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Flex Spending

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

What is a Flexible Spending Account?

Given the current trend toward expensive healthcare, the physicians at Beach Eye Medical Group in Orange County feel it is important for patients to be aware of the flexible spending account payment option. The major benefit of having a flex spending account, or FSA, set aside to pay medical expenses is that the cost of out-of-pocket healthcare expenses is tax-free. This means that you will save the money you would have spent on taxes when paying for co-payments, deductibles, certain prescription drugs, and various other medical costs through your FSA. In some way it is like having a discount on your healthcare bill.

Why Consider an FSA?

Flexible spending accounts were introduced by the federal government in the 1970s in response to a major increase in health expenses when employers started charging annual deductibles and co-insurance in the 60s. Since then, medical bills have gotten increasingly expensive. At Beach Eye Medical Group your FSA can be used to buy prescription glasses, sunglasses or contacts, and can be used toward the cost of your eye exam in either our Huntington Beach or Irvine office.

How Do They Work?

According to information provided by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which is published on, an FSA saves individuals about 30% of the cost of medical expenses. The premise is that the separate account allows an individual to set aside a sum of money (up to $2,6000 a year) specifically for health related expenses. The money is deducted from the employee’s paycheck and deposited into the special account before taxes are taken out. This money can be used for healthcare expenses for both the individual and his or her dependent.

Logistics of Your FSA

When settling a health expense you can either pay directly through a debit card linked to your FSA or submit receipts to receive reimbursement for the expenses. Participation does not automatically renew, so patients must re-apply each calendar year. In addition, though your individual benefits depend on the provider’s calendar year, most benefits expire on either March 31 or December 31 of a given year. Any remaining funds are lost after this date.

FSA for Prescription Glasses and Sunglasses

At Beach Eye Medical Group you can pay for your prescription glasses and sunglasses through your FSA. Like prescription glasses, prescription sunglasses are considered a legitimate medical device that qualifies them for purchase through an FSA.

If you’ve been putting off buying a new pair of glasses, now is the time to consider using your FSA tax-free funds for your purchase. Even if you have vision insurance, your FSA can provide a discount as you can pay for any remaining expenses outside your coverage limit through your FSA.

FSA for Prescription Contact Lenses

Your FSA can be used to purchase daily, weekly, or monthly disposable contact lenses so long as you hold a valid prescription. Your FSA can also be used to pay for extra expenses such as contact lens cleaning and storage. Usually, you will be asked to pay the cost of your contacts up-front and will be reimbursed up to the maximum payment allowed.

FSA for Eye Exams

You can use your FSA funds toward deductibles and co-pays for an eye exam at either of our Orange County locations. If you have vision insurance and your exam is already covered you can direct the FSA funds toward your co-pay.

Have more questions? Let our friendly staff help you determine if an FSA is right for you. Call us today at (714) 965-9696.

Sleep Apnea And Your Eyes

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Do you snore loudly, do you gasp for air, you make choking noises while you’re sleeping, what about headaches in the morning or dry mouth, are you irritable, do you have problems concentrating?

If this sounds like you or your partner, sleep apnea could be the problem. Is very common condition affecting one in four men and one in 10 women. it is also associated with many eye conditions.


As you probably know already your eye care professional could save your eyesight – that’s part of their everyday job. But I bet you didn’t know that they could also save your life. Recognizing eye conditions that may be associated with sleep apnea may help detect the disease early so it can be managed properly. Often this can be the difference between life and death for some people.

Comprehensive eye examinations can allow your optometrist or opthamologist detect a whole host of pathological conditions associated with your eyes. Even more importantly, however, they can refer you for diagnosis and management of potentially life-threatening conditions Such as heart disease and stroke which are associated with sleep apnea.

Tell your optometrist or opthamologist if you have a family history of OSA or if any of the following apply:

  • loud snoring
  • gasping or choking noises while sleeping
  • morning headaches, dry mouth or sore throat
  • irritability
  • tiredness, even in the mornings
  • concentration problems
  • falling asleep / feeling sleep while watching TV, driving, at work

Some people have other risk factors that make them more likely to suffer from OSA, including:

  • obesity
  • male gender
  • race (African-American, Pacific Islander, Asian, Hispanic)

What happens during sleep apnea?

Why are you sleeping the muscles in your tongue, soft palate, and other airways are supposed to remain active that way they will keep your Airways open. instead what happens is that these muscles relax during sleep apnea. Breathing in causes suction on the walls of the Airways which are pulled in which Narrows and obstructs the airway.

This obviously reduces oxygen to the lungs. The drop or up and down and oxygen levels cause a range of negative effects on your body and aids in serious diseases such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, stroke, dementia, diabetes and many others.


The following eye conditions are associated with sleep apnea. Diagnosis of one of these conditions may be the reason your optometrist refers you for further assessment or sleep studies:

Glaucoma: Some studies have shown a link between sleep apnea and glaucoma.

Central serous retinopathy: This is a retinal condition most often seen in steroid users or middle-aged men under stress. Fluid accumulates under the central retina (much like a wallpaper blister) and disrupts vision. OSA can raise stress hormones in the body and increase the risk of this condition. Sleep apnea treatment can speed your recovery.

Retinopathy: When your retina doesn’t get enough oxygen, blood vessels don’t function properly and leak fluid into the retina. This can clearly be seen during a comprehensive eye examination. This is more likely to occur if you already suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension) or diabetes. Your optometrist may see haemorrhages or ‘cotton wool spots’ when they examine the back of your eyes. These cotton wool spots usually signify retinal disease (e.g. from diabetes or hypertension) but sleep studies can reveal that they are caused by spikes in blood pressure due to OSA.
Papilloedema (optic nerve head swelling): This occurs due to increased pressure within your skull (intercranial hypertension). While rare, it’s most often seen in young women. Lack of oxygen during sleep can lead to dilated veins within the head, which increase pressure on the optic nerve from behind.

Floppy eyelid syndrome: This is where the eyelids are so lax that they can open or fold back during sleep. They can rub against pillows and bedding and become inflamed and sore. The sufferer doesn’t wake up from this sensation but has to deal with sore, inflamed eyes during the day. There is a STRONG association between this condition and sleep apnea.

Retinal vein occlusion is a serious eye condition where your retinal vein becomes blocked and leaks blood into the eye. It is known to be associated with OSA. Managing the sleep apnea can decrease the risk of further retinal vessel occlusions.

NAION: This is a sudden painless vision loss (when you wake up). It’s a rare but very serious eye condition caused by lack of oxygen to the retina. It is strongly associated with sleep apnea. Treating the OSA can help prevent NAION from occurring in your other eye.


Eye conditions associated with OSA can be individually managed by your eye-care practitioner. (E.g. topical treatment may help relieve symptoms of floppy eyelid syndrome).

Getting to the underlying problem, however, is essential to restore good general health. Sleep apnea is officially diagnosed by a medical doctor, who will assess how severe it is and what sort of treatment is required.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the gold standard treatment for OSA. It involves wearing a close-fitting mask over the mouth and / or nose during sleep. These use a pump to deliver oxygen under light pressure through the airways to the lungs. The pressure can be continuous or automatic (depending on your needs).


As above, your sleep apnea needs to be managed by your doctor (and not your Eye care professional).

Losing excessive weight has many health benefits – not just with OSA.
Giving up smoking and avoiding or reducing alcohol can also help.
Specially designed dental plates (worn during sleep) can improve airflow through the airways
Surgery (tonsil removal etc) is the most invasive option and not always a success.

Costume Contacts Do’s and Don’ts

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Costume Contacts
Whether as part of your Halloween costume, for a school play, work event, or “just because,” costume contacts are a fun way to enhance to your appearance. However, as with anything involving the delicate anatomy of the eye, you should always exercise care when using them. Though their self-application makes them easy and convenient, costume colored film contacts are foreign objects that are applied directly over the surface of the eye. As such, being aware of the hygiene and safety implications of costume contacts is imperative to their proper use.

The following is a short list of do’s and don’ts for costume contacts, put together by the dedicated physicians at Beach Eye Medical Group in Huntington Beach and Irvine, California.

  1. Have an eye exam before using costume contacts
    Having regular eye exams and check-ups should already be on your radar as an important component of maintaining good overall health. Scheduling an eye exam and consulting with a medical professional before using colored contacts can be the difference in avoiding serious and potentially irreversible damage to your eye.
  2. Do not attempt to use costume contacts without a prescription
    Obtaining a valid prescription for the exact costume contacts that work best for you will prevent you from getting a pair that is not suited for your lens measurements or eye shape. You also want to be sure that the costume contacts you use are designed to adapt to the moisture/dryness of your eyes. For example, you would not take thyroid medication without a prescription, so why take that risk when it comes to your eyes?
  3. Do not purchase costume contacts from a third-party seller
    Just like corrective lenses that require a prescription to correct vision problems, costume contacts are regulated by the FDA as medical devices. This means they should be exclusively purchased from a licensed professional. Though tempting, avoid buying costume lenses online, from a street vendor or beauty supply store, costume shop or Halloween store as chances are the quality of these lenses are not up to par with federal standards.
  4. Do not share your lenses with anyone else
    Regardless if your costume lenses are prescribed as daily or extended-use contacts, and even if you have 20/20 vision and the lenses have no bearing on your eyesight, never share your pair with someone else. If your costume lenses are designed for more than one use, always keep them in a sturdy case with separate pockets filled with clean contact solution in between uses.
  5. Do wash your hands before applying costume contacts (and when taking them out)
    In addition to all care instructions written on the packaging of your costume contacts, always be sure to wash your hands with soap and water before putting them in, and again before taking them out. Applying your lenses with clean hands prevents harmful bacteria from entering the eye and can reduce the chances of infection.

Have more questions? With two convenient locations, one in Huntington beach and another in Irvine, California, the expertly trained staff at Beach Eye Medical Group would love to meet with you to discuss using costume contacts on a more personalized level. Call us today at (714) 965- 9696 to schedule your consultation or to book a custom eye exam.

The Importance Of Sports Eye Safety

Saturday, September 29th, 2018

When we are playing sports we typically try to protect our legs, arms, fingers, and many other parts of our body from being harmed. While all of those parts of our body are definitely important, it’s even more important to make sure our eyes are protected. Many sports actually mandate the wearing of protective eye-wear, but even for those sports that don’t we should still recognize when and how we should be keeping our eyes safe. The Orange County eye-care specialists at Beach Eye have a few tips regarding sports and eye safety.

Why Does Protecting Your Eyes Even Matter?
One of the leading causes of children’s blindness is eye injuries. Most of these injuries are caused during sports. what makes it even more problematic, is that according to the National Eye Institute up to as many as 90% of sports-related eye injuries may have been prevented if the children were just wearing protective eye-wear. So let’s take a moment now to examine the different types of protective eye-wear there is for different sports.

Choosing The Right Sport Protective Eye-wear
Depending on the sport you’re playing, different protection may benefit your eyes. Certain sports don’t require eye protection, but it’s still a good idea to protect your eyes. High risk sports that require eye safety, include: archery, football, lacrosse, swimming, hiking, skiing and snowboarding. It’s easy to find specialized face masks and goggles that are meant to protect your eyes, along with other safety equipment designed to prevent eye-related injuries while having fun.

For popular sports such as basketball, baseball, biking and tennis, the best eye-wear option is polycarbonate goggles. These fit snugly over glasses and offer stronger protection than traditional plastic shades. This means they’re resistant to shattering when hit with blunt force, or sudden impact with foreign objects. Another key benefit to polycarbonate goggles is their ability to be matched with your prescription, so you don’t have to wear contacts or glasses along with safety goggles.

When it comes to water sports or surfing, traditional eye protection can become dangerous. An accidental elbow to the face, or a rough wave can shove a pair of goggles into the eyes and risk further damage. So, it’s probably much safer to opt for ergonomically designed swimming goggles if you participate in a water sport.

Beach Eye Will Help You Choose The Right Eye Protection!
If selecting the best type of eye gear for your favorite sport is confusing, come visit Beach Eye Medical Group, and our specialists will help you choose the best sports sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes from harsh ultraviolet rays. If you or your teammates happen to sustain an eye injury, it’s important to visit an eye doctor immediately for treatment, or a hospital if that isn’t an option.

We proudly serve patients seeking top-notch eye care in the Orange County area!

Enjoy the season!

What are correctable vision problems?

Monday, August 27th, 2018

Everyone wants perfect vision, don’t they? Wouldn’t it be great to just be able to see anything that you wanted without glasses or contact lenses? That would be awesome! Unlikely however since laser vision like Superman has only happens in the comic books. Not many people can see perfectly and just about all of us have at least one vision problem or another.

Our eyes are extremely complicated and even the smallest Distortion in the lens retina cornea or Iris May dramatically alter our vision. Thank goodness however through a comprehensive eye exam aided by a pair of prescribed corrective lenses and contact lenses. Here are a few vision related problems commonly corrected by our team of Orange County eye specialists:

Commonly Corrected with Prescription Contacts or Glasses

  • Presbyopia: A commonly experienced vision disorder, attributed to aging. Some people refer to presbyopia as the aging eye condition. This eye disorder interferes with the ability to focus closely on objects and is related to refraction in the eye.
  • Myopia: Also referred to as nearsightedness, myopia is another type of refractive vision error. Though objects up close may still appear clearly, myopia causes objects in the distance to appear blurry.
  • Astigmatism: Astigmatism is experienced by many patients. This type of refractive error interferes with the eye’s ability to disperse light onto the retina evenly, interfering with the light-sensitive tissue located toward the back of the eye.
  • Hyperopia: Most commonly referred to as farsightedness, hyperopia causes objects far away to be seen more clearly than that of those up close. This condition is unique, some patients may experience blurry vision at both close and far distances. Hyperopia is experienced differently by everyone and a proper diagnosis by a qualified eye doctor can lead to clearer vision.

Vision Problems That Need Additional Correction Stronger Than Prescription Lenses

  • Amblyopia: In circumstances where the eye and brain aren’t working in proper conjunction with each other, amblyopia occurs. This disorder doesn’t impact the visual aspects of the eye, but disrupts functional aspects. Amblyopia is also known as lazy eye.
  • Strabismus: Typically referred to as crossed eyes, strabismus causes the eyes to look different ways when focusing on an object. This condition can occur all the time, or temporarily and may lead to amblyopia (loss of depth perception) if experienced during childhood. If you begin experiencing stabrismus during adulthood, you could develop double vision.
  • Color Deficiency: Most people experience color in the same way, however a select percentage of the population are affected by a color vision deficiency. This means that their perception of colors varies from what other people see.
  • Nyctalopia: Commonly called night-blindness, nyctalopia interferes with the ability to see clearly in situations with low light. Its attributed to different eye diseases Night blindness may exist from birth, or be caused by injury or malnutrition (for example, vitamin A deficiency). It can be described as insufficient adaptation to darkness.
  • Photophobia: Photophobia is a symptom of abnormal intolerance to visual perception of light. An experience of discomfort or pain to the eyes due to light exposure or by presence of actual physical sensitivity of the eyes.

What You Can Do To Relieve Red, Irritated, Blurry Swimmers Eyes

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Many of us enjoy the fun Summer months, especially the opportunity to go swimming but all that swimming can also leave you with red blurry eyes. All you need to know are a few basic things like how the swimming pool water actually affects your eye’s health which could stop your irritated swimmer’s eyes from ever happening in the first place..

Ever wondered if either chlorine or saltwater is actually safer for your eyes?

Chlorine treated swimming pools are normally safe and free of bacteria. Organic matter is mixed with Chlorine and destroys unsafe bacteria. The major problem with chlorine however is that it creates compounds made up of harsh chemicals that can irritate your eyes and skin.

Saltwater works pretty much the same way to treat and sanitize pools. Salt keeps the pool clean rather than by actually breaking down into chlorine which is a byproduct of the salt. Very little amounts of chlorine are present in pools sanitized with saltwater.Generally saltwater pools are regarded as safer and more gentle to your skin and eyes.

Swimming in saltwater treated pools is a much more natural, safer effect on your skin, hair, and your eyes. Irritated eyes are typically reduced swimming in saltwater. Remember that pools treated with chlorine are safe but just may cause more irritation than in some people.

Is Swimming In Contacts Recommended?
Wearing goggles when wearing contact lenses is always recommended when swimming with your eyes open in pool water. Chlorinated water may damage your contact lenses. Chlorine may change the shape, rip, fold the contact lenses in your eye. It is also possible for the lenses to get flushed out of your eyes which making it not only difficult to see but costly as well. Bacteria may also contaminate your contact lenses which could cause eye infections as well.

What Causes Your Eyes To Turn Red?
When blood vessels at the surface of your eyes become enlarged and dilated red eyes will occur. Exposure to chemicals and other irritants could irritate your eyes. If you’re susceptible to getting red eyes from swimming, then goggles are always recommended to be worn while in the pool.

How Can You Get Relief For Your Red Swollen Eyes?
After spending the day at pool and your vision becomes foggy and blurry make sure and rinse out your eyes with a cool eye wash or even saline eye drops. Either of these remedies provide quick relief. Make sure to keep them with you on your trips to the pool or while enjoying the on in your backyard.

If your eyes are irritated, itchy and red even if you haven’t been swimming, you could have pink eye. Make sure to visit your eye care professional to see if your symptoms match those of the highly contagious infection.

The Danger of Fireworks and Your Eyes

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

The Danger Of Fireworks And Your Eyes

Did you know that over 10,000 fireworks related injuries happen each year. Many of these injuries result in eye damage, very often resulting in permanent vision damage!

Many people forget that fireworks are very dangerous, explosive devices, not some kind of child’s toy. Make sure you always follow safety precautions when using or around fireworks. it doesn’t matter if you’re attending a professional fireworks production or just using fireworks you bought at your local store in your backyard. Make sure that you are educating yourself about the different firework ordinances and restrictions in your town. These rules are put there to help keep you and your community safe. Also remember that any type of fireworks from and professional display 2 sparklers you bought at the store require careful attention to use them safely.

Follow These Simple Rules For Fireworks Safety

  1. Never leave children alone playing with fireworks. Ensure to always include responsible a adult to supervise.
  2. Respect safety barriers, whether you’re attending professional fireworks or using store bought fireworks.
  3. Familiarize yourself first with the fireworks, read every label and follow all manufacturer recommendations and safety warnings!
  4. Never relight a firework that did not explode the first time. Wait for 20 minutes and then soak the dud in a bucket of water.
  5. Always protect your eyes by wearing goggles!
  6. If any ash gets in your eyes, flush it out thoroughly with water and don’t rub.
  7. Keep in mind that regardless of the size, or fun factor, every type of firework has the potential to reach dangerously high temperatures. The level of heat maintained by a single firecracker easily surpasses 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot enough to liquidize certain metals, imagine the potential damage to your eyes!

Hopefully You Won’t Ever Need This, But Just In Case…
If you or someone you know encounters an eye injury as a result to fireworks, act fast: immediately travel to the emergency room, or call an ambulance. Refrain from touching the eye, attempting to remedy the situation yourself or consuming painkillers. Medical assistance is key to assessing damage and protecting your eyesight.

Show Your Eyes The Respect They Deserve
Don’t risk your eyesight this summer season by careless behavior with fireworks. By being cautious while having fun, you can prevent eye injuries and protect those around you. For additional questions regarding the safest way to enjoy fireworks, contact Beach Eye. We’re here to address all of your eyesight and health questions. Enjoy your summer safely!

Eye Allergy Diagnosis

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

If your eyes itch and are red, tearing or burning, you may have eye allergies (allergic conjunctivitis), a condition that affects millions of Americans. Many people will treat their nasal allergy symptoms but ignore their itchy, red, watery eyes.

Eye Allergy Diagnosis

Eye allergies stem from the body’s immune system becoming sensitized then overacting to something in the environment which usually does not cause a problem for most people. Allergic reactions are caused by the eyes coming in contact with antibodies which are attached to the mast cells found in your eyes. These cells respond by releasing histamines and other substances that cause the tiny blood vessels in your eyes to leak and become red, itchy, and watery.

Some symptoms are shared by allergies and some diseases of the eye, which makes diagnosing allergies accurately important. Eye allergy symptoms can range from Annoying redness to severe inflammation which may impair your vision. If symptoms persist or remedies sold over the counter do not provide relief you should see an eye doctor who will look at your past medical history and your specific symptoms to conduct tests which may reveal and eye allergy.

Tests may include an examination of your eye with the microscope which will show the blood vessels that have swollen on the surface of the eye. Additionally your doctor can test for particular white blood cells that show up in areas of the eye which have been affected by allergies. Your doctor will gently scrape the cojunctiva and see if those white blood cells are found.

Management and Treatment
Avoiding the allergens that trigger your symptoms should be the first approach in managing perennial or seasonal forms of eye allergies.

Outdoor exposure:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible when pollen counts are at their peak, usually during the midmorning and early evening, and when wind is blowing pollens around.
  • Avoid using window fans that can draw pollens and molds into the house.
  • Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to minimize the amount of pollen getting into your eyes.
  • Try not to rub your eyes, which will irritate them and could make your condition worse.

Indoor exposure:

  • Keep windows closed, and use air conditioning in your car and home. Air conditioning units should be kept clean.
  • Reduce exposure to dust mites, especially in the bedroom. Use “mite-proof” covers for pillows, comforters and duvets, and mattresses and box springs. Wash your bedding frequently, using hot water (at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • To limit exposure to mold, keep the humidity in your home low (between 30 and 50 percent) and clean your bathrooms, kitchen and basement regularly. Use a dehumidifier, especially in the basement and in other damp, humid places, and empty and clean it often. If mold is visible, clean it with detergent and a 5 percent bleach solution.
  • Clean floors with a damp rag or mop, rather than dry-dusting or sweeping.

Exposure to pets:

  • Wash your hands immediately after petting any animals. Wash your clothes after visiting friends with pets.
  • If you are allergic to a household pet, keep it out of your home as much as possible. If the pet must be inside, keep it out of the bedroom so you are not exposed to animal allergens while you sleep.
  • Close the air ducts to your bedroom if you have forced-air or central heating or cooling. Replace carpeting with hardwood, tile or linoleum, all of which are easier to keep dander-free.

Avoiding eye allergies isn’t always as easy as it seems. Our eyes’s allergies are often triggered by allergens which are airborne. Discussing your symptoms with an eye doctor will help determine which treatment options are right for you.

Over the counter non prescription eye drops are often used for short-term relief of symptoms. Often they will not relieve all your allergy symptoms and extended use of some of the OTC eye drops could actually cause your condition to get worse.

Oral medications and prescription eye drops are often used to treat eye allergies as well. These prescription eye drops give short and long-term relief of eye allergy symptoms. Your eye doctor can help determine which treatments are best for you.

Children may also be treated with prescription and over-the-counter eye drops and medications. Artificial tears can be used at any age and are safe as well. Antihistamines and Mast Cell stabilizers can be used in children 3 and older. But any treatment should be discussed with your eye doctor and child’s physician.

What is color blindness?

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

Most of the people in the world share a common color vision experience. However, some people are color vision deficient. This means they perceive colors differently from what most others see. The most severe form of this deficiency is referred to as color blindness. Color blind people are not aware of the difference between colors that are so simple and obvious to those who perceive colors normally. People who have less severe types of color blindness may not even notice that they have a condition unless a clinic or laboratory tests them.

Inherited color blindness is caused by abnormal photopigments. These color-detecting molecules are located in cone-shaped cells within the retina, called cone cells. In humans, several genes are needed for the body to make photopigments, and defects in these genes can lead to color blindness.

There are three main kinds of color blindness, based on photopigment defects in the three different kinds of cones that respond to blue, green, and red light. Red-green color blindness is the most common, followed by blue-yellow color blindness. A complete absence of color vision —total color blindness – is rare.

Sometimes color blindness can be caused by physical or chemical damage to the eye, the optic nerve, or parts of the brain that process color information. Color vision can also decline with age, most often because of cataract – a clouding and yellowing of the eye’s lens.

Who gets color blindness?

Colorblindness is much more common in men than in women. This is because the genes that are responsible for inherited color blindness are found on the X chromosome. Males only have one X chromosome, while females have two X chromosomes. In females, a functional gene on only one of the X chromosomes is enough to compensate for the loss on the other. This kind of inheritance pattern is called X-linked, and primarily affects males. Inherited color blindness can be present at birth, begin in childhood, or not appear until the adult years.

How do we see color?

The way we see color is determined by the way our eyes and our brain work together to perceive different properties of light.

Natural and artificial light is collectively viewed as being a white color, although it is actually a mixture of colors that,vary across the visual spectrum from deep blue to deep red. You can see this when rain separates sunlight into a rainbow or a glass prism separates white light into a multi-color band. The color of light is determined by its wavelength. Longer wavelength corresponds to red light and shorter wavelength corresponds to blue light.

Vision begins when light enters the eye and the cornea and lens focus it onto the retina, a thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye that contains millions of light-sensitive cells called photoreceptors. Some photoreceptors are shaped like rods and some are shaped like cones. In each eye there are many more rods than cones – approximately 120 million rods compared to only 6 million cones. Rods and cones both contain photopigment molecules that undergo a chemical change when they absorb light. This chemical change acts like an on-switch, triggering electrical signals that are then passed from the retina to the visual parts of the brain.

Rods and cones are different in how they respond to light. Rods are more responsive to dim light, which makes them useful for night vision. Cones are more responsive to bright light, such as in the daytime when light is plentiful.

Another important difference is that all rods contain only one photopigment, while cones contain one of three different photopigments. This makes cones sensitive to long (red), medium (green), or short (blue) wavelengths of light. The presence of three types of photopigments, each sensitive to a different part of the visual spectrum, is what gives us our rich color vision.

What are the different types of color blindness?

The most common types of color blindness are inherited. They are the result of defects in the genes that contain the instructions for making the photopigments found in cones. Some defects alter the photopigment’s sensitivity to color, for example, it might be slightly more sensitive to deeper red and less sensitive to green. Other defects can result in the total loss of a photopigment. Depending on the type of defect and the cone that is affected problems can arise with red, green, or blue color vision.

Red-Green Color Blindness
The most common types of hereditary color blindness are due to the loss or limited function of red cone (known as protan) or green cone (deutran) photopigments. This kind of color blindness is commonly referred to as red-green color blindness.

Protanomaly: In males with protanomaly, the red cone photopigment is abnormal. Red, orange, and yellow appear greener and colors are not as bright.
Protanopia: In males with protanopia, there are no working red cone cells. Red appears as black. Certain shades of orange, yellow, and green all appear as yellow.
Deuteranomaly: In males with deuteranomaly, the green cone photopigment is abnormal. Yellow and green appear redder and it is difficult to tell violet from blue
Deuteranopia: In males with deuteranopia, there are no working green cone cells. They tend to see reds as brownish-yellow and greens as beige.

Blue-Yellow Color Blindness
Blue-yellow color blindness is rarer than red-green color blindness. Blue-cone (tritan) photopigments are either missing or have limited function.

Tritanomaly: People with tritanomaly have functionally limited blue cone cells. Blue appears greener and it can be difficult to tell yellow and red from pink. Tritanomaly is extremely rare. It is an autosomal dominant disorder affecting males and females equally.
Tritanopia: People with tritanopia, also known as blue-yellow color blindness, lack blue cone cells. Blue appears green and yellow appears violet or light grey. Tritanopia is an extremely rare autosomal recessive disorder affecting males and females equally.

Complete color blindness
People with complete color blindness (monochromacy) don’t experience color at all and the clearness of their vision (visual acuity) may also be affected.

Cone monochromacy: This rare form of color blindness results from a failure of two of the three cone cell photopigments to work. There is red cone monochromacy, green cone monochromacy, and blue cone monochromacy. People with cone monochromacy have trouble distinguishing colors because the brain needs to compare the signals from different types of cones in order to see color. When only one type of cone works, this comparison isn’t possible. People with blue cone monochromacy, may also have reduced visual acuity, near-sightedness, and uncontrollable eye movements, a condition known as nystagmus. Cone monochromacy is an autosomal recessive disorder.
Rod monochromacy or achromatopsia: This type of monochromacy is rare and is the most severe form of color blindness. It is present at birth. None of the cone cells have functional photopigments. Lacking all cone vision, people with rod monochromacy see the world in black, white, and gray. And since rods respond to dim light, people with rod monochromacy tend to be photophobic – very uncomfortable in bright environments. They also experience nystagmus. Rod monochromacy is an autosomal recessive disorder.

How is color blindness diagnosed?

Color vision testing

Eye care professionals use a variety of tests to diagnose color blindness. These tests can quickly diagnose specific types of color blindness.

The Ishihara Color Test is the most common test for red-green color blindness. The test consists of a series of colored circles, called Ishihara plates, each of which contains a collection of dots in different colors and sizes. Within the circle are dots that form a shape clearly visible to those with normal color vision, but invisible or difficult to see for those with red-green color blindness.

The newer Cambridge Color Test uses a visual array similar to the Ishihara plates, except displayed on a computer monitor. The goal is to identify a C shape that is different in color from the background. The “C” is presented randomly in one of four orientations. When test-takers see the “C,” they are asked to press one of four keys that correspond to the orientation.

The anomaloscope uses a test in which two different light sources have to be matched in color. Looking through the eyepiece, the viewer sees a circle. The upper half is a yellow light that can be adjusted in brightness. The lower half is a combination of red and green lights that can be mixed in variable proportions. The viewer uses one knob to adjust the brightness of the top half, and another to adjust the color of the lower half. The goal is to make the upper and lower halves the same brightness and color.

The HRR Pseudoisochromatic Color Test is another red-green color blindness test that uses color plates to test for color blindness.

The Farnsworth-Munsell 100 Hue Test uses a set of blocks or pegs that are roughly the same color but in different hues (shades of the color). The goal is to arrange them in a line in order of hue. This test measures the ability to discriminate subtle color changes. It is used by industries that depend on the accurate color perception of its employees, such as graphic design, photography, and food quality inspection.

The Farnsworth Lantern Test is used by the U.S. military to determine the severity of color blindness. Those with mild forms pass the test and are allowed to serve in the armed forces.

Are there treatments for color blindness?
There is no cure for color blindness. However, people with red-green color blindness may be able to use a special set of lenses to help them perceive colors more accurately. These lenses can only be used outdoors under bright lighting conditions. Visual aids have also been developed to help people cope with color blindness. There are iPhone and iPad apps, for example, that help people with color blindness discriminate among colors. Some of these apps allow users to snap a photo and tap it anywhere on the image to see the color of that area. More sophisticated apps allow users to find out both color and shades of color. These kinds of apps can be helpful in selecting ripe fruits such as bananas, or finding complementary colors when picking out clothing.

Color blindness can go undetected for some time since children will often try to hide their disorder. It’s important to have children tested, particularly boys, if there is a family history of color blindness. Many school systems offer vision screening tests that include color blindness testing. Once a child is diagnosed, he or she can learn to ask for help with tasks that require color recognition.

Simple everyday tasks like cooking meat to the desired color or selecting ripe produce can be a challenge for adults. Children might find food without bright color as less appetizing. Traffic lights pose challenges, since they have to be read by the position of the light. Since most lights are vertical, with green on bottom and red on top, if a light is positioned horizontally, a color blind person has to do a quick mental rotation to read it. Reading maps or buying clothes that match colors can also be difficult. However, these are relatively minor inconveniences and most people with color blindness learn to adapt.

The Importance Of A Dilated Eye Exam

Monday, March 5th, 2018

You may think your eyes are healthy, but visiting Beach Eye Medical Group for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to really be sure. During the exam, each eye is closely inspected for signs of common vision problems and eye diseases, many of which have no early warning signs. It is generally recommended to start getting annual comprehensive dilated eye exams starting at age 60. For, African Americans, there is a higher risk of glaucoma and they are advised to start having comprehensive dilated eye exams starting at age 40. It’s also especially important for people with diabetes to have a comprehensive dilated exam at least once a year.

Key elements of a comprehensive dilated eye examination include dilation, tonometry, visual field test and a visual acuity test.

Dilation is an important part of a comprehensive eye exam because it enables our Physicians to view the inside of the eye. Drops placed in each eye widen the pupil, which is the opening in the center of the iris (the colored part of the eye). In the same way that opening a door allows for more light to enter a dark room, dilating the pupil allows for more light to enter the eye. A magnifying lens, that provides a clear view of important tissues a the back of the eye, including the retina, the macula and the optic nerve, is used to examine the eye once it is dilated.

In a person with diabetic retinopathy, the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in the United States, the exam may show swelling or leaking of blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive layers of tissue at the back of the eye. Our Physicians may also see abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina associated with diabetic retinopathy.

In age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common cause of vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 50, the exam may show yellow deposits called drusen or clumps of pigment beneath the retina. In some cases, the exam may also show abnormal growth of blood vessels beneath the retina. These AMD-related changes tend to cause deterioration of a small area of the retina called the macula, which is needed for sharp, central vision.

A comprehensive dilated eye exam is also critical for detecting glaucoma, a disease that damages the optic nerve, which carries information from the eyes to the brain. In a person with glaucoma, the dilated exam may show changes in the shape and color of the optic nerve fibers. The exam may also show excessive cupping of the optic disc, the place where the optic nerve fibers exit the eye and enter the brain.


Tonometry is a test that helps detect glaucoma. By directing a quick puff of air onto the eye, or gently applying a pressure-sensitive tip near or against the eye, Beach Eye’s Physicians can detect elevated eye pressure, which can be a risk factor for glaucoma. Numbing drops may be applied to your eye for this test.

A Visual field test measures your side (peripheral) vision. A loss of peripheral vision may be a sign of glaucoma.

A Visual acuity test will require you to read an eye chart, which allows us to gauge how well you see at various distances.

As part of a comprehensive eye examination, pupil dilation is very important at revealing the status of your optic nerve and retina, and is critical to preventing and treating eye conditions that could potentially lead to vision loss.