Thursday, July 7, 2022

Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Awareness Month

Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Awareness Month

Summer is in full swing and I would bet most of you are soaking up (or in!) the warmer weather. Most of us will apply sunscreen to protect our skin before heading outside, but are you grabbing protection for your eyes too?

Increased exposure to sunlight can increase your risk of eye damage from ultraviolet radiation. In the short-term, one might experience bloodshot eyes, a gritty sensation, extra light sensitivity and blurry vision. Accumulated UV exposure over time can lead to cancer of the eye or eyelid, growths on the surface of the eye, accelerated development of cataracts, and irreversible vision loss in the form of age-related macular degeneration.

Protect your eyes from sun damage with these reminders:
   1. Wear proper sunglasses
- Always check the UV rating on your sunnies. Select one that provides at least 99% UV protection or blocks both UV-A and UV-B rays.

- Don’t be deceived by cost or darkness of the lens. Sunglasses don’t have to be expensive to be effective, and a darker lens does not mean it blocks more UV light. In fact, a dark lens without any UV protection is worse than going without sunglasses because it causes the pupil to dilate, allowing more UV radiation to reach the retina.

- A wrap-around or oversized style offers more protection from the top and sides. More importantly, choose what feels comfortable on your face so you are more likely to wear them.

- Polarized lenses block reflected glare off surfaces, which can be useful for sports or outdoor activities, but have nothing to do with UV light absorption. Many polarized lenses, however, are now combined with UV-blocking properties.

- Photochromatic lenses that automatically darken may be a good option for some.

2. Wear a broad-brimmed hat to keep sunglight off the face and eyes.

3. Don’t be fooled by cloudy or snowy days. UV radiation is still present when you can’t see the sunlight and is strongest when reflected off snow, water, or ice.

4. Never look directly at the sun. This can damage the retina from solar radiation.

Wear your sun protection regularly and don’t forget about the kids! Children take in approximately 3x the annual UV exposure of an adult, and up to 80% of their lifetime exposure happens before the age of 20. Unlike adult eyes, children’s eyes are still developing and cannot filter out UV rays as effectively so they are particularly vulnerable to UV damage. Start early so they learn to enjoy wearing them on their face.

Have a safe summer!

Dr. Rachel

Monday, May 23, 2022

Healthy Vision Month


Did you know that today is National Lucky Penny Day?  I know, not quite on par with National Donut Day. I’ve never been a “lucky” person, but even if I were, one thing I would not be leaving up to luck are my eyes.  Think you have been blessed with “good eyes”? Do you know for certain?

The CDC highlights this month as Healthy Vision Month, a much more important national observance in my opinion.  If you haven’t had a comprehensive eye exam in awhile, this is your friendly reminder to schedule a dilated eye exam and make your vision and eye health a priority.

According to the CDC, an estimated 93 million adults in the US are at high risk for serious vision loss, but only half visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months. Furthermore, the annual economic impact of major vision problems among adults 40 years and older is more than $145 billion.  Some eye diseases do not have any warning signs so your best defense in preventing vision loss is to detect things early with regular eye exams.


Here are 8 additional tips you can do to keep your eyes healthy:

1. Know your family’s eye health history, as some conditions are hereditary.
2. Incorporate green leafy vegetables into your diet and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports, doing yard work, home repairs, or in the workplace.
4. Maintain a healthy weight. Generallly, what is good for the rest of your body is good for your eyes.
5. Smoking cessation. Making a plan to quit will help lower your risk for conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts.
6. Wear sunglasses, even on cloudy days. Look for those that block 99-100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. Darker does not always mean better.
7. Clean your contact lenses properly and wash your hands before handling them.
8. Take breaks from prolonged screen time with the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eyestrain.

With that said, we are lucky to have such great patients and will continue to make your eyes our priority!

Have a great week,

Dr. Rachel

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Can an eye drop really replace my reading glasses?


                 Wondering if eye drops can replace readers???

Maybe you saw a segment on TV, or your friend mentioned a new eye drop they’re using to read the menu at dinner. You might be wondering… does it work? Back in October, the FDA approved the use of an eye drop called Vuity.  Let me fill you in!

What is it?

Vuity (pilocarpine 1.25%) is a formulation of a drug called pilocarpine, an old glaucoma medication. It is almost never used now to manage glaucoma because of its side effects and the development of more modern treatment options. Compared to commercially-available pilocarpine, Vuity uses a proprietary “vehicle” to cause less stinging with instillation.

Who is it for?

It was approved for patients aged 40 to 55 with presbyopia. Presbyopia is the natural aging of the lens in your eye that affects your ability to focus on near objects like books, cell phones, menus, etc.  This eventually happens to everyone and is not a disease.  Ideally, this patient should be able to see far away with minimal help and be relying on reading glasses only for near tasks.

How does it work?

It stimulates the muscles in the eye to 1) contract, which flexes the lens inside the eye to increase focusing power, and 2) to constrict the pupil, which provides a greater depth of focus. These actions work together to improve near vision, and participants in the clinical studies experienced an improvement of at least 3 lines.  It has less effect on older patients, and is not needed before the age of 40 because your eyes still have the ability to flex naturally.

How long does it last?

It has been shown to be effective for 6 hours and start working in as little as 15 minutes. It is intended to be used as a once-daily eye drop.

Any side effects or adverse reactions?

Certainly!  Headache and eye redness are most common. Due to its effect on the pupil, reduced peripheral vision, dimming of vision, and difficulty driving at night are also possible side effects.  Temporary distance blur and difficulty adjusting between near and distant objects may occur.  Most importantly, albeit rare, is the risk of retinal detachment - when the ciliary muscle contracts it can shift everything forward in the eye and result in traction or pulling on the retina.

How much does it cost?

Around $80 per bottle. It is prescription-only and not covered by insurance. One bottle will last nearly a month, so, if you are using 1 drop in both eyes daily that is just over $1,100 per year.

My two cents

Vuity is not a fix or cure-all, but an adjunctive treatment option for presbyopia… another tool in the toolbox. I see it as an occasional option for patients to use for those times they want to be less dependent on their readers or bifocals.  The biggest drawback is the lack of all-day efficacy, not to mention the potential side effects and cost.  It may lessen the annoyance of having to reach for your “cheaters”, but it is not a valid long-term solution and prolonged near work will likely require correction. Full disclosure: I am still a few years away from presbyopia so it’s easy for me to say stick with the zero-risk OTC readers or a nice progressive bifocal.  Like anything else, some people will love it and some will hate it.  Just be sure to always consult your eye doctor!

- Dr. Rachel

Monday, March 21, 2022

Dr. Rachel Browne

 Welcome Dr. Rachel Browne To EHS!!

 Hello there! Dr. Rachel here. Last week marked two months since joining Eye Health Solutions and what a busy time it has been getting to know my way around the office.  Thank you to everyone who has welcomed me thus far, and to those who continue to trust me with their eye care needs. If I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rachel (Barnes) Browne and I am the “new” optometrist here at Eye Health Solutions. This coming May I will have been in practice for 10 years, and I am thrilled to continue my career working alongside exceptional physicians like Dr. Jason and Dr. Lily.  I really enjoy working with patients of all ages - infants to seniors - and I love that every day is different than the next.


I was born and raised in Pella, where I currently reside with my husband, Dustin, and our three children: Taylen (8), Noah (5), and Eden (2).  We love being a part of a small community and feel fortunate to be able to serve in the area professionally.  Outside of the office you can find me cheering at youth sporting events, watching home renovation shows, baking, being outdoors, or traveling whenever possible.

I look forward to meeting you!

Friday, February 12, 2021

Blue blocking glasses continue to disappoint

I have been consistent for the past decade when these first came out that it made no sense to block a specific color. We are finally getting some studies that back this up. 

Blue blocker study on eyestrain

I know many people with their $10.00 "blue light" lenses feel like it helps but the research does not show this to be true. This is all placebo effect. Any claim that blue light from screens is harmful is completely false. When you go outside you get 100,000 times the amount of blue light from the sun that you would ever get from a screen. 

Also, if you can see the color blue through your "blue light" glasses - what exactly are they even blocking?

If you want to reduce computer eyestrain, get glasses that properly correct your prescription if you need them. Every 20 minutes take a 20 second break from looking at your screen and focus on something at a distance. Make sure you are addressing anything that could be causing dry eye issues, such as fans or vents blowing on you. Invest in a quality computer monitor. We do have studies that show less strain and more productivity when the clarity of the monitor is better. Address overhead lighting issues. Fluorescent lights that flicker or lights that glare off your screen will contribute to strain. 

Ultimately the human body is not designed to sit in front of a screen for 8-10 hours a day. Get up and move around if you can, this will lower blood sugar and insulin levels, especially when done after meals. 

That is all for now, thanks for reading!

Dr. Jason

Wednesday, December 2, 2020



Introducing to you.. our newest employee @ EHS!

Here is a little 'get to know ya' about Tara, our newest employee.  She will be working with the Doc's in the exam rooms as a scribe.


Hi All! My name is Tara, and I was born and raised in Knoxville, and graduated with the class of 2009. My husband Jared works at 3M and we have two beautiful children, Carter (9) and Jadyn (8). In my freetime, I enjoy watching the kids in their sporting events, taking our two dogs Tank (lab) and Jax (shih tzu poodle) on walks, reading, and last, but certainly not least, shopping :) 
I'm looking forward to meeting all of our patients at Eye Health Solutions :) 

1. What is your favorite movie of all time?
Any Michael Myers movie- Halloween time is definitely my favorite! 

2. If you had to pick one song to sing karaoke to... what would it be?
 Pick just one?! " I Wanna Dance with Somebody"-Whitney Houston 

3. How long does it take you to get ready in the a.m.?
Too long- 1 hour if I'm speedy. 

4. What is the best fast food place do you think?
Sonic-BLT'S --YUM! 

5. Where/ what is your dream vacation?
Colorado-love being in the mountains 

Friday, November 13, 2020

No, special glasses do not help people that are colorblind.


Many of you have probably seen the viral videos of colorblind kids putting on glasses and seeing colors for the first time. They are emotional and we want it to be true. Here is one from ABC news. 

Colorblind kid sees colors for first time

Well, there is no doubt that the kid will see things "differently" than before, but that is much different than actually perceiving color the way most people do. Color vision defects happen due to genetics on the X chromosome that you inherit from your mother. Wearing a lens that simply filters light does nothing to change this. Also, there are many variations of color vision deficiency. How can one pair of glasses know which colors to correct? Also, how does someone who has never seen color normal even know they are seeing color normal?

Well, finally science to the rescue. These folks proved it was not possible. 

Science for the win

It makes for a good story and also greases the wheels for Go Fund Me accounts but ultimately these are a scam. I have no doubt the child sees things differently with the colored glasses just as you or I would with a pair of colored lenses, but again that is not the same as restoration of color vision. 

Now, the videos of babies putting on glasses for the first time and seeing. Those are legit. 

Baby sees mom

Have a good weekend everyone!

Dr. Jason

Monday, October 12, 2020

Lizzy Moats



I was born and raised in Knoxville, and went to college at UNI. I graduated in May of 2020 with my bachelor's degree and moved back to Knoxville with my husband, Nick, who is also from Knoxville. Nick and I will be married two years in January. Both of our families are local, which is such a blessing. In July, we got our pup Watson. He's a Lab/Great Pyrenees mix who is currently 47 pounds and just over four months old. He's the most adorable big baby. We also had a little niece born at the beginning of September who we can't wait to spoil.

I enjoy reading, especially fantasy, WWII memoirs, and Christian fiction. Many can attest that I bring a book with me EVERYWHERE. I also love watching tv (anything by the CW) curled up underneath a cozy blanket with a candle burning next to me and hammocking when it's nice out. 

I began working here at Eye Health Solutions in June in the patient care area, so you will see me at the front desk. I'm smiling behind my mask, I promise.

We asked Lizzy a few questions for everyone to get to know a little about her!

1. What is your proudest accomplishment?

  • My proudest accomplishment is being able to graduate from college, buy a house, and a dog (all in the time of Rona) all before turning 22. My husband and I are also on track to have our student loans paid off by December.

2. What is the greatest book of all time that you have read?

  • I don't think I'll ever have a "greatest book of all time." I really think any book can be the greatest book if you read it at the right point in your life, but I've loved The Book Theif, The Harry Potter series, and Redeeming Love.

3. Do you have peeves? And if so, what pet's them?

  • As an English major, naturally I have a big grammar pet peeve: when people say "I could care less instead of I couldn't care less" Drives me nuts! Also, I hate hate hate the sound of styrofoam. 

4. How many pillows do you sleep with?

  •  I use one pillow for my head and one long body pillow to cuddle.

5. What is your favorite kind of foreign food?

  • OOOH Chinese food! Especially a good crab rangoon

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

When will things get back to normal?

The title of this post is a great question. As an optometrist I did not think I would ever work from home but here I am listening to webinars, doing blog posts, and research from home. Ultimately we need to get back to seeing patients and delivering top quality eyecare.

The answer to the question in the title is never. Our reality has been fundamentally changed and this was from a virus which although deadly, has a relatively low mortality rate. Imagine a virus such as H5N1 (avian flu) that has a mortality rate of 60%. Remember that one, it is still out there.....

We can't live our lives in fear, we can only control what we can control. Hopefully we learn from this and we are better prepared down the road if something more dangerous or something similar comes along.

To relate this back to eyecare and our office, I don't think you will ever see a kids play area or magazine rack again. Honestly, I would hope you do not see those in any office waiting room. We have removed ours, and guests can use the complimentary Wifi while waiting. We will also have shields installed in key areas of the office to help protect staff and patients once we are back to work. The number of people in the office at one time will be limited and we will look to use technology even more than we do now to minimize trips or touch points in the office.

Optometry will be one of the first back to work in my opinion. It is important for people to see and we are offices that do not have sick people coming to visit. We generally see healthy people and other than talking, we have people keep their mouths closed. There is always risk, so we will do the best we can to minimize it. I mentioned all this in my last post.

Since my last post this video came out on the Today show talking about the very point I was making.

Today Show - who goes back to work?

Stay well, and look forward to seeing you soon!

Dr. Jason

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

COVID-19 and the eye

Well, it seems like eons ago when I did this previous blog post. In re-reading that who would have thought we would end up where we are now.

A couple quick things to comment on. In a recent study it was shown that the virus is not transmitted in tears. This study was only 17 people but was very well done. None of the 17 had traces of the virus in their tears. Now to be clear you can still inoculate yourself through the mucus membranes of the eye but new tears do not seem to shed virus as far as we know currently.

The second thing to comment on is signs of conjuctivitis or "pink eye" associated with the virus remain very low, at about 1%.

In the office we have installed breath shields on our microscopes and changed how we interact with patients to minimize chance of contamination. We are fortunate that our office is not a place where sick people go and we do not have the aerosol issues that our dental colleagues have to deal with. There is always risk, and we will do the best we can to minimize and control those risks once we get back in the flow of taking care of our patients.

Dr. Jason

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Lets Quit Changing the Clocks!

Well, its Sunday morning and we lost an hour. I am sure more people missed church today than almost any other Sunday or a few people showed up at the wrong time (guilty of both of these myself in the past).

There is no debate that we are hard wired to wake up with the sun and go to bed at night. Every cell in our body has a circadian clock. Morning sunlight in your eyes shortly after waking up is a great way to set your clock and tell your body it is time to get moving. It also helps with sleep in the evening as your clock has now "been set".

Despite all the hype around blue blocking glasses in the last couple years morning sunlight is going to have a high level of blue light which is beneficial to your sleep/wake cycle. That is why blue light in the evening can disrupt things.

What can we expect this week by messing around with the clocks:

1. Car accidents will increase on the Monday following the spring forward.

2. There will be more workplace injuries tomorrow and of higher severity than normal.

3. The risk of having a heart attack goes up in the 3 days following the spring clock change. It goes down in the fall when we move the clocks back.....

There are more, but you get the idea. The correct way to do this is split the difference on the half hour between standard time and DST and never change the clocks again. Everyone wins!

A few tips to help avoid the above problems are get some morning sunlight and go for a walk or get some early morning outdoor activity followed by a light breakfast. Those 3 things will send a powerful signal to your body to help set your clock.

Go to bed a little earlier this week. Ideally that would have been a good idea for the week leading up to this but since I am writing this on Sunday that advice is a little late.

Have a great week and enjoy the later sunset. Also as a side note, please do not say the days are longer. The days are still 24 hours and the amount of daylight is exactly the same as before we changed the clocks. All we are doing is moving it from before work to after work.

Dr. Jason

Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Awareness Month

Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Awareness Month Summer is in full swing and I would bet most of you are soaking up (or in!) the warmer weather. Most...