Monday, December 10, 2012

Keep Your Eyes for Christmas...

Hello everyone,

'Tis the season to be jolly. Fa la la la la, la la, la...ouch!

That is the unfortunate version of Deck the Halls when a hazardous toy causes injury to an unsuspecting child. Each year, there are many "hot" toys, the toys that you can't find in stores anymore, and can only purchase at a premium on eBay or Craigslist.

However, each year, there are also the "worst" toys, the toys that have a high probability of causing injury, and even death, to young children. As an optometrist, I'm concerned for the toys causing an eye injury. As a parent, I'm concerned for any toy that can cause any type of injury, especially those that are choking hazards for my 8 month old girl.

The World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.) group has a top ten hazardous toys list of 2012. Here they are:

1) This “fishing game” is sold online for 16-month-old children, however, the packaging contains a warning of a choking hazard for children under 3 years old.  The plastic fishing pole uses common twine to attach a small, magnetic lure. The brightly-colored plastic lure, whether detached or connected to the approximately 9”-long cord, poses a serious potential choking hazard for oral-age children.

 2) Children as young as 3 years old are encouraged to “climb inside” this colorful inflatable ball, in order to “Bounce, Spin, Roll, Tumble!” The box, which portrays unsupervised children playing with the oversized inflatable ball, cautions that adult supervision is “required”. However, the toy itself indicates that adult supervision is only “recommended”.

3) The manufacturer of this dart gun with two “revolving barrels” encourages children to load the ammunition cartridge and fire “6 darts in seconds!”  Despite the manufacturer’s directive that this toy not be sold for children younger than 6 years old, it was marketed online for babies as young as 7 months old. The gun can shoot the supplied darts with enough force to potentially cause eye injuries.

4) This wooden “kneeboard”, marketed for young children, sits approximately 4 inches off the ground.  Users are encouraged to “race your friends!” by kneeling on the board and steering with the handlebars. Its low profile makes the toy potentially hazardous for outdoor use, an issue purportedly addressed with a separate, detachable “safety flag”. Additional warnings on the package insert include: “Kneeboard riding can be a hazardous activity.  Kneeboards can and are intended to move, and it is therefore possible to get into dangerous situations and/or lose control and/or fall off.  If such things occur, serious injury may result.”

5) Despite the industry’s standard requiring strings on playpen and crib toys to be less than 12 inches in length, manufacturers are still permitted to market “pull toys” such as this “Vtech Baby Explore & Learn Helicopter” with a cord measuring approximately 24 inches. Sold to reward “baby’s curiosity”, the manufacturer “encourages little ones to discover and learn with a cute puppy friend!” The toy is intended for babies as young as 12 months old and thus, is a prime candidate for crib and playpen injuries.

6) Young children are encouraged to combine two swords into one “Megablade” in order to “arm yourself for the ultimate battle experience….”  The “double sword” measures “over 4.5 feet long!”  The blade has the potential to cause facial or other impact injuries.

7) This water balloon “launcher” is marketed with the capability to shoot water balloons “at high speeds of up to 75 mph.” Remarkably, the device, which the manufacturer admits “can cause severe injury or facial damage….”, was marketed and sold by at least one online retailer for babies as young as 8 months old.  Balloons are also well known by the toy industry as posing a significant risk of choking, and are, therefore, not permitted to be sold for use by oral-age children.

8) The manufacturer encourages children to “become a Power Ranger” by donning “battle gear”, including this “shogun helmet”.  The headgear includes an attachable “crown” with pointed, rigid plastic tips as long as approximately 9”, with the potential for penetrating impact and puncture wound injuries.

9) This toy xylophone includes colorful blocks of various sizes, which can be “arranged & rearranged”, allowing oral-age children to “create their own melodies!”  Babies as young as twelve months old are encouraged to use a supplied slender, wooden dowel as a drumstick to play music on the xylophone. The approximately 5” drumstick, which is not connected to the xylophone, could be mouthed and occlude a child’s airway.

10) These over-sized fists, resembling those of a popular Marvel comic book and movie character, are sold to enable three year olds to “be incredible like The Hulk” by “smashing everything that gets in their way!”  No warnings or cautions are provided.

From the kids' perspective, these toys are AWESOME! I mean, what boy wouldn't want to put on Hulk fists and pulverize anything in his path? As a parent, common sense must prevail when buying toys for the kiddos...and don't be afraid to return gifts given by others that may pose a potential threat to your child.

Avoid the toys with sharp points or objects, that launch or fire projectiles, small pieces as a choking hazard to little ones, laser pointers (very, VERY bad for the eyes), and anything that encourages hitting someone else (a la Gamma Green Smash Fists).

That is all. Have a Merry and Safe Christmas!

Dr. Weaver

Friday, November 9, 2012

Marketing Consultant Search...

Hello everyone,

As a new practice, it's very important to get the word out about myself and the services that my practice offers. We know it only takes time, and advertising with the Reading Eagle, the Merchandiser, Yellowbook and postcard mailers have been working pretty well. Word of mouth referrals have really been the best method, so far, but that takes time as more people learn that there's an eye doctor in Bernville. (Yes, many people still do not know that there is an eye doctor in Bernville, despite being open almost two years!!!)

So, I decided that I needed to increase my external marketing campaign by enlisting the help of fifth graders of the Tulpehocken School District. Below are the ten finalists for my marketing campaign. To vote, go to our Facebook page and Like and/or leave a Comment for each picture. Each Like and Comment acts as a vote. Dr. Weaver will make the final selection for the first, second and third place prizes to win $50, $25 and $15 respectively. The winners will also have their posters frames and mounted on the walls of Weaver Eye Care Associates! Cool, huh?

REMEMBER! Go to our Facebook page to vote! Have fun!

Dr. Weaver

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Halloween Contact Lenses

Hello everyone,

Halloween is approaching. For some, it's just another day. For others, it's a chance to hand out (and eat) candy and get dressed up in an outfit you wouldn't otherwise wear on any other day of the year.

Having the right accessory to the Halloween costume is also very important. Imagine walking around dressed up as Moses: long robe and white hair/beard combo. You HAVE to cut out two large pieces of cardboard to make the Ten Commandments to go with the costume, or else you'd look like some sleepwalking old guy asking for candy.

Well, Halloween contact lenses are an accessory as well, and they are very popular. I have fit them at my office and they look really cool!

The Reading Eagle newspaper did a write-up on Halloween contact lenses (in which Dr. Weaver is featured!!!) talking about the importance of getting properly fitted to reduce the risk of potential vision-threatening problems with these type of lenses.

The issue with the "Halloween" contact lenses is that, even though they are cosmetic to enhance the appearance of the eyes, they are still considered medical devices (just like regular colored contact lenses) and require a prescription to be sold (state law). In general, a soft contact lens prescription consists of power, curvature, diameter and brand/material of contact lens. An optometrist evaluates the vision, fit and comfort for a specific lens and releases the prescription once everything appears great at the eye exam, so that the patient can purchase their supply of contact lenses for which they were fitted.

Individuals who buy these Halloween contact lenses without a prescription (online or specialty stores) may not even know how to insert, remove or take care of the lenses properly. And if not used properly, contact lenses can lead to many problems: dryness, irritation, allergy, inflammation, corneal ulcers, and potentially vision loss.

So, if a patient chooses a lens in which they've never been fitted, such as a Halloween contact lens, it's not guaranteed the the lenses will fit properly. However, when properly fitted and dispensed in an optometry office, the risk of potential problems are reduced.

So, if you are interested in accessorizing your Halloween costume this year, or would just like to wear funky contact lenses all year long, set up a contact lens evaluation sooner than later, because it takes some time to coordinate the ordering of the contacts and scheduling the contact lens fitting exam.

Dr. Weaver

Monday, September 10, 2012

Weaver Eye Care Associates...Winners for the 2012 Berks Mont Blue Ribbon Award!!!

Thanks to everyone who wrote in Weaver Eye Care Associates on their nomination forms online and in the paper. We had the most votes for "Best Eye Care" practice in Berks County for the 2012 Berks-Mont Blue Ribbon Awards. We had no idea and were really surprised, considering we just opened up last year and don't have as many patients as other more well-established eye care practices. However, it seems that the patients that we do have are AWESOME!!! Keep spreading the word and Weaver Eye Care Associates will be around for a long time.

From myself and the staff members, we thank you!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Contact Lens Problems Anyone?


You finally took the big step and switched from wearing eyeglasses to contact lenses. You heard the numerous positives points about wearing contacts and wanted to give it a try. But now that you’re finally in contact lenses, why is it that your vision doesn’t seem as clear? Or why do your eyes feel dry towards the end of the day? Or why does your vision fluctuate when you’re reading or using a computer for hours at a time?
This guy is having a rough day of contact lens wear.
The primary issue that affects the quality of vision and comfort-related complications is how well a person takes care of their contact lenses. When people start having visual complaints or problems with redness, dryness and intolerance issues, usually it is because the lenses are taken care of poorly.

Overwearing lenses is a major problem that can lead to many complications. If you are wearing the contact lenses every waking moment, or even sleeping in them, you are cutting off the supply of oxygen to the cornea, the part of the eye on which the contact lens sits. Decreasing the oxygen supply to the cornea principally causes inflammation and dryness, but can also lead to the formation of corneal ulcers and bacterial infections that could potentially be sight threatening. Wearing lenses past the recommended replacement schedule should also be avoided. Most issues arise out of patients extending the life of their lenses, such as wearing two-week disposable lenses for a month, or a monthly disposable lens for a couple of months. I’ve actually seen patients wear a daily 1-day disposable lens for weeks. That’s a big no-no! Every contact lens was manufactured for use in a specific way, and altering its intended use will cause issues with dryness, poor vision and the lenses not fitting properly.
Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis = Bumps underneath the upper eyelid,
an allergy reaction to contact lens wear
Poor cleaning habits also lead to contact lens problems. The contact lens case that you have should be replaced frequently. Whenever you purchase contact lens solution, it always comes with a new case, so use it. Old contact lens cases harbor nasty bacteria, so replacing your contact lens case regularly reduces your exposure to bacterial eye infections. Also, it is important to throw out the used solution in your contact lens case every morning and let the case air dry. Re-using solution for days at a time allows bacteria to proliferate in the dark, warm and moist environment, essentially turning your case and your contact lenses into a Petri dish.
The small white dots are corneal infiltrates, signs of
corneal inflammation secondary to contact lens overwear.
However, a lot of people are very responsible and do take care of their contact lenses very well. Using artificial tear lubricating drops may help them, but they may still have issues. There are literally hundreds of different brands of contact lenses out on the market, and obviously, they are not all manufactured in the same way. If you weren’t fitted recently with contact lenses by your eye doctor, chances are you aren’t wearing the latest and greatest contact lens technology. These new contact lens materials allow more oxygen to cross the contact lens to your cornea, greatly reducing the risk of dryness and comfort problems.

Patients may also have an underlying dry eye condition, or ocular allergies, which makes wearing contact lenses difficult. There are contact lens cleaning solutions that are available that are preservative-free. Many times, people develop a hypersensitivity to the preservatives found in many multi-purpose cleaning solutions, and just switching to a different solution takes care of their sensitive eyes problem.

So, if you are having any contact lens related problems, it is recommended that you seek the advice from an eye care professional, certainly someone who specializes in contact lenses. Your eye doctor can examine your eyes and contact lenses and make the proper recommendations to improve your situation with contact lenses.

Dr. Weaver

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Buying eyeglasses should not be confusing...but it is!

Hello everyone,

When getting new eyeglasses, it can be daunting when trying to decide what kind of special tints and coatings you need on your eyeglass lenses. Also, picking out the frames can be an ordeal itself. (Do they look good? Do they fit good? Do you like them? Do I like them? What is the warranty? etc.)

So, I figured it would be a good idea to write an article so that anyone getting new eyeglasses can make an informed decision, which should make the whole process of buying new eyeglasses a little less stressful.

Single Vision Lenses and Bifocal Lenses:
The choice is a little easier if you need single vision lenses. Single vision lenses contain just one prescription in the lens, for near or for far. Typically, those patients under 40-years-old who have good focusing ability just need single vision lenses. However, for those with focusing problems, bifocal lenses are typically required.

If you are at the (dreaded) bifocal stage, the first choice is to decide between a bifocal and a trifocal option. A bifocal lens allows you to see at two separate points, far distance (driving, watching TV) and near (usually between 12 to 16 inches). A trifocal has a third section in the middle portion of the lens that allows a clearer view of an intermediate distance (between 2 to 3 feet) that is typically “washed-out” or blurred when trying to look through bifocals. The typical bifocal and trifocal are called “lined” bifocals or trifocals, because there is an actual line that is visible on the lens that separates the distance and near portions of the lens.

Lined Bifocals/Trifocals vs. No-line Progressive Lenses:
The next decision involves either choosing the “lined” bifocal/trifocal or going with a “no-line” progressive lenses. There are benefits to both types of lenses. With a line bifocal/trifocal, it is usually easier to switch between the reading and distance portion of the lens. The “lined” bifocals/trifocals are also usually less-expensive compared to the specialty design of progressive lenses and have a quicker adaptation period.

Progressive lenses are cosmetically appealing, because there are no lines visible on the lens. These types of lenses also provide the most complete range of vision, allowing you to see from far distance all of the way to your reading vision, depending on where you look through the lens. People typically had trouble adapting to the older styles of progressive lenses. However, progressive lens designs have gotten better over the last few years, causing less distortion and better adaptation.

After choosing the single vision lenses or bifocal type, there are different types of lens materials, coatings and tinting options. What you decide on depends on your lifestyle and the type of work and hobbies that you perform.

Plastic, Polycarbonate, Glasses and Hi-Index (ultra-thin) Lenses:
Most lens materials are made out of plastic, which is very safe, but not shatter-resistant. If you do a lot of work that requires a great deal of eye safety, polycarbonate is the most shatter-resistant material available. Children and those who are monocular should be in this material because it is the safest lens option.

Glass lenses are still available. It is usually more expensive than plastic and polycarbonate. However, plastic and polycarbonate are prescribed more because the optics are still excellent, and they are more light-weight and have a better safety profile.

A high index plastic lens is lightweight and thinner than all other lens materials. Individuals with a very high prescription always had to deal with thick lens edges in glasses that would weigh heavily on the bridge of the nose. The high index can be used for any prescription, but it is especially recommended for those individuals with high prescriptions to allow the glasses to be lighter and more cosmetically appealing.

Scratch Resistant Coatings:
If you use your glasses extensively, or tend to throw them around a bit, you may want to consider a scratch-resistant coating. This can be placed on any type of lens material, but is always recommended for polycarbonate, since it tends to scratch more easily than other materials. The coating adds a layer of warranty on your eyeglasses lenses. If you're hard on your eyeglasses, they will still probably scratch with or without the scratch resistant coating. However, the warranty usually allows the lenses to be remade (at little or no cost) if they get scratched from normal use. If you run over your glasses with your car and the asphalt demolishes your lenses, the warranty of "normal use" would not apply.

Anti-reflective (anti-glare) Coating:
I always recommend an anti-reflective coating, which is also called an anti-glare coating. This coating reduces reflections on the eyeglass lenses, and helps in a variety of ways. Primarily, the anti-reflective coating allows more natural light to enter your eyes, which in turn provides clearer vision. It reduces night-time glare from headlights or streetlamps, reduces eye fatigue from moderate reading or computer use, and can reduce light sensitivity during the day and at night. Some people refuse getting this because the coating “flaked-off” or “pealed-off” on a previous pair of eyeglasses. The new quality coatings do not tend to "flake" or "peal." However, let me point out that there are many different manufacturers of coatings, and therefore, different qualities of coatings. My practice typically uses the high end quality lenses and lens materials, versus optical labs with high volume or online resellers.

UV Coating:
If you are outdoors a lot, you may want an ultraviolet coating, or UV coating. The UV coating is a clear coating on the lens that protects your eyes while you are outside from harmful UV rays. UV can cause cancer of the skin around the eye and of the eye itself, as well as possibly promote the development of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Tints and Transition Lenses:
Tinting is also a great feature if you spend a lot of time outdoors or are a person who is light sensitive. There are solid tints that are same color throughout the whole lens and graded tints that are darker at the top and lighter at the bottom of the lens. There are also many different color options when prescribing a tint. Certain colors are preferable to specific activities, such as fishing, hunting and playing golf to enhance contrast and reduce glare. There are also lenses that darken when activated by sunlight. These types of lenses are called Transitions, or photograys. The older style of these lenses used to take a long while when changing from dark to light, but the newer technology allows this change to occur much faster. One thing to point out is that Transition lenses are activated by UV light. The car windshields and windows contain a UV blocking material, which is why Transition lenses don't get dark in the car unless you have a window rolled down or a moon-roof open. If you're looking for a darkened lens option for driving a car, polarized sunglasses would be the better option.

Polarized Lenses:

Polarized lenses reduce the amount of reflected glare off of surfaces, allowing for clearer vision and reduced light sensitivity. It is definitely recommended for boaters or fishermen to reduce the issues caused by the sun reflecting off of the water’s surface. However, polarized lenses also reduce glare for many other activities, such as driving, skiing, golfing, and running.

So, as you can see, the added features are very helpful in a variety of ways. Your eye doctor (hopefully, me!), along the help with the optical department, can assist you in selecting the special features that would aid you the most. As a new practice, I handle all of the measurements on the optical side of the practice as well, so you can be assured that I give you the proper recommendation and fitting when it comes to your new eyeglasses.
Take care,
Dr. Weaver

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June is Cataract Awareness Month

Hello everyone,

June is Cataract Awareness Month. There are many different types of cataracts, which can arise from many contributing factors: trauma, long term steroid use, high-risk medications and health conditions, such as diabetes. However, the most common cataracts are due to increasing age.

Cataracts are a very common eye condition that becomes even more likely to occur as an individual gets older. People are living longer lives these days, so cataracts are becoming more prevalent.

According to the World Health Organization, cataracts are responsible for 51% of world blindness, affecting about 20 million people. In 2008, the National Eye Institute and Prevent Blindness America said in the United States, nearly 22 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts. At age 80, more than half of those Americans have cataracts.

Don't let cataracts get this bad. This is a fairly dense cataract.

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. At birth, the lens is crystal clear. As one gets older, the lens becomes cloudier, and visual complaints of decreased vision and glare become more apparent.

Cataracts can be prevented to some degree. The Mayo Clinic suggests having regular eye exams, as directed by your eye doctor, which can help detect cataracts and other eye diseases at their earliest stages. Smoking has been linked to cataract progression. The cessation of smoking, as well as maintaining a healthy weight and eating a healthy diet, can help reduce the risk of cataract progression.

Probably the easiest thing a person can do to help prevent cataracts is to wear UV-blocking sunglasses. UV radiation has been linked to the development of certain types of cataracts, as well as macular degeneration. Wearing sunglasses should start at a young age, because approximately 50% of our lifetime UV exposure will occur before the age of 18.

The progression of a cataract is typically a slow, gradual change. Some patients are very susceptible to changes in their vision. However, many patients don’t realize there is a vision problem until they are evaluated at an eye exam. Most likely, this is because a patient is always using both eyes together, and typically do not notice vision changes if only one eye is getting worse. When the quality of life is affected by poor vision, and that vision cannot be improved by updating the patient’s eyeglasses prescription, then cataract surgery is warranted.

 No cataract on the left. Cataract on the right scattering light,
causing glare, light sensitivity and blurred vision.

I have seen patients wait a bit too long for fear of cataract surgery. Their vision progressively gets worse despite recommendations to have the surgery performed. There are risks to any surgery, but the risks of major complications of cataract surgery in the hands of a skilled surgeon are very low.

Some of those risks include increased pressure in the eyes, inflammation, and infection. However, any patient undergoing cataract surgery is monitored closely in the post-operative period by the surgeon or co-managing optometrist, and given anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial eye-drops to facilitate the healing process.

Usually when a patient has surgery in one eye, their first question is, "How soon can I get the other eye done?" When the surgeon removes the cloudy cataract and replaces it with a clear intra-ocular lens, the reported brightness of colors and image quality by the patient is astounding.

In individuals over the age of 60, the American Optometric Association recommends an annual eye exam, including dilation of the eyes, to evaluate the vision and to check for cataracts and other ocular conditions. Since cataracts can occur at any age, it's important to get regular eye exams for all individuals young and old, even if one's vision seems adequate.

Dr. Weaver

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Glasses that help you lose weight?

Hello everyone,

I must admit that I constantly check the Internet for all of my news gathering. I can't remember the last time I've watched a televised news program. As for newspapers, I read the Sunday edition of the Reading Eagle...and when I mean "read," I mean skim over the titles and reading only one or two articles that interest me. The Internet provides me with news instantly, rather than learning about it on TV or print many hours later.

Well, I read an article on Yahoo about something called Diet Glasses. From The Herald Sun, "Tokyo University professor Michitaka Hirose (R) and his team developed a camera-equipped special goggle, which makes cookies bigger to help users' diet at his laboratory in Tokyo on June 2, 2012. Hirose conducted an experiment, asking examinees to eat as many cookies as they want with and without the glasses. The results showed they ate 9.3 percent less on average with the goggle showing cookies 1.5 times bigger than they actually are and ate 15 percent more with cookies looking two-thirds of their real size."

This Oreo looks humongous! Chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp...can I have another, please?

I had just written a blog post about the Project Glass by Google with augmented reality glasses to add information to one's perception. However, these glasses designed by Hirose augments reality by "fooling" one's perception. The computer attached to the special goggles keeps the individual's hand size the same, while increasing or decreasing the size of the object they are picking up.

Hirose is interested in the study of virtual reality, where reality is perceived by the mind. His science team created a device that fooled the brain by changing the image one would normally see. The device is not for commercial use, but they are considering using such a device to help individuals lose weight my changing their perception: making the food look bigger so that the individual would eat less without the use of diet-modulating drugs.
Red pill, blue mean I'm a human battery?

It's like an optical illusion. For example, when a full moon is very low on the horizon, it also looks humongous! But try taking a picture of the moon when it's at that low position on the horizon. The moon isn't actually bigger, it's the same size as when it's high in the sky...the photograph will reveal this. Check out Wikipedia for more information on the Moon Illusion.

So, what's next for augmented reality glasses? Project Glass, Hirose's Oreos, and then what? I hope the major food manufacturers don't try to get all of us to wear the Hirose goggles so that they can make their food in smaller portion sizes. I'm already getting only 10 chips in a large bag of Lay's in the first place.

And Nabisco, don't even think about making the Oreo's smaller...bigger would be okay, though. Maybe moon-sized?

Take care,
Dr. Weaver

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Oogle with Google


There seems to be some technology that may just be hype for now...but here it is. Google has something called Project Glass. They're building a prototype for an augmented reality head-mounted display, which means they're trying to develop glasses that allow you to take photos, identify objects in reality, head's-up display for your calendar, tweets, Facebook status, read text messages and emails...all by looking and using your voice.

If they can make these in prescription-ready glasses in a variety of styles, I think that the curiosity of tech-lovers will cause Project Glass to become a very popular item (just think of the Apple junkies waiting in line at the Apple store for the latest iPads and iPhones). I've already informed the Project Glass team on Google+ that I'd like to be a beta tester (as well as millions of other folks). We'll see if that really happens.

As far as optics, I'm not sure how the technology it projects all of the displays, photos and videos for the wearer to see them. But some information is coming out...

According to well-informed Google blogger Seth Weintraub, Google's Project Glass glasses will probably use a transparent LCD or AMOLED display to put information in front of your eyeballs. It's location-aware thanks to a camera and GPS, and you can scroll and click on information by tilting your head, something that is apparently quite easy to master. Google Glasses will also use voice input and output.

Project Glass makes this guy happy!

The New York Times says that the glasses will run Android, will include a small screen in front of your eye and will have motion sensors, GPS and either 3G or 4G data connections. Seth Weintraub also stated that the device is designed to be a stand-alone device rather than an Android phone peripheral. Project Glass can connect to a smartphone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth 4.0 and communicates directly with the Cloud. There is also a front-facing camera and a flash, but the most recent prototype's screen isn't transparent.

The concept has me excited personally, just to see how it works and its capabilities. But the question is, do I really need something like this? The answer is probably no, because I like my current pair of eyeglasses and my Motorola Photon just fine. Do I really want people's tweets and text messages popping up in my vision every five seconds? It seems that it could be distracting from the actual reality. I'd rather have my phone in my pocket and I'll check out my messages when I'm ready.

Feel free to comment if you have any thoughts!

Dr. Weaver

Monday, May 7, 2012

Allergies are at it again!

Hello everyone,

Well, the grass in my yard finally grew enough to get cut lately. It's early May, and I've only have to cut it 2 times so far! It's been a pretty dry Spring, but the recent rains in early May is making that grass grow like crazy (especially after I did the annual Scott's treatment). Those two cuts were within the past week! But with the growing grass, comes the allergens: grass pollen, tree pollen, flowers blooming. There's a lot of stuff in the air right now.

Regarding the eyes, the main symptoms of ocular allergies are itching, watering and redness. Itching is the biggie! If your eyes are itchy, most likely it is allergies, but other conditions can cause itchy, watery, red eyes: contact lens overwear, blepharoconjunctivitis, viral conjunctivitis, etc.

Oral allergy medications do work well to stifle the sniffles. It works good for anything inside the head: stuffy/runny nose, sneezing, congestion. However, the issue with allergy medications is that they tend to dry out the eyes, which can make your eye allergy symptoms worse. It's best to have something to use directly on the eye if your eyes are suffering from allergies.

The main tip is to NOT rub your eyes. This tends to release more histamine, which causes more itching and's a never-ending cycle. The best supportive therapy is cold compresses 5 minutes at a time on your closed eyelids as much as possible, but I usually recommend 2-4 times/day. Also, artificial teardrops will wash out any allergens from the eyes, which can cause the release of histamine and the itching, redness, watering symptoms. So use artificial tears as needed to help you out.

However, if that isn't enough, there are many over-the-counter allergy drops that work well. The main thing that you want is an anti-histamine and a mast cell stabilizer in an eyedrop. Alaway and Zaditor are two over-the-counter allergy eyedrops that work well, and both are to be used 2 times/day. If that still isn't doing it for you, you may require prescription treatment and a trip to your eye doctor is in order.

Also, remember...other problems can cause itchy, watering, red eyes. So if your symptoms are not getting better with the supportive therapy, make sure to see your eye doctor so that he/she can diagnose your issue and get you on the right track.

Take care,
Dr. Weaver

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Subconjunctival Hemorrhage...and Lion's Club golf tournament


If you've been following the Facebook feed, you are probably aware of the new addition to the Weaver family...Chloe Elise Weaver was born on April 6th, 2012 at 12:20pm, 20" long, 8 pounds, 3 ounces.

Here is a recent picture of her:

Other than her being a cutie and the ladybug on her head, if you look closely at her left eye toward her left ear, there is a thin band of redness on the white part of her eye. This is the subconjunctival hemorrhage. It's typically a very benign spot of blood found on the white part of the eye, the result of a broken blood vessel. The broken blood vessel can occur spontaneously, but it can occur from trauma, such as traveling through the birth canal. A subconjunctival heme also occurs with coughing, sneezing, vomiting...any body function that causes that tight squeezing sensation in the chest, the force just causes the very small and fragile blood vessels of the eye to burst.

The subconj heme will behave like a bruise. It takes about 1-2 weeks for the blood to dissipate, and may look yellowish as it heals up. Sometimes, it may take longer to look normal depending on the amount of blood that was there in the first place.

As you can see, not all red eyes are the same. There is no pain with the subconj heme, and even though it will go away on its own over time, the eyes affected should still be evaluated to check the intraocular pressure, making sure the burst blood vessels are not associated with any type of glaucoma.

Patients on blood-thinning medications such as Aspirin or Coumadin are more prone to bruising and bleeds, as well as subconjunctival hemes. So repeat bleeds are common. However, if a patient gets repeat subconj hemes and they are not on blood-thinning medications, their blood clotting factor's should be checked to make sure there is no clotting deficiency.

Finally, the 8th Annual Rehrersburg Lion's Club Golf Tournament will be held Saturday May 5th, 2012 at Green Acres Golf Course in Bernville. It's $65/person, which includes greens fee, cart, snacks, beverages and prizes. I played in it last year and sponsored a hole, and it was lots of fun. Get in touch with me if you are interested in playing, or call the Green Acres Golf Course for more information. This is a great tournament and a fun time!

Take care,
Dr. Weaver

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Weaver Eye Care Associates Latest News

Hello everyone,

Again, the past couple of months flew by and I'm realizing that I've gone over a whole month without posting anything new. Well, I've decided to extend the Buy One Complete Pair of Glasses (frames and lenses), Get the Second Pair at 50% Off deal for another couple of months. A recent postcard mailing went out, and the extended offer is good until the end of April. I figured a few people were still hibernating over the Winter months, so that if they didn't get the chance to get out to update their eyeglasses, I'd extend the offer a little while longer.

We've also been advertising in the Hamburg Area Item the past couple of weeks. Look for our nice 1/4 page color advertisement in there promoting the Buy One, Get One 1/2 Off deal as well.

The practice is growing at a great rate, so thank you to all of you spreading the good word about Weaver Eye Care Associates. We still need your help promoting the practice, so if you or someone you know is in need of an eye exam, make sure to give our office a call.

Since the practice is growing, we needed to hire someone to help handle the busy-ness. The practice would like to welcome Karen to the Weaver Eye Care Associates team as our new part-time receptionist. Karen joins veteran part-time receptionist Kim, and you'll be hearing either one of their lovely voices when you give our office a call.

I just can't believe how fast the first year of business went, and here we are already in Year Two. It will be almost 2 years since I left Berks Eye Physicians, and I haven't looked back. Reconnecting with previous patients makes me happy, and I really appreciate the effort those many, many, MANY patients made to find me and my practice, who trust me with their eyes and use my optometry services. As a solo practice, I get the opportunity to spend a bit more time with patients, and I enjoy taking a little extra time to chit-chat and talk about things other than just eyes. I enjoy this with both previous patients AND new patients whom I've never seen before.

I'll be sure to post some helpful eye care-related topic very soon, I promise...

Dr. Weaver

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Hello everyone,

Make sure to pick up your copy of the Hamburg Area Item today. On page A8, there is a wonderfully written article about Glaucoma Awareness Month, which is this month. There is also a photo of your local Bernville Eye Doctor taking a digital photograph of a patient's optic nerve. The practice is offering FREE vision screenings for glaucoma until the end of the month. Each screening will take only 10-15 minutes, but an appointment is necessary to ensure you get the individualized attention that you need. The screening is not a substitute for an eye exam, but will allow me to gauge a few risk factors for developing the disease. Remember though, it's not a complete eye examination, just a screening.

Well, if you are unable to find it online or pick up a hard copy, I copied the article below. Enjoy!


BERNVILLE, PA – Eat fewer sweets. Watch less television. Quit smoking—the New Year’s resolutions people choose often require subtracting something from their routine.

“We encourage you to add something to your list of resolutions in 2011: schedule an eye exam for yourself and your family,” said Dr. Brendon J. Weaver of Weaver Eye Care Associates in Bernville. “Regular, comprehensive eye exams ensure that patients can see clearly and comfortably, but the exam is also a tool in assuring that no adverse medical conditions are present, such as glaucoma.”

January is a month of resolution-making, but it is also National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is an eye disease labeled as the “sneak thief of sight,” because as much as 40% of vision can be lost before glaucoma symptoms occur.

According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, over 4 million Americans and over 700 million people worldwide have glaucoma. Half of those people are not even aware they have the disease.

Dr. Weaver emphasized the importance of routine care in the case of glaucoma. “Early on in the disease, there are no symptoms or pain present, which is why it is extremely important to have regular eye exams. With glaucoma, vision loss is gradual. By the time a patient may recognize something is wrong, the vision loss cannot be restored. Recognizing the disease and starting early treatment may slow down or halt any future vision loss caused by glaucoma.”

In accordance with National Glaucoma Awareness Month, Dr. Weaver is offering glaucoma screenings at his office in Bernville. These screenings are free and are available to anyone by calling the office phone number to make an appointment.

“Increasing age and a family history of glaucoma are risk factors for developing the disease,” said Dr. Weaver. “The screening will allow me to take a few measurements to calculate a patient's risk level and determine if they would require further testing and evaluation. I hope that many people, in Bernville and the surrounding areas, take advantage of this excellent opportunity to get checked for glaucoma...especially those who may have never had an eye exam.”

Dr. Weaver is a graduate of Elizabethtown College in 1999 and the New England College of Optometry in 2003. He has been providing eye care services to residents of Berks County since 2004. His new practice, Weaver Eye Care Associates, is located at 7185 Bernville Rd. (Rt. 183) in Bernville, across the street from Boyer's Food Market.

To schedule your free glaucoma screening, please call Weaver Eye Care Associates at (610) 488-5315. For more information about Dr. Weaver and the practice, visit

Keep your eyes healthy!

Dr. Weaver

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Big Deal is Back!!!

Don't pass up on this deal and make Ron mad...he's already glaring at you...

Here's the deal on the Big Deal:

More information on the deal, Dr. Weaver and Weaver Eye Care Associates by clicking on the link above...or call the office for more information.

Monday, January 9, 2012

WECA is One Year Old, Daily Aspirin Use & Macular Degeneration


Things have been busy at Weaver Eye Care Associates, as of late, which is a good sign. The practice achieved it's One Year Anniversary on January 3rd. So thank you to all of you for your help, support and patronage. The practice is growing...this January is much busier than the first time around, for sure. The word is getting out, so please keep it up...spreading the word about the practice.

Since things have been busy, I haven't had a chance to write an article in a while, so I've been feeling bad about that. I know that many of you look to my blog posts, as well as my Facebook and Twitter updates, to get the latest Weaver Eye Care Associates, optometry and eye care-related news.

So...I came across an article regarding aspirin use and the increased risk of macular degeneration...

A recent article at reported that "Daily aspirin use among seniors may double their risk of developing" the "wet" form of "age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a significant cause of blindness in seniors."

HealthDay reported the summary of a study published in the January issue of the journal Ophthalmology, which said that, "daily aspirin use was associated with the onset of late-stage wet AMD, and to a lesser degree, the onset of early 'dry' AMD -- even after the researchers took into account age and a history of heart disease, which in itself is a risk factor for AMD." Specifically, late-stage 'wet' AMD was more than 2x more likely among daily aspirin users in a study population of 4,691 European seniors.

If you remember from my previous blog post about Macular Degeneration, you already know that the main risk factors of AMD are: 1) increasing age, 2) having light-hair/light-skin and 3) smoking. Also, AMD is still a leading cause of vision loss and affects over 1.75 million Americans

Also, to review, there are two forms of macular degeneration: dry and wet. Dry is the early form, and wet is the advanced/severe form. Dry AMD may never lead to wet AMD. Those with early, dry AMD may be lucky to not have significant vision loss, but blindness can occur in both forms, not just the wet AMD. However, both forms are bad and can cause decreased vision and blindness.

Got all of that?

Anyway, the recommendation from the article suggests doctors to "advise persons who [already] have early or late AMD not to take aspirin as a painkiller," and to "advise people with AMD who take small amounts of aspirin for primary prevention -- this means having no past history of cardiac or vascular problems like stroke, and no elevated risk factors for these diseases -- to discuss with their doctor if it is wise to continue doing so. For secondary prevention -- this means after having these elevated risks or disorders -- the benefits of daily aspirin outweigh the risks."

Older adults take aspirin to "thin the blood" in order to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, but here it seems that aspirin is contra-indicated for those with age-related macular degeneration. However, what is peculiar is that a 2004 study in the American Journal of Ophthalmology suggested that the use of statin drugs and aspirin (therapy to reduce risk heart attack and stroke, remember) in patients with AMD actually showed a decrease in likelihood of choroidal neovascular membrane (CNVM) formation. CNVM is commonly associated with wet AMD.

The 2004 study included only 326 patients, while the most recent study included 4691 participants.

To me, the most recent study seems to make sense. Those on blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin or Coumadin, are more prone to bruising as well as decreased wound healing. The CNVM is a collection of leaky blood vessels in association with the wet form of AMD. So if aspirin "thins the blood," it may have a more advantageous way to escape those leaky blood vessels in CNVM.

I feel the take home message is this: if you have AMD and are taking aspirin just for pain relief, and NOT to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, consider using another analgesic (Motrin, Tylenol, Aleve). If you have AMD and are taking aspirin due to a risk of heart attack and stroke, talk to your family doctor regarding the continued use of aspirin.

Obviously, more studies are needed regarding the relationship of aspirin and macular degeneration.

I hope this gives some guidance for yourself, or others that you may know that suffer from macular degeneration.

Dr. Weaver