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Flexible Spending Accounts & Vision Benefits

Prescription Eyeglasses & Eye Exam at Browz Eyeware

Prescription Eyeglasses & Eye Exam at Browz Eyeware

Over 50% of consumers didn’t use their vision benefits last year! Make the most of your 2021 vision benefits by understanding what your Flexible Spending Account and Health Savings Account cover.

How Does FSA Work?

When you sign up for an FSA, money from each paycheck is automatically deposited into an account. An FSA provides you with tax-free dollars that can be used to pay for health care expenses, including eye care needs.

An FSA usually covers vision expenses like:

  • Copayments and deductibles (but not insurance premiums)
  • Routine eye exams
  • Contact lenses
  • Prescription sunglasses

But here’s the catch: You must use your FSA benefits or you’ll lose them since they don’t roll over to the next year, unless your employer offers a short grace period to use the previous year’s benefits. To take advantage of this valuable benefit, schedule your annual eye exam.

How Does HSA Work?

Depending on your insurance plan, your employer may offer an HSA instead of an FSA. An HSA, which also offers tax-saving benefits, is typically offered with high deductible insurance plans. The difference between your FSA and your HSA is that the money put into an HSA does not have a “use it or lose it” policy. It can be used the next year.

Like an FSA you can usually utilize your HSA dollars to purchase glasses and pay for other vision-related expenses like eye exams, prescription sunglasses, and contacts.

The Importance of Eye Exams

During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor can not only determine whether you need prescription glasses or contact lenses, but can also check for common eye conditions like glaucoma and cataracts.

Regularly scheduled eye exams keep you and your eye doctor up to date with changes in vision and general health as you age. During a typical eye exam, your eye doctor will perform a series of tests designed to catch eye conditions and diseases early, before they cause irreversible damage.

After the age of 40, the risk of eye diseases increases, making regular eye exams even more important. Early detection is key to preventing and detecting eye health problems.

Visit your Eye Doctor Today!

The importance of a yearly eye exam is not only about safeguarding your vision; it’s also about safeguarding your general health. By observing changes in your vision and the eye itself, your eye doctor can detect early warning signs of health issues such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure before serious symptoms may occur. Start the new year looking great with clear, healthy vision by using your FSA and HSA benefits Go ahead and schedule that exam with Browz Eyeware to keep your eyes healthy.

4 Ways To Help Your Students With Vision-Related Learning Difficulties

sad child 640An estimated 1.25 million children in North America are affected by some form of visual impairment that impacts their daily living. Ranging from nearsightedness to lazy eye to cross-eye, these visual problems can have a drastic impact on their performance in the classroom, which may lead them to lag behind their peers.

Fortunately, there are certain steps that educators can take to help their students with visual problems succeed. First, let’s explain the link between vision and learning.

Why are Visual Skills Necessary For Learning?

Because up to 80% of classroom learning is vision-based, it is no wonder that children with subpar visual skills may lag behind their peers academically.

We’re not referring to visual acuity, such as myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), but rather the visual skills that rely on brain-eye communication. Problems with these skills can only be detected during a functional visual exam.These vision skills include eye teaming, tracking, accommodation, and focusing, all of which are critical for proficient reading, writing, and reading comprehension.

Teachers of school-aged children with poor visual skills can implement certain strategies to accommodate and even improve students’ academic performance. Below we’ve listed a few suggestions.

How Educators Can Help Students With Vision-Related Learning Challenges

1. Consider Where Your Students Should Be Seated

Make sure your students are seated facing the whiteboard. They should not have to look over their shoulder or turn around to see what the teacher is writing on the board. Some classrooms have students seated at round tables, forcing some children to turn around to see the front of the classroom. While this type of seating arrangement has its benefits, it is not appropriate for children with visual impairments, as they may find it difficult to quickly shift their gaze.

2. Pay Attention to Their Visual Needs

Try to meet the students’ visual needs. For example, if a child is expected to wear glasses for certain tasks, make sure that the child follows through. If the child doesn’t comply, consider speaking with the child’s parents.

3. Optimize Classroom Lighting

If you know that a certain student has a visual problem, seat them so that they aren’t in direct sunlight or under a shadow. Natural lighting is preferred, but when this isn’t possible, tungsten light bulbs are generally favored by the eye over fluorescent lighting. Please note that any flickering light bulb should be changed without delay.

4. Choose a Teaching Method That Accommodates Their Vision

Below are steps you can take to help students with poor visual skills:

  • Use black or dark-colored markers on the whiteboard. Avoid bright colored markers like orange, red, and yellow.
  • While writing on the board, say the words/numbers aloud to assist those who may have difficulty reading or seeing the text.
  • Avoid using language that relies heavily on vision, such as “like this one” or “over there.”
  • Be patient when a student with subpar visual skills stares off into space or daydreams. This is often a symptom of visual dysfunction, rather than a lack of attention.

How We Can Help

At Vision Therapy Calgary , our goal is to help each child reach their full potential by strengthening any visual skill deficiencies.

We treat children with many types of visual dysfunctions, often using a specialized form of therapy called vision therapy. Vision therapy trains the eyes to focus better or work as a team (among many other visual skills) by strengthening the eye-brain connection.

To learn more or to ask any questions, contact Vision Therapy Calgary today.

Vision Therapy Calgary serves patients from Bridgeland, Macleod Trail, Panorama Hills, S. Trail Crossing, and throughout Alberta.

REFERENCES

 

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2 Ways Strong Peripheral Vision Can Help You Avoid Sports Injuries

football player 640Did you know that 80% of what the brain processes during a sports game comes via the eyes, and that much of that input is transmitted from our peripheral vision?

Peripheral vision, also known as peripheral awareness, enables us to detect and see things that aren’t right in front of us when we are looking straight ahead. Athletes with poor peripheral awareness may not realize that a player or ball is coming toward them from the side, putting them at higher risk of injury while playing sports.

One way to improve peripheral awareness is through sports vision training — a customized program that improves the communication between your eyes, brain, and body while playing sports — and beyond. These programs are offered by specific optometrists who are experienced in sports vision.

Why is Peripheral Vision Vital When Playing Sports?

Peripheral vision is an often overlooked aspect of sports performance. Without it, the athlete’s performance may not be optimal. Well developed peripheral vision is essential in sports like football, where the players need to be aware of the sudden movement on either side of them. When football players dash across the field, their peripheral vision helps guide their path.

Improving your peripheral vision can also help you avoid sports injuries. With improved peripheral vision, athletes may be able to avoid or brace themselves for a collision or detect a fast-moving object approaching from the side.. Additionally, sports vision training can help an athlete improve reaction time, hand-eye coordination, and processing speed.

Eye Exercises to Improve Peripheral Awareness

Here are 2 home-based eye exercises that may improve an athlete’s peripheral vision. Note: these are not a substitute for a comprehensive vision training program offered by sports vision optometrists.

  • Awareness Drill

One way to improve peripheral vision is to stop what you’re doing and focus on being aware of what is in your peripheral fields.

  • Stop and “be present”
  • Pick a target to look at anywhere from 3 to 10 feet away
  • While looking straight ahead, take note of what you can see around you – to your left and right, and up and down
  • Test yourself: Pick out specific details, then confirm by looking directly at the object.

The goal of this exercise is to stretch your vision farther and enhance your ability to focus on things on either side of you. It is an easy drill that can lead to a noticeable improvement in your peripheral awareness.

  • Wall Ball

This exercise requires just a wall and a ball, such as a tennis ball.

  • Find a spot on the wall to look at, just above eye level
  • Throw the ball against the wall, bouncing it from your left hand and catching it with your right hand and then back again
  • While you are throwing the ball, keep looking at the spot on the wall and not directly at the ball. Instead, use your peripheral vision to detect the ball’s flight and position in space

You will most likely drop the ball a few times while you get used to the exercise. It will take some practice to get your eyes to relax enough to be able to do this. Once you master one level, try to think of ways to challenge yourself by making this exercise more difficult. You should try doing this once a day, for 10-15 minutes.

Peripheral vision awareness is one of the visual skills most necessary for safety while playing sports. Having good peripheral vision awareness could keep you from getting hit by a frisbee at the park, or from taking a bad hit while on the court or field.

Taking the necessary steps to improve your peripheral awareness can not only improve your game but protect you from injury. Contact Dr. George Fung to find out more about vision therapy.

Vision Therapy Calgary serves patients from , Macleod Trail, Panorama Hills, and S. Trail Crossing, throughout Alberta.

SCRIPT

80 percent of what your brain processes in sports comes via your eyes. Being aware of your side vision, which is also called peripheral vision, is vitally important.

Athletes with poor peripheral vision awareness may react slower, which may put them at higher risk of injury, such as a concussion, while playing a contact sport.

Improve your peripheral vision with sports vision training, a program of visual exercises, to improve your peripheral awareness.

Peripheral vision awareness is one of the eye skills that is most necessary in sports for your safety.

Contact us today to find out more about sports vision therapy to improve your peripheral vision.

Book An Appointment
Call Us 587-317-9897

Mental Health and Your Vision

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the USA; in Canada, Mental Health week is May 6th to 12th. Since 1949, it has been observed throughout the United States as a way of drawing attention to the importance of proper mental health. This year’s theme is #4Mind4Body. The idea is that using elements around us, such as the people in our lives, faith, nature, and even pets, can strengthen wellness and overall mental health.

Did you know that your vision can affect your mental health? While things like stress, trauma, and family history are factors that impact mental health, vision can also impact it.

How Does Vision Affect Mental Health?

Certain types of eye diseases and visual impairments can lead to emotional problems like anxiety and depression. This is particularly common in cases of severe vision loss. Patients with glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy, for example, can experience mild to acute vision loss. This can make everyday activities like driving, running errands, watching TV, using a computer, or cooking, a difficult and painful experience. When this happens, it can cause a loss of independence, potentially leaving the person mentally and emotionally devastated.

Like most surgical procedures, LASIK corrective surgery is permanent and irreversible. Although it has very high success rates, LASIK has been considered the cause of depression and mental health issues in a few instances.

Kids’ Vision and Mental Health

Increased screen time among school-age children and teens has been shown to reduce emotional stability and cause repeated distractions and difficulty completing tasks, while also increasing the likelihood of developing nearsightedness.

Kids with visual problems often experience difficulty in school. If they can’t see the board clearly or constantly struggle with homework due to poor vision, they may act out their frustration or have trouble getting along with their peers.

Coping with Vision Problems

One of the most important ways to cope with visual problems is awareness. Simply paying attention to the signs and symptoms — whether the patient is an adult or a child — is a crucial first step. 

Family members, close friends, colleagues, parents, and teachers can all play an important role in detecting emotional suffering in those with visual difficulties. Pay attention to signs of changes in behavior, such as a loss of appetite, persistent exhaustion, or decreased interest in favorite activities.

Thankfully, many common vision problems are treatable. Things like double vision, hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), amblyopia (lazy eye), and post-concussion vision difficulties can be managed. Vision correction devices, therapeutic lenses, visual exercises, or special prism glasses may help provide the visual clarity you need. Your primary eye doctor can help and a vision therapist or low vision expert may make a significant impact on your quality of life.

How You Can Help

There are some things you can do on your own to raise awareness about good mental health:

Speak Up

Often, just talking about mental health struggles can be incredibly empowering. Ask for help from family and friends or find a local support group. Be open and honest about what you’re going through and talk with others who are going through the same thing. Remember: you’re not alone.

If you experience any type of sudden changes to your vision — even if it’s temporary — talk to your eye doctor. A delay in treatment may have more serious consequences, so speak up and don’t wait.

Get Social

Developing healthy personal relationships improves mental health. People with strong social connections are less likely to experience severe depression and may even live longer. Go out with friends, join a club, or consider volunteering.

Have an Animal

Having a pet has been shown to boost mental health and help combat feelings of loneliness. Guide dogs can be especially beneficial for people suffering from vision loss.

Use Visual Aids

If you or a loved one is experiencing mental health issues caused by vision loss, visual aids can help. Devices like magnifiers or telescopic lenses can enlarge text, images, and objects, so you can see them more clearly and in greater detail.

Kids can benefit from vision correction like glasses, contacts, or specialized lenses for more severe cases of refractive errors. Vision therapy may be an option, too. It is a customized program of exercises that can improve and strengthen visual functions.

Always talk to your eye doctor about any concerns, questions, or struggles. 

Thanks to programs like Mental Health Awareness Month, there is less of a stigma around mental health than just a few decades ago. Advancements in medical technologies and scientific research have led to innovative solutions for better vision care.

During this Mental Health Awareness Month, share your share your struggles, stories, and successes with others. Use the hashtag #Mind4Body and give your loved ones hope for a healthy and high quality of life.