Posted by: tiffanyakraus | November 29, 2015

Whiskey Eyed Woman

“My eyes? What have my eyes got to do with . . .”

“They’re the color of verra fine whisky, wi’ the sun shining through them from behind. I thought this morning they looked like sherry, but I was wrong. Not sherry. Not brandy. It’s whisky. That’s what it is.” He looked so gratified as he said this that I couldn’t help laughing.

-Diana Gabaldon Dragonfly in Amber

Have you ever seen a wolf on the streets? Or maybe it was just a person with flashing amber eyes?

These strong, gold to cooper colored hues are caused by pheomelanin also known as lipochrome in the eye. This type of pigment is found in many parts of the body including the hair, lips, and genitals. In these areas, it gives a red hue, which translates to golds and coopers in the eye. Amber colored eyes should not be confused with hazel eyes. The former is a solid coloring while hazel eyes are a mix of several colors swirling and breaking against each other.

The high concentration of pheomelanin in the eye is rare in humans, but many of our animal brethren come by it more easily. Wolves, foxes, and large cats are some of the first animals that come to mind. Many writers use this eye color to bring animalistic traits to their characters or to foreshadow special powers like shape changing or magic.

MTV’s Teen Wolf uses this trope with their lupine characters, their eyes turning gold during transformation. It is a nice warning to others to start to run when they flash gold. Being werewolf food would not be a fun ending!

Claire Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series has golden colored eyes. Throughout the books and television show she travels through time, uses herb craft, and is outright accused of witchcraft and bewitching others (her husband included) several times. The amber eye trope in this series shows that there is something special about the character that might not be evident in other ways on the surface.

While people in real life might not have magical powers or shape shifting abilities, those with amber colored eyes are rarities. They have a unique and beautiful gift.



About the author: Tiffany Kraus is a territory sales manager for Amcon Labs who writes in her spare time.  For medical advice please ask a medical professional. For advice on great books and tv shows to watch, go ahead and drop her an email at

Posted by: courtneygrapperhaus | November 22, 2015

Your Guide: All About Eyeglasses

To those who needs eyeglasses, is interested on eyeglasses, or even people with glasses, here is a blog for you!

Source: Your Guide: All About Eyeglasses

Posted by: tiffanyakraus | November 16, 2015

A Pair of Brown Eyes

If envy is red and doubt is black then happiness is brown. I looked from the little brown stone to the tiny brown freckle to her huge brown eyes.

Annabel Pitcher

brown eyeWith over 7.3 billion people in the world, around 3.63 billion of them have brown eyes…almost 50%! Once, scientists believed that a single gene decided if a person’s eyes were brown or not. We now know several genes control eye color along with skin and hair color. As we learned in my previous blog, the state of the OCA2 gene that codes the P protein is the biggest factor in eye color. High levels of the P protein are associated with brown eyes. The P protein itself is involved in producing melanin. Other genes including TYRP1 and ALC4A5 also influence the amount of melanin a person has.

Studies about eye color have turned up all kinds of interesting facts and tidbits. It is more likely that brown eyed people (especially men) will be perceived as more trustworthy and dominate than their pale eyed companions. Several reasons for this might be true. A slim possibility is a genetic link between certain facial structures and brown eyes. With so few genes controlling eye color, this might be a stretch. A more likely link is purely social.

The authors of the above study done at the Czech Republic’s Charles University believe the correlations stem from brown eyed people being treated more adult-like in infancy and adolescence than their blue eyed peers. They suggest people with blue eyes are treated like children for longer because blue eyes are associated with infants whose melanin hasn’t completely developed in the eyes. In the minds of others, this causes brown eyed people to seem more adult-like or trustworthy and dominate.

Regardless of what one believes, brown eyes can be enchanting in their depths and shades. Go out and see for yourself. A pair shouldn’t be too hard to find.



About the author: Tiffany Kraus is a territory sales manager for Amcon Labs who writes in her spare time.  For medical advice please ask a medical professional.

Posted by: courtneygrapperhaus | November 8, 2015

Nose Pads: Materials, Types & Shapes

nosepadsWhen it comes to nose pads, there are several materials, types and shapes to choose from. How do you determine which are the right ones for you? Here are some common descriptions to help you decide.


Silicone:  Soft plastic material. Very Flexible. Most popular style.

PVC:  A medium plastic material…not as hard as acetate and not as soft & flexible as silicone. There are 2 types:  Rigid & Soft.

  • Soft PVC:  Quite flexible and conform to the nose more than rigid PVC. Similar to silicone nose pads.
  • Rigid PVC:  Firm but not totally rigid.

Acetate:  A hard plastic material. Very Firm.

Bohemian Crystal:  Hypoallergenic. Clear, glass material with a polycarbonate post for patients who can’t wear plastic or metal.

Mounting Types

NP - mounting types

Screw-On:  Mount with hole for screw to hold in place.

Push-On:  Post snaps into place. No hole in post.

Primadonna:  Base has a “T” shaped hook. Looks like a snap-in nose pad and functions like a push-on nose pad, but only fits into primadonna pad arm.

A/T (mushroom) Monopad:  Wire at end of nose pad arm wraps around the “stem” of the nose pad post.

Snappy Pad:  Two protruding mounting posts on nose pad snap into two recessed mounting holes on plastic frame. Aka “Press-On Nose pads”. Low profile and usually non-adjustable.

Crimp-On:  Used for B&L Frames. Two metal fasteners wraps around metal nose pad mount on bridge of glasses.

Slide-On:  Round protrusion on back slides into a nose pad mounting arm on glasses. Often seen on rimless and semi-rimless frames. Bayonet shaped slide-on nose pads are used on Zeiss frames.

Adhesive / Stick-On:  Use an adhesive to adhere to frame. Most often used on plastic frames. Temporary and will need to be replaced periodically. There are 2 types:  foam and silicone.  Silicone adhesive nose pads generally last longer because they are more resistant to oils on skin and abrasion, and they repel most lens cleaners and water.


NP - shapes

Round / Button:  Perfectly round shape. No difference between left and right.

Symmetrical Oval:  Most common shape. Football shaped. Looks identical from front and back. Right and left are interchangeable. Frame weight placed in center of pads.

Symmetrical Oval Tear Drop:  Wider at one end for better distribution of weight on the bridge. Right and left are interchangeable.

Symmetrical Round Tear Drop:  Same as symmetrical oval tear drop but with straight sides.

D-Shape:  Shaped like a “D”. Right and left are mirror images of each other and are not interchangeable. Flat front edge and curved back edge. Flat edge points away from the face. Frame weight distributed over a large area of the nose.

Saddle Strap:  Left and right nose pads are embedded into each end of the connecting strip. Connecting strip of silicone allows pressure to rest on bridge of nose as well as sides so frame feels lighter. Can be more comfortable than traditional left and right nose pads. Strap bridge is bent to conform to the eyeglass bridge and the wearer’s nasal area. Fits onto regular nose pad arms and are often used by eyeglass repair companies.

Softwing:  Shape resembles an upside-down “U”. Held into frame with two screws at top of nose piece. Wings are adjustable. Can be more comfortable than traditional left and right nose pads. Have a metal inner core. Similar to saddle strap but arms or pads only have limited movement.

Visit to view our entire line of nose pads!

Posted by: tiffanyakraus | November 1, 2015

Brown Eyed Girl Turned Blue

He had these eyes. They were blue and they looked bluer because he had a dark head of hair. They were soulful, in some way; they seemed to say things that I knew he’s probably never say out loud.     — Audrey Bell

I have always been captivated by eye color. My mother and I both have stormy blue eyes, my brother dark, light absorbing brown eyes, and my grandmother’s eyes are sea foam green. As a young child I wondered how three generations could have such a variation in shade and color. It wasn’t until I was 10, and the family got its first computer and internet access, that I was able to research this question.

There are several genes that regulate pigment particles in the eye. Currently, 8% of the world’s population is estimated to have blue eyes. Ireland has the most with 57% of their population sporting the color. The blue color variation goes back at least 6,000 if not 10,000 years. Before that, all eyes were some variant of brown. A single mutation in a solitary individual introduced blue eyes to the world’s population.

Professor Hans Eiberg and his team at the University of Copenhagen found the mutation in the OCA2 gene codes for the P protein that is involved in the production of melanin (the pigmentation that controls eye, skin, and hair color). While not completely turned off, the mutated gene causes less melanin to be produced in the eye. Other than changing the eye color, this can also cause lighter eyed people to have a higher risk for many UV related eye diseases.

Melanoma of the uvea is one of the more common possibilities. This form of cancer causes melanocyte cells to become cancerous in the choroid, ciliary body, and iris. Several treatments are available including surgery and plaque therapy (a type of radiation treatment). One of the best ways to stop this or other eye conditions is to protect your eyes from UV damage by wearing proper sun protection.

Pigmentation is also linked to other parts of the body. Separate studies have shown people with lighter colored eyes have higher tolerances for alcohol but are also more likely to abuse it. These people are able to imbibe more libations than their darker eyed companions. There are a few theories on why this is.

One explanation is that the darkness of the eye is connected to neural transmissions in the central nervous system (sheaths of melanin cover neuronal axons that may act as an insulator). This connection would give blue and other light eyed people slower neural transmissions because of the lack of melanin. In laymen’s terms, the brain isn’t getting the response it needs to know if a person is drunk. So, as they say on Tumblr, you might want to slow your roll if you have blue eyes and like to party.

The human eye and its history are amazing. From mutations to libations, there is much to learn. Join me next time when I cover the wonders of brown eyes.


Title Credit:

About the author: Tiffany Kraus is a territory sales manager for Amcon Labs who writes in her spare time.  She will do anything to slip in her favourite comic book, movie, or TV show characters into her writing especially if they are a pirate. For medical advice please ask a medical professional.

Posted by: courtneygrapperhaus | October 23, 2015

Getting eyeglasses and contacts in South Korea

Originally posted on living in south korea...military style:

Today I went to KumKang Optical in Waegwan. It’s kind of across from Raracost Italian restaurant and right next to Timber Coffee (both of which are great, by the way). It also has a little parking nook that fits three cars. I parked my bike there.

View original 514 more words

Posted by: courtneygrapperhaus | October 18, 2015

Eye Donation

eye donation2Do you remember the last time you went to get your Driver’s License renewed? Did they ask if you want to be an organ donor? When most people think of organ donation, the heart, liver and kidneys come to mind. But did you know that the eyes, along with skin, bones, heart valves and tendons, are transplantable? At this time, only corneas can be transplanted (the outermost thin, clear layer that covers the front of the eye). However, the rest of the eye tissue can be used for education and research purposes. 

If a registered donor dies, an eye bank receives a call. Within about 12 hours of the death, an eye bank will contact the next of kin to obtain consent and a medical-social history. If the eye is healthy enough to pass this stage, which most are, the eye bank technician will do a physical inspection of the donor and draws a blood sample to test for blood-borne diseases. If the donor passes the physical inspection and the blood tests are negative, the cornea is removed and transported to the eye bank laboratory where it is more closely evaluated. Then, an eye bank medical director will make a final determination and if the tissue is released the cornea is sealed, labeled and shipped to a transplant surgeon. Cornea tissue can be stored for up to 14 days, but most donor tissue is used much quicker than that. After someone receives a donor cornea, they may choose to write a letter to the donor’s family, even though the recipient has no information about the donor. Eye banks help to anonymously transfer these letters to the donor family.

Any remaining eye tissue or eyes that did not have a cornea that meets the donation criteria are sent to educational institutions and research facilities. Research on eye diseases like glaucoma and cataracts is done on this tissue. This research can lead to new treatments and cures. Also, ophthalmology and other medical students can study the eye tissue as a part of their curriculum.

There is no cost to donate your eyes and almost everyone can donate, regardless of their blood type, if they have had previous eye diseases or wear glasses. Funerals for the donor are virtually no different from those of a non-donor. The funeral will not be delayed and the appearance of the deceased will not be effected. The exact numbers vary, but it is estimated that around 72,0000 corneal transplants take place each year in the U.S. Over 95% of transplant operations are successful and many are done on an out-patient basis. There is no substitute for a human cornea so donation is the only way to restore vision in someone with a need for a transplant.

There is a great History of Eye Donation available on the Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration website.


Eye Bank Association of America

Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration

Posted by: tiffanyakraus | October 11, 2015

Colored Contacts & Halloween Safety

With the Autumn Equinox having just passed, people are already getting ready for Halloween. I am one of those people. Halloween means I get to dress up as a vampire slaying princess (blood splattered pink dress, stake, and all), and no one looks at me as if I am a freak.

I know I am not the only one. Many of my friends still dress up. Now that we are older, we can spend more money and add more detail to our costumes. One detail that can make or break a costume is eye color. In past blogs, we have told you the dangers of colored contact lenses, but there are safe means to get the color eyes you want.

Several major contact lens manufacturers provide colored contacts with or without vision correction. Anyone can get these contact lenses by visiting their optometrist or ophthalmologist and getting a prescription. Just as with regular contacts, it takes a week or so to get an order out (so what are you waiting for?).

Air Optix® Colors by Alcon are some of the most popular on the market because of both their rich colors and comfort level of the lenses.  Their colors are in the natural range for humans. Perfect if you want to dress up as Rogue from the X-Men but have brown eyes instead of green.

colored contacts

photo courtesy AIR OPTIX website

If you are in the market for something a bit more intense for your costume, contact lenses by Orion Vision Group might be for you. This company provides dozens of different colored contact lenses including sclera lenses (the red on black ones would be great for a Gambit themed costume). If you cannot find what you want, they have a custom designer for you to perfect your costume.

Buying from a reputable contact lens company is imperative to keeping your eyes healthy, as is using eye drops to keep your eyes lubricated and safely storing your lenses when not in use. Amcon Labs has an entire line of contact lens supplies to care for your lenses and eyes.

Remember to be safe and have fun this Halloween!


About the author: Tiffany Kraus is a territory sales manager for Amcon Labs who writes in her spare time. She will do anything to slip in her favourite comic book, movie, or TV show characters into her writing.

Posted by: courtneygrapperhaus | October 5, 2015

Vision Expo West 2015 Recap

IMG_3035A few weeks ago, some of our Amcon Sales & Marketing professionals exhibited at Vision Expo West in Las Vegas. This year we were in a different location, so we weren’t sure what to expect. It started off very busy with customers coming to our booth at 9:30 when the doors opened, and we had a steady crowd through the end of the day. Our giveaway bags that included lens cleaner and cloths created a lot of talk on how practices can market their name to create continued and new business.  We had a lot of discussions on these and other personalized items we offer, such as flat packs and kraft bags. And of course we had our famous “tower of cleaner” and the legendary Amcon Roulette Wheel.

IMG_2031This year, we were flattered by the number of times customers at our booth were talking about our outstanding customer service. It was impressive to hear stories from our existing customers as to why they were so happy in working with Amcon and their particular rep. We even got an impersonation from one customer – when we heard it, we couldn’t help but laugh – she sounded just like her rep!  It was wonderful to see happy customers and hear how easy we make ordering for them.

All in all, this was definitely a WIN for Amcon at the Vegas expo this year.  We received a lot of great feedback, met some awesome people, and left with a bunch of new customers we look forward to working with!

Here are some pictures from the show…



Posted by: courtneygrapperhaus | September 27, 2015

Online Eyeglass Retailers

glasses onlineRecently there has been a surge of online eyeglass vendors. As someone who often goes online to find the best deals, I did some research on my options before I purchased my newest pair of glasses.

Going online not only gives you a wider variety of styles, but it also can give you a better deal. When I went to local optical shops I had a difficult time finding all the features I was looking for at a reasonable price. When I searched online I was able to find a lot more options but the major drawback was that I couldn’t actually try them on. There were several pairs in local stores that looked great until I put them on, then I discovered they didn’t look the way I thought they would. Some sites let you upload a picture of yourself and virtually “try on” the glasses to see if they complement your facial features. Other sites will even ship your top picks to your home with demo lenses for you to try on (Warby Parker and

Another consideration is not all glasses fit the same (some that I tried on had too narrow of a frame, while others were much too wide). If you are searching for a pair of glasses similar to your current pair you could measure your current glasses and order a pair online that are the same size. In my case, I wanted a different shape and frame material, so this wasn’t going to work.

My last pair of glasses needed adjusting twice in one year and a lot of the online retailers I found do not provide a way to get an adjustment, and if they do it usually requires shipping the glasses back to the company you purchase them from. If you purchase glasses from a brick-and-mortar store you can go in for a quick adjustment anytime you need to, or if you need a repair you can often go to where you purchased the glasses and have them fixed (usually for a fee).

{If your optical shop doesn’t have a lab to fix your frames they can use the Amcon Frame Repair Service.}

There is also the question of safety when it comes to online eyeglass retailers. According to the AOA, 44.8% of glasses purchased online had the wrong prescription or safety issues (such as sub-par impact resistance). If you do choose to purchase online, as with any other product, it is a good idea to research the company’s reputation and certifications.

Online purchases of eyeglasses continue to increase, as do online sales for many other products. Personally, I decided to visit my local optical shop and purchase my newest pair of glasses. However, going online doesn’t sound all that bad provided you choose a company that is reputable and provides you with the options you need.


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