Giving Back Program 2/2021
This quarter we decided to help a patient who has a significant eye disease called Neurotrophic Keratitis.
Our patient suffered a severe corneal ulcer back in 2019 before he found us, where he could not obtain transportation to receive care for the infection. The infection spread deep into his cornea and not only formed significant scarring but also resulted in damage to his corneal nerves. The innervation of the cornea is important for keeping homeostasis of the ocular surface: meaning it keeps the normal regulations of the cornea, tear film, and the cells integrity that provide a barrier to bacteria and other pathogens. With these nerves being damaged, our patient now has become prone for getting recurrent corneal ulcers (neurotrophic keratitis).
There are limited treatments for the condition. There is a recently approved medication called Oxervate, however, his insurance would not cover the medication. Another novel approach is the use of scleral contact lenses. Scleral contact lenses provide a new front surface to the eye and let the cornea sit in saline throughout the day. This treatment is considered off-label and, unfortunately, insurance also would not cover this lens.
Scleral contact lenses are a large financial feat (upwards of $2,000), but due to our patient having such an extensive history and us wanting to help out as much as we can, we decided to allocate our giving back program towards him for this quarter. We are providing the fit and lenses at no cost to him to hopefully improve his corneal symptoms and prevent the recurrent infections. Stay tuned to learn more about his case as we will post pictures throughout the process and let you all know how he is doing.
James Komornik, OD, FSLS, FAAO
Giving Back Program 09/2020
Our quarterly Giving Back Program was a little delayed due to Covid-19, and we wish we could have done it sooner. This time our team (Dr. Komornik, Haley, Daniella, and Dr. K's puppy beagle Rey) hit the bay front for a beach clean-up day right here in East Ocean View!
It was cold and windy with the storm approaching. The tide was so high it covered most of the beach! Thankfully, we were only out in the strong winds by the water for about 30 minutes because our neighbors here in East Beach take exceptional care it.
With our skin covered in goose bumps, with only 1/10th of a single trash bag filled, and a dog that was confused why she was already done playing at the beach...we left feeling slightly defeated as our Giving Back seemed empty.
We then had the idea to bring the clean-up to our own shopping center at East Beach Shoppes! We spent another hour or so walking around every square inch of our parking lot and walkways picking up cans, bags, cigarettes, and much more. We had a great time; it is hard to think of a more fun group to clean with.
Dr. Komornik considers it lucky to have such amazing staff, who are nice, friendly, and do not even hesitate to come out at 8:30 AM on their Saturday off to give back to this excellent community!
James Komornik, OD, FSLS
It's Always Sunglass Season in East Beach
Patients ask us all the time about the differences between non-polarized lenses, cheap over-the-counter polarized lenses, quality polarized lenses (INVU), and high-end polarized lenses (Costa). Most sunglasses block 99% or more of ultraviolet-A and ultraviolet-B wavelengths (which is what is recommended). Where sunglasses differ is their functioning outside of UV protection.
The basic difference between polarized and non-polarized lenses is how they filter light. To describe this, here is a quick breakdown on how light travels.
Light travels as a transverse wave. A simple way to describe transverse waves is to look at how water travels. When a rock hits a pond, waves extend outward from where the rock landed. Looking at just one of those waves, the wave has height that changes as it oscillates up and down, but it also is traveling over a distance horizontally. This is a 2-dimensional transverse wave. Light travels as a 3-dimensional transverse wave, so rather than just having oscillation up and down in one direction as the wave travels horizontally, light has oscillation in each direction (360 degrees) as it travels horizontally.
Non-polarized sunglasses overall dampen the amount of light that passes through the lens. Polarized sunglasses do the same, but also selectively filter the light. Polarized sunglasses block light oscillating in side-to-side directions. This is beneficial because when sunlight bounces off water, windshields, roads, etc most of the light is then oscillating in that side-to-side direction. So with polarized sunglasses, much more glare is cut down off of those surfaces because it blocks that light more efficiently than non-polarized lenses.
There are cheap polarized sunglasses online and at the gas station, however getting quality sunglasses makes a significant difference.
INVU sunglasses at Sea Eye Care offer many characteristics not available in over-the-counter sunglasses via their multi-layer light management system. Part of this includes a layer in the middle of the lens that's sole job is to block glare. This technology acts as an anti-reflective coating to achieve this. Unlike cheap anti-reflective coatings, this layer is actually in the middle of the lens so does not peel away or scratch off. INVU sunglasses also have a flexible layer to absorb shock and prevent shatter, and a hard coat outer layer that is resistant to scratches.
What makes Costa standout even more than INVU and others?
Costa 580® lenses have technology that separates them from the rest of the pack. They are not only polarized lenses that block ultraviolet light, but they also selectively filter and enhance other colors (wavelengths) to improve contrast. Costa absorbs high energy blue light (<530 wavelength) which is light that is prone to scattering which can lead to glare, haze, and visual fatigue. These lenses also filter out yellow light at the 580 nanometer wavelength. This was a carefully chosen wavelength by their development team. By blocking it, the result is an improvement in overall contrast by enhancing the vibrancy of reds, greens, and blues.
Costa also provides multiple lens colors and mirror options to customize patients' vision. Blue mirrored lenses are most suited for individuals who are in bright settings, and they are recommended to those who are out on the open water like offshore fishermen. This is because it is best for cutting large amounts of glare from the open water and with its grey base, it is of the darkest of lenses. Green mirrored lenses are the favorites at Sea Eye Care. This is due to their enhancement of contrast due to the copper base color that also subjectively enhances vision. Green mirrored lenses are ideal for those on bays, ponds, and rivers. Great for people driving by water, at the beach, or fishing on the flats. Copper silver mirrors are another frequently sought-after lens due to its versatility. This lens is made to be worn for everyday activities with having a natural contrast that works well in bright and cloudy settings.
Costa is a company that has always had and held their promise to protect our planet and being as ecofriendly as possible. One of the ways they do this is how the manufacture the frames. They use a Bio-Resin Raw Material Process which help reduce the carbon footprint during frame production. They do this by harvesting natural castor oil from castor plants which is then transformed into a bio-based plastic resin. By utilizing bio-based plastic resin, it reduces the emissions that other companies' use with the typical petroleum based resin. An added benefit of using bio-based plastic resin is that Costa frames hold their shape in various temperatures and conditions.
Other advantages of Costa frames include their variety of materials. They have co-injected nylon frames for more active lifestyles as they are the most resistant to heat and cold while being flexible yet durable. There are also acetate frames which is a renewable naturally hypoallergenic material. Costa metal frames are made of titanium which is lightweight and extremely durable. Costa metal frames also are marine-grade corrosion resistant. Lastly, Costa does have rimless frames as well for a lighter design.
Many Costa frames also put your function first with innovative technologies. Most Costa frames are actually ventilated to allow some of that nice ocean breeze to cool your head down. They also have channels in the temples to allow that airflow to push sweat away from your face.
Come see the difference of these innovative technologies at Sea Eye Care today. Visit our Norfolk office in East Beach or text 804-505-4280 to learn more.
James Komornik, OD, FSLS
January 19, 2020
Happy Halloween from Sea Eye Care! We had a blast today dressing up and participating in the season's festivities.
Dr. Komornik sported Yoda ears and wore colors that of the wise Jedi Master. Erika came to work as a scarecrow. It was a busy day but we had a lot of fun. Our amazing neighbors at Angel's Daycare planned a special treat for the little ones. They wanted to do trick-or-treating for their kids and asked the businesses in our shopping center to participate. It was a great turnout and the kids' costumes were very excellent!
Halloween is a fun holiday that we all love, but there are some very important things to watch out for in the preparation of this day. The main one is decorative contact lenses. There are a plethora of resources for getting spooky and colored contact lenses to try to make a costume come together. However, unless they are a prescribed pair of contact lenses from your optometrist, they are not safe for your eyes and should not be worn. Contact lenses, even if just worn once a year, are medical devices that must be prescribed by a professional who evaluates the fit of the lenses and ensures they are safe for the eyes. If bought without a prescription from a street vendor, halloween store, beauty supply store, novelty shop, or online it is an illegal act and illegal for a good reason. If a contact lens is not approved by your eye doctor, it could lead to serious problems.
There have been countless cases of decorative contact lenses leading to serious corneal ulcers (Dr. Komornik has had to treat a patient for this before) and infections which can potentially lead to blindness. Decorative contact lenses are prone to becoming contaminated and can increase your chance for infection.
It is of the utmost importance that after Halloween if you notice any eye symptoms (blurred vision, irritation, itchiness, pain, discharge, etc) after using any contact lens to contact your optometrist immediately.
At Sea Eye Care we do have the availability to prescribe safe-to-use theatrical contact lenses, so next year if you have an idea for a costume please let us know ahead of time so you can be fitted and the lenses can be ordered in time for Halloween!
The other common eye problem that occurs on Halloween deals with getting irritants in the eyes. This can come in the form of face-paint, make-up, parts of costumes, or even props. If you have an eye problem on Halloween or if there is a sensation that is persistent afterwards please call our Norfolk office at 757-355-5553 or text 804-505-4280 immediately. We hope you all have a safe and enjoyable Halloween 2019!
James Komornik, OD, FSLS
October 31st, 2019
Help For Color Deficiencies
A common misconception is that people with color vision deficiencies are “color blind.” There are few, extremely rare conditions that would result in someone not being able to differentiate any colors. Most people who call themselves color blind really have a color vision deficiency.
In the back of the eye is the retina. The retina is what houses the light receptors. There are four different types of light receptors: three of which are responsible for color vision. These three types differ slightly, to be better at absorbing different wavelengths (colors) compared to the others. These different light receptors have a peak wavelength that they respond best to, and they are less capable at absorbing light of wavelength further and further away from that peak. The three types of light receptors’ peak absorption is spread across the different colors of light in such a way that they allow the best differentiating of colors.
In patients with color vision deficiencies, one of those light receptor’s peak absorption is skewed one way or the other compared to most people, and this can result in difficulty in telling apart certain shades colors. Some patients are actually missing one of those light receptors and this too results in trouble discriminating certain hues.
Many people do not realize how common it is to have a color vision deficiency. Males, in particular, are very prone to this problem. 8% of males have a red-green color deficiency (deuteranomalous trichromacy or protanomalous trichromacy). The resultant color vision can vary. Some patients find their color deficiency to be very problematic in their everyday life, while others have gotten used to their color vision.
There is no current technology to totally fix color vision deficiencies to pass a standard color vision test as there is no way to change the peak absorption of a patient’s light receptors, but there are modalities of correction that can be used to help better define different shades of color in a patient's everyday life.
At Sea Eye Care, we now have contact lenses that can be used for these patients. The way they work is the patient wears one contact lens that is colored in such a way that it adjusts the speed and wavelengths the light enters that one eye.
Since the eyes now receive and send the brain the stimuli at slightly skewed times and in slightly different forms, it adds a dynamic to the information. This dynamic helps differentiate different wavelengths of light and although it doesn’t fully fix their perception of color, it can help enhance color perception.
- Dr. James Komornik
Colored Contact Lenses
Have you ever made eye contact with someone and the result was you being left in awe? Some people’s eyes are absolutely stunning. Some people also have a favorite eye color they just wished they had. Some, love the brilliant blue. Others prefer the calming hazel. The problem is, we cannot change the color of our eyes because the color is made from a structure in the eye called the iris. From person to person, the iris has varying levels of pigment. Depending on the amount you have, the color of it will be perceived as varying shades of brown, green, hazel, blue, etc.
Many wish they could change their eye color. Years ago there were a few companies that mass-produced colored contact lenses to allow this wish to become a reality for patients.
Unfortunately, due to a drop-off in the eye color craze, there was a large decrease in the production of these lenses. Many eye care providers do not even mention this option, because they are no longer as readily available. However, at Sea Eye Care there are new technologies to bring this, almost lost art, back!
At Sea Eye Care our doctors can fit you in both normal (mass-produced) and specialty colored contact lenses. Currently, Air Optix Colors is one of the only easily accessible colored contact lens. This lens works great for patients with no need for astigmatism correction and those who are looking to highlight, enhance, or slightly change their eye color.
If a patient needs astigmatismc orrection, or a color outside of Air Optix Colors scope, a specialty colored contact lens is required. At Sea Eye Care we utilize the X-Cel Specialty contact lenses that can work for patients with and without astigmatism, and it can make more drastic changes in eye color to give patients the look they want. Call to set up a colored contact lens consultation at our Norfolk/Virginia Beach office today!
- Dr. James Komornik
No More Need For Glasses?
At Sea Eye Care, we have the top frames available and they can cover every person’s sense of style. However, we also understand that some of our patients would like the option to not have to wear glasses. Some patients have tried contact lenses without success, and think they are stuck with glasses as their only option. For those people, there are options out there, like Orthokeratology (also known as Vision Shaping Treatment).
Visual Shaping Treatment (VST) is AKA Orthokeratology and Corneal Reshaping Technology (CRT). This technology utilizes specially designed contact lenses that gradually and safely reshape the front surface of the cornea. The cornea is the clear front layer of the eye that covers the colored part of the eye (the iris).
When VST contact lenses are placed on the eye, they act like retainers worn overnight. By the next morning, the patient can take the VST lenses out and have clear vision all day without having to wear glasses or contacts. VST does not damage the cornea, flatten it, or cause thinning or scarring of the tissue, rather it reshapes the cornea by adjusting the fluid dynamics. VST is more cost-effective than refractive surgeries like LASIK and PRK. VST also differs from surgical options, because it is completely reversible if a patient ever wants to discontinue the treatment.
VST can also be used in younger individuals as a form of “Myopia Control.” This is especially useful for patients who have parents with high nearsighted (myopic) prescriptions. There is a genetic component to nearsightedness, and many parents want to prevent their kids from having high prescriptions. These kids can wear the VST lenses at night and not only will they see clearly during the day without correction, but doing so slows the process of becoming more nearsighted. This is a very well-studied process, and has been shown to slow or halt the rate of myopia.
The alternative to orthokeratology/VST is to have a refractive surgery like LASIK or PRK. These procedures involve a laser etching and reshaping the center of the cornea to adjust its refractive power, so that patients will no longer need glasses.
Come to Sea Eye Care at our Norfolk office just outside of Virginia Beach for a VST or LASIK consultation, and we can determine if you would be a candidate!
-Dr. James Komornik
What's the Difference between Medical Insurance and a Vision Plan?
Vision Plans (such as VSP and EyeMed): Allow for a patient to receive routine eye exams for glasses and possibly contact lenses. These plans may also give a discount on glasses or contact lens purchases. Vision Plans do not cover any evaluations or testing for eye diseases or medical complaints such as eye irritation, dryness, eye allergies, diabetic evaluations, floating spots in vision, or glaucoma evaluations, to name a few.
Medical Insurance (such as Medicare, Anthem, Optima, etc): Allow for a patient to be evaluated and treated for any medical complaints such as dryness, eye allergies, eye pain, eye redness, etc. Medical Insurance also allows for diagnostic testing and evaluation of eye diseases such as glaucoma, keratoconus, diabetes, macular degeneration, cataracts, and blepharitis, to name a few. Medical insurances typically do not cover refractions for a glasses prescription or contact lens evaluations, so patients may have to come back under their Vision Plan, or self-pay, for these routine services.
Before a patient’s exam, our office provides a checklist sheet to help determine which level of eye services that will be given for that exam.
Vision Plans accepted at Sea Eye Care:
Vision Source Plan (VSP), Eyemed, Tricare
Medical Plans accepted at Sea Eye Care:
Medicare, Medicaid, Optima, Anthem/Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Tricare, Humana, United Health Care
Send a text to (804) 505-4280 to make an appointment or learn more!