LaFollette Eye Clinic Named One of the Finest Optical Retailers in America

A Celebration of Vision Wins Big

In a crowded world, it’s nice to be noticed.  So I was excited when INVISION Magazine named LaFollette Eye Clinic and The Eyewear Gallery to their list of the Finest Optical Retailers in America.  The design theme for our new location is “A Celebration of Vision,” and now we’re celebrating a little recognition.

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“Gave Disney a Run for Their Money”

The contest judges showed their appreciation for the clinic’s design with a perfect score for the interior spaces.  One judge, Robert Bell, summed up his feelings saying, “I think they just gave Disney a run for their money as the ‘happiest place on earth.'”

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Lights, Color, Art

In the article featuring LaFollette Eye Clinic and The Eyewear Gallery, a few things stood out to the judges.  One, the large windows offer a cool view into the building from the road.  Two, the clever use of colors that pop everywhere you look.  And three, the interior design of the clinic allows for art displays.  LaFollette Eye Clinic is currently hosting the 20th anniversary Eyes on LaFollette photojournalism exhibition, which was previously shown at the State Museum in Nashville.

Luxury branding expert and judge Andrea Hill said, “The message ‘We have great doctors, we’re a modern facility in every way, and we have something — including something fashionable — for everyone’ comes across loud and clear.”

If you’d like to see INVISION Magazine’s full coverage of LaFollette Eye Clinic and The Eyewear Gallery, click here.  Also, you can see a list of all winners here.

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What’s Next?

While it’s nice to be recognized, we don’t intend to sit back and relax.  Our Leadership Team is working every day to innovate ways to elevate the patient experience.  This includes not only new lens technologies and frame lines, but also new medical techniques and diagnostic technology.  We love beauty and we love art, but our primary goal is to help our patients preserve their eyes so they can enjoy clear, comfortable vision for a lifetime.

Part of that goal is my continued writing about living the visual lifestyle.  You really can enjoy life without distractions caused by eyes that don’t function well.  For example, stay tuned for a future post, where I distill big successes down to individual actions, and how this applies to you when you want to elevate your own visual lifestyle.

Question: Do you have a favorite retailer?  What impresses you about them?  Feel free to share your thoughts and comment here or on our other social media channels.

5 Reasons Why You Should Give Your Eyes a Break

I’ll Be Taking a Break, and You Should Too

What element of training do most beginner athletes miss?  It’s rest.  It doesn’t come naturally to any of us.  Some runners have a harder time learning to rest than they do training to run.  But think about it: could you train for a marathon without resting?  Of course not.  Even after your lightest workout you would still need rest.  Professional athletes reduce their training schedule several days before a race.  And no one turns around at the finish line to run it again!  But sadly, this is what many busy professionals ask their eyes to do every day.

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Summer Skies Relax Your Eyes

Here’s an interesting occurrence in the eye care industry: during the summer, eye doctors have few children with cases of eyestrain.  Why is that?  Because kids don’t focus their eyes as much during the summer break as they do when they’re in school.

It’s like clockwork: eyestrain complaints rise near the end of school when exams and standardized testing occur, and again when school starts in the fall.  But it’s so common for kids’ eyes to recover in the summertime that I tell parents glasses for eyestrain may sit on the shelf all summer long.  And that’s ok.

Eye Strain Is Really Muscle Strain

What many of my young patients (and their parents) don’t realize is our focusing systems work using muscles like those in our arms and legs.  Most people would not expect their legs to work for two whole marathons in a row.  And we can’t expect our eyes to continue the hard work of staring at a screen, small print, or other visually demanding items without resting.  This is especially true if we perform the same visual tasks every day, week, and month.  Otherwise these common vision problems can start or get worse:

  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Reduced focus
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry eyes
Why Take a Break?

There are several good reasons to give your eyes a break:

  1. Giving your eyes a break helps avoid eyestrain: I tell patients their eyes need 20 seconds of rest for every 20 minutes at a computer or other near task. But this is a minimum.  If you’re able to get away on vacation, you’ll find your eyestrain bothers you less.  Just make sure you unplug, relax, and truly take a break from your work.
  2. Taking a break from focusing actually helps you build focus: Productivity experts have been saying this for decades. Whether you’re writing the Great American Novel, painting the next masterpiece, or simply plugging away at that pesky project, nothing renews your focus like stepping away and focusing on something else.  This is true for your eyes too.  Your focusing reserves will be renewed when you’re not punishing your eyes daily.
  3. Focusing on other things actually makes you smarter: It’s true. It’s been proven that a stroll through the woods or visiting an art gallery increases your intelligence.  This is because as you view organic forms such as tree branches, leaves, or the strokes of a paintbrush, your mind’s perception and processing of those forms keeps it alert, active, and flexible.  Maybe this is why I sense the world changes for the better every time I walk into the woods.
  4. Taking a break allows you to spend more time with people you love: As a component of living the visual lifestyle, I have written before about making a list of those people counting on you; the people who need the best you.  In addition to renewing your physical focus, a break that allows us to reconnect with our loved ones gives us renewed reasons and motivations to stay on target.
  5. Finally, taking a break makes you more productive: I also wrote about how living the visual lifestyle makes you more productive. Part of being productive is removing distractions, and there are few times we’re more distracted than when our eyes aren’t working or feeling right.  Efficient focusing and clear, comfortable vision allows more quality, distraction-free work.

Although giving your eyes a break is only a small part of living the visual lifestyle, it’s important.  Consider planning a short break today, and a longer break in the days or weeks to come.

If you’re a regular reader, thank you.  I hope your journey to living a full visual lifestyle is well underway and you’re as excited about the possibilities as I am.

I will be taking my own break this coming week.  As a professional, I want to follow my own advice as closely as I can.  It’s unfair for me to ask you to do anything I can’t do or don’t believe in.  So, although I usually post twice a week, I will not be posting at all next week.

I will return to writing the week after next.  Because I firmly believe in the five reasons above, I expect to return with a renewed focus, meaning both my eyes and my mental game.  I look forward to reconnecting.

Question: You’re reading this on a screen.  How many minutes has it been since you gave your eyes a small break?  How long has it been since you gave yourself an extended break?  Feel free to comment here or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

My Eye Care Arsenal: 8 Great Products for Your Eyes Now

An Insider’s Guide to What Works

When I meet a professional in any industry, I like to know what they use to make their lives better, easier, healthier, or more efficient.  The answers are different and interesting, and I can always put one or two of them to good use myself.  And, when they list their favorite items in one post that’s a bonus.

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Who Really Wants It, Anyway?

I have written several posts highlighting patients who come to me for help yet refuse to follow easy, inexpensive guidelines for healthy eyes and clear vision.  But a lot of my patients will not only ask for my recommendations, but also ask if they can get them in my office.  In other words, if I say it works, they want it now.

This is true for two types of people.  First, those without eye problems but want to keep them clear, comfortable, and healthy for an excellent visual lifestyle.  Second, those who have begun to experience difficulties with their eyes and vision and want their eye problems solved so they can get on with their lives.  Vision problems can be very distracting, and these people are motivated to take action.

My Favorite Products for Clear, Comfortable, Healthy Vision

Although my eye care arsenal might vary at times, these products are the mainstays I have used for years.  They are my favorites for two reasons: one, I use them myself with success.  And two, they are the ones my patients say work the best.  If there are any changes, rest assured: I’ll let you know in a future post.  For now, these are my favorite eye care products*:

  1. Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops: This is my go-to bottle for when my eyes need either moisture or a good rinse, and the one I recommend most to patients. It’s made by Alcon, one of the most trusted names in the eye care industry.  I have a bottle with me everywhere I go.
  2. Systane Balance Lubricant Eye Drops: Another winner, Systane Balance is designed for moderate to severe dry eyes. It replenishes the oily layer of the tear film, which means this drop is a bit thicker than Systane Ultra.  I use this one but not as much, although my patients with dry eyes really appreciate it.
  3. OcuSoft Lid Scrub Original Foaming Eyelid Cleanser: This eyelid cleansing foam is indispensable, and I use it every day. It’s simple, quick, and inexpensive.  See this post for why you need it, and this one for how to use it.  It’s also available in travel packs, which also work well.
  4. Maui Jim Keanae Sunglasses: Maui Jim is one of the most impressive companies I work with, and they make some incredible lenses. I like the Keanae because it’s light weight, and I choose the Neutral Grey lens for best color consistency.  They offer 100% UV protection and blue light protection.  It’s a smallish frame, so if you need something larger you may want a different style.  Other lenses include Maui Rose, HCR Bronze, or the green Maui HT; you can’t go wrong.  If you need a prescription like I do, see your trusted eye care professional.
  5. Oakley Gascan Sunglasses: Although other sunwear has come and gone, my faithful Oakley Gascans have lasted more than a decade. I keep going back to them because the style is timeless, the comfort is unmatched, and my vision is clear and comfortable.  Choose polarized lenses for best results.  Also available in prescription lenses if you need; see your eye doctor.
  6. HOYA Eyeglass Lenses: This is a broad category, because this company makes so many excellent lens designs good for a range of visual needs. See this link to learn about the company that claims to make the most advanced eyeglass lenses on earth.  I believe it.  I’m especially fond of their Sync lenses and their EX-3 and Recharge lens treatments (scroll down when you click those links to learn more).
  7. Pataday Prescription Eye Drops: When nature’s blooms have my eyes itching like crazy, this is the prescription eye drop I turn to most often. It reduces itching, redness, and watering, plus it’s only needed once daily.
  8. Alrex Prescription Eye Drops: When the pollen count is up I also like Alrex for its soothing relief of symptoms related to eye allergies.

So there you have it.  I use these products almost exclusively.  And as an optometrist, you can imagine I have the opportunity to try just about anything the market has to offer.  I keep coming back to these because I trust them and the companies that make them, and they work well consistently.  Stay tuned for future posts where I’ll highlight other products that have helped my patients over the years.

Question: What is your favorite eye care product?  Feel free to comment here or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

*I gain nothing financially if you use these products.  I use them and write about them because they work.