Posts in "Eye Care 101"

Sunglasses are for Everyone

Sunglasses should be on everyone. Every day, whether it is sunny or cloudy, no matter the season – we are exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun.  Most of the time, we aren’t even aware we are being bombarded with potentially damaging radiation (light). Just as the sun can damage your skin (burning, premature aging, and skin cancer) it also can have damaging effects in the eye.  There are two types of radiation in sunlight that affect the eye – UVA and UVB.  UVA exposure affects the lens in the eye and has been linked to a greatly increased chance of cataract development (a clouding of the lens of the eye).  UVB affects the retina and can cause severe damage. Furthermore, the damage from harmful UV radiation is cumulative over a person’s lifetime.  Because the damage is cumulative, it is important to protect your eyes every day, in all light conditions. So our children wil have the greatest risk of UV damage over their lifetime. Together with the AOA our office is on a mission to help inform the public that while theyoften selecting their sunglasses  because they look cool on and reflect their personality and/ or lifestyle there is more than meets the eye in a great pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses with the proper lens will help protect and preserve vision and often boost visual performance for your vavroite outdoor activities.
Sunglasses, with and without a prescription, that can block out nearly all UV light are readily available.  Eyeglass lenses with UV blocking characteristics protect the eyes and significantly reduce the chance of vision problems caused by sunlight.
Here are some important tips when considering lenses with UV protection (sunglasses):
  • Look for sunglasses that block at least 99% of ultraviolet rays, both UVA and UVB.
  • Lenses should be gray, green, or brown, and the larger the lenses, the better.  Wrap around sunglasses provide an extra measure of protection.
  • The best sunglasses are those purchased from an optometrist or optician.  This ensures the sunglasses have the appropriate amounts of filtering for both types of ultraviolet radiation (UV) and are the best protection for your eyes while in the sun.
  • UV light from the sun is harmful even in winter. Snowboarders and skiers should always wear tinted goggles, as UV light bounces off snow even on the cloudiest of days.
  • Sunglasses purchased from a department store or a street vendor may not provide important UV protection.  There is no assurance that eyewear, no matter how dark the lens, will protect against UV rays.
  • Polarized sun lenses are excellent at providing glare free vision, enhanced contrast vision, 100% UV protection, outstanding color perception, and reducing eye fatigue resulting from bright light conditions from the sun
  • New digital surface technology can inprove the quality of vision and eliminate peripheral distortion in sunglasses that are in prescription.
  • Back surface antireflective coatings reduce UV absorption due to reflected rays from back and side of lens.
Photochromic lenses (lenses that darken when exposed to UV light) are a good choice for an everyday lens because they automatically protect against UV.  However, it is important to recognize that not all plastic photochromic lenses block 100% of UV radiation.
Summer is almost upon us and due to the increase sunlight associated with our longer days, many individuals are thinking about the value of sunglasses.  If you are planning to purchase sunglasses, make the kind of selection in sun wear and lenses that will reduce the uncomfortable glare of bright sunlight, while providing you with the UV protection so important to your ocular health. So some patients ask what is the very best for my eyes ? A polorized polycarbonate lens that has a digital surface prescription, gray tint 50-80%, back surface anti-reflective coat and scratch coated finished  in a light weight frame that wraps to provide maximum protection for the eye.
To your eye health,
Dr Vince Facchiano

Do you worry about losing your vision ?


Eye Care, Eye Care 101 | December 26, 2010

80 percent of Americans worry about losing their vision yet 86 percent of those who already have an eye disease do not get routine exams.

     A well known filmmaker, Joe Lovett was scared, really scared. Being able to see was critical to his work as a documentary filmmaker and, he thought, to his ability to live independently. But longstanding glaucoma threatened to rob him of this most important sense — the sense that more than 80 percent of Americans worry most about losing, according to a recent survey.

    Partly to assuage his fears, partly to learn how to cope if he becomes blind, and partly to alert Americans to the importance of regular eye care, Mr. Lovett, 65, decided to do what he does best. He produced a documentary called “Going Blind,” with the telling subtitle “Coming Out of the Dark About Vision Loss.”

    In addition to Mr. Lovett, the film features six people whose vision was destroyed or severely impaired by disease or injury:

Jessica Jones, an artist who lost her sight to diabetic retinopathy at age 32, but now teaches art to blind and disabled children. Emmet Teran, a schoolboy whose vision is limited by albinism, a condition he inherited from his father, and who uses comedy to help him cope with bullies.Peter D’Elia, an architect in his 80s who has continued working despite vision lost to age-related macular degeneration. Ray Korman, blinded at age 40 by an incurable eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, whose life was turned around by a guide dog and who now promotes this aid to others. Patricia Williams, a fiercely independent woman legally blind because of glaucoma and a traumatic injury, who continues to work as a program support assistant for the Veterans Administration. Steve Baskis, a soldier blinded at age 22 by a roadside bomb in Iraq, who now lives independently and offers encouragement to others injured at war.

     Sadly, the nationwide survey (conducted Sept. 8 through 12 by Harris Interactive) showed that only a small minority of those most at risk get the yearly eye exams that could detect a vision problem and prevent, delay or even reverse its progression. Fully 86 percent of those who already have an eye disease do not get routine exams, the telephone survey of 1,004 adults revealed.

   The survey was commissioned by Lighthouse International, the world-renowned nonprofit organization in New York that seeks to prevent vision loss and treats those affected. In an interview, Lighthouse’s president, Mark G. Ackermann, emphasized that our rapidly aging population predicts a rising prevalence of sight-robbing diseases like age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy that will leave “some 61 million Americans at high risk of serious vision loss.”

                                                           The Benefits of a Checkup

   Low vision and blindness are costly problems in more ways than you might think. In addition to the occupational and social consequences of vision loss, there are serious medical costs, not the least of them from injuries due to falls. Poor vision accounts for 18 percent of broken hips.

  So, why don’t more of us get regular eye exams? For one thing, they may not be are covered by Medicare and many health insurers unless there is a eye disease found. But even those who have insurance or can pay out of pocket are often reluctant to go for regular eye exams. Fear and depression are common impediments for those at risk of vision loss, said Dr. Bruce Rosenthal, low-vision specialist at Lighthouse. Patients worry that they could become totally blind and unable to work, read or drive a car, he said.

  Yet many people fail to realize that early detection can result in vision-preserving therapy. Those at risk include people with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or cardiovascular disease, as well as anyone who has been a smoker or has a family history of an eye disorder like macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma.

   Smoking raises the risk of macular degeneration two to six times, Dr. Facchiano indicated. The eyes are truly a window to the body, and a proper eye exam can often alert physicians to a serious underlying disease like diabetes, multiple sclerosis or even a brain tumor.

                                                              Reasons Not to Wait

     Dr Facchiano OD FAAO along with the AOA recommends that all children have “a basic professional eye exam” before they start elementary school. “Being able to read the eye chart, which tests distance vision, is not enough, since most learning occurs close up,” he said. Studies indicate that “One in three  schoolchildren has a vision deficit. Learning and behavior problems can result if a child does not receive adequate vision correction.”

     Annual checkups are best done from age 20 on, and certainly by age 40, Dr. Facchiano OD FAAO said. Waiting until you have symptoms is hardly ideal. For example, glaucoma in its early stages is a silent thief of sight. It could take 10 years to cause a noticeable problem, by which time the changes are irreversible.

     For those who already have serious vision loss, the range of visual aids now available is extraordinary — and increasing almost daily. There are large-picture closed-circuit televisions, devices like the Kindle that can read books aloud, computers and readers that scan documents and read them out loud, Braille and large-print music, as well as the more familiar long canes and guide dogs.

     On Oct. 13, President Obama signed legislation requiring that every new technological advance be made accessible to people who are blind, visually impaired or deaf.

     Producing “Going Blind” helped to reassure Mr. Lovett that he will be able to cope, whatever the future holds. Meanwhile, the regular checkups and treatments he has received have slowed progression of his glaucoma, allowing him to continue his professional work and ride his bicycle along the many new bike paths in New York City.

  Dr Facchiano recommends that you start the new year out by scheduling an eye exam.

            A version of this article appeared in print on December 21, 2010, on page D2 of the New York edition.

What Eye Exams Detect


Eye Care 101 | December 15, 2010

Most people think of eye exams as something done to detect a need for eye glasses, prescription sun glasses or contact lenses. That is one of the results of an eye exam, but that isn’t what they are “for.” The reason for eye exams is to check the total health of the eye. Sometimes, problems with seeing things clearly might be from eye diseases or other health issues that affect vision. Optometrists are trained at looking for health problems and will be able to detect a variety of diseases from the instruments used during an eye exam.

Here are the most common diseases caught by optometrists who practice full scope primary eye care:


Macular Degeneration



High Blood Pressure


When the doctors do a full examination, they’ll be able to use all the tools available to them to make determinations if there are any underlying issues with reported vision problems. Sometimes, there won’t be any reported vision problems and the diseases will be caught in an early stage that makes managing them much easier. So don’t think that the only thing eye exams detect is a need for corrective lenses, they do so much more than that.

5 Things to Consider Before LASIK


Eye Care 101 | December 2, 2010

Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, or LASIK for short, is the medical procedure that changes the shape of the eye so that corrective lenses aren’t needed as much, or at all. Many people ask me during the pre-screening for eye exams  if they are good candidates for the operation. When I hear that, I encourage a patient to talk with our optometrists and find out if LASIK is right for them. There are a lot of factors to consider that need to be weighed and balanced before going forward with the LASIK surgery.

There are people and groups who don’t need LASIK

If someone has a slight prescription, or is really young, LASIK really isn’t recommended or needed in a lot of cases. Take a look at your lifestyle, age and dependence on contacts or glasses and deeply consider if it will improve your day-to-day life or if would be just “nice” to have. There are risks with undergoing LASIK and certain people might lose more than they gain.

Are there problems with the eye beyond “not seeing well?”

If you have Glaucoma, past eye traumas, eye conditions like dry eyes or a host of other problems or complications related to the eye, there are complications that could result in diminished vision or vision loss. Always go in for an eye exam and make sure that everything checks out. It is now a requirement that vision remains stable for an entire year before proceeding with LASIK.

Researching and finding the best surgeon

Is the doctor experienced with the best knowledge and latest FDA approved equipment? That is the question everyone should ask, however, many people only consider price when shopping around for LASIK, but that should only be one of the many considerations when selecting a doctor to preform the operation. Doing a little legwork and getting all the facts on LASIK centers in imperative before getting the procedure done. Your primary eye care doctor will also be able to make recommendations.


LASIK isn’t just a one time surgery that makes the need for glasses or contacts disappear. There many steps along the road to the operation and many steps that follow. People who get the LASIK done might even need to go back for touch-ups a few years down the road.

Won’t solve all problems

A lot of times, people will still have to wear reading glasses after a LASIK operation. People looking to be totally free of glasses or contacts need to be aware that there still might be need for corrective lenses following the operation for things like close-up vision.

If you want to know more information about LASIK, the FDA has a great website that covers all the bases about what to expect, what to do/not do and other bits of information that is useful for people considering the surgery.

The Difference Between an Optometrist and…


Eye Care 101 | October 30, 2010

There are a lot of “O” words when it comes to eye care. There are optometrists, ophthalmologists and opticians. Most people confuse the terminology as the “Three O’s” have one major thing in common, they all care about the eyes.

Optometrists are the first line of defense for primary eye care. They adminsiter eye exams, prescribe glasses, treat some eye diseases, diagnose diseases like Cataracts and Glaucoma, fit contact lenses and preform a few other services related to eye health and vision. You can tell if a doctor is an Optometrist if their title is “OD.” Our Optometrists in Madison and our Optometrists in Rockford are “ODs.”

If there are serious finding during an eye exam, an Optometrists will refer a patient out. Ophthalmologists typically specialize in a portion of the eye and will preform surgery when it necessary. Many Ophthalmologists have the title “MD” but some carry the title “DO.” A lot of times Optometrists and Ophthalmologists will co-manage patients together.

Opticians are the remaining piece of the puzzle. They are the people that fit patients with glasses. They take face measurements, make lenses, inform people about lens choices and help people pick out frames. They fill the prescription given by an eye doctor.

To simplify the definitions-

Optometrist = primary eye care doctors

Ophthalmologists = eye specialists

Opticians = fill the prescriptions given by a doctor