Protecting Your Eyes From Snow Blindness

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

Have your eyes ever felt gritty and watery after an outdoor adventure? Maybe you felt a burning sensation and suffered temporary vision loss?

If this sounds familiar to you, you may have been exposed to high levels of UV rays from light reflections while boating, hiking at high elevation, or participating in snow sports like skiing and snowboarding. This condition, formally called photokeratitis, is particularly common in winter, and you might have heard of it by the name “snow blindness.”

Why Snow Blindness?

Photokeratitis is essentially getting a sunburn on the surface of your eye. This can happen in most climates with strong sunlight, particularly when there are reflective surfaces such as white sand, water, or especially snow. You could also get it without any sun at all, from man-made sources of light like welding torches!

The reason photokeratitis is so much more common in winter is that the snow reflects up to 80 percent of the UV rays that hit the ground, so your eyes get almost a double dose of sunlight. The high altitude is a factor as well. One of the dangerous things about photokeratitis is that, like a normal sunburn, it can take hours before the symptoms appear. As a result, you might keep exposing your eyes to harmful UV rays even after the damage has begun, making the condition more severe.

Soothing Snowblind Eyes

If you do get snow blindness as you enjoy winter activities, there are a few simple ways you can treat it to help your eyes recover more quickly. Photokeratitis dries out the eyes, so you’ll want to restore the lost moisture with things like wet cloths, humidifiers, and eyedrops. Remove your contacts if you wear them and avoid rubbing your eyes. If possible, you might also want to cover the affected eye (or eyes) with patches so that they aren’t further irritated by additional light.

Having The Right Eye Protection

Knowing how to treat snow blindness is useful, but it’s even better to avoid getting it in the first place. That’s where protective eye wear comes in, so you can spend as much time as you want shredding moguls on your snowboard or carving slopes on your skis this season. Make sure to get sunglasses — or, preferably, ski goggles — that block 100 percent of UV light. Polarized lenses will also greatly reduce glare and help you see contrast better in the snow.

We’re Here For You

Snow blindness typically heals on its own after a day or two, but if your symptoms are worsening after the first day or aren’t going away after the second day, you should come see us immediately. We hope you have a wonderful time this ski season, but don’t forget to protect your vision!

We love all of our patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

Signs It’s Time For An Eye Exam

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

It’s always a good idea to schedule regular eye exams, but under certain circumstances, you might need to come see us between those regular appointments.

What do we mean by “regular appointments?” Well, that varies, largely depending on age. Children should have their first eye exam at six months, their second at three years, and their third before they begin first grade.

From ages six to 60, the American Optometric Academy recommends that people whose vision isn’t considered “at-risk” have an eye exam every other year, and then once every year from age 60 on. For those with “at-risk” vision, the best schedule will be determined by the optometrist.

What Does It Mean To Be “At Risk?”

Several factors can put an individual’s vision at greater risk than the general populace. These include having diabetes or hypertension. These diseases can have a severe impact on vision health. A family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration is also a major risk factor.

Many prescription drugs have eye-related side effects, like dry eye, and we’ll want to carefully monitor your vision health if you’re taking these types of medications. Contact lenses also present an increased risk of eye infection and other complications.

When To Throw Out The Schedule

At-risk or not, as mentioned above, there are several circumstances in which you shouldn’t wait until your next regularly scheduled appointment to pay us a visit:

  • You Always Have A Headache
  • Your Eye Is Infected
  • There are Bright Flashes And Floaters Galore
  • That Eye Pain Is Becoming A Bit Much
  • You’ve Been Squinting For Days
  • You Have Diabetes, Or It Runs In Your Family

You’ve Been Squinting More

If you notice that you’ve had to squint to read road signs, that’s a good sign that you’re due for a prescription change—or, if you haven’t needed glasses before now, that you might need to start wearing them. Squinting will only get you so far.

Bright Flashes And Floaters

It’s perfectly normal to have a few floaters hanging around in your eyes. They can be annoying, but they usually aren’t a problem. However, if you suddenly see a bunch of new ones, you should definitely schedule an appointment, particularly if the floaters are accompanied by bright flashes of light or loss of peripheral vision. These are symptoms of retinal detachment, and can cause permanent blindness if not treated quickly enough.

To learn a bit more about floaters, watch the video below:

Frequent Headaches

Headaches aren’t always the result of eye problems, but it isn’t uncommon for optometrists to spot the causes of chronic headaches first. You may be having these headaches because of eye strain caused by your digital screens. If so, there’s no need to continue suffering in silence when we can help.

Eye Infection

Sometimes eye infections clear up on their own, but that isn’t a risk worth taking. If you’re experiencing blurred vision, light sensitivity, unusual discharge from your eye, itchiness, redness, or pain, come see us as soon as you can. Even if you think it’s just dry eye, it’s still important to come see us, because untreated dry eye can open the door to serious infections.

We’re Looking Out For Your Vision Health

Good vision health is crucial to a high quality of life, and we don’t want you to miss out on any opportunities or amazing views. Any reason for concern about your vision health is reason enough to schedule an early appointment.

Thank you for being a part of our practice family!

 

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Solar Eclipse Eye Safety: Protect Your Eyes!

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

Are you ready for the total solar eclipse on August 21?

Safety First – Shield Your Eyes!

It’s never a good idea to look at the sun, and that includes during a solar eclipse. It’s already important to wear UV-blocking sunglasses outside during the brightest hours of the day even when we aren’t looking directly at the sun. The light-sensitive cells that allow us to see are like delicate instruments, and looking at the sun overloads them. You can actually burn your retinas—a condition called solar retinopathy—by looking at the sun, and it doesn’t take long.

Eclipse Glasses Differ From Normal Sunglasses

Eclipse glasses are not the same as ordinary sunglasses, and even the very best polarized UV-blocking sunglasses are not sufficient protection for looking at the sun. In order to be approved by NASA, eclipse glasses can’t let more than 0.00032 percent of the sun’s light through them, they can’t have any bubbles or scratches, and they should include safety instructions printed on the earpieces. Do not risk your vision health by wearing eclipse glasses or using a solar viewer that doesn’t meet ISO 12312-2 international safety standards and please be careful buying eclipse glasses from online vendors. 

Tips for safe use of solar filters/viewers from the American Astronomical Society:

  • Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched, punctured, torn, or otherwise damaged, discard it.
  • Always supervise children using solar filters.
  • If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on and put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright Sun. After looking at the Sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the Sun.
  • Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.
  • Similarly, do not look at the Sun through a camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays could damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.
  • Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device; note that solar filters must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens, or other optics.
  • If you are inside the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the Moon completely covers the Sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright Sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to look at the remaining partial phases.
  • Outside the path of totality, you must always use a safe solar filter to view the Sun directly.

 

Click Here for a list of reputable vendors of authentic solar eclipse glasses

What Is A Solar Eclipse?

The sun is about 400 times larger than the moon, but it’s also 400 times farther away from the earth, which is why they look the same size in the sky. When they line up with the earth just right, the moon can block out the sun, resulting in a solar eclipse. Anywhere the moon’s shadow falls, we see the eclipse, but it’s only a partial eclipse unless we’re in what’s called the “path of totality.” No matter how much of the eclipse you see, make sure you’re protecting your eyes.

To learn a bit more about solar eclipses, check out the video below:

Your Eyes’ Health Is Our Top Priority

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Fireworks Eye Safety Tips

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

Is there anything more American than hot dogs on the grill and fireworks in the sky? We all enjoy a patriotic pyrotechnics display, but fireworks are not without their risks.

Explosives Are Not Toys

To anyone lucky enough to have never been injured by fireworks, they might just seem like exciting lights and sounds, but the fact of the matter is that fireworks—from bottle rockets and Roman candles to mortars and artillery shells—are explosives. Even when they fire in the right direction, they can project tiny pieces of shrapnel toward nearby spectators at high speeds.

Even poppers and sparklers aren’t as safe as they seem. Sparklers burn at temperatures over 1200°F! That’s not something we want anywhere near our eyes. A few good rules for sparklers are to always supervise children under age 12 when they use them, don’t run with them, hold them at arm’s length from the body, and only use one at a time.

Eye Injuries Are Too Common

Every year, thousands of Americans are injured by fireworks. In 2014 alone, 1,300 people went to emergency rooms specifically for eye injuries. More significantly, it was the bystanders who suffered the majority of those injuries, not the operators. In 2015, an estimated 8,000 people were treated for firework-related injuries between June 19 and July 19, of which 42% were younger than 20. The injuries ranged anywhere from burns to more serious problems like cuts, and amputations. In 2015, 11 people died from fireworks accidents. All it takes is one spark or fast-moving piece of shrapnel to cause permanent blindness. Don’t let this happen to you or your loved ones!

Safety First!

The safest thing you can do is avoid home fireworks entirely and only go to professional displays, but if you are doing fireworks at home, make sure you follow these fireworks safety tips:

  • Carefully follow all safety instructions on the labels of your fireworks.
  • Always use protective eyewear. When shrapnel goes flying, goggles can be the difference between being blinded for life and walking away completely unharmed.
  • Supervise young children at all times. Better still, keep children under age 12 away from all fireworks, even sparklers and firecrackers!

Here’s a few more safety tips for using sparklers to celebrate your Independence Day:

If There Is An Injury…

Sometimes accidents happen even when we follow all the rules. If you or anyone else you know sustains an eye injury this 4th of July, here are some steps to follow:

  • Do not rub, rinse out, or apply pressure or ointment to the injured eye. Any of these will likely do even more damage.
  • Go straight to the emergency room (don’t even pause for pain medication on the way). The sooner the eye receives treatment, the better its chances are for recovery.

Have A Blast (As Long As You’re Safe)!

We want you all to be safe as you celebrate Independence Day, but we also hope you have a great time with family, friends, food, and fireworks.

Wishing all our patients a happy Fourth of July!

Karen’s Vision Therapy Success Story

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health, Vision Therapy

“Thank you Dr. Levin! I don’t think I would be where I am today without Vision Therapy”

-Karen Stengler

 

Before coming to Levin Eye Care Center’s vision therapy program Karen was struggling to read and concentrate on her schoolwork. Karen would frequently have migraines during and after school that made it difficult to focus.

Before Vision Therapy :

  • Migraines
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Struggles with schoolwork
  • Didn’t enjoy reading

 

Karen was able focus on her schoolwork and concentrate on her studies after completing the vision therapy program at Levin Eye Care Center. She also had a significant decrease in the amount of migraines and is currently working in the medical field and in graduate school. Karen can now finish a book quickly in one sitting and loves to read!

After Vision Therapy :

  1. Decreased headaches and migraines
  2. Increased focus
  3. Loves reading
  4. Graduate student

 

Watch Karen’s story to learn how vision therapy can change your life!

Did you know that your Sunglasses can Expire?

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

Lucky for you, it may be time for a new pair of shades!

We’re surrounded by things with expiration dates, from the food in our fridge to the moisturizer we put on our face at night. Over time, the lightbulbs in our lamps go out and the paint on our houses fade. But what about your sunglasses? Do they have a shelf life?

Can Sunglasses Expire?

There are two kinds of people in this world: those that buy a new pair of sunglasses every year, maybe even several pairs, and those that find one good pair that they love and try to make them last. If you are part of the second group, you may want to listen up.

A study was recently conducted by researchers at the University of São Paulo in Brazil to see if sunglasses lost their UV-blocking power over time.

Here are someways that you might be harming your sunglasses:

  • everyday wear and tear of sunglasses
  • throwing them in your bag without a case
  • accidentally dropping them on the ground
  • scratches on the lenses that may be gradually diminishing their efficacy

While this is an interesting finding, there is a lot more research needed to fully understand exactly how long sunglasses can last and what their “expiration date” may be. Levin Eye Care Center recommends that you continue to take good care of your sunglasses while you have them, and don’t hesitate to get a new pair every year or two. Not only will you always be in style, but you can be sure your eyes are properly protected from the sun!

Remember These Tips When Buying Sunglasses

Not all sunglasses are created equal. Some look stylish, but may not provide the same amount of protection as another pair. When you do buy a new pair of shades, you want to make sure they are serving their purpose, which is to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays!

Here are some tips to remember when buying sunglasses:

  • Make sure they block 99 to 100 percent of UV light or have “UV absorption up to 400nm” on the label.
  • Larger frames and wraparound styles are great at protecting your eyes from many different angles.
  • Remember that the color and darkness of the lens doesn’t affect how well it protects you from UV rays. However, darker lenses can be more useful in very bright conditions.
  • Polarized lenses don’t block UV light, but are great for reducing glare and improving visibility.

We Have Just What You’re Looking For!

The staff at Levin Eye Care Center can help you choose from a variety of different styles and brands of sunglasses at our practice. Come and see for yourself! It would be our pleasure to help you find the perfect pair of shades for your style and personality.

We love to serve you! Thanks for trusting us with your vision health!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Have You Ever Wondered What A Phoropter Does?

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

This is a question we love getting: “What does that big, space helmet-looking thing actually do anyway?”

Most patients have wondered what that large, imposing piece of equipment is that they always see at the optometrist’s office. Well, it’s called a phoropter, or a refractor, and it’s an awesome tool we eye docs love to use! Read on to find out more!

A Brief History Of The Phoropter

The phoropter was invented in the early 1900s. One, called the Ski-optometer, was invented by Nathan Shigon and another, called the Phoro-optometer was developed by Henry DeZeng. Later came Bausch and Lomb’s Greens’ Refractor.

The phoropter was unique from the device that was previously being used, the monocular optometer, because the phoropter was able to measure refractive errors as well as traits of binocular vision (meaning how well the eyes work together), among other things.

In today’s world, as technology gets more and more advanced, usually devices get smaller and more streamlined. You may be surprised to hear that with almost every new model that came out, the phoropter kept getting bigger and bigger! Over time, the phoropter continued to improve until it became what it is today in the 1960s, still as big and bold as ever.

Phoropters Help Us Fine-tune Your Prescription

This may sound familiar… you walk into the optometrist’s office and after some initial tests and pleasantries, you’re asked to sit behind the “space helmet” and look at the eye chart through the phoropter lenses. As we change the lenses with different optical powers, we’ll ask you the question we know you all love to answer, “Which is more clear, one or two?”

Based on your answers, we come up with a prescription that gets you as close to seeing 20/20 as possible. The phoropter is an amazing tool that helps us fine-tune your prescription and make sure you have the clearest, most accurate vision possible!

Watch the video below to learn more about what perfect vision is and why glasses are necessary for some people!

Want To Hear More?

If you have been wondering about some of the other equipment you’ve seen at our office, let us know in the comments section of this blog post! We’d be happy to highlight another cool tool that helps us do our job: keeping your eyes healthy and your vision precise.

Helping you see the world clearly is the best job in the world!

Do Your Child’s Eyes Cross Frequently?

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health, Vision Therapy

child-eye-crossing

Do you ever notice your child’s eyes crossing or moving in different directions?

Just as babies slowly learn to walk and talk, they must also learn how to see and correctly use their eyes to experience the world around them. Learning to focus their eyes, move them and use them together accurately is a process that takes place over time during infancy and childhood.

Crossing Eyes Are Normal In A Newborn

A common question we hear from parents is, “My baby’s eyes cross sometimes and move in different directions. What does it mean?” Since a baby’s visual system isn’t fully developed until later in childhood, it is normal for their eyes to cross or wander occasionally during the first few months of life. This should stop, however, after four months of age.

 

Past Four Months, It May Be Strabismus

If you notice that your child’s eyes are crossing or turning in different directions most of the time or beyond the age of four months, they may have strabismus. Strabismus is an eye condition in which both eyes don’t look at the same place at the same time. It can occur in one or both eyes, be constant or occur intermittently, and can be present from birth or develop later, most often by the age of three.

Strabismus can be caused by a number of things. The problem may occur in the muscles around the eye, the part of the brain that directs eye movements, or the nerves that transmit information to the eye muscles. Certain health conditions such as down syndrome and cerebral palsy may make a child more likely to develop strabismus.

Early Treatment Is Important

Strabismus can cause double vision and interferes with a person’s ability to perceive depth. Some people may think that their child will outgrow strabismus, but this is untrue. In fact, if strabismus is left untreated, it can progress to amblyopia, or lazy eye.

When the eyes are misaligned, the brain receives two different images. If left untreated, the brain will eventually ignore the image from the turned or crossed eye, permanently reducing vision in that eye. This is when amblyopia occurs.

The good news is that strabismus, if treated early, can be corrected with much success. Treatment options include:

  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • Prism lenses
  • Vision therapy
  • Eye muscle surgery

Eye Exams Are Crucial To Your Child’s Vision Health

Infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at six months. During their exam, we ensure that your child’s eyes are developing and working together properly. If you notice your child’s eyes crossing, frequently turning or wandering before they are six months old, call us and set up an appointment. It’s never too early to make sure that your child’s vision is healthy!

Thank you for trusting us with your family’s vision health!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Optical Illusions: More Than Meets The Eye

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health, Vision Therapy

optical-illusions

As you stare at an optical illusion you may wonder… are your eyes playing tricks on you?

To fully understand how optical illusions work, it’s important to grasp that the visual system is made up of more than just our eyes. In fact, optical illusions don’t necessarily trick our eyes—they trick our brains.

The Visual System Is Made Of Many Moving Parts

While your eyes play an important role in vision, they are only one component of a larger visual system that includes many different parts such as the optic nerve, the optic chiasm and the visual cortex of the brain, to name a few.

We see when light enters our eyes and is focused onto the retina. The cells in the retina turn light into electrical signals that are then sent through the optic nerve to the brain. This visual information is interpreted by our brains allowing us to form an image in our minds. So, technically, we “see” with our brains. This complex process takes only one-tenth of a second!

Optical Illusions Take Advantage Of The Brain’s Shortcuts

Our eyes take in a lot of visual stimuli throughout the day and to make sure our brains aren’t overloaded with visual information, they often take shortcuts, filling in gaps or creating an image based on past experience.For the most part, these shortcuts work well for us and we never notice them.

The exception is when we’re looking at an optical illusion. Optical illusions take advantage of these shortcuts and fool our brains so that our perception of an image doesn’t necessarily match reality. Optical illusions may trick us, but they actually reveal a lot about how our visual system works.

Watch this video to understand more optical illusions!

Don’t Let Your Eyes Fool You

It’s easy to be fooled by optical illusions, but as your eye care providers, we make sure you’ll never be fooled by your eyes! By coming in for regular eye exams, you can be sure that your vision is healthy and strong as well as be on the lookout for early signs of disease.

If there’s anything you’ve learned from optical illusions today, it’s that things aren’t always as they appear. The same goes for your vision health. Call us to schedule an appointment today so we can make sure your eyes are in peak condition!

We love our patients. Thank you for the trust you place in our practice!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Time Is Running Out To Use Your Insurance Benefits!

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health, Promo

insurance-benefits

It’s that time of year again! Have you used all of your remaining vision insurance benefits?

What Is Vision Insurance?

Whether you received your vision insurance through an employer or you enrolled in a plan on your own, you may be curious how it works. Each plan differs based on your insurance provider and your level of coverage, but most plans have the same basic function.

Vision insurance plans are health and wellness plans designed to lower the out-of-pocket cost of routine eye care. This often includes eye exams and prescription eyewear. Some plans even offer discounted rates on vision correction surgery. Each provider has a wide range of benefits, so be sure to speak with your employer or insurance provider to understand what benefits are available to you.

Check out the video below to see why you should take advantage of the comprehensive eye exams included in your insurance plan:

Vision Insurance Differs From Other Insurance Policies

Most vision insurance policies differ from other major medical policies. For instance, many regular health insurance policies provide unlimited benefits after you pay a certain co-pay or meet a predetermined deductible. Vision insurance plans, however, are known as discount or wellness benefit plans that offer specific benefits and discounts when you pay an annual insurance premium.

Because of this key difference, it’s important you get the most out of your vision insurance each year! Many plans offer significant discounts on comprehensive eye exams, eyeglass frames, eyeglass and contact lenses, and lens enhancements such as anti-reflective coatings. Since these benefits are discounts based on an annual premium, they don’t roll over to the next year if left unused—meaning you’d lose out on free or drastically discounted services.

Make An Appointment Before It’s Too Late!

We want to help you get the most out of your vision insurance benefits each and every year. If you have any questions about your vision insurance plan, feel free to give us a call! We’d love to work with you to meet your family’s eye care needs.

Thank you for continuing to place your trust in our practice.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Nadia Casanova Grisolia
Nadia Casanova Grisolia

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 month ago

Super friendly staff! Great place for eyewear for every budget. I love my new glasses! Highly recommended.

maksymiliana szwajnos
maksymiliana szwajnos

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 months ago

Excellent service, very professional performing eye exam and most of all precise results.
Thank you
Recommend to everyone who counts on perfect diagnosis and treatment

Jacqueline Anderson
Jacqueline Anderson

5 out of 5 stars

posted 8 months ago

Amazing office, from staff to the doctor all were exactly what I wanted And needed. My kids thought they were great as well which is important to me. They fit me in for an appointment last minute and stayed late when it ran over. They helped me figure out a way to pay my bill that I could afford. Every step they were there for me, friendly and smiling. I'd recommend this office without reservation to anyone seeking quality eye care! Thank you all for being so wonderful, I truly appreciate it.

Cyn Sacramento
Cyn Sacramento

5 out of 5 stars

posted 5 months ago

I have been going to Levin for 2 years. Very personable staff, knowledgeable and always helpful. Love my newest Gucci glasses. Easy to be seen as well.

cran23
cran23

5 out of 5 stars

posted 7 months ago

The employees here are very helpful and helped me pick the perfect sun glasses! They offer care credit which makes it easier to get what you want and have more time to pay. Thank you guys! :)

James D.'s Review James D.
5 Stars

Dr. Levin and his staff have excellent attention to detail and lots of patience. They answered all my questions and made me feel super welcomed with a snack...

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Jim F.'s Review Jim F.
5 Stars

Levin Eye Care Center stands head and shoulders above many businesses.

They are excellent with customer service, pay special attention to detail,work hard...

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M. N.'s Review M. N.
5 Stars

I was just recently here for a routine eye exam and also needed some new glasses. I just got new insurance through work and needed to find an office that...

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