Bauer optical - Smart Vision Labs Visionary

Bauer Optical Taps Smart Vision Exams to Assist with Optometrist Shortage in Westchester, NY

Bauer Optical in Hastings-on-Hudson NY can now easily check their customer’s vision in less than five minutes and get them an updated prescription with the help of Smart Vision Exams.

New York, NYJanuary 26, 2016, Smart Vision Labs (, the world leaders in providing telehealth eye exams, welcome Bauer Optical to their expanding network of New York City area stores offering on-site Smart Vision Exams. The Smart Vision Exam uses the same advanced technology developed for LASIK to capture a person’s vision correction prescription. The data is sent to a remote network of eye doctors who provide new or updated eyeglass prescriptions. The whole vision test takes about 5 minutes and customers can access their prescription online, within 24 hours. The Smart Vision exam measures a customer’s visual acuity, refractive error, pupillary distance, and current prescriptions (if applicable), while also collecting answers to basic health questions. The test is available during store hours to healthy adults between 18-60. If customers haven’t had a full eye exam within the last two years a full eye health exam is recommended.

Bauer Optical, is located at 45 Main St, Hastings-On-Hudson, NY 10706 and is owned by Ed Klotz. When their regular OD went on maternity leave and reduced her availability to a few days a month, Ed started looking for a new OD, in order to continue providing the highest level of customer service. Unfortunately, the search turned out to be remarkably difficult in this small village, even though he offered attractive fees. He scoured the area, turning to medical school alumni lists, lists of fill-in doctors, and even Craig’s List.

“90% of my customers want to be in and out for their glasses (don’t want to wait so long for a doctor),” said Ed Klotz owner of Bauer Optical. “The Smart Vision Exam was the solution to my OD shortage and the accuracy of the prescriptions has been great. Our customers love their new glasses.”

“Bauer Optical is a great example for our business. They were challenged with finding an optometrist to work in their store and when they were unable to find an OD so they turned to us and adopted our technology,” said Yaopeng Zhou, co-founder and CEO of Smart Vision Labs. “As our first partner in Westchester, Ed has been a visionary in how he adopted our technology to his business, and he is seeing great business results.”

Bauer Optical joins our growing network of NY partners offering 5-Minute Vision Exams, which currently includes: Devonshire Optical, EuroOptika, Kalmus Optical, Modern Day OptX,, Vint & York, Visual Optique, Digital Optiks, Strand Pharmacy Optical, Marine Park Family Vision, EyeCrave Optics, Vu Frameworks, Thosoo Eyewear, and 92nd Eye all located in the NYC area.

Optical store owners who don’t always have the ability to offer on-site prescription for glasses or contact lens renewals can now use the Smart Vision Labs telemedicine platform to grow their business. Optical stores no longer have to send customers away for a prescription and can now service them while creating a better, faster, more convenient user experience and providing high quality glasses with fewer remakes than other techniques. Smart Vision Lab partners have reported an ROI on the service that exceeds 500%.

In the United States alone, 240 million Americans are in need of vision correction, but only 114 million eye exams are performed yearly. On average there is one eye doctor for every 5,000 people. Personalizing telemedicine promotes ownership of one’s own medical data, and with Smart Vision Labs, prescriptions are always accessible with a click of a button.

About Smart Vision Labs

Smart Vision Labs is making vision care less expensive, less complicated, and more accessible. The company offers a mobile-phone based vision exam where patients can obtain an eyewear prescription in minutes without the need for a doctor on-site. Their proprietary technology shrinks expensive, bulky equipment to a portable device that is adapted to a telemedicine platform. Smart Vision Exams are currently available in over 50 locations in New York and California, and the company is looking to expand to other states in the coming months. Founded in 2013, Smart Vision Labs aims to increase access to vision care by leveraging technology and innovation. Over 50,000 vision tests have been performed to date in 23 countries, including in partnership with numerous nonprofits and NGOs providing eye-care services to underserved populations here in the US, as well as in India, China and Africa.

If you are interested in providing Smart Vision Exams technology in your store, contact



Why Vision Is the Most Important Sense - Learn why at Smart Vision Labs

Why Vision Is the Most Important Sense Organ

Out of all the five senses, your vision seems the most important. Humans are fairly unique in their reliance on sight as the dominant sense and this is reflected in how complicated our eyes are relative to other creatures.

Many animals gain most of their information about the environment through their sense of smell. Your dog’s nose tells him much more about his world and who is in it than his eyes (which can actually see some color). In contrast, you can’t smell all the wildlife that visited your yard but you could see them in vivid color.

How the Eye ‘Sees’

Why are human eyes so much more capable? Basically, it is because they have more components which collect information.

When you see something, like your pet dog, your eyes don’t actually see him, your brain does. At the start of what will become your vision, light enters your eyes. Your pupil, the black center of your eye, and the iris, the colored ring around it, work together to widen or constrict the pupils so the appropriate amount of light enters the eye.

The incoming light travels through two layers: the cornea and the lens. The cornea at the front of your eye, and the lens, located right behind your pupil, work in tandem to focus the light ray onto a specific spot at the back of your eye, on the retina.

At the retina is where the raw sight data your eyes collected from light begins to be translated into useful visual information. The light focused on the retina triggers photoreceptors which are used to create visual cues. The retina contains two types of photoreceptors: rods and cones. There are about 120 million rods and up to 7 million cones. Rods are more sensitive than cones but cannot detect color, which the cones can.

Humans have 3 types of cones which perceive the presence of red, green, and blue. These combine in different levels to create the full range of color we see. In case you’re wondering, your dog only has 2 of these, yellow and blue, which means his vision is closer to a human with red-green colorblindness than just black and white.

Now that information about the item and its color are collected, the rest of the work is left to the brain. This new data is sent along the optic nerve to the brain, which is what tells us what we are looking at. Along with what we are seeing, the brain sends information about the context: what does looking at this mean, is it dangerous, or other related memories.

Also your eyes and brain are constantly doing all of this. All in a tiny fraction of a second.

The Eye as a Sense Organ

The way sight works is why it is one of the five senses. The eyes are the physical portal through which data from your environment is collected and sent to your brain for processing. The brain plays its part by converting the light that went into your eyes into usable information – how far away, how bright, what color.

So if you were to look at your dog, you would see that, yes, it is a dog but also what breed he is and that he is your pet and would probably like his ears scratched.

Humans are built to collect information with their eyes and even reduced vision quality creates a negative effect. A regular vision test is a small investment for something that has such a huge impact on our lives.

Our eyes aren’t just performing a task, they are the portal through which our brain can tell us about our world, learn new things, and make wonderful memories. All of which are reasons why vision is such an important thing to take care of.

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Weird Things Your Eyes Do and what they mean - Smart Vision Labs

Weird Things Your Eyes Do (and What They Mean)

Your eyes do weird things sometimes. Do you see little specks in the sky on a sunny day? Maybe you swear you saw a flash of light right at the corner of your vision, but it moved before you could see what it was. Does it ever appear as if there are zigzag lines over everything you look at? Or maybe your eyelid decided to twitch, making you feel like an angry cartoon character.

Do you know which of these is totally normal, which is your eyes trying to tell you something, and which one isn’t even an eye problem?

Specks in the Sky

What they are:
Are you seeing little specks that almost seem like a bit of dust drifting by? They tend to show up when you’re looking at something both clear and bright, like a white computer screen or sunny blue sky. And they always seem to dart out of view as soon as you try to catch a glimpse.

These are “floaters.” They are caused by proteins moving about in the fluid inside your eye. You’re actually seeing the shadow they make on your retina, not the protein itself.

What they mean:
Generally, these mean nothing. Although they can be annoying, they’re also a totally normal (but weird) thing your eye does. Floaters are always there. Sometimes, the light is just right so you can see them. Unless you notice a ton of them appear all at once, which is a sign of retinal detachment, they are perfectly normal.

Eye Twitches

What they are:
These are rapid, fluttering movements in your eyelid. Usually they happen in your lower lid but your upper lid or both of them can be affected.

What they mean:
Eyelid twitching that comes on suddenly is rarely a medical problem. However, they are a way your eyes try to get your attention. Notice what you are doing the next time you feel them. Using the computer? They are a symptom of digital eye strain and mean your eyes need a rest. Difficult day at work? Eyelid twitching might mean you are stressed and your whole body needs a break. Be careful with how you use that leisure time though. Both caffeine and alcohol can also cause these flutters.

Flashes of Light

What they are:
Flashes are just that: bursts of light. They may look like a camera’s flash or a streak like a lightning bolt.

What they mean:
There are two common causes of flashes, but only one has to do with your eyes. Remember the fluid the floaters were, well, floating in? This fluid is actually called vitreous gel and sometimes tugs on the retina and creates the flash. Infrequently, they aren’t a concern but if they accompany a sudden burst of floaters, they can be alerting you to an issue with the retina, in which case you should see your eye doctor immediately.

The other thing flashes of light may be is a migraine headache aura. People might also see zigzag lines or develop temporary blind spots. These occur about an hour or so before the onset of a migraine. Auras result when a chemical or electric signal travels through the part of the brain which processes your senses. Your eyes aren’t seeing these visual disturbances, your brain is. Therefore, although they affect your vision (temporarily), they aren’t even an eye problem.

Every part of our eyes, from the physical components to the sensory processing system, can introduce some strange visual quirks. Regular vision tests, wearing an up-to-date prescription, and treating your eyes with care will help you recognize which things are normal and which are not.

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Bette Davis Eyes

Sometimes we remember people because of their eyes; Bette Davis is one of those people.

Kim Carnes even sang about her famous eyes. (I bet you can hear that song in your head at the moment.) But what’s the deal with these eyes?

Those ‘Bette Davis eyes’ could have been indicative of a medical condition known as Graves’ disease, which is a serious thyroid and immunological disorder. This disorder causes an inflammatory response in the muscles around the eyes which makes them swell. Although the eyes are held in place by the orbits (the sockets in the skull), the swelling of the muscles and surrounding tissues push the eyes forward. In severe cases of Graves’s disease, the eyes are protruding and have limited movement.

The Eyes Tell a Story

Bette Davis’s eyes told a story. Whether it was about her possibly having Graves’ disease or whether her eyes highlighted her sassiness, success, or sexiness, there is a story to be told if we listen. Certain eye-related medical conditions can be diagnosed (often in an early stage) with regular vision exams.

Some health issues like diabetes or high blood pressure can cause vision problems. This is because the capillaries and blood vessels of the eyes are affected. Both of these medical conditions can be treated and many patients report an improvement in their vision afterward.

Famous People are Just like Us

Okay, maybe our photos aren’t on the covers of magazines or we are not incredibly rich, but when it comes to eye health, we are all on the same page. Regular vision exams are important for everyone because they can detect problems and offer solutions.

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln couldn’t look you directly in the eye? He was believed to have a condition known as ‘lazy eye.’ In his case, he had a displaced eye muscle, possibly because he was kicked in the head by a horse as a child.

‘Lazy eye’ is still a medical condition today and generally it’s diagnosed in children under 7. It’s caused when one eye doesn’t develop as it should, shifting the focus of vision to the other eye while the ‘lazy eye’ is almost ignored. The good news is that there are ways to successfully treat this.

Ray Charles, known for his exceptional musical talent, was born was congenital glaucoma. Sadly, this was not diagnosed and resulted in blindness by the time he was seven years old.

Today, there are glaucoma tests that are done quickly and painlessly. People over the age of 40 should be checked for this medical condition at least every one to two years. Glaucoma develops because of increased fluid pressure in the eyes. Often, there are no early symptoms of this disease. If left untreated, blindness could result.

Look on the Bright Side

Our eyes not only allow us to see and interact with the world around us; they can also reveal medical conditions that need to be addressed. Through regularly scheduled vision exams, you can get an early diagnosis on certain problems and start to receive treatment.

Even if you don’t have famous eyes like Bette Davis, make sure they are seen at vision exams. If you need corrective glasses, have your eye doctor ‘autograph’ a prescription for you. And if you plan on becoming famous, be sure to get a pair of prescription sunglasses in case you need to hide out from your fans for a while.

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questions about eye health - Smart Vision Labs

Eye Q&A: Things to Ask, Things to Know

Do you have any Eye Q? (This is not to be confused with IQ which I am sure you have in abundance.)

Eye Q refers to any questions about eye health. We all wonder and even worry about certain things pertaining to your eyes. This is a quick glance at some of the more common questions (and answers) people have about their eye health.

Knowledge is power and the more you know about your eyes, the better position you will be in to keep them healthy.

Q: How often should I have my vision checked?
A: If you are already wearing corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses, the American Optometric Association recommends a vision exam every year. If your vision is not currently being corrected by prescriptive eyewear, and if you are between 18 and 60, an exam every two years is recommended.

Having your vision checked regularly is the number one thing you can do to maintain eye health.

Q: Which is better—eyeglasses or contact lenses?
A: Both have advantages and disadvantages. Glasses don’t need a lot of maintenance and cleaning; they don’t touch your eyes so there is less chance of infection; they are often cheaper. On the con side, they are very visible and you may not like how they look especially if you need to wear thicker lenses because of a strong prescription.

Contact lenses can usually correct your vision better since they are directly on your eye, providing a wider field of view with less obstruction. They are also better for playing sports, are not affected by weather, and can even change your eye color if you desire.

Although the choice of wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses is strictly up to you and your lifestyle, it all starts with a vision exam to determine if you need a prescription.

Q: Why is my vision getting worse?
A: Did you worry the last time your prescription needed to change? Did you wonder if perhaps your eyesight is failing? Most people feel disappointed or discouraged if they need a stronger prescription but knowing possible reasons why their vision needs extra correction may give them peace of mind.

If you suffer from dry eyes, your vision can become blurrier. This condition is a result of low tear production and many people do not even realize they have this until they get their vision checked. On the positive side, using a product for artificial tears (which your eye doctor might prescribe) can improve dry eyes and possibly improve your vision.

Certain diseases like diabetes or the presence of cataracts can diminish the quality of your vision. By having regular vision exams, these conditions can be diagnosed and treated, often when they are still in an early stage.

Q: What can I do to keep my eyes healthy?
A: The number one way to maintain eye health is to have regular vision exams. If you haven’t had your eyes checked in a while, you may be happily surprised to see how technology has improved the convenience of these exams. You can stop in at a participating provider for a 5-minute Smart Vision Exam. If you are concerned about affordability, and if you have a FSA or HSA, you may be able to use the money from these accounts for the exam or corrective eyewear.

So when you are thinking about any Eye Qs you have, perhaps the best one may be: Am I due for a vision exam? If you haven’t had one in a year, the answer is yes.

Measuring Your Pupillary Distance With Smart Vision Labs Technology

DIY Measuring Your Pupillary Distance?

Something might be missing if you decided to take the prescription from your last vision exam and shop online for glasses. The website you chose to order glasses from will ask for your pupillary distance (PD). This measurement is critical for ensuring the lenses in your new glasses line up correctly with your eyes in order to improve your vision.

If you’re new to buying glasses online, you probably didn’t know to get your pupillary distance measurement from your eye doctor while you were there. Since this is a pretty common scenario, people have invented some. . . creative ways to come up with this measurement for themselves.

One Ruler to Rule Them All

Step one: get out your millimeter ruler. What do you mean you haven’t touched one of those since middle school and that math problem about the triangles? Fine. Step zero: go buy a millimeter ruler. You could print one out online as well, just make sure your printer is set to “actual size.”

Anyway, now that you have your millimeter ruler (or piece of paper) in hand, you also need a friend. Hopefully you’ve gotten one of these more recently than that ruler you used in math class. Have them stand about an arm’s length away from you.

Then, they need to measure the distance between your pupils. For best results, they should be wearing their own glasses so they can eyeball (no pun intended) where exactly the ruler starts, right at the center of one pupil, and read the measurement directly at the center of the other pupil. Ideally, they are holding the ruler (or paper) perfectly still over the bridge of your nose as this is being read. Holding your breath might help with this. As they do this, focus your eyes on some spot about 10 feet off in the distance. Staring directly at your friend might creep them out and will mess up your measurement.

Repeat this about three times and average them out to account for either (or both) of you moving. If you’re concerned about the accuracy but don’t want to give up on your online glasses shopping experience yet, there is another way you can try.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

If you’re more of a lone wolf type, you can actually measure your own pupillary distance, no friend required. You just need to replace “friend” with “mirror.” While balancing the ruler on the bridge of your nose, stand about arm’s length away from the mirror and read the measurement.

What if you can’t see yourself at arm’s length in order to read the ruler (let alone those tiny numbers)? After all, you are doing this in order to purchase a pair of glasses.

Luckily, poor eyesight isn’t an excuse to not know your pupillary distance. You just need a highlighter as well. This time, look at yourself in the mirror and use the highlighter to dot where your pupils are on the lenses of your glasses. Then, you can take the glasses off and read the measurement by putting the ruler as close to your eyes as you need.

So, how to clean highlighter off your lenses? You did use an old pair of glasses, right? Oh well, you’re shopping for new ones anyway.

Or Just Use Technology?

However, the desire for people to measure their own pupillary distance has also resulted in some successful and simple methods as well. There are various ways which use technology to create an objective measurement. Unsurprisingly, measuring your own pupillary distance with the assistance of technology turns out to be both more accurate and way easier than relying on a combination of a friend, mirror, and millimeter ruler.

At the rate technology is advancing in this area, there might be even easier methods of measuring your pupillary distance right on the horizon.

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Blue light and your eyes - Smart Vision Labs

Seeing Blue?

You have probably heard that spending long hours using the computer can cause eye strain but do you know why? Learning about the connection between computer monitors and digital eye strain will also clue you in on how to reduce the uncomfortable side effects.

Why Does Using a Computer Hurt Your Eyes?

Initially, you might think it has to do with the light being too bright for your eyes. But this is only part of the answer. It is indeed the light from your monitor that causes eye strain but it is a certain type.

Your computer screen emits blue light and that specifically is what your eyes are reacting to. Blue light is also called high energy visible light, or HEV light. For reference, it is only one stage lower in energy than ultraviolet (UV) light. Blue light is the highest energy light that we can also see, therefore the name HEV.

Digital eye strain occurs because your eye isn’t very good at blocking light in the blue part of the spectrum. While only a tiny bit (less than one percent) of UV light actually reaches the sensitive retina, nearly all blue light does. (Note that sunglasses are necessary to block 100 percent of UV rays because even the small amount that gets through is very damaging.) Blue light tires your eyes out because it is both high energy and is easily scattered. It doesn’t focus as well the rest of the light spectrum which causes the eye strain you feel after staring at your computer screen.

How Do You Avoid Blue Light?

Well, you can’t, not entirely. While blue light is associated with digital devices like computers and smartphones, the sun itself is a natural source of this light. The white light from the sun is made from the combination of all the colors which compose the light spectrum, blue included. The sun is the primary source of exposure to HEV light.

Additionally, you actually don’t want to avoid all of it. Keep in mind that sunlight contains blue light and exposure to the sun, so your body can manufacture vitamin D, is essential to good physical and mental health. The presence of blue light also helps your body maintain its natural sleep/wake cycle, called circadian rhythm.

Of course, there are many man-made sources which emit blue light as well. But, unlike with sunlight, we can limit our exposure to these. Smartphones, tablets, computer monitors and television screens are indoor sources of blue light. Lamps with fluorescent or LED bulbs also shine using blue light. While these items all give off way less HEV light than the sun, we also spend quite a bit of time exposed to them, which increases their negative effects.

Solutions to Blue Light Exposure

Just as people have created the issue of digital eye strain from blue light with the prevalence of computers, they have also invented solutions so we can continue using our electronics in comfort. Of course, taking frequent breaks to rest your eyes is always helpful, regardless if you are using a phone or computer.

For your eyes, both anti-reflective lens coatings and special computer glasses are available. If you already wear prescription glasses, opting for an anti-reflective coating means you don’t have to do anything extra to protect yourself, other than make sure your glasses are actually on while using your device. If you prefer contact lenses or don’t need any vision correction, yellow tinted computer glasses are worth considering.

You could also block the blue light on the device itself. There are screen protectors available which filter it out while they keep scratches off your device. Some devices also have a setting built in to manage blue light.

So to keep your eyes from seeing red, limit the amount of blue that goes into them.

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Get your eyes tested by taking a 5-minute Smart Vision Exam. Find one of our premier providers near you.

Are Eye Doctors Seeing Things Correctly? - Smart Vision Labs

Are Eye Doctors Seeing Things Correctly?

No, this isn’t about whether your eye doctor has 20/20 vision and is therefore physically qualified to examine you. (Although that might be a good topic!) This is about your eye doctor ‘seeing’ the law when it comes to obeying the consumer protection guidelines.

Let’s Look at the Eyeglass Rule

The federal law states:

  • Your eye doctor must give you one copy of your eyeglasses prescription immediately after the vision exam.
  • Your eye doctor must not make the eye exam conditional upon you buying glasses or contacts from that establishment.
  • You may not be charged an additional fee for receiving your prescription.
  • You do not have to sign a waiver disclaiming the liability of the eye doctor and the diagnosis of your eyes’ condition if you choose purchase glasses or contacts elsewhere.

Let’s Look at the Contact Lens Rule

This federal law states:

  • The patient shall receive a copy of the prescription without incurring an additional charge for it.
  • The patient does not need to sign a waiver or release after receiving the prescription to remove any liability of the eye doctor.

Basically, whether you wear corrective glasses or contact lenses, you are entitled to a copy of your prescription after your vision exam. It’s the law.

Why FTC May be on the Eye Chart

While the standard eye chart with the large letter E at the top will not be redesigned to include the letters FTC, the Federal Trade Commission will indeed be keeping a closer eye on vision exams. That’s because many eye doctors are deliberately ignoring these consumer protection laws.

The laws are meant to benefit the patients and give them freedom of choice when purchasing corrective glasses or contacts. No one should have to purchase eye-wear from the place where they had their vision exam except if they choose to do so. Many people like to shop around and compare prices and these consumer laws protect that decision.

To better enforce this, the FTC has made a proposal that would require a patient to sign and acknowledge that they received a copy of their contact lens prescription. The eye doctors would be required to keep their signed forms on file for three years.

Additionally the FTC has another provision that encourages the use of Internet portals whereby patients could get a copy of their prescription online. The portal would be password-protected to ensure security and the patient’s right to privacy, but would also provide easy accessibility to this important information.

Interestingly, while reviewing the current compliance of eye doctors concerning contact lens prescriptions, the government agency did not find any increased risk for the patient if they bought contact lenses from other retailers. This is additional encouragement and motivation for patients to shop around and purchase their corrective eye-wear from a place that will also fit into their financial budgets.

Nearsighted Eye Doctor?

You won’t need to give your eye doctor a vision test to determine a nearsighted condition. If the doctor wants to keep your purchase ‘near’ (as in you must buy glasses or contacts in the place where you got your exam) then you may be best served by requesting your prescription so you can shop elsewhere.

The law is the law and there is really only one way to ‘see’ it.

Editor’s note: When you take a Smart Vision Exam you have access to your contact lens or eyeglass prescription through our telemedicine platform. 

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Many Headaches Can Be Prevented by Eye Exams - Smart Vision Labs

Why Many Headaches Can Be Prevented by Vision Exams

Why Headaches Are the Leading Cause of Employee Absenteeism . . . and Why Many Headaches Can Be Prevented by Vision Exams

“Headaches cause substantial individual impact on work productivity and employer and societal burden from direct medical costs, lost work time, and underemployment, and, in more severe persistent headache, unemployment. The lost work time costs greatly exceed medical care costs. Chronic daily headache (15 or more headache days per month) represents a widely accepted stage of pain progression that occurs in 2-4% of the population.”

“Headache and Migraine: A Leading Source of Absenteeism,” by K. Baigi and W.F. Stewart, Handbook of Clinical Neurology, 2015

When employees suffer from headaches on the job, costly problems arise. Their productivity suffers and they are more prone to make mistakes. Plus, employees who suffer from chronic headaches call in sick more often. And as we noted previously, other health problems can arise from poor or uncorrected vision, including depression, a greater likelihood of falls, and even shortened life expectancy.

Yet when a company takes steps to help employees see better and experience less eye strain, they suffer fewer headaches – and problems of absenteeism and poor productivity are reduced.

What Causes Poor Vision and Headaches on the Job

  • Poor workplace lighting. Headaches are more likely to happen when ambient light in a work area is not sufficient, or when it is provided by old fluorescent fixtures that do not emit a “natural” spectrum of colors. Eyestrain and headaches also occur when individual workstations or desks are not equipped with lights that direct sufficient illumination at documents that are being processed, products that are being assembled or repaired, etc.
  • Incorrect placement of desks and work stations. When desks are placed in front of bright windows, employees must squint to shut out background glare so they can see what they are working on. The results? Again, eyestrain and headaches.
  • Dry conditions. When a work area is not humid enough, dry eyes and eye irritation result. It is a problem that can be rectified through the use of inexpensive humidifiers.
  • Excessive computer use and failure to take work breaks. Studies from the National Institutes of Health have found that eyestrain is significantly reduced when computer-users take only four or five five-minute work breaks during the day.
  • Incorrect adjustment and placement of computer displays. When employees need to squint because bright sources of light are located behind the screens they are using, eyestrain results. Plus, strain can be caused by incorrect brightness settings on computer displays, or by settings that display text in sizes that are too small. Note that simple adjustments can usually rectify these issues.
  • Poor workstation ergonomics. In many offices, the distance is too great between desk chairs and computer displays, causing employees to squint or sit in uncomfortable positions to focus on their computer screens. Headaches, poor posture and back discomfort can result.
  • Desktop clutter. When employees’ work surfaces become cluttered, those workers are apt to work on documents that are not well lit or well positioned for visual processing. The result is again eyestrain.

Uncorrected Vision Is a Major Cause of Headaches

According to “Could Your Headaches Be Due to Vision Problems?”, an article on, the following problems that are often caught during routine eye exams are common causes of headache:

  • Astigmatism
  • Hyperopia, or long-sightedness
  • Presbyopia, a condition in which the lens in the eye has hardened due to age
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts

The article concludes, “If you’re experiencing frequent headaches, and it’s been more than a year or two between eye exams, it’s a good idea to see your eye care provider.”

How can you add regular, high-quality vision care to your company’s employee wellness program? Find out how easy it is to run a vision screening in your office by downloading the free white paper, The Benefits of Corporate On-site Vision Exams.

Wellness Vision Exams


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Color Blindness Explained - Smart Vision Labs

The Shades of Color Blindness

Do you remember “The Dress?” People were agonizing over whether it was blue and black or white and gold. What did you think it was?

This photo made a lot of people think about the eyes and specifically why we see colors. It also made many of us wonder if we have a vision defect and are not seeing colors as they really are.

The Science of Color Blindness

On a purely physical basis, being able to see color involves a few special parts of the eyes called photoreceptors. The two main types are rods and cones and they are named after their respective shapes. Both are located at the back of the eyes and each has a specific function.

After light reaches the eyes, these photoreceptors create electrical signals that ‘tell’ the brain what color the eyes are seeing. Rods help us see in lower light and the images will be mostly black and white depending on the darkness around you. Cones are what allow us to see in color and they need bright light to work well. The three types of cones enable us to see the main colors: red, green and blue.

Sometimes a genetic defect can make one or more of the cones not work properly. This condition is often called color blindness and affects about nine percent of the population. Men are usually more affected than women.

When is Color Blindness a Problem?

People with color vision deficiency often report that this condition is frustrating but not severely problematic. For instance, some of the milder problems associated with this impairment involve wearing mismatched clothing or eating unripe bananas since a green and yellow banana are both shades of the same color to them.

Differentiating between the red and green of a traffic light can be difficult but this can be easily solved by noticing where the bulb is lit up since red is always at the top. Another problem is undercooking meat since the red color may not be easily distinguished.

Overall, being color blind is not considered a disability; rather it is a vision problem that may be improved through special lenses that enhance color perception.

What Color is the Dress?

The dress is blue and black but the bluish tint in the photo changes a person’s perception of the dress’s true color. That’s why the black part looks gold and the blue part looks white.

The reason why people see the dress differently is based on their individual sensitivity to the blue lighting in the photo. Our individual visual system decides if the blue illumination is either more or less reflective on the dress. By discounting the blue, you would see a white and gold dress.

Are Seeing Colors Purely Arbitrary?

Although there is a biological process for determining the presence of color in the things around us, there is also a level of physical interpretation involved. The electrical signals from the cones to the brain can be ‘wrong’ if one or more of the cones are not functioning properly. In that case, the person may not see the true color, but a shade of it or none of it. Sometimes color blindness is only present in dim light, with the person seeing colors correctly in brighter conditions. A vision exam can help diagnose this condition and make you aware of it.

And the next time someone asks you if the dress is blue and black or white and gold, you will have a better understanding of why you see it as you do.

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