Feb 2015

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Your monthly guide to staff training outside the box

Eyes / Lenses / Fitting Lenses / Free-Form / Frames / Sunwear / Patient Solutions / In-office / Standards



By Mike DiSanto

In general, most people will tell you they wear sunglasses to look cool and block the brightness of the sun. To the average eyeglass consumer, those are two very valid reasons; however, as eyecare professionals, we know there is much more than cosmetics and comfort at stake when choosing sunwear. The truth is a lot of sunglasses do look cool and are reasonably good at blocking excess sunlight, but that alone does not elevate them to the level of performance sunwear. A professionally dispensed sunglass goes beyond that simple equation by providing enhanced visual performance for the wearer.

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Having the Conversation: Prescription Sunwear

By Yoongie Min, OD

In our office, we try to make it sound like prescription sunwear is not an "option" if someone wears a prescription, but more of a necessity. In the exam room, I routinely ask the patient: "What type of prescription sunglasses do you have and how old are they?" If they say they have none, that is my window to explain the health and vision benefits of prescription sunwear. If they say they do have sunwear, but it is more than a year or two old, that is my opportunity to prescribe a new pair.

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UV radiation cannot be seen or felt. While most people recognize the connection between sun exposure and skin cancer, less than 1 in 3 Americans realize the hazards of UV exposure to the eyes. Additionally, only 24 percent know that UV exposure can cause cataracts. Do these numbers seem too low? Unfortunately, they are correct, so commit to educating all customers about sunwear. As opticians, we tend to think about the prescription wearer only. That represents about 60 percent of Americans. However, because UV and HEV radiation affect everyone, the entire U.S. population should wear quality sunwear.

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Unfortunately, not enough kids get the sunglasses that they should. However, there's good news in that when sunglasses are considered, most ECPs sell photochromics to protect a child's eyes indoors and out. A Jobson survey found that of the kids who wear Rx sunglasses, 72 percent wore photochromic lenses.

Having photochromic lenses meets mom's concerns about sun, cost, as well as potential loss. Photochromic lenses are so convenient for kids when carrying another pair of Rx sunglasses is impractical because of age. And photochromics are available in super impact resistant polycarbonate or Trivex material.

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Consider Developing Niche in
Prescription Sport Sunwear

By Yoongie Min, OD

Prescription sport sunwear is a slowly growing niche. Many people are still unaware that we can do specialized lenses for golf, biking, running and other outdoor activities. The key is to have a vendor that provides this type of eyewear so you can demonstrate it in the office. We work with a company called Rudy Project that offers almost any type of sport eyewear imaginable. We are also listed as a retailer on their website, which helps bring consumers seeking sport sunwear into our office.

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The lens absorbs UV and depending on its yellowness, HEV radiation. The accumulated radiation effects are associated with cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. In a cataract (an opacity of the lens nucleus, cortex or capsule), lens cell proteins are changed by UV radiation. This results in a yellowing of the lens and a reduction of the light passed directly through the lens (opacification). Cortical cataracts, white triangular-shaped patches start at the lens edge. The most harmful to the lens is UVB. Over a lifetime, the condition gets worse requiring removal of the lens and an optical replacement by an intraocular lens (IOL), contact or spectacle lens or a combination of these. Outdoors, good quality, 100 percent UV-absorbing sunwear is essential throughout life.

QUICK FACT: Cataract affects more than 22 million people age 40 and older. By age 80, more than half have a significant cataract with an estimated treatment cost of $6.8 billion.

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One of the benefits of blue light is that it helps to regulate our sleeping pattern because its presence suppresses melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone that makes our bodies drowsy and ready for sleep. In the absence of blue light, specialized cells in our retina called intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) become switched on. When they are activated, they send a signal to the brain telling the pineal gland to start the process of melatonin production. When melatonin is produced in our bodies, it lets us know it's time for rest. If it is produced at a particular time on a regular basis, our sleep cycle and circadian rhythm become set to that time. We wouldn't want all blue light to be blocked completely because then we would not receive any stimulation from blue light, like that of the bright blue sky, telling our bodies when it is daytime and when it is nighttime. Understand the effects of the sunwear used for all patients.

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By Barry Santini, ABOM

Because most golf course real estate is grass, you might think that a sunglass that emphasizes green above all other colors should prove superior for golf. But shifting our tristimulus curve with too much green may actually impede discriminating ground contours. Therefore, golf-specific tints are simultaneously designed to: filter short visible blue light, which reduces haze; allow some long-wavelength blue light, which improves ball color (blue white) visibility. They typically allow just enough green to enhance visibility of ground contours. Transmission curves can be seen to suppress peak yellow wavelengths to reduce dazzle and contributes to eye fatigue. Lastly, these lenses allow more red wavelengths, which help the eye to distinguish the tones of green and grassy contours.

Indeed, a lens featuring a very saturated green color might highlight grass as a whole, but the cues a golfer seeks are actually much more subtle. When a golfer "reads" a green, they're trying to subconsciously process all the factors that will combine to influence both ball speed and trajectory during a put: A green lens might highlight grass as a whole, but hide the cues a golfer seeks since they are actually much more subtle. When a golfer "reads" a green, they're trying to subconsciously process all the factors that will combine to influence both ball speed and trajectory during a put, i.e., slope, grass length, moisture level (in and on the grass), base (firmness of green), wind and grain, blades facing the same direction. (Source: The PGA Professional)

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