Transition Vantage and Xtra Active Lenses

Most of our patients are aware of Transition prescription lenses that change from light to dark when you go outdoors, but what often comes as a surprise is that there is now an option for polarized Transitions, marketed as “Transition Vantage.” This exciting new technology allows lenses to have variable polarization depending on exposure to direct sunlight. Indoors the lens is almost entirely clear, on foggy overcast days the lens will adjust for a light polarization and continue to transition quickly to dark polarization in full sun. The polarization preferentially blocks glare reflected off flat surfaces such as pavement, water, snow or sand to provide crisp sharp vision.

Another new lens added to the Transition line up is the “Xtra Active.” This lens darkens even more than the original transitions but leaves a slight residual tint indoors. The Xtra Active Transition provides the added benefit giving a moderate tint behind the windshield of a car.

To figure out which lens is best suited for your visual needs, check this easy to read comparison chart:

All the lenses prescribed at For Your Eyes Only Optometric Center use Transition VI technology which has the fastest change time in the industry about 60 seconds and block 100% UVA and UVB.

EyeMed Insurance Now Accepted

As employers renegotiate health benefits for their employees, it is not uncommon to have vision coverage changed as part of the total health insurance package. While Vision Service Plan (VSP) is the largest vision insurance carrier in California, EyeMed has been on the rise recently with large employers from our local community. For Your Eyes Only Optometric Center has been approved as a premier provider for new EyeMed plans and will provide comprehensive services for our new members. We would like to be the first to say “Welcome” to new patients, and “Welcome back” to those who have recently changed coverage.

Low Vision

Through the unique field of Low Vision we are able to provide clever solutions to those experiencing reduction in vision that is uncorrectable via traditional glasses and contact lenses. A handful of conditions such as macular degeneration can damage photoreceptors inside the eye, reducing one’s ability to discriminate fine details. This can turn tasks such as reading newspapers, writing checks, navigating city streets or just watching TV into impossible barriers which undermine one’s ability to live independently. At For Your Eyes Only Optometric Center we offer Low Vision Exams to address this issue through a special refraction technique and a variety of magnification devices. We understand your condition and spend the extra time you need to not only optimize your prescription but to discuss how simple changes can alleviate many of the challenges faced by the visually impaired. Even though perfect vision may not be obtainable, we are not satisfied to simply accept this vision loss. We strive to optimize your visual system to allow you to continue the lifestyle that you enjoy. If you or your loved ones are struggling with visual impairment please allow us the opportunity to help; a little extra time can make all the difference.

Computer Vision Syndrome and Near Variable Focus Lenses

With majority of people spending over 4 hours every day at a computer, the digital age has brought Computer Vision Syndrome along with it. Between desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, e-readers, and iPods much of our visual environment now revolves around the LCD screen. When viewing an LCD screen the visual system is taxed in a variety of ways:

1) The near viewing distance forces us to change and hold focus for long periods of time.

2) The muscles controlling the direction of gaze have to converge.

3) Blink rate decreases significantly.

4) Continuous glare from the monitor creates eye strain.

All four of these factors compound to cause headaches, fluctuations in vision and ultimately decreased productivity which can be clinically diagnosed as Computer Vision Syndrome. This condition has become increasingly prevalent in the Bay Area over recent years and is starting to affect people of all ages.

Fortunately there are a number of things that can be done. The easiest solution can often be the most difficult to comply with and is referred to as the 20/20/20 rule. Simply take a 20 second break every 20 min and look at something 20+ feet away. This allows you to relax all the muscles and refresh your blink rate. Sometimes it is challenging to pause mid-thought but your eyes will thank you for it. Artificial tears can also be applied hourly to help lubricate the ocular surface.

Acknowledging Computer Vision Syndrome, the optical industry has also released a variety of lenses optimized for the computer work station known as Near Variable Focus (NVF) Lenses. These lenses are unique from traditional progressive lenses in that they have a very large computer viewing zone with additional reading area at the bottom. The distance zone is minimized to provide the extra space in the lens for the work terminal. Our patients are realizing that with so much time spent at a computer screen it makes more sense to have a lens specifically designed for this environment rather than forcing traditional lenses to suffice. These new lens designs have revolutionized the way we treat Computer Vision Syndrome and have become indispensable for those in the digital workforce.


Newest Freeform Lens Technology Now Available

We are proud to announce that we will now be offering the latest digital freeform lenses through Unity Performance Optics. Through technological advances now available using computer aided design, Unity freeform technology has added an extra level of customization to digital lens technology. Moving the optics to the backside of the lens has allowed for a significantly wider field of view and the patented Cascade Technology allows variability in the vertical base curve to accommodates the demands of current frame designs. Vision through progressive lenses will no longer be compromised by high wrap frame designs as new algorithms have also been created to minimize peripheral distortions. Unity will further extend it’s lineup to include computer workstation lenses optimized for the office viewing distances. At For Your Eyes Only Optometric Center, we are excited to be amongst the first optometric practices prescribing these lenses.

Introducing “Dailies Total 1” Contact Lenses

Dailies Total 1 is the newest daily soft contact lens and the first to offer “water gradient” technology to give unprecedented oxygen permeability and comfort. This revolutionary new material creates a lens that is over 80% water at the outer surface to provide a “no lens” sensation to wearers. Just released last month, this technology will allow continuation of contact lens use to those previously suffering from contact lens related dryness. The daily lens modality that has become the standard of care in the optometric industry allows for a smooth lens surface free of deposits and bacteria every day. Dailies Total 1 is offered in a wide range of powers to fit most nearsighted and farsighted prescriptions. You will love the vision and comfort of this lens, come in and experience it to yourself!

Further testing for Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

For Your Eyes Only Optometric Center in Walnut Creek, Ca is promoting a new program to more effectively monitor Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) combining Macular Risk genetic testing with Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD) testing. Increased macular pigment has been proven to reduce exposure to the most harmful light rays that damage retinal tissue causing AMD. Your MPOD can not be tested with the QuanitfEye instrument which when combined with DNA testing (see previous blog) gives a thorough analysis of AMD risk factors. The MPOD test is fast, simple, and non-invasive. If a patient’s MPOD score is low, vitamin supplements high in zeaxanthin zee-uh-san-thin) are prescribed to increase retinal pigment. Studies have repeatedly shown that this vitamin supplementation, along with healthy lifestyle choices such as not smoking, is the most effective way to reduce progression of Macular Degeneration.

We Now Offer AMD Genetic Testing

ARMD genetic

For Your Eyes Only Optometric Center is pleased to offer Macula Risk® genetic testing to patients with Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) in Walnut Creek, Ca. Macula Risk identifies which patients with AMD are most likely to progress to advanced disease with vision loss.

AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss in older adults in the Western world, affecting more than 25 million in the US alone. It is a progressive disease that, if left untreated, can result in irreversible damage to a patient’s central vision. Treatments are available, but too often the disease fails to be diagnosed or treated until it is too late to save vision.

For Your Eyes Only Optometric Center is taking a stand against vision loss from AMD by encouraging routine eye examinations in all patients, and by performing Macula Risk testing on patients with early signs of disease, which can usually be detected in the back of the eye long before patients experience any visual symptoms.

Macula Risk is a simple cheek swab test that determines whether a patient has inherited any of the genes associated with AMD progression. This information is combined with important non-genetic risk factors, including age, BMI, smoking history and AMD status, to calculate the patient’s likelihood of progressing to advanced AMD within 2, 5 and 10 years. The test is covered by most insurers including Medicare for patients with a diagnosis of early or intermediate AMD.

Drs. Martin and Fellers agree that the Macula Risk test allows us to identify and better manage high-risk patients through disease education, at-home vision monitoring, lifestyle modifications and an increased frequency of eye examinations where necessary. If patients have been diagnosed with AMD, or have family members with the disease, we encourage them to come in for a consultation and eye examination to see if Macula Risk genetic testing is right for them.

To learn more about AMD genetic testing, or to schedule an appointment, please call 925.933.1344. Additional information about the Macula Risk test is available at

Glaucoma Explained

Glaucoma is a progressive degenerative condition of the optic nerve often caused by elevated pressure inside the eye that causes permanent vision loss starting with the periphery.

To further understand this complex condition along with the diagnosis, progression and treatments it is important to understand the basic anatomy of the eye.  Every eye is filled with vitreous humor in the back, or Posterior Chamber and aqueous humor in the front Anterior Chamber.  Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is caused by an increase in aqueous production or decrease in aqueous drainage.  Aqueous constantly being produced by the ciliary body right behind the iris, and being drained by the tubercular meshwork just in front.  Any imbalance in these systems can cause a rise in IOP that can lead to glaucoma. 

There are two main categories of glaucoma, the classic Open Angle Glaucoma and the less common Closed Angle variety.  The “angle” refers to the angle formed by the iris and cornea.  With a closed angle, the trabecular meshwork drainage system is mechanically blocked.

Increased IOP will put pressure on the optic nerve head causing permanent damage.  The retina is the tissue that senses light, but all the nerve fibers must pass through the optic nerve to reach the brain.  Increased pressure “pinches off” these signals, and the first nerves to be damaged are usually that of the peripheral retina.  IOP is tested in every exam to screen for any excessive pressure that can not be noticed by the patient.

Since both eyes work in tandem, vision lost by one eye is often picked up by the other, thus early visual changes often go unnoticed by the patient.  Your Optometrist can preform detailed visual field tests to quantify any changes in either eye.  A detailed observation of the optic nerve will also be taken and recorded, often times using digital imaging techniques to capture a snapshot to evaluate for future changes to the optic nerve structure.

If changes are noticed to the optic nerve structure and visual field the diagnosis of glaucoma will be given, and at that point, medical treatment will be initiated.  A variety of different eye drops can help lower the pressure inside the eye either by increasing the outflow of aqueous humor, or decreasing it’s production.  While this method is usually very effective, there are other surgical procedures that can be preformed if the pressure can not be suitably lowered with drops alone. 

Patients with glaucoma or per-glaucoma will be monitored carefully by their optometrist or ophthalmologist so changes can be caught early.  Since any vision loss is permanent, it is important to be vigilant with this condition to limit any losses.  It is important to screen for this condition with annual eye examinations. 

What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is the term for the inability to change focus between distance and near objects that happens over time.  Often confused with far-sightedness, presbyopia is not a miss-focus of the eyes, but rather the inability of the ciliary body muscles to change the form of the lens inside the eye.  Over time the lens, like an onion, gains additional layers becoming thicker rendering it less malleable.  As the lens becomes more and more static, you are unable to focus on near objects comfortably as you were before.  With general purpose glasses, your eyes are focused for distance and muscles have to work to bring near objects into focus.  When we are young, this task is easy and you do so without thinking, as we approach our 40’s, this focusing task has become significantly more difficult.  Most people start to notice presbyopia when they have to hold reading material farther away, thus reducing the demand on the focusing system.  Headaches and eyestrain when reading or on the computer are another common symptom of presbyopia as the muscles struggle to reform a thickening lens.

Presbyopia can effectively be corrected with both glasses and contact lenses using a variety of different lens designs.  The classic lens to correct presbyopia is the lined bifocal which has two separate powers for distance and near.  The trifocal adds an intermediate area, and progressive addition lenses blend powers for all distances between distance and near.  Where traditionally cut progressives have peripheral distortions to blend the powers and caused some swim effect or feeling of instability when getting used to the lenses, new digitally designed lenses reduce these aberrations.  The result of digital progressive lenses is a lens that is clear at all distances with significantly reduced adaptation times.

Multifocal contact lenses also continue to gain popularity.  They work with the concept of simultaneous vision, where lenses have focal powers for both distance and near objects.  The brain is able to integrate these signals resulting in the ability to see at all distances. 

Presbyopia is something that unfortunately can not be avoided.  Everybody will have difficulties changing focus over time, but we can help find the right glasses or contact lenses to allow you to continue with your active lifestyle.

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