What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases in which the pressure inside the eye may or may not be elevated. If untreated, vision loss or blindness may occur.

glaucoma prevention

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month
Unfortunately, the most common type of glaucoma – open angle, causes no symptoms. Vision doesn’t change, and there is no pain. However, as the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma may notice his or her side vision gradually failing. That is, objects in front may still be seen clearly, but objects to the side may be missed. As the disease worsens, the field of vision narrows and blindness results.
Studies have shown that early detection and treatment of glaucoma, before it causes major vision loss, is the best way to control the disease. So, if you fall into one of the high-risk groups for the disease, make sure to have your eyes examined annually. Individuals at high risk for glaucoma include African Americans over the age of 40, everyone over 60 and people with a family history of glaucoma.

There isn’t a single test to diagnose glaucoma. Drs. Griffith and Staton examine the appearance of the optic nerve, the intra-ocular pressure and visual field results. Further testing such as measurement of the corneal thickness (pachymetry), examination of the anterior chamber and measurement of the  integrity of the nerve fiber layer can be helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma.

Schedule your appointment.


New Generation Transition Lenses

Transitions 2014

Tuesday night we left the office a little early to attend a seminar on the newest Transition Lenses. Most people are familiar with spectacle lenses that get dark when you go outdoors, and lighten again when inside.
This newest generation Transition Signature VII lens with Chromea7 technology was created with the user in mind. The Chromea 7 molecule is more reactive to ultraviolet in more situations. It gets darker on hot days, under a tree and facing away from the sun. The new Transition 7 also fades back to clear 20% faster.

Like all products in the Transition Adaptive lens family (XTRActive and Vantage) the Transition VII blocks 100% UVa and UVb. All the adaptive lenses help eyes adjust to changing light levels, providing more comfortable vision.

If it has been years since you’ve tried the transition lenses, it may be time to try them again. This isn’t the same lens your grandfather wore.


Spring Trunk Show

kate spade glasses


Westside Optometry invites you, your friends and family

to our Spring Eyewear Event

Saturday March 8th

10:00 – 2:00

gucci 2014

We will be hosting  Gucci men and women’s designer frames


the fun, colorful Kate Spade collection

For more details click here or call (707)762-8643







January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

There are no symptoms for glaucoma. Vision stays normal and there is no pain. However, as the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma may notice a decrease in his or her side vision. Once vision is lost to glaucoma, it can’t be restored. That is why it is important to have regular eye examinations with pupil dilation.
Measurement of the “eye pressure” is just one factor in determining glaucoma. In fact, it is the damage to the optic nerve that confirms the diagnosis of glaucoma. The optic nerve is examined by dilating the pupil to view it with stereopsis (with depth). The dilation also allows better, clearer fundus (back of the eye) pictures to be taken for year-to-year comparison.


Visual field testing measures the nerve fiber layer in the eye and can detect loss of important nerve tissue before optic nerve changes occur.

Studies have shown that early detection and treatment of glaucoma is the best way to control the disease. To learn more about glaucoma and how it is treated, click here.



2014 Eye Resolutions

Your vision and eye health  are important every day of the year. Make changes now for a lifetime of good vision.

Eat Smart. Diet and nutritional supplements go a long way in promoting eye health. Studies show a diet rich in fruits, leafy vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids may reduce your risk of eye problems like macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome.

Get Moving. Research has shown higher levels of physical exercise can reduce certain risk factors for glaucoma, as well as macular degeneration. iStock_000023582367Small
Quit smoking. Put simply, smoking harms your vision. Studies show smoking dramatically increases the likelihood of developing cataracts, macular degeneration,uveitis and diabetic retinopathy.
Wear Sunglasses. Protect your eyes from the sun (and make sure your kids do, too). Always wear sunglasses with UV protection when outdoors — no matter what time of year — to shield your eyes from UV rays. This may reduce your risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.
Start using safety eyewear for lawn-mowing, home repairs and other chores. Experts say 90 percent of eye injuries requiring a visit to the emergency room can be prevented with proper safety eyewear.

Properly Care for your Contact Lenses. Dirty contact lenses, even if they are not uncomfortable, can cause serious eye infections. Clean your contact lenses and contact lens case properly, and always replace your contacts as recommended.
Reduce Computer Eye Strain. Rest your eyes from computer work every 20 minutes to relieve computer vision syndrome and avoid dry, red eyes. Also, ask Dr. Griffith or Staton about stress-relieving computer glasses.
Improve Your Vision. If you’ve been putting up with contact lens discomfort, dry eyes, eye allergies or blurry vision, talk to us about changes you can make to improve or eliminate these problems.

Upgrade your contact lenses. Contact lenses come in a wide variety of materials, replacement schedules and wearing times — not to mention the array of color contact lenses and special effect contacts available. With the advancement in contact lens technology, there’s sure to be a type of contact lens that suits your individual requirements and lifestyle.

Improve Your Appearance. Upgrade your eyewear. Get with the times and refresh your look, as well as take advantage of the latest in lens and frame technologies. Try eyeglass lens coatings. Various lens coatings keep your field of view clear by reducing reflections, fogging and scratches. And eliminate glare during outdoor activities with polarized sunglasses. If you have a strong prescription, try high index eyeglass lenses. High index lenses provide the same optical power as regular ones, but are thinner and lighter.

Considering LASIK? If you’re tired of wearing glasses or contacts, ask your us if you are a good candidate for LASIK or other vision correction surgery.

Schedule an Eye Exam for everyone in your family. Kids and seniors, especially, should have comprehensive annual eye exams to monitor vision changes. Also, have your family doctor screen you for diabetes and hypertension — if left untreated, these diseases can lead to serious eye problems. (707)762-8643.


Winter Eyes

Winter winds and moisture zapping heaters can cause dry, red and irritated eyes.
Tears are essential for good eye health and clear vision. They bathe the eye, washing out dust and debris, and keep the surface moist and clear. The natural tear film also contains enzymes that neutralize microorganisms, reducing the risk of eye infections.
Tear FilmThe most common signs and symptoms of dry eyes are persistent dryness and irritation, scratchiness, a burning feeling in your eyes and red eyes. Oddly enough, dry eye syndrome also can make your eyes watery, as dryness can cause a protective overproduction of the watery component of your tears.

How to prevent dry eyes in winter

Cold winter wind outdoors and dry heat indoors can cause or worsen dry eyes. Follow these tips to keep dry eyes at bay.

  • Wear sunglasses or goggles. Wearing close-fitting sunglasses outdoors reduces exposure to sun and wind that can dry out your eyes. If it’s especially cold and windy, try foam-lined goggles that provide even greater protection from tear evaporation.
  • Supplement your diet. Fish oil and other nutritional supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent or relieve dry eye symptoms.
  • Drink more water. Mild dehydration often makes dry eyes worse, especially during dry and windy weather.
  • Switch contact lenses. If your contact lenses feel dry and uncomfortable, ask me about trying different lenses that are replaced more frequently and/or are better for someone with dry eyes.

Dry eyes may not be completely curable in certain cases, but the unpleasant Oasis Tearsdryness, scratchiness and burning sensation can be managed. We are carrying a new artificial tear called Oasis that contains long-molecule hyaluronic acid which keeps the moisture on the eye longer. Click here to read more about dry eye syndrome.


Prevent Toy Related Eye Injuries

I borrowed the contents of this article from All About Vision.

Eye Safety during the Holidays

5 Toys to Avoid

  • “Fishing” Games. The end of a toy fishing pole or objects secured to the end of the fishing line can easily end up in a playmate’s eye.
  • Guns that shoot ANYTHING. You might think toy guns that shoot lightweight cushy foam balls or rubber bands pose little or no risk, but even these projectiles move at speeds fast enough to cause an eye abrasion.
  • Toy wand, swords or sabers of any kind. There’s really no need to explain why these are a bad idea, right?
  • Water balloon launchers and water guns. Water balloons can cause serious blunt trauma to the eye and permanent vision loss. Even toy guns that shoot a stream of water can cause serious eye damage.
  • Oversized foam hands and fists. Fashioned to simulate cartoon characters like the Incredible Hulk, these toys are an eye injury waiting to happen – for anyone nearby!

It’s usually best to shop for children’t toys in a store rather than online, so you can see the toy’s features up close to help you decide if it’s safe enough for a young child.

And don’t rely on age recommendations printed on the packaging. Manufacturers don’t always use common sense when they decide what’s suitable for young children.



Most astigmatism is caused by the shape of the cornea. The cornea is the outer most surface of the eye. It is the clear structure that first bends light (refracts). Instead of being spherical with a single curvature, it has two curvatures that result in the light focusing in two different locations within the eye. Ideally, the light focuses at one point on the retina. (emmetropia). If the eye is myopic (nearsighted) the light focuses in front of the retina. If the eye is hyperopic, far-sighted, the light focuses behind the retina. If the eye is astigmatic, the light focuses in two different places, one focus can be on the retina and one in front of or behind the retina.

Astigmatism is not a disease, it is a refractive condition. A common example optometrists use to describe astigmatism is the difference between a basketball and a football. A basketball is round, and has only one curve for the entire ball. You can think of that curve as a lens power. A football on the other hand has two curves. This is like an eye that has two powers or an astigmatism.

Like other refractive errors, astigmatism can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery.




Jury Duty


jury duty

I am doing my civic duty and serving on a jury. Of course I can tell you nothing about the case, except that I will probably be out of the office for 6 days. The court is not in session on Mondays, so I will be in the office seeing patients on November 18th and 25th. Dr. Staton has graciously adjusted her life and schedule to cover for me. She will be doing eye exams and available for emergencies through November 27th, the day the case should be settled. The office is open regular hours for exams, glasses and contact lenses.

I thank you for your patience, this has really tried mine.



Juror 218


Diabetic Awareness Month

If you have diabetes, it requires attention every day of the year, not just the month of November. But I am going to take advantage of Diabetes Awareness Month to remind you that your eyes are important and can be significantly impacted by diabetes.
First and most important, keep your blood sugar levels under tight control. In the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, people on standard diabetes treatment developed retinopathy four times as often as people who kept their blood sugar levels close to normal. In people who already have retinopathy, the condition progressed in the tight-control group only half as often.

Diabetic Retinopathy

These impressive results show that you have a lot of control over what happens to your eyes. Also, high blood sugar levels may make your vision temporarily blurry.

Second, keep blood pressure under control. High blood pressure can make eye problems worse.

Third, quit smoking.

Fourth, see your optometrist at least once a year for a dilated eye exam. Having your regular doctor look at your eyes is not enough.

Fifth, see your optometrist if:

your vision becomes blurry
you have trouble reading signs or books
you see double
one or both of your eyes hurt
your eyes get red and stay that way
you feel pressure in your eye
you see spots or floaters
straight lines do not look straight
you can’t see things to the side as you used to

Don’t procrastinate. If you have diabetes and haven’t had a dilated eye exam in the last 12 months, schedule an eye exam now.