About Cynthia Kiernan

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So far Cynthia Kiernan has created 311 blog entries.

Transitions Contact Lenses

Transition lenses in eyeglasses have been around for many years now. The mechanics behind transition lenses is that certain chemicals in the lens interact with UV light from the sun and turn the lenses dark when you go outside and back to clear when you go inside.

This is a great accompaniment to sunglasses, as it is not always convenient to be carrying around multiple pairs of glasses with you, especially when going from inside to outside frequently. However, there are some drawbacks to transitions, including the fact that they don’t get as dark as sunglasses, have some difficulty turning dark in the car, and have a tendency to keep a slight constant tint even in dark conditions.

Vistakon, the optical wing of Johnson & Johnson, came out with the first transition contact lens a few years ago.  They work well for some people, and don't seem to do a lot for others.

Just a couple personal thoughts: It can look a little strange, depending on the person and the eye color. The material itself turns […]

2023-01-31T05:00:00+00:00January 31st, 2023|Blog|

What You Should Know About MIGS (Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery)

For over 40 years the standard surgical treatment for glaucoma was a procedure called a trabeculectomy.

In a trabeculectomy, the ophthalmic surgeon would make a hole in the wall of eye to allow fluid from the inside of the eye to flow out of the eye and then get resorbed by the blood vessels in the conjunctiva (the mucous membrane that covers the white part of the eye).

This surgery often resulted in a large decrease in the Intraocular Pressure (IOP). Reducing the IOP is the goal of glaucoma surgery because multiple studies show that if you can reduce the pressure the progression of glaucoma slows.

The problem with trabeculectomy is that although it frequently lowers the pressure, it also has a fairly high complication and/or failure rate. This led to some reluctance to perform the procedure unless the glaucoma was severe, or the pressure was very high. As a result of those issues there has been a search during the last 40 years for something that had a lower complication rate and could be more […]

2023-01-24T05:00:00+00:00January 24th, 2023|Blog|

What Tests Might You Have During Your Eye Exam?

If it's been a while since your last eye exam–or if you've never had one done–it's always nice to know what testing you might have done and what issues the eye doctor looks for.  Here's the scoop on some common testing…

Visual Field

The visual field test is designed to check your peripheral vision, which isyour ability to see things where you are not directly looking.

When we test your vision on the basic eye chart, we are testing how well you see right in the center and it gives us no idea if you can see out away from the center. Your peripheral vision is very important because it gives you the ability to move around your environment without running into things.

There are several diseases that can severely impact your peripheral vision while leaving central vision unaffected. Some people can have perfectly normal 20/20 central visual acuity and have almost complete loss of their peripheral vision.

The main culprits that can have a big impact on your peripheral vision are glaucoma, some retinal diseases […]

2023-01-17T05:00:00+00:00January 17th, 2023|Blog|

Your Eyes + Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an infection that is caused by a spirochete (a type of microorganism) called Borrelia burgdorferi, and more rarely by Borrelia mayonii. It is transmitted to humans by the bite of a deer tick.

The disease has a strong geographical incidence, being highly concentrated in the Northeastern United States and also in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  However, the tick's habitat has been spreading rapidly, and it is always a good idea to be cautious and consult medical help if you think you might have been bitten by a tick that could possibly be infected.

Lyme disease was first recognizedin the area of Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975. It can start with a characteristic “bull’s eye” rash, in which there is a central spot that is surrounded by clear skin that is then ringed by an expanding rash. It can also appear just as an expanding rash.

This rash usually starts within days of the tick bite. Eye problems can occur along with this rash in the first phase of the disease. This […]

2023-01-10T05:00:00+00:00January 10th, 2023|Blog|

How We Test Your Eye Pressure

A common question asked during the eye exam is, “When is the puff coming?”  

Patients are referring to air-puff or non-contact tonometry. Tonometry is the procedure used to measure eye pressure, and this is important for diagnosing and monitoring glaucoma.

In non-contact tonometry, a puff of air is used to measure the pressure inside the eye.  The benefit of this test is there is no actual contact with the eye, but the air puff is sometimes very startling for patients. Some people hate that test and it isn’t the most accurate way to measure your eye pressure.

Some doctors don’t even use the air-puff test. Instead, they place a yellow drop that consists of a numbing medicine and then shine a blue light on the eye. This is done in front of the slit lamp and a small tip gently touches the eye to measure the eye pressure. This procedure is called Goldmann tonometry and is considered the gold standard for measuring eye pressure.  

Another method for checking eye pressure is the Tonopen. This […]

2023-01-04T05:00:00+00:00January 4th, 2023|Blog|

Why Do I Need an Eye Exam When I Can See Great?

We sometimes get asked, "Why do I need an eye exam when I can see great?"

An eye exam doesn't just check your visual acuity–we are also looking for a number of treatable eye diseases that have few or no visual symptoms in their early stages. In fact, the three leading causes of legal blindness in the United States all start with almost no visual symptoms detectable by the person wit the disease. The three diseases are macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Each of these diseases gets more prevalent as people age. That is why regular eye exams are recommended to become more frequent as adults get older.

Macular Degeneration: The leading cause of legal blindness in the United States is a treatable–but not curable–disease. Early detection and treatment can significantly improve the long-term outcome. In the earliest stages, often when people are unaware that they have a problem, treating the disease with a very specific vitamin regimen called AREDS 2 can help. These vitamins have been shown to slow the progression of the disease and […]

2022-12-27T05:00:00+00:00December 27th, 2022|Blog|

How to Give the Gift of Sight

An old Creek Indian proverb states, "We warm our hands by the fires we did not build, we drink the water from the wells we did not dig, we eat the fruit of the trees we did not plant, and we stand on the shoulders of giants who have gone before us."

In 1961, the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) was formed. This association stewards over 80 eye banks in the US with over 60,000 recipients each year of corneal tissue that restores sight to blind people. Over one million men, women, and children have had vision restored and pain relieved from eye injury or disease. The Eye Bank Association of America is truly a giant whom shoulders that we stand upon today. Their service and foresight into helping patients with blindness is remarkable.

It is important to give back the gift of sight. You may be asking, “how does this affect me?” On the back of your drivers license form there is a box that can be checked for being an organ donor. Many […]

2022-12-20T05:00:00+00:00December 20th, 2022|Blog|

Optical Jokes–Our Holiday Gift to You!

In light of the holiday season, here are our top 10 eye care jokes.

1) What do you call a blind deer? No Eye Deer!

2) What do you call a blind deer with no legs? Still No Eye Deer!

3) Why do eye doctors live long lives? Because they dilate!

4) Why did the blind man fall into the well? He couldn’t see that well.

5) Why shouldn’t you put avocados on your eyes? Because you might get guac-coma!

6) What did the right eye say to the left eye? "Between you and me, something smells."

7) A man goes to his eye doctor and tells the receptionist he’s seeing spots. The receptionist asks if he’s ever seen a doctor. The man replies, “No, just spots.”

8) How many eye doctors does it take to screw in a light bulb? One … or two

9) Unbeknownst to her, a woman was kicked out of peripheral vision club. She didn’t see that one coming!

10) What do you call a blind dinosaur? A do-you-think-he-saurus

Bonus: What […]

2022-12-13T05:00:00+00:00December 13th, 2022|Blog|

What Is a Punctal Plug?

Punctal plugs are something we use to help treat Dry Eye Syndrome.  

This syndrome is a multifactorial problem that comes from a generalized decrease in the amount and quality of the tears you make.  There is often both a lack of tear volume and inflammation in the tear glands, which interfere with tear production and also cause the quality of the tears to not be as good.

We make tears through two different mechanisms.  One is called a basal secretion of tears, meaning a constant low flow or production of tears to keep the eye moist and comfortable.  There is a second mechanism called reflexive tear production, which is a sudden flood of tears caused by the excitation of nerves on the eye surface when they detect inflammatory conditions or foreign body sensations. It is a useful reflexive nerve loop that helps wash out any foreign body or toxic substance you might get in the eye by flooding the eye with tears.  Consider what happens when you get suntan lotion in your eye.  The nerves […]

2022-12-06T05:00:00+00:00December 6th, 2022|Blog|

These weird spots and jagged lines are scaring me!

Have you ever seen a temporary black spot in your vision? How about jagged white lines? Something that looks like heat waves shimmering in your peripheral vision?

If you have, you may have been experiencing what is known as an ocular migraine. Ocular migraines occur when blood vessels spasm in the visual center of the brain (the occipital lobe) or the retina.

They can take on several different symptoms but typically last from a few minutes to an hour. They can take on either positive or negative visual symptoms, meaning they can produce what looks like a black blocked-out area in your vision (negative symptom), or they can produce visual symptoms that you see but know aren’t really there, like heat waves or jagged white lines that look almost like lightning streaks (positive symptoms).

Some people do get a headache after the visual symptoms but most do not. They get the visual symptoms, which resolve on their own in under an hour, and then generally just feel slightly out of sorts after the episode but don’t […]

2022-11-29T05:00:00+00:00November 29th, 2022|Blog|