Back to school – double-check that checklist!

Parents, I don’t know about you, but I keep asking myself, “Where did the summer go?”  Last time I checked, it was Fourth of July and now I am racing out to buy school supplies for my son who is entering his second year of preschool this month.  But amidst the notebooks, pencils, and that perfect outfit for the first day of school, there is a good chance you’ve missed a critical item on your back-to-school checklist this year: With everything else going on, it can be easy to take your child’s vision for granted – after all, young eyes are healthy and strong, right? Not necessarily.  One in four children has a vision problem that interferes with learning.  Half of all American children have not had a comprehensive eye exam.  In fact, many need glasses and don’t even know it.  Sadly, if left uncorrected, vision problems can impact their ability to learn and interact with the world.

Some more food for thought: Did you know that vision disorders are the fourth most common disability in the United States and the most prevalent handicapping condition during childhood?  That’s bad news, but the good news is that, if caught, it can be easily treated in most cases! The real key, and I can’t stress this enough, is diagnosing vision issues before they manifest into other issues, including problems with behavior and even school performance.  Unfortunately, we rely heavily on screenings performed at the pediatrician’s office and at school.  But while these screenings are sufficient in diagnosing myopia (near-sightedness) and large amounts of asymmetry between the two eyes, it’s important to know that they overlook some significant aspects of the overall visual system.

A comprehensive vision exam from an optometrist evaluates more than just the child’s distance vision and the overall health of the eye.  We work to assess, for example, the binocular ability and depth perception of the two eyes, the strength of the focusing system, and the ability to perceive detail up-close for long periods of time.  Conditions affecting the binocular system of the eyes can easily be overlooked because they don’t cause blurry vision, plus the symptoms are much more subtle and can include things such as avoidance of near tasks, rubbing red and tired eyes, and sometimes even headaches.

My team here at West Hills Vision Care is proud to be a resource for all your vision needs. As a mother of two, I specialize in comprehensive eye care for the whole family and take a special interest in the health of young eyes.  So don’t forget to schedule your child’s annual appointment today, and we can discuss any concerns you may have about his or her vision to best set them up for success this school year.

Happy Fall!

Katie Phillips, OD

Allergies: There is Something in the Air!

Spring is here and, as the flowers bloom and the days become warmer, we find ourselves spending more time outdoors.  Unfortunately, with spring flowers comes an increase in the number of allergens in the air.  Allergy sufferers experience symptoms from sneezing and a runny nose to itchy, watery, red eyes.

An astounding 67 million Americans (according to http://www.pollen.com/about_allergies.asp) suffer from a variety of allergic conditions and 50% of those individuals experience some degree of ocular allergies.1 This equates to one in every five individuals in the U.S.1 Approximately 95% of allergy sufferers are afflicted with allergic rhinitis, which are symptoms that primarily affect the nose and eyes when the allergic agent is breathed in.2 Allergies are not only uncomfortable, but they can be a hindrance to daily life, especially when contact lens wearers can no longer enjoy the convenience of their lenses.

In order to treat allergy symptoms many people use antihistamines such as Zyrtec, Benadryl, and Clariton.  These medications will alleviate a runny nose and watery eyes, but can cause dryness and make our eyes red and irritated.  When our eyes are dry they not only feel more irritated, but the allergens in the air are no longer effectively washed away by our tears.

If you are suffering from any of the above mentioned symptoms please feel free to call or come in for an assessment and we can individualize a treatment plan that is right for you.

References:

  1. 1. Airborne allergens: Something in the air. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. NIH Publication No. 03-7045. 2003
  2. 2. Nathan RA. The burden of allergic rhinitis. Allergy Asthma Proc. 2007 Jan-Feb; 28 (1): 3-9

Open House and Trunk Show

We are very excited to announce that we are hosting an open house Friday, March 11th from 4 – 7 pm and Saturday, March 12th from 2 – 4 pm.

Please come and check out the new optometry practice and optical shop and enjoy some complimentary refreshments.  The open house will be showcasing several designers such as Nike, Fendi, Coach, Michael Kors and more.  Additionally, we will be raffling off a pair of designer sunglasses.

We are looking forward to seeing you there!  To accommodate for the open house we will be opening at 11 am on March 12th.   We are located at 7535 SW Barnes Road (corner of Barnes & Miller) near QFC.  For more information please contact us at (503)764-9321 or visit our website at  www.WestHillsVision.com.

Grand Opening is around the corner!!

Welcome to the West Hills Vision Care blog!  This is an incredibly exciting time for us at West Hills Vision as we are opening our doors this month, February 21, 2011 to be exact!  It has been a very fun, and sometimes scary, process watching the building take shape and fall into place.  We, with the help of Hayworth Development and Remodeling and Ennco Display Systems, designed everything from the ground up.  The office is brand new and we can’t wait to share the Vision Clinic with our new patients.  We are conveniently located about a mile East of St. Vincent’s Hospital in the West Hills Plaza on the corner of SW Barnes Rd and SW Miller Rd.  In hopes to best serve our patients we will be offering weekend and evening appointments.

Dr. Katie Phillips has been practicing as an optometrist in the Oregon area for the last six years and has grown to love providing eye care in a primary care setting.  When she first graduated from Optometry school she had the privilege of practicing for a LASIK center in Lake Oswego, OR.  Three years ago she decided Primary Care and the private practice setting better fit her love for seeing patients of all ages and expanding the scope of care she provides.  As a mother of two she is passionate about providing optometric care for individuals of all ages, but especially enjoys the challenges and rewards of treating children.  She, with the help of her husband, looks forward to this new venture and creating a very family friendly atmosphere for patients in the West Hills and surrounding areas.

Sophie and Dr. Phillips have been working together for the last three years.  During that time Dr. Phillips has come to not only admires Sophie’s skills as a certified optician, but has come to know her as a good friend and looks forward to working with her at the new practice.

We look forward to seeing all of you very soon at West Hills Vision Care.  Please feel free to call to schedule an appointment, or for patient convenience you are able to schedule an appointment on-line by clicking on the “make an appointment” tab on our website.

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