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Category Archives: Main

Glasses for Screen Time

Screen Time Strains Our Eyes

Americans of all ages are spending more time in front of digital devices like computer monitors, tablets, and smart phones.  While this technology has changed the way we search for information, communicate, and entertain ourselves it has also created a new type of vision problem.  Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eyestrain is a growing source of tired sore eyes, blurred vision, and headaches that has eye doctors and optical lens companies working hard to develop innovative new products and solutions to deal with this 21st century malady.

It All Starts with the Eye Examination

Our eyes focus differently on digital screens than they do on printed material like books and magazines.  What eye doctors have found is that digital tech users benefit from even small amounts of prescription and tend to appreciate low degrees of magnification so a detailed visual analysis is the first step towards relieving symptoms of digital eye strain.  Accurate measurements for fitting of glasses are also critical to visual comfort so it is best to have computer glasses fitted in person by a trained professional rather than purchased online.


TIP: measure the distance from the bridge of your nose to your computer screen before your eye examination so you can relay that critical information to the doctor.


Age is a factor but Digital Tech Users tend to need help Sooner


The solutions for digital eyestrain are different for those over age 40 than they are for younger patients.  Multifocal or bifocal wearers may find the glasses that otherwise meet their needs don’t do so well for extended screen time.  Often a pair of glasses prescribed specifically for computer use can be a real game changer.  Lens manufacturers have developed products designed specifically to meet the needs of the mature office worker.  These lenses tend to feature a large viewing area for mid-range screen distance with some added magnification for reading printed material.  Anti-reflective and protective coatings are often included for additional visual comfort.


Exciting new innovative solutions are also available for younger eyes in our high tech society.  Digital Tech Lenses take vision correction to the next level for today’s technophiles.  Using laser guided optical technology these lenses are designed to provide “high definition” vision and offer a subtle near power boost to relieve visual stress and increase comfort while using digital devices. These lenses also incorporate special coatings to reduce annoying reflections and protect against harmful blue light and UV emissions from digital screens.  They are available for users of all ages with high prescriptions, low prescriptions, or even NO prescription!

Schedule your eye examination today to find out how you can benefit from Digital Design Eyewear or stop by to talk to our trained optical professionals about these exciting products.



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Hot or Cold?

It is allergy season so the question arises “Which should I use to provide some relief for my puffy, itchy eyes – a warm compress or a cold compress?”

While either one may provide some relief from allergy eyes, here are some guidelines on the most effective ways to use heat or cold on the eyes.

Heat increases blood flow, speeds up our immune response system, and softens up debris on the lids or in the tear glands.  That means warm compresses are preferred for:

  • Stye (hordeolum)
  • Crust or mucous around the eyelashes (blepharitis)
  • Infectious conjunctivitis (bacterial “pink eye”)
  • Dry eyes


Cold reduces blood flow, swelling, and immune response so it is preferable for:

  • Allergy eyes
  • Trauma or injury
  • Itching and/or pain

Either type of compress is usually used in conjunction with other types of treatment, such as prescription eye drops to treat the patient’s condition.  Be sure to come in for a professional evaluation for any eye or eyelid problem that is painful, lasts more than a day or two, or seems to be worsening even after the proper use of a compress.



How to Properly Use a Compress

It is relatively easy to make a cold compress for use around the eyes.  Wrapping a clean dishtowel around an ice bag is adequate.   Compresses should be applied for ten minutes at a time as often as every hour.  Cold compresses should be used as soon as possible after injury to reduce swelling and bruising.

It is more difficult to make an effective homemade warm compress.  The old method of using a hot wet washcloth doesn’t stay warm long enough and introduces concerns about hygiene.  Commercially available “eye heat masks” have the advantage of safely and conveniently providing consistent moist heat for ten minutes or longer.  Warm compresses should be applied for ten to fifteen minutes at a time, once or twice a day for dry eyes and often as four times a day for styes or blepharitis.

At the Eyecare Center of Leesburg we currently sell the Bruder Mask which is ready to use after just seconds in the microwave.  Our research finds it is simpler and less expensive than competitive products and our patients love them! Stop by any time to learn more about Bruder Mask or to pick one up.

Disclaimer:  This article is intended for information purposes only and is not a substitute for consultation or treatment by an eye care professional.


There’s a lot more to an eye exam than just reading an eye chart!


There’s a lot more to an eye exam than just reading an eye chart!


Sure, reading the chart and having the clarity of your vision refined is a big part of your eye doctor visit but it is just one component of a comprehensive eye examination.


The exam starts with your history – not just your history of wearing glasses or contact lenses but your health history as well. This is because many health conditions and even some medications can affect your vision and eye health.


When checking your vision, the distance eye chart provides only part of the story. Additional vision testing includes checking the color vision, depth perception, peripheral vision, glare sensitivity, eye coordination and eye movements as well as focusing up close and on a computer screen.


When focusing on your eye health our doctor usually starts with the eyelids because they are so critical to protecting the eye and controlling the flow of tears across the eye surface. For many patients, poor eyelid health is the cause of discomfort or blurriness.


Another common cause of uncomfortable or blurry eyes is a poor tear film. Our doctors use various techniques to evaluate the quantity and quality of tears your eyes produce and even use infra-red photography to assess the health of your tear glands.


When looking into the back of your eye the doctor will often use eye drops to enlarge or dilate the pupil to get a more complete view of the retina. They will often also use new technologies to help get an even better look at structures deep within the eye. These can include wide angle digital photography and imaging scans that allow them to magnify the view to the cellular level and precisely measure nerves and other structures within the eye.


While it may only seem to take a few minutes, a lot of things happen during your comprehensive eye examination. At the end, the doctor will go over the findings and make recommendations to help you keep your eyes healthy and comfortable and, of course write you a prescription if needed!

How Many Shoes are in Your Closet?

Most of us have a closet full of clothing for every type of event or mood in our life. How many pairs of jeans or shoes do you have? 5? 10? 20? For obvious reasons one pair just isn’t enough to cover all situations. Why then do most folks only have one pair of glasses? Are the things we do with your feet more important than what we do with our eyes?
If we are constantly changing our clothing and footwear to match our activity why not have more choices in your eyewear? For instance, when riding a bike you may want some wrap-around sunglasses. But that look may not be what you want for an outing with friends at a winery. You may need computer glasses to help with your work at the office, but a different prescription, tint, and lens coating for viewing your child’s baseball game or driving at night. Having multiple pairs for functioning in your life becomes more critical as we age and are more active.
Glasses are not just for vision: they also make a fashion statement and can improve performance and productivity! Tell us about your lifestyle and vision needs and we will help you pick the perfect glasses to optimize your visual performance in all situations.

(Come in to see us, and switch up your style!)

Frugal Frank

dafsdf-minFrank is a big guy and he has a big head so he has trouble finding glasses that fit well.  Frank also likes a bargain so after he got his prescription at the Eye Scare Center of Leesburg he ordered glasses online. 

He used the online measuring guides to pick the size frame he needed and even to position the reading zone for his multifocal lenses.

He was excited when he got his new glasses even though they kind of squeezed his head and made the backs of his ears sore.

After using them the first day at work he felt kind of queasy and it was difficult to keep his computer screen in focus. 

He emailed the website and they quickly responded – they told him it sometimes takes a week or tow to adjust to new glasses and to keep using them.

He wore them all day at work on October 31 and came home with a splitting headache in his oversized head.

Now he’s lying on the couch with an icepack on his head and missing out on trick or treating with his kids!

Soooo Tragic!

Laser Correction in our Family

IMG_0637On March 23 Doctor McGrew’s son Wesley had laser vision correction performed by Dr. Andy Holzman at the TLC Center in Tysons Corner.

Dr. McGrew was with his son in the surgical suite and is happy to report the recovery process has been smooth and Wesley is thrilled with his great vision without contact lenses or glasses.

If you are wondering if you are a good candidate for laser vision correction ask about it at your next appointment or give us a call and we can discuss your options.

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CHRPE and Colon Cancer

Another reason to have your eyes checked regularly!

Freckles in Your Eye Can Identify Risk of Colon Cancer

A common pigment spot in the retina can be associated with a hereditary form of intestinal polyps that may become cancerous. Congenital Hypertrophy of the Retinal Pigment Epithelium, referred to as CHRPE (“chirpy”), a form of freckling inside the eye has been associated with a hereditary condition known as Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) or Gardner’s Syndrome. 80% of patients with FAP have CHRPE.

CHRPE is relatively easily detected during an eye examination, especially if the pupils are dilated or digital imaging/photography is performed. Patients sometimes have just one CHPRE or they can have several, often found together in groups, somewhat like constellations of stars. These groupings of round spots of various sizes can resemble paw prints so they are also called Bear Track Pigment.

Patients with multiple or irregularly shaped CHRPE are the ones most likely to have FAP and are the ones we educate about the importance of preventive colon health care. Unfortunately, the polyps found in patients with FAP have a very high probability of becoming cancerous if left untreated. In 2010 a study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology concluded that patients with such freckles should be referred for colonoscopies.

The guidelines we have developed for our patients with Bear Track Pigment at the EyeCare Center of Leesburg are:

Children and Young Adults (age < 30): We inform the patient (and parent for minors) of the significance of this finding and advise them to never delay a colonoscopy if recommended by a physician or as standard screening as they get older.

Adults without a family history of colon cancer: If under age fifty we advise them that they should have a colonoscopy at age fifty as is commonly recommended. If over the age of fifty we query the patient about if they have ever had a colonoscopy and urge them to stay in compliance with their physician’s colorectal screening schedule.

Adults with a family history of colon cancer: We advise they schedule a colonoscopy or discuss scheduling one with their physician given the ocular finding and their family history.

The information provided is for informational purposes and is not medical advice or a substitute for ocular health or medical consultation with a health care professional.

New Lens Technology Helps Wearers Drive More Safely

Of course it should be safer to drive wearing your prescription glasses but did you know high tech options could enhance your vision even further allowing you to react more quickly to potential hazards on the road?
• Anti-reflective coatings reduce distracting glare and reflections and actually allow more light to reach the eye for better clarity.
• Polarization reduces glare significantly for better vision in daytime.
• Driving Lenses from various manufacturers combine anti-reflection coatings, polarization, and contrast enhancing tints to aid the driver.
• Photochromic lenses are darker on sunny days and less tinted in overcast conditions to adapt to the driving conditions.
• Digital Progressive Lenses reduce peripheral distortion to aid the more mature driver.
• Aberration reducing technology can significantly improve clarity in low light conditions when the pupil of the eye is enlarged.

Having Trouble Reading Small Print? Use Your Phone?

Having Trouble Reading Small Print? Use Your Phone?

It’s frustrating and potentially embarrassing to not be able to focus on small print or small details. If you have reading glasses you may be fine, but what if you don’t have your glasses handy or if things are too small to see even with them on?


Perhaps you can get some help from your smart phone. Here are some ways you can harness the technology you are carrying in your pocket or purse to read that ingredient list or serial number.


These tips are specific to Apple iPhones and iPads but may be applicable to similar functions and applications for Android phones.


  1. Use the camera function. Simply zoom in on what you need to see or snap a picture of it and zoom that up as much as you need.


  1. Use the flashlight function. Sometimes all you need is a bit more light to see small print. (Be careful if downloading a flashlight app as many of the more popular flashlight apps contain malware)


  1. Take advantage of Siri. With practice you can become proficient on using the voice recognition function on your phone to find addresses, get directions, look up phone numbers, etc.


  1. Enable the Zoom function. The Zoom function allows you to quickly magnify text on your phone with a double or triple tap. This function is easily enabled under Settings/General/Accessibility. You don’t want to leave the Zoom function “on” at all times as it makes some phone functions unobtainable while it is active. If you accidentally hit Zoom you may wonder why your phone seems to be frozen.


  1. Experiment with some of the other vision related Accessibility functions on the phone. The VoiceOver function will read highlighted text aloud but it has a bit of a learning curve as the tapping commands are different than the one’s normally used on a phone or computer.