the brain process visual information from the outside world. If any step of that process does not function properly, vision will be impaired.Eye works

Similar to a camera, the eye transmits light from the world around us into an image that we can perceive. Certain parts of the eye even function like the different parts of a camera such as the shutter, the lens and film (if we can hearken back to the days when we used film in cameras). Here is a quick breakdown of the fascinating way our eyes and brain enable us to see and experience the world around us:

The Vision Process

Light reflected from an object in our field of view is gathered by the cornea which is essentially the clear “window” to our eye. The cornea then refracts the light rays through the pupil (the center of the iris where light enters the eye). The iris, which like the shutter of a camera will enlarge and shrink based on how much light is coming in, then passes the image onto the crystalline lens. Just like a camera lens, the lens in the eye focuses the light rays, projecting them to a point at the back of the eye called the retina, where the image will appear upside down. The retina contains a thin layer of color-sensitive cells called rods and cones that perceive color.

From the retina, the visual signals travel to the brain via the optic nerve. The brain receives information from both eyes and must then converge the images (and flip them right side up) to get a complete picture.

Vision Problems

A breakdown in vision can happen at any point in this process. From the muscles that control the eyes, to the parts within the eye, to the pathway to the brain. Sometimes vision impairment is due to technical problems with the eye receiving the information and passing the signal on, such as convergence insufficiency (inability to coordinate the eyes to converge on one point), myopia (nearsightedness) or cataracts (clouding of the lens).

Other times, the eyes might work perfectly, but there is a problem with the brain interpreting the signals it receives. In these cases we can’t “see” in the traditional sense, because our brains aren’t able to properly “read’ the signals or we don’t know what we are looking at. This is the case for some learning disorders that are caused by the visual processes in the brain such as dyslexia.

As you can see, vision is quite a complicated process. A simple vision exam isn’t always able to determine vision problems, especially in children which is why it is so important to have regular comprehensive eye exams, to measure the health of the eye and all of its parts.

Eye Complications of Diabetes

It’s true. Diabetics have a higher risk of blindness than those without the disease. That fact coupled with the superior prognosis of early intervention, makes it easy to understand why optometrists and doctors say routine eye care is absolutely essential. Below, we’ll discuss what your eye doctor is looking for during a diabetic eye exam.

As the incidence of diabetes increases, it is important to spread awareness about the risks and proper preventative care for diabetes patients. November is Diabetes Awareness month, so read on!

Diabetics are at greater risk of for a number of eye problems. Diabetic vision loss

Diabetic Retinopathy:

Diabetic retinopathy is the term used for the disorders associated with diabetes that cause progressive damage to the retina. The longer a patient has had diabetes, the more likely it is that he will develop these conditions which can be very serious, vision-threatening complications.

There are two types of retinopathy: nonproliferative and proliferative.

Nonproliferative retinopathy, which is the most common form, is when capillaries at the back of the eye become weakened and may start to leak blood and fluids. Nonproliferative retinopathy, which often has no symptoms, can be characterized as mild, moderate or severe, depending on how many blood vessels are affected and becoming blocked. This type of retinopathy usually doesn’t require treatment and doesn’t cause vision loss, unless the leaking fluid ends up in the macula where the eye focuses – a condition called macular edema. If this happens, vision can be blurred and even lost so preventative treatment is essential.

Proliferative retinopathy is much more severe. This is when so much damage is done to the blood vessels that they begin to close off. New blood vessels begin to grow in the retina as a response to this deterioration. The new and weak vessels can leak blood, impairing vision, or can form scar tissue which can distort the retina or cause a retinal detachment.

Proliferative retinopathy requires urgent referral to an ophthalmologist for treatment. While it usually takes years to develop, some instances of proliferative retinopathy can occur within weeks or months if blood sugars are not well-controlled. Pregnancy can also accelerate proliferative retinopathy in known diabetics. Yet if detected early, treatment can be done successfully.

Like high blood pressure, there are often no warning symptoms until advanced stages of diabetes. It is best to get checked each year by an optometrist. If you experience any changes in your vision such as spots in vision, flashes of light, blurred or double vision (rarely pain), make an appointment with your eye doctor immediately. Treatments do exists for retinopathy and many of them are successful in repairing damage and sometimes even restoring vision.


Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye which blocks light from entering and impairs vision. While cataracts are a fairly common and treatable condition, people with diabetes are 60% more likely to develop the condition and often get them at a younger age. Those with the condition also may experience vision fluctuation which occurs from sugar levels affecting the lens of the eye. Cataracts often progress faster in diabetics as well. In serious cases of cataracts, a surgical procedure is done to remove the natural lens of the eye which can sometimes cause complications in diabetic patients that may already have symptoms of other conditions such as diabetic retinopathy.


Glaucoma is a serious condition where pressure builds up in the eye causing damage to the retina and optic nerve and eventually if left untreated, blindness. Diabetics are 40% more likely to develop glaucoma and the risk increases with age and the amount of time the individual has had diabetes. There are treatments for glaucoma including medications and surgery but early detection and treatment are essential to prevent permanent vision loss. Glaucoma is often called the “silent thief of sight” because vision loss often doesn’t occur until significant damage is done. Therefore, yearly eye exams are essential.

Cornea Alterations:

Diabetics may experience reduced sensitivity in their cornea. This means that contact lens wearers that are diabetics should be more cautious, as they develop higher tolerance if the lens irritates the eyes and may be at greater risk of infection.

Eye Muscle Disturbance:

More advanced diabetes cases can show restriction of eye muscle movement to due nerve palsy.

For diabetics, the key to early detection and treatment – and therefore preserving your vision – is to have your eye health monitored on a regular basis. Get your eyes examined every year by an optometrist and if you experience any changes in your vision such as spots, floaters, blurred vision or pain, make an appointment with your eye doctor immediately.

Cataracts are a leading cause of vision loss in the United States and Canada. Here are 6 things you need to know.

  1. Chances are you will develop a cataract!

Cataracts are considered part of the natural aging process so if you live long enough, you will likely eventually develop one.

  1. A cataract is a clouding of the usually transparent lens in your eye.

The lens in your eye focuses light onto the retina at the back of your eye, allowing you to see. When your lens starts to clouds up, the images projected onto your retina become blurry and unfocused. You can compare this to looking through a dirty or cloudy window. If the window is not clear, you can’t see!

  1. Age is not the only risk factor for cataract development.

While the risk of developing a cataract does increase as you age, it is not the only factor. Other risk factors include eye injury, certain medications (eg: steroids), diseases such as diabetes and macular degeneration, lifestyle choices such as alcohol consumption, smoking and prolonged exposure to the sun.


  1. Your treatment options are not limited to surgery.

If cataracts are detected in the early stages of development, non-surgical options including stronger glasses or even better lighting go a long way to help alleviate the condition’s detrimental impact on your vision at first. However, most people do need cataract surgery eventually. Fortunately, the procedure is very low risk and has an excellent success rate. It is relatively non-invasive, often requiring no more than a tiny laser-assisted incision, performed in an outpatient clinic.

  1. Cataracts have warning signs

Cataracts don’t suddenly develop overnight. If you notice you have cloudy vision or see halos around lights, have trouble with night vision or see double in one eye, make a visit to your eye doctor a priority so you can get it checked out.

  1. What you eat can reduce your risks.

While making healthy food choices plays a vital role in your overall health, it can also play a very specific role in reducing your risk of cataract development. A study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increased intake of vitamin C or the combined intake of multiple antioxidants significantly reduced the risk of cataracts in older adults.

For more details see:

Don’t let cataracts interfere with your quality of life. Be sure to schedule regular eye exams so that you stay on top of your overall eye health.

Slightly in advance of November, which is American Diabetes Month, we at Lesslie Vision Care want to talk about obesity and how it can affect the eye in various ways. According to the US Assistant Surgeon General, obesity is the fastest growing epidemic in the United States. This is illustrated by the fact that the prevalence of obesity in the United States has increased 74% since 1991. You know that obesity affects systemic health, but have you ever thought about how obesity can affect eye health?

Before we start talking about how obesity affects the eyes, let’s have a brief review. Obesity is defined as excess body fat relative to a lean body mass. This is most commonly measured by calculating one’s BMI (body mass index). This can be done by dividing your weight by height. For adults aged 20 years or more, a BMI of less than 18.5 is considered underweight, 18.5-24.9 is considered normal, 25-29.9 is considered overweight. Obesity is a major contributor to chronic disease and disability such as Diabetes, which is the most common co-morbidity associated with obesity. It has been reported that 97% of all cases of type 2 diabetes are due to excessive weight.

The unfortunate truth is that where there is diabetes, there can be diabetic eye disease! Obesity itself is a risk factor for the development of diabetic retinopathy (changes to the retinal health due to uncontrolled diabetes). A high BMI and a high waist-to-hip ratio are significant risk factors for the development of diabetic retinopathy.
Not only does obesity increase the risk for diabetic eye disease but obesity also increases the risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration due to changes that occur in the body. Some of the changes include increased oxidative stress, changes in the lipoprotein profile (cholesterol levels) and increased inflammation.

Obesity is also a risk factor for cataract development. In one study, patients whose BMI was 30kg had a 36% higher risk of any type of cataracts compared to those whose BMI was less than 23kg.

Obesity is a scary epidemic. We should all really be doing anything and everything we can to increase the awareness of the complications that obesity can lead to. Hopefully, today we have helped shed some light on how obesity can affect the eye.

If you have any questions, please come and see us here at Lesslie Vision care today!


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