The Time Has Come to Use Your Health Benefits!

Have you made good use of your health benefits this year? If not, consider using your Health Savings Accounts (HSA) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) at your optometrist! These health benefits could be expiring and if you don’t utilize the benefits before the December deadline, those funds may not roll over into the next year.  

The end of the year can be a stressful time, so to help ease the burden of knowing what to do with your leftover health funds, we’ve compiled some ideas for you to get the most out of your HSA or FSA benefits! 

Schedule an annual comprehensive eye exam 

At the top of our list is an annual comprehensive eye exam! It is a great way to spend the funds while also taking care of your health in a practical manner. In fact, the eyes are the window into your overall health. A comprehensive eye exam performed by an optometrist can ultimately help to diagnose over 270 diseases, including non-eye related issues! This could be the first step in your health journey.

Correct your vision with contact lenses or glasses 

In addition to diagnosing potential health conditions, optometrists, of course, can help to correct any vision problems you are facing. HSA and FSA funds can certainly be used on vision correction like contact lenses and some super fashionable glasses! To avoid losing your funds, you can stock up on your contact lenses for the rest of the year or even consider changing up your style with different frames for every mood and occasion.  

Think about your family 

Your family needs care too! People of all ages (including infants) need to consider their eye health and vision. Scheduling a comprehensive eye exam for school-aged kids can be especially beneficial in all aspects of their life. Understand that poor vision could lead to a child suffering in their academic success and social experiences. That’s why an annual eye exam is important to help correct their vision which can offer them great opportunities in school and life, and not to mention that cool glasses can be a game changer for their self-esteem! 

Work with optometric office staff 

When in doubt, ask for help! Your optometrist’s team is a great resource to assist you in deciding how to utilize your HSA or FSA funds before the deadline. If you have questions about what your funds can be spent on, be sure to contact the office for some advice and guidance.

Plan ahead 

There is no time like the present, so start thinking about how to use your funds for the next year now. Eye exams need to be an annual occurrence to ensure that your eye health and vision are staying in tip-top shape. Consider scheduling your eye exams earlier in the year or perhaps before the start of the next school year to make sure your whole family is seeing clearly and feel confident in their academics! This way, you are not having to scramble so your funds aren’t wasted.

As the end of the year approaches and you need to utilize your health benefits, consider keeping our suggestions in mind to help to keep your eyes seeing clearly and staying healthy! Eyes are the window to your overall health, if you do not yet have an optometrist to help care for you, click here to find one.

Tips for Dry Eye Relief

Tips for Dry Eye Relief

Did you know that between 16 million and 49 million Americans have dry eyes? This is between 5-15% of the population!¹ Dry eye symptoms are

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Winter is Coming – So Are Dry Eyes

Brace yourselves, winter is coming and so are dry eyes! Winter weather conditions are one of the leading causes for dry eye symptoms. This is because the air has less moisture, the wind is likely to be more intense and the cold can wick away the eye’s natural lubricant, tears. Experiencing dry eye symptoms is very common. In fact, it’s experienced by nearly 20 million Americans.  

Dry Eye Causes

Other causes for dry eye symptoms could include:   

  • Age  
  • Allergies  
  • Environmental conditions  
  • Gender  
  • Medications and/or medical conditions   

Over-The-Counter Remedies 

Sometimes, dry eyes can be improved at home with over-the-counter treatments including¹: 

  • Unclogging oil glands in the eyelid (meibomian glands) with warm compresses 
  • Cleansing your eyelids to remove oil and debris 
  • Blinking more frequently will allow natural tears to lubricate your eyes 
  • Eating foods naturally high in omega 3, like salmon, can improve the quality of oil in tears to prevent them from evaporating too quickly  
  • Drinking plenty of water 
  • Wearing wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes from harsh wind and sun  
  • Using a humidifier, especially in a dry climate like Colorado, can keep the eyes moisturized even in the driest of months 

Medical Intervention

If these tips don’t help your dry eye symptoms, you might be experiencing chronic dry eye disease. An annual comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist near you can help to diagnose if you are not producing enough tears or if the tears being produced are of good quality. Some treatments² your optometrist might suggest include:  

  • Prescription eye drops or artificial tears that can ease inflammation in the eyes or add more moisture.   
  • The use of punctal plugs in your tear ducts to stop excessive tear loss.   
  • Intense-pulsed light (IPL) therapy and eyelid massage to decrease moderate to severely dry eyes.   
  • Changing the type of contacts you use to potentially improve the dry eye symptoms you’re experiencing.   

Optometrists are a great resource to find dry eye relief in the winter or anytime of the year. Dry eye conditions are not usually harmful, however, leaving them untreated can cause great irritation and may even affect your vision. In extreme cases, damage to the cornea (the front surface of the eye) can occur if it is not adequately protected by your tear film. Discuss with your optometrist which treatment options and symptom management tools are best for you during your annual comprehensive eye exam!      



Tips for Dry Eye Relief

Tips for Dry Eye Relief

Did you know that between 16 million and 49 million Americans have dry eyes? This is between 5-15% of the population!¹ Dry eye symptoms are

Read More »

Eye Safety and the Solar Eclipse

Did you know that there will be an annular solar eclipse happening on October 14, 2023? That’s right, and most of Colorado will be able to witness up to 80% of obstruction! An annular solar eclipse is when the Moon does not completely cover the Sun and it will look like a dark disc with a bright reddish-orange ring around it. This is a wonderful opportunity to view a very rare event, but it must be done with caution. According to NASA¹ “viewing any part of the bright Sun through a camera lens, binoculars, or a telescope without a special-purpose solar filter secured over the front of the optics will instantly cause severe eye injury.” The sun is incredibly powerful and looking at it without protection will permanently damage the central vision in your eye. 

The good news is that we’ve compiled a list of ways to safely view this rare occurrence! When in doubt consult an optometrist near you to help determine the best options for viewing the annular solar eclipse. 

Some options to safely view the solar eclipse are²: 

  • Solar eclipse glasses  
    Use expert-approved solar “eclipse glasses” to view a solar eclipse safely and without damaging your eyes. You must wear your eye protection the entire time while watching a solar eclipse.   
  • Pinhole projection  
    This is the safest and most inexpensive way to watch a solar eclipse. This helps you avoid looking directly at the eclipse by using a projected image. Learn how to make this DIY project here³!   
  • Welder’s glass  
    You can find number 14 welder’s glass at your local welder’s supply or home improvement store. Welder’s glass will reduce the harmful rays that are emitted during the eclipse.  
  • Mylar filters  
    Aluminized mylar plastic sheets are available as eclipse vision glasses or can be cut and made into a viewing box. Do not use if there are any scratches or damage to the sheet.  
  • Additional options  
    You are always able to view the solar eclipse on TV or at a planetarium near you. 

Now that you know the “Dos” for safely watching a solar eclipse, we’ll share the “Don’ts”.   

Do NOT use:  

  • Smartphone  
    You might accidentally look at the sun when trying to line up the smartphone’s camera. This is dangerous for your eyes and the smartphone.  
  • Camera viewfinder  
    Looking through the viewfinder of a camera is almost the same as looking directly at the sun with your own eyes. It is dangerous and can lead to eclipse blindness. 
  • Unsafe filters  
    Unless specifically designed for viewing a solar eclipse, no filter is safe to use with any optical device (telescopes, binoculars, etc.). Using unspecified filters can increase your risk of damaging your eyes.  

    With any of these methods, make sure that the products are not damaged, scratched or broken to ensure maximum eye protection. Also remember, if you wear corrective lenses, place the eclipse viewers over your glasses so you can see the natural event clearly and safely! 

Solar eclipses are an exciting and rare event for most people to witness but be sure that you are properly prepared and protected when the time comes. For any more information on how to keep your eyes protected and healthy now or any other time of the year, reach out to an optometrist near you! 


Tips for Dry Eye Relief

Tips for Dry Eye Relief

Did you know that between 16 million and 49 million Americans have dry eyes? This is between 5-15% of the population!¹ Dry eye symptoms are

Read More »

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