It is hard to believe that getting our kids ready to go back to school is something we have to think about in mid-July. However, as school calendars have changed, parents have to plan earlier and earlier for the new school year.
Part I of this blog introduced vocabulary for the various types and severities of hereditary color deficiencies. Part II explains how, for the first time ever, we can help color deficient patients distinguish colors. Disclaimer: lots of doctor terminology ahead (but there’s no other way to explain it). If you only want to know how you can try out the extraordinary new color vision lens called EnChroma, available exclusively at Brookside Optometric Group, skip to the last 2 paragraphs below.
I am excited to try a newly released photochromatic lens. The SunSync Drive XT is a photochromatic lens that responds to ultraviolet light and also to visible light. The big advantage to responding to visible light is that it will get dark in the car while traditional photochromatic lenses will not. Thus to simplify, the brighter it is, the darker it will get.
The two areas of practice that I especially enjoy are pediatric eye exams and specialty contact lens fittings for patients who have limited vision even with glasses.
As an eye doctor, you realize that children with uncorrected vision conditions perform poorly in academics. What surprised me was how many children who are underperforming in school have underlying vision problems! These could be easily diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam by your optometrist. Working with young kids has the potential to change their academic potential and much more.
Want to track your daily activity and give back to those in need simply by wearing your glasses? Now you can do both with Level smart glasses.
Designed in the U.S. and handcrafted in Italy, the smart glasses are a perfect mix of style and function. Built-in activity-tracking technology logs your daily activity, step count, calories burned, and more. View your activity throughout the day on your phone—the glasses sync wirelessly with the Level mobile app, and if you ever misplace your glasses, you can easily track them down using the app.
People are very protective of their eyes. I notice this all the time in doing an eye exam in that people are tentative when you bring objects close to them. So it boggles my mind that people are so nonchalant when it comes to eye safety when they are outside of my office.
Brookside Optometric Group recently acquired a new scanning device to increase the effectiveness of our care for our patients. The Oculus Pentacam is an amazing device that can measure the parameters of every anatomical structure in the eye up to the retina. Combining this device with our Optical Coherence Tomagrapher (OCT)—which analyzes the individual cellular levels of the retina—we now have the ability to determine the root cause of all visual problems that are anatomically linked within the eye.
February is designated as National Low Vision Awareness Month. Low vision is the term used to describe the visual performance of eyes impacted by any condition that renders a person’s visual acuity to 20/70 or poorer in the better-seeing eye and cannot be corrected or improved with regular eyeglasses. Most people know this term as being “legally blind”.
In the summer between 6th and 7th grade, my parents enrolled me in a summer school class where I was bored to tears. My mother suggested that I help the teacher, who was my 6th grade teacher, with some of the students in the class instead of being bored. That was the start of my life long involvement with volunteerism and community service.
After 20 years, it’s fun to reminisce about how and why the partners came together as Brookside Optometric Group. Professionals practicing in the same city get to know their colleagues, but several of us had pre-existing relationships. Since many of us have served on the faculty at the University of California, there were teacher-student relationships. For example, Drs. Hisaka, Prima and Demshar instructed me and I, in turn, instructed Dr. Vanover. Going back even further, Dr. Hisaka was Dr. Fujii’s Sunday school teacher!
As a tester at Brookside Optometric Group, Bryce conducts a few simple tests on patients to produce a picture of their eye health before they meet with their optometrist as part of a complete vision analysis. He enjoys interacting with Brookside doctors, staff and patients, solving problems, and helping people in any way that he can.
Refractive surgery to help rid people of the need for glasses is one of eye care’s most rapidly changing specialties. It has evolved from the early days of incision RK surgery to the advent of laser procedures and corneal implantation surgeries.
Pat manages the in-house finishing lab at Brookside Optometric Group. As bench optician, he produces prescription eyewear for patients, solves problems with difficult prescriptions, and assists the retail staff.
Brookside’s optical lab is the only lab in the state that can complete 99% of the work in-house. The optical lab is able to handle complicated prescriptions that other labs aren’t qualified to handle, and can often make glasses overnight, or even while patients wait in emergency situations.
My wife and I came to Stockton in 1982 when Dr Hisaka and Dr Prima asked us to become partners in their practice. We moved here with all of our belongings in the back of an open-air truck along with our hopes and dreams of starting our professional life together.
We quickly learned what extraordinary people lived in Stockton. Our practice quickly grew and Stockton became home to us. One value we were both raised with is that it is important to give back whenever and wherever you can.
One out of 10 adults over the age of 20 has been diagnosed with diabetes. Many adults can suffer from the effects of sugar fluctuations on their eye health. Diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of blindness in adults over 20 years old in the United States.
The three most common effects of diabetes on the eye are diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels in the back of the eye swell and leak fluid. This excess fluid causes vision loss. Cataracts (a clouding of the lens) can have an earlier onset in patients with diabetes. Glaucoma (an increase in the fluid pressure of the eye) can lead to optic nerve damage and consequently permanent vision loss. Diabetics are twice as likely to develop glaucoma as non-diabetics.
October is no longer just an orange and black month in the spirit of Halloween. October is also a pink month—October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. October is the month when major campaigns to promote early detection of breast cancer with screening mammograms and monthly self-breast exams and fundraising campaigns to fund breast cancer research occur.
As a pre-tester at Brookside Optometric Group, Marie conducts pretest procedures on patients before they meet with their optometrist as part of a comprehensive eye exam. She also helps opticians dispense new glasses, and makes adjustments and repairs to ensure that every patient has comfortable, clear vision.
Her favorite aspect of the job is interacting with patients and assisting Brookside doctors as they evaluate patient eye health and vision quality. She loves to help patients find new glasses that they are excited about wearing, and she enjoys working for a great group of doctors who go above and beyond for their patients and their employees.
People say that the eyes are the windows to the soul yet they are actually a window to your health. Many people are unaware how many health issues can be detected or diagnosed in an eye exam.
The eye has two unique properties. The first is that the tissue on the back of the eye, the retina, is the only place in the body where blood vessels can be seen without any obstruction of other tissue. By examining the appearance of these blood vessels, your optometrist can see damage from systemic disease happening to the eye and if it is happening to the eye then it is also happening to the blood vessels throughout the body.
A solar eclipse is a phenomenal spectacle that everyone should make the effort to see, and the eclipse of August 21, 2017 promises to be one of the most amazing of our lifetieme. Your mother's (and your optometrist's) advice about not looking directly at the sun still applies. Here are some tips that you should keep in mind. You can get more information about safely viewing the eclipse from NASA.
Heather is a pre-tester at Brookside Optometric Group, and greets and conducts pretest procedures on each patient before they meet with their optometrist as part of a complete vision analysis. She also dispenses and adjusts new glasses, and helps keep the practice clean, organized, and running efficiently.
Her favorite aspect of the job is working closely with Brookside doctors to help them evaluate patient eye health and vision quality. The most meaningful aspect of her work at Brookside is the opportunity to help each patient get the necessary tests and photos of their eyes in order to assess that their eye health is optimal.
Many people take their contact lenses for granted. Taking unnecessary risks with your contact lenses is like texting and driving: It is an accident waiting to happen. Even people who have been fit properly and do everything right have run into problems. Here are a few key points for you to remember when using contact lenses.
It’s hard to believe that here, in the peak of summer, some school districts will be resuming classes in July, and the rest will go back to school in August. For many students, there may be almost as much demand on their vision when they are off during the summer. With summer preparation requirements for AP and Honors Classes, possibly increased periods of intense video-gaming, or even more extreme summer exposure to sun, wind, and sports—a student’s eyes get a work-out all year long!
Honey is an optician at Brookside Optometric Group, and works with patients to help them select frames and educates them about their options for lenses and premium lens coatings. She enjoys meeting new patients and helping them look their best with glasses that provide comfortable vision and fit their personal style.
She also trains patients how to insert, remove, and care for their contact lenses, and she likes the process of helping patients wear contacts for the first time. The most meaningful part of her job is when patients come in to the office to pick up their new glasses, and are pleased with both their crystal clear vision and the look of their glasses.
As an optician at Brookside Optometric Group, Monica works closely with patients. During a typical day at the office, she helps patients pick out new frames based on their vision needs and style preferences, educates patients about their lenses, adjusts glasses to ensure a good fit, and assists with eyeglass repair and cleaning. She also works in the specialty testing area, using the Optomap Retinal Scanner and other equipment to maximize the examination experience for patients.
Now, more than ever before, there are greater numbers of children with special needs and challenges in the classroom. Many of these children, particularly those with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and high functioning autism (Asperger’s), have average and often above-average intelligence. But regardless of their IQs, they often struggle in school because their brains process information differently than others. Given that more than 25% of the brain is devoted to processing vision, it is not surprising that visual processing issues are often among the processing differences of the special needs child. Failing to address these visual processing issues makes the child’s learning experience more difficult than it needs to be. Sometimes it may be a combination of both visual processing and visual function (seeing, focusing, tracking, eye coordination) that is contributing to your child’s difficulty. The optometrist can help to identify what is the appropriate intervention, including treatment, therapy, and/or coordination of care with other professionals such as speech and language therapists, reading specialists and programs, neuropsychologists, behavioral therapists, specialized tutors and others.
As assistant lab manager at Brookside Optometric Group, Pheth ensures that all patients experience great customer service when they visit the office. Her role includes helping patients pick out new frames and adjusting glasses for relaxed vision and greater wearing comfort. She ensures that every patient is happy with their glasses, and loves to see them smile when they try on the perfect pair.
In addition to meeting the needs of patients, she also assists doctors and other staff members—she appreciates the opportunity to expand and develop her skills, and finds positive solutions when faced with challenges. Prior to joining the team at Brookside, she worked at National Vision Inc.
Dr. Rosemary Melrose is an optometrist and partner at Brookside Optometric Group. Known around the office as Dr. Rosie, she has practiced optometry with her husband, Dr. Bob Melrose, since 1982. The most rewarding aspect of her job is the opportunity to educate patients about their eyes and vision so that they can make the best possible choices for their overall health.
During a typical day at the office, she enjoys seeing a variety of patients of all ages and different cultures, and learning from their unique life experiences. Dr. Rosie strives to create an atmosphere of trust when caring for her patients and is committed to their best interest, whether that means treating their vision problems herself, or referring them to a specialist.
As a receptionist at Brookside Optometric Group, Alicia is one of the first staff members that patients interact with when they call the office or come in for an appointment. She responds to the needs of patients, multitasks efficiently, and coordinates and communicates with doctors and other staff members to ensure that every patient visit is a great experience.
During a typical day at the office, Alicia greets patients, answers phone calls, schedules appointments, and maintains charts. She enjoys the busy and fast-paced environment, and her favorite aspect of the job is the opportunity to work with patients and staff while continuing to develop her skills by learning new departments.
Dr. Bob Melrose served on the Board of Directors of Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired for several years. It was there he met and became friends with Joni Bauer, M.S., COMS, who has served as the Center’s Orientation & Mobility Specialist/Independent Living Skills Instructor for 40 years.
February is Low Vision Month, so Dr. Bob sat down with Joni for a discussion regarding the ways Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired serves residents of San Joaquin County who are visually impaired.
Dr. Bob: Joni, sometimes I think your organization is the best-kept secret in San Joaquin County. Could you please explain your organization’s mission and services?
Dr. Richard Vanover is an optometrist at Brookside Optometric Group. The most rewarding aspect of his job is the opportunity to explain a process or condition to a patient in a way that brings them greater clarity and understanding of the situation. One meaningful experience at the office was when he met a patient who came in for an exam solely because she wanted a new pair of glasses. She was in good health, yet during the exam, Dr. Vanover discovered something concerning in her eyes. He used the Optomap retinal scanner to show her the findings, and referred her back to her primary physician for further evaluation.
As I examine patients and ask about eye disease in their family, nearly everyone has heard of glaucoma and cataracts (although only occasional patients can remember which is which!). Relatively few patients are familiar with Macular Degeneration, also known as Age-Related Maculopathy (ARM), even though it is far more devastating to their loved one’s vision. Remarkably, ARM is the leading cause of permanent vision loss in Americans over 65 years old, and affects 2 million people.
First, a little anatomy lesson to help you understand ARM: the macula is the portion of the retina we use for all our detail vision. Whenever you look directly at something, you are using your macula to see it. For still unknown reasons, in some older folks, the vision-sensing cells in the macula selectively get destroyed. The cells can either atrophy (or degenerate), called “dry” ARM, which makes up 80% of cases, or they can become scarred, called “wet” ARM, which makes up the remaining 20% of cases.
Dr. Vikram Girn is an optometrist at Brookside Optometric Group. He enjoys working with patients to help improve their vision and comfort, from helping a patient who thought they would never be glasses-free to finally see with LASIK or multifocal soft contact lenses, to fitting a patient with workstation-glasses to help them work comfortably behind a computer screen all day long. The most rewarding aspect of his job is the opportunity to see his patients thrive.
While each day at the office is unique, Dr. Girn typically has a combination of complete eye health evaluations, custom contact lens fittings, and examinations to treat and manage dry eyes, glaucoma, and various eye infections. He enjoys meeting a variety of patients, from toddlers to seniors, and everyone in between. He also works part time at Central Valley Eye Medical Group in Stockton.
Iris joined the Brookside Optometric Group family in 2015. As part of the enrollment department, she assists with scheduling, prepping, and organizing. She enjoys being part of a team that works together to create the best possible experience for patients, and her favorite aspect of the job is working alongside a great group of doctors and staff members who support one another and care for each other.
One especially meaningful day at work was when a patient complained about double vision. Iris referred the patient to one of the optometrists who specializes in double vision conditions and treatments. The patient was extremely relieved after that visit, and Iris appreciated the opportunity to help them address their vision needs. Her experience working at Brookside is one she will carry with her for the rest of her life, and she is thankful to be part of the team.
As front desk manager at Brookside Optometric Group, JoAnn is one of the first people that patients meet when they visit the office. She oversees appointment scheduling for all of the optometrists, handles supply orders and recall notices, and manages staff as they check, pull, and prep patient charts.
Her favorite aspect of the job is creating a welcoming environment for patients. When patients come in to the office to pick up their new glasses, she loves to see their smiles as they experience restored vision. As part of the Brookside team for 13 years, JoAnn appreciates working in a family-oriented environment filled with caring and compassionate doctors and staff.
As we’ve kicked off this New Year feeling refreshed and looking forward to carrying out our many New Year’s resolutions (some being more realistic than others of course...), let’s add one more thing to that list: Seeing the best that you can in 2017.
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month meaning there’s no better time to start the conversation about this often talked about condition. In this article, I will try to explain what exactly Glaucoma is while clearing up some common misconceptions along the way!
Dr. John Fujii is an optometrist at Brookside Optometric Group. He enjoys working in a unique career that gives him the opportunity to build relationships with his patients while addressing their visual needs and making a positive impact on their overall health. The most rewarding aspect of his job is delivering personal and professional care to his patients while working alongside a great team of skilled doctors and staff.
Dr. Fujii has worked in three different ophthalmology offices and was formerly the Laser Center Director for Pacific Laser Eye Center. Working with ophthalmologists gave him greater experience with post-surgical care and complications, and his work at the laser center gave him the opportunity to work with, learn alongside, and train other optometrists and ophthalmologists.
It is hard to believe another year is coming to a close. No one can say that 2016 was not an eventful year for our country and it certainly was not uneventful for Brookside Optometric Group either.
We were the recipients of the 1st place vote as Best Eye Care office in San Joaquin County in both the Best of San Joaquin Magazine and The Best of the Record contests for the 6th year in a row. We are touched and honored to receive this designation once again.
Our office completed its first year of using our new electronic medical records system. Change is always fraught with challenges and this was certainly the case with us. We are happy to report that even some of us older docs have finally become proficient with this new technology so we will look less confused as we record our exams as we enter 2017.
Dr. Linda Hsu is an optometrist at Brookside Optometric Group. In practice for more than 25 years, she enjoys building relationships with her patients and the opportunity to diagnose and solve their vision problems. With an extremely high myopic correction, Dr. Hsu understands firsthand how blurry the world can appear. When she received her first pair of glasses at age eight, she was excited that she could finally see “the leaves on the trees!”
Today, many of her younger patients come back to the Brookside office after receiving their first pair of glasses, and share that they too can now see the leaves on the trees. Those experiences take her back to why she became an optometrist in the first place - to help people see the world more clearly and not miss out on all that life has to show them.
I hope we find all of you in good health and good spirits. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Looking back at the late 80’s, students were trained to interpret a case history to determine what disease entities we should look for based on a patient’s race and age. For example, it you were middle aged and of Hispanic or American Indian descent, we would be concerned with diabetes, if you were of African American descent, we would be concerned with hypertension and glaucoma and so on. While this is not funny, consider it a medical form of racial profiling but it was clinically significant. Case histories are still important but the thinking has changed.
Dr. Leila Chow joined Brookside Optometric Group as an optometrist in 2002. Her favorite aspect of the job is the opportunity to help patients receive the highest level of optometric vision care, and she enjoys seeing her pediatric patients mature and grow up.
Dr. Chow studied zoology as an undergraduate at the University of California Berkeley and graduated from the UC Berkeley School of Optometry in 1990. She began her career in private practice in Antioch, but was curious about the more practical side of the optometry business. She sold part of her practice and returned to school at California State University Hayward, where she graduated with her MBA in 2001.
House cleaning, home improvements and yard work: for many Americans, these projects define this time of year. But, did you know home projects like these can be a major threat to eye safety? All too often, when we’re working around the house and doing chores that we've done a thousand times before without incident, we forget about the risks we take by not protecting our eyes but all it takes is one split-second accident that could damage your vision for a lifetime." According to the American Academy of Optometry, nearly half of all serious eye injuries occur at home, yet only 35 percent of Americans wear protective eyewear during projects that could pose a threat to their eyes.
Dr. Kurt Skinner is a partner at Brookside Optometric Group. The most rewarding aspect of his job is the opportunity to create positive outcomes for his patients. Whether he can provide sharper vision, ease eyestrain from blue light screen exposure, or recognize a disease process and take proactive steps toward treatment, he appreciates the opportunity to help his patients.
During a typical day at Brookside, Dr. Skinner provides comfortable prescriptions for poor or strained visual conditions, including glasses for computer demands and contact lenses for sports. He also offers guidance with laser vision correction or cataract surgery. The advanced instrumentation at Brookside allows him to detect eye disease processes and ocular side effects from systemic diseases.
Beverly Cahoon joined the Brookside Optometric team as the insurance authorization specialist ten years ago. With her great attention to detail and strong organizational skills, she spends a typical day at the office pulling up to 100 insurance authorizations for patients with appointments and ordering contacts or glasses from a variety of insurance companies.
When a patient is not eligible for a service under their insurance, Beverly calls to advise them before the appointment. She also communicates with insurance companies to track patient coverage, assists the opticians with insurance calculations, and enters new insurance plans into the AcuityLogic management system. Her favorite aspect of the job is helping patients with their insurance coverage and connecting with returning patients.
Thanks for once again voting us “Best of San Joaquin” in 2016, for the 6th year in a row! We appreciate your ongoing support, and we are honored to have you all as our patients.
Since 1998, we’ve been committed to caring for our community by providing the highest level of optometric vision care. Thanks for thinking so highly of us, and for choosing our experienced doctors and our professional and compassionate services as the best in San Joaquin County.
Many patients come to our office at Brookside Optometric Group not only because they have blurry vision, but also because their eyes are often irritated, and even red. Sometimes the irritation and redness have been going on for so long that the patients think it is "normal", especially if they wear contact lenses. In actual fact, they may be suffering from dry eyes or Dry Eye Syndrome (DES).
DES is a disease of the tear film covering the surface of the eye. This condition results in ocular discomfort, blurry vison, and tear film instability that can damage the surface of the eye. This then leads to inflammation of the eye, producing red eyes, swelling, and sometimes even watery eyes. Eventually the corneal surface will be damaged, causing further pain, discomfort, and even blurred vision.
Jennifer is the optical lab manager at Brookside Optometric Group and has worked on the team for six years. She spends her fast-paced days managing a team of employees, assisting with patient orders for contact lenses and glasses, teaching patients how to wear and care for contact lenses, and providing an optimal experience for all of our patients. She loves to see patients of all ages try on glasses or contact lenses for the first time as a new world of sight opens up to them.
Marilyn is the first person patients meet with when they visit Brookside Optometric Group. As an optician, she pre-tests their eye health before they go in to see their optometrist for the eye exam. After the exam, Marilyn enjoys working with patients to help them choose a frame that fits their individual needs, from fit and shape to color and style.
When a pair of new glasses is ready for a patient, she inspects the product for accuracy with patient prescription requirements, demonstrating a strong attention to detail. She’s also happy to adjust and repair frames as needed and assists with optical dispensing, fitting eyeglasses and contact lenses.
If you are a parent like me and have ever wondered “when should I first take my child to see the optometrist”, you are probably not alone. Many parents decide to take their children to the eye doctor for their first eye exam when they fail a vision school screening or the vision screening at the pediatrician’s office. However, there are great benefits to bringing your child in for a comprehensive optometric examination long before the presentation of a suspected or apparent vision issue.