hyphemaMy husband works in an ER, so it goes without saying that he sees a lot of people who are in BAD shape.  Therefore, I get an ear-full of REALLY gory stories. On a road trip recently, I was trapped in a car for several hours with my husband and unable to avoid his unsolicited medical lectures, so I learned all about a phenomena called “hyphema,” where your eye can take on the appearance of an eight ball.  The conversation got a little bit more interesting when I realized that Amcon products could be used for the prevention and treatment of this condition.

Hyphema can be caused by a variety of reasons (advanced diabetes, cancer and certain blood diseases), but the most common is trauma, i.e. you get whacked in the eye.  The trauma causes blood to fill the anterior chamber of the eye which results in a partial or full eight-ball appearance in the center of the eye.

Treatment plans for hyphema depend on the severity of the situation.  If it is mild, the blood in the eye is simply absorbed by the body and the eight ball look disappears naturally. It the bleeding recurs, then bed rest, sedation and medication (like cycloplegics and steroids) may be needed to diminish pressure in the eye.

The best way to deal with hyphemas is to avoid them altogether. After seeing many patients come into the ER with this condition, my husband has learned that not all hyphemas are due to bar fights.  Some are simply the result of an accident and could have been avoided by taking preventative measures. Unless you want your eyes to look like eight balls, safety glasses are the best method of avoiding a hyphema.



Bruder eye hydrating compress

Bruder eye hydrating compress provides dry eye relief

This week at Amcon – our items of the week are two products that help to alleviate dry eye symptoms: the Bruder Eye Hydrating Compress and the Niteye Bubble Eye Bandage. The Bruder Eye Hydrating Compress is a microwaveable, warm compress in the shape of a sleep mask that helps unplug oil glands. The Niteye Bubble Eye Bandage is intended to be worn while sleeping, protecting the eyes from drying conditions by sealing in moisture. Both of these products can be godsends for people suffering with dry eye syndrome.

I have read a lot about dry eye over the years and am fairly familiar with some of the diseases and conditions that cause it.  But recently I learned about a treatment for a condition that can cause dry eye: RAI treatment for Graves disease.  And they way I learned about RAI treatment for Graves disease was via my co-worker at Amcon who is afflicted with this condition.

Graves disease is a condition where you have an overactive thyroid. It can be a real pain: it will make you (among other things…) irritable, anxious, have heart palpitations and lose weight despite eating normally.  Fortunately, though, Graves disease can be treated.

A common treatment for Graves disease is radioactive iodine therapy, and the way it works is that the radioactive iodine (RAI) will kill the overactive thyroid cells.   However, one downside to RAI treatment is that it can be so effective that the treatment can lead to hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) and supplemental hormones must be given to bring the thyroid function back to a normal level.

Another side effect of the RAI treatment is temporary dry eye.  Fortunately the dry eye is usually not permanent, but while the symptoms are present – products like the  the Bruder Eye Hydrating Compress and the Niteye Bubble Eye Bandage can provide a lot of relief.  And lucky for my coworker, he has easy access to these great products working here at Amcon for when he starts his RAI treatment.

Do you all see patients with dry eye syndrome due to RAI treatment in your office?  What other products do you recommend?


optical bulbs

The Amcon catalog makes it easy to find the right bulb for your optical machine

In the Amcon catalog, we dedicate 8 pages to our line of bulbs for all your optical machines. This adds up to over 100 bulbs which can be a bit overwhelming when you are trying to pick the exact one which works with your machine.  For this reason we have tried to take the guesswork out of ordering the right bulb.

Probably the easiest way to find the correct bulb for your machine is to go to the Amcon web site and type in the brand and model number of your machine, and or the machine type.  This will bring up the associated bulb.  With clear pictures and extensive descriptions you should be able to confidently pick out the right bulb for your machine, especially if you are holding on to the bulb you are replacing.

If you happen to still have the original bulb packaging, and (if you purchased the bulb from Amcon), the Amcon product number will be on the box.   If you don’t have the original bulb packaging, you still may be able to identify the bulb ID code from the  manufacturer as it is often stamped on the bulb base.  You can search for either of these codes on the Amcon web site and quickly pull up the bulb.

The Amcon print catalog is also really useful for identifying the right bulb for your machine.  Most bulb images are displayed to scale.  (Some bulbs are very small and displaying them to scale would make them difficult to identify.)  Either way, for each bulb, accurate dimensions are listed, and a ruler is printed on the bottom of the page so you can measure the bulb in hand to double check your dimensions.

It appears that we have been successful in helping our customers identify the correct bulb.  Our customer service rep, Courtney, reported that rarely do we see a bulb return due to a customer purchasing the incorrect bulb.

Didn’t know Amcon carried an extensive line of bulbs for slit lamps, ophthalmoscopes, projectors and more?  Be sure to check out our web site next time you need a bulb for one of your optical machines.  If you don’t see the one you need listed on our web site or in our catalog, we may be able to special order it for you.


Pink eye can affect anyone.

Pink eye can affect anyone.

Last week my 71-year-old father came down with pink eye — which seemed really odd to me as pink eye tends to afflict kids, parents of young kids and daycare workers.  Yet – somehow he managed to pick it up.  And he was MISERABLE.  In addition to his eyes burning and being extremely light sensitive, he also had a fever and just felt awful.

When my dad initially came down with the affliction, he wasn’t sure what was wrong.  So he went to see his ophthalmologist who gave him the diagnosis.  He also prescribed him some anti-viral and antibiotic ointment.

Pink eye can be either viral or bacterial.  My husband (the ER doc) says that viral pink eye is much more common than bacterial, but docs often prescribe the antibiotic – just in case.  He also said that bacterial pink eye tends to be a lot more goopy. Since my dad had other symptoms of a virus and his eye was not very goopy, his pink eye was most likely viral.

As last week wore on, my dad’s eye started to look better, but I definitely kept my distance.  Viral pink eye is super contagious.  Thinking about him and that icky eye visiting the eye doctor’s office got me thinking about how employees in an optical office keep from getting pink eye all the time.  I mean – they are probably exposed to it on a daily basis!

I would imagine that it is absolutely imperative that equipment and counters are disinfected frequently with Caviwipes and employees clean their hands with hand sanitizer or optical hand scrub frequently.  But maybe you all who are on the front lines have other tips for avoiding getting pink eye when you are around it all the time?  What are your secrets? And while you’re at it – maybe throw in a few suggestion on how to make it go away a little more quickly.  My father will appreciate it.

Posted by: cindyletchworth | June 27, 2014

Fit-over sunglass power!

Cindy looks cute in her fit-over sunglasses

Cindy looks cute in her fit-over sunglasse

Well, it looks like I’m in fashion after all. I have some of the larger fit-over sunglasses and I learned from Good Morning America, that the big ones are the better choice.

The reason? They cover more areas on your face and provide more shade protection. This according to Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton, helps prevent wrinkles and possible sunburn. She says that if you are usually squinting this can cause those nasty wrinkles at the creases of your eyes. And if you wear sunglasses with wire frames, those can give you sunburn.

Frankly, the bigger plastic styles don’t bother me. I like the fact that I can just slip these frames over my existing glasses and away I go. To me they are easier than the flip up designs. Sure the flip-ups are more light weight, but then you always have to mess with where you’ve put them because chances are you aren’t going to keep them on your regular frames all day. Being smaller in size means easier to lose, which my sister can attest to. Of course you can misplace the big ones, it’s just a little harder.

You don’t think about sun rays penetrating your eyes from the side, but the boxier-type frames, made of plastic, provide little awnings for your baby blues. The wrap-around effect provides you with better sun protection, and now we know they keep you younger looking longer.

My great aunt used to always wear the bigger fit-overs. As a kid I noticed how big they looked, but she was diligent about wearing them and soon I got used to seeing her with them on. Later, my mom followed suit, and now here I am joining the parade. This time, however, I’m grinning because I’m putting sleek design over good eye and skin health. Thank goodness Amcon has many of these awesome wrap-around styles to choose from.


Posted by: juliegriffey | June 23, 2014

Melanoma of the eye does not always lead to eye removal

Eye exam can detect melanomaOne of the benefits of visiting my in-laws in Norfolk, VA is that I get to be around a huge knowledge base of optical information.  My brother-in-law is an ophthalmologist. My father-in-law is a retired ophthalmologist.  And – actually – my father-in-law’s father was an ophthalmologist as well; three generations of ophthalmologists in one family!  My husband, however, decided to shirk family tradition and become a emergency physician. (Rebel!) So, as you can imagine, there is quite a bit of medical talk around the breakfast, lunch and dinner table.

This morning my husband was sharing a story with his father about a patient that came into the emergency department with melanoma of the eye.  He remarked that he was surprised that they hadn’t removed the eye, but had instead implanted radioactive seeds in the eye in attempt to eradicate the tumor. Apparently this is common practice if the melanoma in the eye is the primary source of the cancer, and if the tumor is in certain locations within the eye.

I was surprised that you could have a primary source of melanoma in your eye. I knew that melanoma on the skin that had spread into the eye could be detected in an eye exam. However, I didn’t know the cancer could start in the eye. My father-in-law explained that the eye is full of melanin so it is not uncommon for a person’s cancer to start there. The course of treatment depends on the location and spread of the tumor, and removal of the eye is not always necessary.

Not having to get your eye removed is great news for those afflicted with melanoma in the eye. But for those of us who don’t have it – what a great reason to invest in some sunglasses for the kids and maybe a new pair for ourselves.

More information about intraocular melanoma

Posted by: juliegriffey | June 17, 2014

Do your patients show up with broken eyeglass frames?

Eyeglass frame repair service

Got broken frames? Amcon can help.

Amcon now has a solution! We understand that many of our customers don’t have labs as part of their facility but do have patients who show up needing to get their frames repaired.  In response to this need, we have introduced our  new eyeglass frame repair service!

Now it’s easy to get your patients’ frames repaired.  Simply download and fill out our Frame Repair Order Form, ship us the broken glasses with the completed form, and we’ll send you back the frames – good-as-new!

And here’s the best part – the word on the street is that our frame repair service is a better deal than our competitors’.  So what are you waiting for?

Learn more about Amcon’s eyeglass frame repair service.


Color blindness testThis week at Amcon, we have the 14 Plate Ishihara Test Chart Book for Color Blindness on sale – a product that we have carried for years that is designed to detect both red/green color blindness and total color blindness. What the heck is the difference between red/green color blindness and plain old color blindness? And once you detect it – what is there to do about it? Why even bother?

The difference between red/green color blindness and total color blindness is actually pretty simple.  Total color blindness means that the person afflicted does not see color at all, only shades of grey.   The technical term for total color blindness is monochromasy and refers to a “complete absence of any color sensation.”  This type of color blindness is actually pretty rare.

Red/green color blindness is much more common – afflicting approximately five in every one hundred males.  When you are red/green color blind you make errors in the distinguishing between red, orange, yellow and greens.  The degree to which the person afflicted struggles with distinguishing these color differences vary tremendously.

Color blindness is much more common in men than women because many of the genes involved in color vision are on the X chromosome.  Because men have just one X chromosome and women have two – males are more likely to be color blind.

There is obviously no cure for color blindness, so those afflicted develop their own coping mechanisms.  In fact, there are many resources available that address how to better live with this affliction.    But it’s very important to know if a person (especially a child who might not be able to articulate the issue)  is color blind because the mistakes a person might make due to color blindness might be interpreted as a learning deficiency or some other type of disorder.



Floater eyeglass cords

Keep your glasses floating this summer.

Summer is officially here.  Kids are off school and ready to start relaxing.  So what’s a parent to do?  Get in all their doctor and dentist appointments!  That, of course, includes kid eye exams.  If you want to take advantage of this extra traffic and boost you retail dollars, start thinking like a mom and stock up with kid-friendly summer retail items that appeal to moms and kids.

Need some ideas?  Here are five great summer-themed, retail-friendly Amcon items.

1) Kid’s sunglasses.  Yes – I know – you can buy kids’ sunglasses just about anywhere these days – but being an optical shop – you have the distinct advantage of having the attention of parents who have come to your location because they care about the health of their children’s eyes.  In addition to offering a wide variety of kid’s sunglasses, Amcon also offers sunglasses designed for infants with soft frames, an adjustable band, and 100% UVA and UVB protection.

2) During a child’s eye exam, it may be discovered that a kid needs glasses. If this is the case – the parent is going to want to make sure they have all the gear to keep the glasses clean.   Stock up on kid’s eyeglass cleaning kits and help parents and kids maintain smudge free specs.

3 & 4) New glasses wearers may be a little self conscious about stepping out in their new eyewear.  Make sure you have some cute kid’s eyeglass accessories for sale so that kids can add some personality and style to their eyewear.  Ficklets are fun and colorful eyeglass charms that sit on the the glasses’ temples.  Sleyeders Eyewear Charms  also slide on the temple but have more of a dangly jewelry charm look.

5) After dropping some cash on a new pair of glasses, the last thing a parent wants is for a kid’s glasses to get lost in the water when out on a lake or in the ocean.   A floating eyeglass cord is a small investment that will keep a pair of glasses afloat. Asking a parent if they plan any time in or on the water this summer is a good way to introduce the idea of purchasing a floater cord.  I think most parents would rather spend a few dollars on a floating eyeglass cord than pay for a new pair of glasses – but the idea might not occur to them until they are in your shop.

These items are just a smattering of all our great retail-friendly offerings.  Take a look at the Amcon site and you’ll surely find more great retail items that are perfect for summer traffic through your retail store.

What sells well in your optical store?  We’d love to hear your ideas + suggestions for items you would love to see us carry.

mp7100Now that summer has officially begun and we have gotten in a bit of pool time, I have become acutely aware of a major issue that faces fashionable bifocal wearers when trying to read in the sun: three conflicting needs – magnification of text, sun protection and looking cool.  Is it possible to address all three needs when trying to read at the pool or beach with one single pair of glasses?

Well – yes it is.   Check out Amcon’s new Spring Hinge Sunglass Readers with Polycarbonate Lenses. I actually discovered these sunglasses while scrolling through the new items on the Amcon web site and stopped to check them out because I thought they were so cute.  These bifocal sunglasses come in black and tortoise, are available in four l powers and are needless to say – super stylish.

If I am so taken by these sporty specs- I’m sure your customers will be too.  Consider retailing these this summer – especially if your practice is in a resort location  -and enjoy the extra revenue.

Older Posts »



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 30 other followers