One Thing You Can’t Do When Your Vision Changes

Don't Put Off Eye Care

Many of us put off what we know we need to do.  But I met a man this week who wished he didn’t procrastinate.

If you notice blurry vision, don’t put off your next eye exam

A Ten Year Decline

I met a patient who told me the vision in his right eye has been failing – for ten years.

It had been decades since his last eye exam.  Worse, at his last exam he was told he had macular degeneration.  Add to that diabetes, high blood pressure, and a blood clotting disorder.  All of these can affect the eyes.

Once the exam was finished, I told him the bad news.  The eye disease had destroyed the vision in his right eye.  There was nothing I could do to bring it back.  His left eye had macular degeneration too, and his vision was already affected.

When I asked him why he waited, he said “Well, I knew the right eye was getting worse.  I could tell it for the past ten years.  Five years ago, I got really concerned.  When it finally went blind, I figured it was time to do something about it.”

What Now?

I encouraged good blood pressure and blood sugar control.  I urged him to see his other doctors as scheduled.  I explained the benefits of a healthy diet, vitamin supplements, protection from UV light, and regular testing at LaFollette Eye Clinic.  And of course, I told him to stop smoking!

This poor man was living the visual lifestyle with a disadvantage.  There wasn’t much I could do for his right eye.  Our diagnostic and treatment plan would focus on preventing further vision loss in the right eye, and trying to preserve his vision in the left eye.

Make no mistake.  Some vision changes are permanent, especially if they are caused by eye diseases such as glaucoma or macular degeneration.

If you see vision changes, don’t wait.  Schedule a complete eye exam with dilation.  See your trusted eye doctor as soon as possible.  Here’s why:

  • Better safe than sorry: What if your exam just shows a little change in your prescription?  In my book, that’s great news.  At the very least you can update your glasses or contact lenses and enjoy clear vision.  When this happens, I always tell patients they did the right thing by calling me.
  • Catch problems early: Most eye diseases are easier to treat and have better visual outcomes when they are discovered early.  It was too late to do anything about my patient’s right eye.  If he had gotten eye care years ago, it’s possible he might see better today.
  • Peace of mind: The man and his wife were pretty upset.  They had worried about his right eye for the past ten years.  And now, they’re worried about his left eye too.  If your vision changes, get care as soon as you can.  Even if it’s a false alarm, the peace of mind could be priceless.
  • A lifetime of clear vision and comfortable eyes: The eyes are incredible wonders, and so much can go wrong.  Vision changes may be harmless, or they may mean serious problems.  Either way get them checked and do the best you can to enjoy a good visual lifestyle for years to come.

Here’s one more tip: you don’t need to wait until your vision changes to get an eye exam.  In fact, it’s best to have one yearly.  That’s because many eye problems start without warning – you can’t feel them or see them coming.

If it’s been over a year since your last eye exam or your vision has changed, schedule a complete eye exam with an eye doctor you trust.  Do it as soon as possible!

Question: Have you ever put something off and then realized it was a bad idea?  Please tell me about it in the comments below.


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4 Dirty Little Secrets Online Retailers Don’t Want You to Know

They're Opening Real Stores at Record Pace

Glasses websites often suggest buying your eyewear online is the way to go.  But many of these same companies are opening physical store locations so people can shop in person.  What’s going on here?

Starting From Scratch

I have a friend who is a housing contractor.  Yesterday he told me he bought a house and tore it down, only to begin building a new one.


He said he’s rather start from the beginning than fix someone else’s mistakes.  If the walls aren’t square or the drywall is incorrect, it might cost him more to renovate.

To be fair, a house can settle over time.  But as often as not, it’s just poor craftsmanship.

How About Your Eyes?

The same can be true for eyewear.  It’s often difficult to fix problems caused by online glasses without starting over with a completely new pair.

That’s one reason why several online glasses retailers are adding physical locations where people can walk in and buy glasses.  Warby Parker Co-CEO Neil Blumenthal sums it up this way: “I don’t think retail is dead.”

What an understatement!  And while online companies would like you to think their physical locations are just their way of bringing you more of their online goodness, what’s being left unsaid?  There are other reasons online companies want physical stores, and they’d rather keep those a secret.  Because of course, they also sell glasses online.

Here are 4 reasons online retailers are really adding physical locations:

  • Fit.  Lets’ face it.  Online shopping isn’t known for precision, especially when it’s something you wear.  It’s common for people to order several outfits or pairs of shoes, only to keep one (if they keep any at all) and send the rest back.  And how many of those “keepers” quickly lose their appeal?  In a physical store, you can trust an eye care professional to get the fit right.
  • Finish.  A digital photo isn’t going to tell you anything about texture, flex, or feel.  It doesn’t matter how sophisticated the software, it won’t replace holding nice glasses in your hands or feeling them on your face.  Is that beautiful tortoise frame matte or glossy?  Is that sleek metal heavy or light?  And more importantly, which one will work better with your particular prescription?  These are questions a good optician can answer for you in person.
  • Style.  Have you ever bought a piece of art or decor that looked great by itself but just didn’t work in your home?  Chances are high this will happen with eyewear.  Even if it fits you, that gorgeous frame in the photo still has a high probability of not looking right.  Eyewear is meant to frame the face.  Which is wonderful if it emphasizes your positive features.  Not so much if it brings attention to ones you’d rather minimize.  A professional can help you find the best styles for your taste, your fashion sense, and even your face shape and features.
  • Vision.  Many patient surveys verify what your eye doctor already suspects: the most important part of eye care is clear vision.  And if vision is most important, then you need to be more concerned about the lenses than the frame.  There are dozens of companies that make lenses, and hundreds of lens brands you can choose.  And, some are much clearer than others.  Good ones offer clear, comfortable vision, and others are unwearable.  When you order glasses online, your lens choice is limited (if you get to choose at all).  On the other hand, ordering glasses from an experienced professional is the best way to know which lenses will give you the clearest most comfortable vision.

These are just a few reasons I’m not a fan of online glasses.  But then, if you’re living the visual lifestyle, you probably already knew that, didn’t you?

Question: Have you ever ordered something online that just didn’t live up to the hype?  Please tell me about it in the comments below.


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The Best Visual Lifestyle Book You Must Read This Year

Twist: The Main Character Is Blind

Every year I enjoy reading books.  Many highlight one or more ways of living the visual lifestyle.  My favorite book for 2016 could be one of the best books you read this year.


A Dinner In the Dark

last year I attended a “dining in the dark” event.  It was a charity dinner to support the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

Before the meal, guests were given blindfolds – good ones.  Once I put mine on, I couldn’t see a thing.

The meal was served, and most of us ate what we could and spilled the rest.  And although it was a fun event, we were happy to remove the blindfolds and continue the evening.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness raised thousands of dollars, and the guests left with a new appreciation for people without sight.

All the Light We Cannot See

If you want another way to appreciate the struggles of people who are blind, read All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

Set in France during the Occupation, the book follows the incredible struggles of Marie-Laure, who lost her sight as a child.  But here’s why I like this tale: Marie-Laure “sees” more clearly than all the other characters.  Her blindness magnifies her other senses.  She has a unique ability to see, understand, and empathize with others.

This isn’t a book review, because there are plenty of those.  But here’s why this is my favorite visual lifestyle book this year:

  • It won the Pulitzer Prize.  Let’s get that out of the way first.  It deserved to win.  It’s an amazing story, and one of the most engaging, well crafted novels I have read in a long time.  The true historical setting makes it even more compelling.
  • You’ll appreciate people who don’t have clear vision.  When someone, especially a child, overcomes impossible situations we often put them on a pedestal.  But the author does not glamorize Marie-Laure ‘s blindness.  She has very real struggles made worse in German-occupied France.  She encounters situations that would terrify people whose vision is perfect, let alone someone who can’t see.
  • You’ll appreciate your vision.  One of my goals is to help people understand how precious sight really is.  Our eyes are a gift, but many people take their vision for granted.  Only experience and insight will help us understand this.  I prefer insight, and Marie-Laure offers plenty.  Unlike me, the author has no visual agenda for his readers.  So his presentation of Marie-Laure’s blindness isn’t forced.  But it does help us appreciate eye health.  That’s great if it helps you enjoy the book.  If it makes you schedule an eye exam, wear sunglasses, or stop smoking, then it’s an even bigger win.
  • It will teach you to really “see.”   Marie-Laure has a rare understanding of other people and the world around her.  I was amazed at her insight.  Her other senses and her intuition are better because her vision is poor.  Today, many people look but don’t see. Reading about how she observes her world teaches us how we can be more observant ourselves.

Living the visual lifestyle often includes reading.  (Losing the ability to read is one of the biggest complaints I hear from people who lose their vision.)

If you’re a reader, All the Light We Cannot See must be on your list.  If you’re not a reader, consider reading this one book.  You will be surprised at how much you learn about vision, war-time France, and how to really “see” people and the world around you.

Question: What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?  I’d love to hear about it.  Please tell me in the comments below.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some links in the post above are “affiliate links.”  If you click on the link and buy the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.  But I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.  I am telling you this to comply with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”