Source: SPECIAL REPORT: Corps Member Provides Free Eye-care Treatment to Over 3000 Residents of Jalingo

Posted by: courtneygrapperhaus | January 31, 2016

Common Optical Instruments


Lensometer External eq6405

Amcon Lensometer (EQ-6405)

Used for:  Verification and prescription of eyeglasses. Used to orient and mark uncut lenses as well as check the accuracy of progressive lenses.

History:  First designed in 1912 by Troppman.

Other Names:  Focimeter, Vertometer, Lensmeter



Used For:  Measuring the curvature of the cornea (determines extent of astigmatism).

History:  Invented by Hermann von Helmholtz in 1851

Other Names:  ophthalmometer



Used for:  Seeing inside the fundus of the eye. Helps determine health of retina, optic disc and vitreous humor. There are 2 types:  Direct & Indirect. Direct produces an upright/unreversed image. Indirect produces an inverted/reversed image. Often used after dilation of the pupil by use of a mydriatic (i.e. tropicamide).

History:  Created in part by Charles Babbage in 1847 and by Hermann von Helmholtz in 1851.

Other Names: funduscope



Used for:  Measuring the radius and curvature of rigid contact lenses



Used for:  Shines a light into patient’s eyes to observe reflection off retina. While moving light across pupil, doctor observes reflex of the eye and adjusts trial frame “to neutralize the reflex” (Wikipedia).

History:  Created by Jacob Copeland in the late 1920’s (patent filed in 1926)

Slit Lamp


Used For:  Providing a magnified view of the eyes structures in detail. Allows doctors to diagnose a variety of eye conditions.

History:  In 1911 Alvar Gullstrand created a “large reflection-free ophthalmoscope” that evolved into the Gullstrand Slit Lamp by Vogt Henker in 1919. Several improvements have been made throughout the years, with the latest major change made in 1996.



Used for:  Measuring intraocular pressure (evaluates a patient for risk of glaucoma).

History:  “In the latter part of the 19th century von Graefe developed the first instrument for measuring intraocular pressure in 1865. The first reasonably accurate instrument was the Maklakoff applanation tonometer of the late 19th century. Schiötz developed an indentation tonometer that was widely used throughout the world during the first two thirds of the 20th century. Goldmann’s applanation tonometer of 1950 began the era of truly accurate intraocular pressure measurement. It is still the most widely used tonometer in the world. ” (



Used For:  General examination light for checking pupil reflex. Preferred over penlights due to its stronger intensity.

Visual Field Analyzer

Visual Field

Used For:  Measures peripheral vision in detail to screen for, diagnose and various medical conditions, including glaucoma and strokes.



Used For:  Detecting a patient’s blind spot and changes in visual field.

History:  Invented in 1857 by Herman Aubert



Used For:  Measuring the distance between pupils for fitting eyeglasses. The digital design eliminates measuring errors and allows for precise measurement of a patient’s pupillary distance (PD).

Other Names:  PD Meter


  • Wikipedia
  • US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
Posted by: courtneygrapperhaus | January 24, 2016

Douglas Argyll Robertson and his work on the human pupil

Source: Douglas Argyll Robertson and his work on the human pupil

Posted by: courtneygrapperhaus | January 17, 2016

Optic Nerve Drusen

Recently my husband went to visit the optometrist for his annual eye exam. After examining his eyes, the doctor found an “optic nerve head drusen (ONHD)” or “optic disc drusen”. The ophthalmologist then used an ophthalmoscope to take a deeper look and confirm the diagnosis. Everyone in the office was intrigued because the condition is very rare. In fact, only about 1% of the population has ONHD. Caucasians and those with a family history are more likely to be diagnosed with ONHD.

They sent him home and told him it is nothing to worry about but it is something they will keep an eye on (no pun intended). When he got home he asked if I knew anything about it. I did not so I decided to do a little research.

According to Wikipedia, “ONHD are globules of mucoproteins and mucopolysaccharides that progressively clacify in the optic disc.” So basically a bunch of proteins and calcium salt deposits are stuck in the optic nerve. Ewwww….sounds gross! But what are the implications of this? As it turns out it is not very serious, but can lead to some minor changes in vision.

Often the patient does not experience any symptoms. Also, a majority of the time ONHD is discovered incidentally during an eye exam (as was the case with my husband). “Optic nerve damage is progressive and insidious. Eventually 75% of patients will develop some peripheral field defects. These can include nasal step defects, enlarged blind spots, arcuate scotomas, sectoral field loss and altitudinal defects” (Wikipedia). “In rare cases, vascular complications such as flame hemorrhage, nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropath, or peripapillary subretinal neovascularization can occur” (EyeWiki).

ONHD is progressive and there is no treatment. However, sometimes doctors will prescibe drops to reduce intra-ocular pressure. Overall, the most important thing for my husband is to continue going to annual eye exams and they will monitor the condition.

Posted by: tiffanyakraus | January 10, 2016

Sclera Tattoos

It’s not uncommon to see people with bizarrely colored eyes because of contacts. What is unusual is to realize that what you are seeing isn’t a contact lens but a tattoo on the sclera.

Did that make you cringe? Yeah, it made me cringe too.

This tattoo has found its niche in the underground body modification scene. A scene where it isn’t unusual to see full body tattoos or subdermal implants.

The process isn’t tattooing in the traditional sense. Dye is injected into the sclera with a 27ga to 31ga needle. This can be done all over the white of the eye or just in spots. Different colors can be used on the same eye to make different affects. What isn’t possible at this time is to created sharp designs.

Complications are a major possibility for this body modification. While long term effects aren’t known because of the newness of the procedure, short term effects are ample. These include weeping dye, persistent headaches due to excessive ink, sensitivity to light (especially with red ink), and ink drifting to other tissue. There has been one case of ink migrating to the optic nerve. People who wear contact lenses tend to have a higher risk for complications.

More importantly, sclera tattoos are permanent. There is no way to remove the ink once it has been injected into the eye. During healing ink can be lost, but afterwards this is something you are stuck with more so than with other tattoos. Many professionals believe it would be far too risky to use laser ink removal on the eye.

Russ Foxx, a body modification artist from Vancouver, Canada, suggests those interested in the procedure to check with a trusted and open-minded ophthalmologist about complications before seeking out a veteran body-modification artist.

Whatever you decide to do with your body, make sure you know all the risks and make the safest choices for what you are doing.


Posted by: courtneygrapperhaus | December 27, 2015

Coming Soon

As 2015 comes to a close we are busy getting prepared for 2016. Here is a sneak peek at what’s to come in the New Year…

  • Boston Line of Contact Lens Cleaning Solutions


  • Floral Embossed Cloths
  • New Simply Kleen Colors
  • Ingot Safety Glasses


  • Bright Slip-In Eyeglass Cases

bright slip ins

  • Lang Fixation Tube


  • Modified Thorington Cards

modified thorington

  • Near Point Rod

near pt rod

  • CPR Face Mask

cpr mask

  • XL Exam Gloves

exam gloves

  • RX Verifier

rx verifier

  • Pupilometer with Dial

Keep an eye out for our 2016 catalog. Catalogs will arrive in April 2016. This year’s catalog will have a new updated look!


Posted by: courtneygrapperhaus | December 20, 2015

Sunglasses – Why they are important & What kind to buy

We originally posted this blog at the beginning of the summer. UV Protection is just as important in the winter as in the summer so check out this blog for some good tips, and remember to shop Amcon for all your UV Protection needs!


My husband works outdoors every day and wears sunglasses all the time. He was recently shopping for a new pair and was wondering what exactly are the important features in sunwear? Over the past few years we have written several posts about sunglasses (mostly about our children’s sunglasses) but we have never explained what key things to look for in a pair of sunglasses.

sun with sunglasses

First, let’s explore a bit about why sunglasses are important. Ultraviolet light, or UV radiation, is naturally emitted from the sun. The Earth’s atmosphere protects us from some of these rays, but not all of them. UV light has a shorter wavelength and higher energy than visible light.

Although designed to protect the eye, the eyelid’s skin is thin and contains many fragile tissues vulnerable to UV light. Inside the eye, the lens and cornea, both transparent, filter UV rays, but years of UV absorption can damage them. The lens, the eye’s focusing mechanism, can turn yellowish and cataractous. The cornea, the area in front at the outer layer of the eye, admits light and images to the retina. UV damage can cause cancers of the eye, intraocular melanoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and keratitis (corneal sunburn).

Since people with fair skin and light eyes have less melanin in their bodies they are more susceptible to eye disease and skin cancer than those with dark skin and eyes. Also, people who already have cataracts or macular degeneration should be especially careful in protecting their eyes from UV light.

Wikipedia (which is quickly becoming my favorite website) tells us that sunglasses date back to prehistoric time. Intuit people developed ivory glasses with narrow slits to reduce their exposure to sunlight. In the 12th century people in China wore smoky quartz glasses to protect their eyes from glare. In the 1920’s modern day sunglasses became a commonly found product. Foster Grant “is the original American sunglass brand” ( The company was the first to mass produce inexpensive sunglasses. Sam Foster began selling these on the beaches of Atlantic City, NJ. At first, sunglasses became popular because of fashion. “In 1937…only about 25% of American wearers needed them to protect their eyes” (Wikipedia). As time went on, however, more and more people began to wear them for protection.

Inuit sunglasses

Inuit sunglasses

There are a multitude of options for sunglasses in different shapes, sizes, colors and styles. Prices range anywhere from $1 at the local dollar store to hundreds of dollars for brands like Oakley and Maui Jim. When shopping for a pair of sunglasses, no matter your price point, there are a few key features to look for.

  • UVA and UVB protection. Look for sunglasses that protect 99% or more of UVA and UVB rays. If they are labeled “UV 400” or “UV Absorption up to 400nm” it means that they block 100% of UV light.
  • Polarization and Anti-Reflective Coating. Polarized lenses reduce the amount of glare from surfaces like car windows, pavement and water.
  • Impact Resistant. The FDA requires all sunglass lenses be impact-resistant. If you play sports or wear sunglasses on the job then you should consider special sunglasses designed for sports and safety.
  • Size and Shape. When trying on sunglasses, make sure the lenses fit close enough to the face to block stray light but far enough so they don’t touch the eyelashes. Wraparound styles are shaped to keep light from entering around the frames and protect your eyes from all angles.
  • Color and Shade. Just because a pair of sunglasses is dark grey does not mean they are a good quality pair of lenses. In fact, purchasing a pair of sunglasses that have inadequate dark lenses can even cause more harm than inadequate light lenses, or no lenses, because they cause the pupil to open wider, which lets in more unfiltered light.
  • Distortion Free. To check the quality of a pair of sunglasses, put them on and look at a straight edge. Move your head back and forth and your eyes from side to side. If you see the line wiggle the lenses are probably distorted. You can also take them into your local optical shop and ask them to check the quality of the lenses.

So what options exist in today’s market? Whether you wear prescription glasses or not you can find a variety of choices online and in stores. Here are a few of them…

  • Children’s sunglasses (children’s eyes are actually more sensitive to UV light than adult’s so it is very important to protect them from an early age)
  • Prescription Sunglasses or Reader Sunglasses
  • Prescription glasses with photochromic lenses (gradually change from clear to dark when exposed to UV Light)
  • Fit Over sunglasses (go over prescription glasses)
  • Clip On sunglasses (clip on to the frames of prescription glasses)
  • Flip Up sunglasses (clip on to the frames of prescription glasses and have a hinge so they can be flipped up when not in use)
  • Post-mydriatic (given out to patients after a dilation exam)
  • Sun Lenses (magnetically attach to prescription glasses)
  • Plano Sunglasses (sunglasses that do not correct vision and are meant to be worn on their own)

A few other safety measures can be taken when in the sun, such as wearing a large brimmed hat, sunscreen, and staying out of direct sunlight during the hours of 10 am and 2 pm.

Here are our previous posts on sunglasses

Posted by: courtneygrapperhaus | December 3, 2015

Shipping your optical supplies when the weather is cold

Amcon GAZEtte

It’s been cold. I mean so cold my dog’s afraid to go outside to do her business in the morning. She races out the door, then promptly turns on her paws to make a quick return to the warmth despite the fact that she has a job to do. Amcon is located in St. Louis Missouri and as a child I remember cold, hard winters. In January of 1982, we had a storm so big the city shut down for about 3 days. The recorded snow measurement was 13.9 inches at Lambert Airport and 18 inches in the city. Even my dad stayed home, and he never let anything stop him from driving. He could navigate just about anything, but this snow left us all buried under drifts.

The last few years in St. Louis have been mild and we have hardly seen temperatures below freezing, much less run into…

View original post 273 more words

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

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