Research advances ophthalmology. For example, the results from past studies has lead to treatments beyond drop therapy for glaucoma patients. Without clinical studies, cataract surgery might still be performed solely with a blade instead of being the laser-focused procedure it is today. Forty-somethings looking for freedom from glasses might still be soaking their contact lenses in solution overnight.

Thanks to research, all this  and more are made possible for those seeking clear vision. Exciting breakthroughs like that spur doctors to continue honing their skills, something that’s especially true at Valley Eye Associates. Here we not only enthusiastically embrace research, but we also actively participate in clinical studies. Our patients — some of whom are facing serious vision conditions — are counting on us to be on top of the latest advancements.

And we are. Valley Eye Associates values research so highly that we make it a practice-wide priority. We’re involved in studies that advance laser vision correction along with those that explore better treatments for cataracts, glaucoma, cornea, and dry eye.

Rest assured, Valley Eye Associates only agrees to participate in research studies we’ve thoroughly investigated and would perform on ourselves or loved ones. Research moves the field forward, and that’s always a good thing for patients; however, we are also committed to conducting research in the safest, most efficacious manner possible.

Interested in participating in a research study? Our doctors are all familiar with our current studies and the ideal patient profile for each. If you’re a match, your doctor will share the research opportunity with you.

We do not recommend that patients put off treatment to participate in a research study.

When you hear “glaucoma,” you may think of its nickname, “the silent thief of vision,” and a host of intimidating statistics — and understandably so. Glaucoma is one of the world’s leading causes of blindness.

Our team of experts at Valley Eye Associates is here to ease some of your worries and help you achieve the best vision possible. That’s why we continually research and apply more advanced eye care technologies to our practice, like IRIDEX’s MicroPulse laser therapy: one of the latest procedures in addressing a glaucoma diagnosis.

MicroPulse laser therapy uses a state-of-the-art laser procedure to treat retinal diseases and glaucoma. While lasers are a common technique in today’s field of ophthalmology, MicroPulse laser therapy approaches vision treatments in a unique manner. The MicroPulse laser uses a refractory period that allows the tissue to cool in between laser pulses, effectively decreasing and preventing tissue damage. Coupled with the surgeon’s ability to finely control the laser’s heat properties, treatment risks are at a new low. This procedure even lessens the need for future invasive eye surgeries.

How MicroPulse Works

A laser beam emits a continuous wave that becomes sectioned into a series of brief, low energy pulses, which are then divided by short rest periods.

  • A smaller width (the amount of time that the laser is active) ensures that the heat from the laser does not reach tissues surrounding the targeted area.
  • With a longer interval (the amount of time that the laser is off) in between each pulse, the tissue has ample time to cool down before the next pulse arrives.

Traditional laser procedures work to lower intraocular pressure through increased watery outflow and decreased aqueous production. MicroPulse laser therapy achieves the same effect in a similar manner, but with little to no harmful side effects.

Schedule an Appointment

You and your vision are of the utmost importance to us. If you notice that you present any symptoms of glaucoma, come see us as soon as possible. Call (800) 344-4443 to schedule an appointment. We’ll be here for you and your eyes… CLEARLY.

Our team of experts at Valley Eye Associates understands that glaucoma can be an overwhelming and daunting diagnosis, and because it is, we constantly use and study the most advanced vision technologies. A recently created medical device has helped take the anxiety out of glaucoma treatment: the Hydrus Microstent.

The Hydrus Microstent is a flexible device that stimulates drainage in the eye. Only the size of an eyelash, the stent effectively reduces intraocular pressure and helps manage glaucoma.

This device is approved for use during cataract surgery, but the procedure is minimally invasive, so patients can expect fewer complications and a quicker healing time than traditional glaucoma procedures. Patients won’t be able to feel or see the stent. If you are an adult with mild to moderate primary open angle glaucoma and you will be undergoing cataract surgery, you may be a candidate for this device.

The Hydrus Microstent is installed in Schlemm’s canal — a circular vessel that maintains homeostasis in the eye — widening the eye’s natural outflow channel which allows fluid to flow more freely, decreasing intraocular pressure. This stent spans 90 degrees of Schlemm’s canal, and because it does, fluid more easily reaches the eye’s drainage system, which distributes it to the circulatory system.

The Hydrus Microstent’s success is evident:1

  • After two years, 78% of Hydrus Microstent patients didn’t need drops.
  • Hydrus Microstent patients experienced a 61% reduction in invasive secondary surgeries compared to cataract surgery alone.
  • Compared to the control of a micro invasive glaucoma trial, the Hydrus Microstent showed the greatest intraocular pressure reduction.
  • Most notably, the Hydrus Microstent is clinically proven to eliminate the necessity of glaucoma medication.

We value you and your vision. That’s why we’re furthering our practice with some of the best eye care technologies. Don’t wait to treat your glaucoma. Call (800) 344-4443 to schedule an appointment.

Do you know the definition of myopia?

Chances are, you know more than you give yourself credit for. You’ve likely heard myopia’s more familiar term “nearsightedness,” and if you are one of the more than 40 percent of Americans with the condition, you’re probably better acquainted with its effect on daily life more than you are with what Webster’s Dictionary has to say about it.

But since we mentioned the definition, here it is: myopia or nearsightedness is the inability to see objects clearly at a distance. It happens when your eyeball becomes elongated or the cornea — the protective outer layer of your eye — is too curved, the light that enters your eye focuses images in front of the retina instead of directly on it, where it’s needed for optimal clarity.

Myopia has become particularly prevalent among children, and its instances are steadily increasing.1 We’ve witnessed the trend firsthand at Valley Eye Associates as our younger patients are increasingly needing interventions for myopia.

One of the best interventions we’ve found is the Brilliant Futures™ program developed by CooperVision. Through the program, certified eye care practitioners can identify children who will benefit from the MiSight 1 day and fit them for the lenses. The MiSight 1 day lenses are designed for wear by children ages 8-12. For maximum benefit, it is recommended that they wear the lenses six days per week for ten hours per day.

The results have been significant — both in terms of outcomes and peace of mind. “MiSight has been a great option that we’ve been able to offer our patients that was designed specifically for slowing the progression of myopia (nearsightedness). The kids have done extremely well and parents are pleased with the outcomes so far!,” said Dr. Angela Rodriguez, an optometrist at Valley Eye Associates and certified Brilliant Futures practitioner.

To schedule your child’s appointment, call us at (800) 344-4443.

1. Cooper, Y. (2019, May 1). With Childhood Myopia Rates on the Rise, the American Optometric Association Highlights the Importance of Early Intervention through Annual Eye Exams. Retrieved from

You may have heard the saying, “Treat the cause, not the symptom.” In the area of dry eye, many of the treatments available today focus only on treating dry eye symptoms. This can offer temporary relief, but unless you treat the cause of your dry eye, the symptoms will flare up again, and again, and again.

Valley Eye Associates is committed to offering long-term relief from dry eye disease, and is proud to offer an exciting new treatment for dry eye called Optima IPL. IPL is short for Intense Pulsed Light, a powerful and gentle light treatment that goes beyond just treating your dry eye symptoms and works to end the cause of your dry eye.

Unlike drops or medication, IPL treatment creates a gentle heat on your skin and eyelids that works to shrink abnormal blood vessels and liquifies hardened oils around your eye. These hardened oils are one of the causes of dry eye, and by liquifying and releasing the oils, IPL treatment addresses the cause of your dry eye and can reduce your dry eye symptoms for weeks or months instead of hours.

At its core, symptoms such as abnormal blood vessels and hardened oils are indications of chronic inflammation around the eye. Drops and medications can temporarily help, but IPL works to reduce or eliminate the causes of this inflammation to provide lasting relief. Until the source of the chronic inflammation is treated, dry eye symptoms will keep coming back.


Reduces Inflammatory Mediators

Decreases the level of pro inflammatory mediators, progressing the inflammation.

Alleviates Abnormal Blood Vessels

Destroys the abnormal blood vessels that are perpetuating the inflammation.

“Dry eye disease affects so many people in our area, and we’ve seen Optima IPL help people find long-lasting relief from dry eye,” says Dr. Angela Rodriguez. “As we approach the winter months, dry eye can be a real issue. We want to help more people find relief from dry eye this winter and beyond.”

With the advanced technology of Optima IPL, each treatment is customized to the exact skin type and condition of each patient. It is one of the most advanced treatments available today to treat dry eye disease. If you suffer from dry eye and are interested in a long-lasting treatment, talk to the team at Valley Eye to see if Optima IPL treatment is right for you.

Since the onset of COVID-19, working from home has become the new normal for many people. Individuals have rearranged their living spaces and assembled home offices to accommodate the need to be productive.

Keeping the health of your eyes in mind is an important step as you continue to optimize your home setup. Balancing the tasks of logging in to remote conferencing, working with pets at your feet, remembering to unmute, and the many nuances of living and working within the same environment can be overwhelming to juggle. We want a healthy routine for your eyes to be as easy as possible, so we’ve outlined the top ways to care for your eyes while working from home.

1. Light

Eye strain can be bothersome in environments where excessively bright lighting is present. Too much natural or artificial light can be hard on your eyes. If possible, position your computer to the side of a window to avoid a flood of natural light directly behind or in front of your workspace. Soft white LED or incandescent light bulbs will create the best artificial light for you to work under.

Be sure to consider the screen as a light source as well. The intensity of your screen brightness should match the room you are working in. Open a page with a primarily white background to test the lighting of your screen. If the screen seems to be emitting light, it’s too bright. If the screen seems dull, it’s too dark. Play around with the screen setting on your device or turn on the setting to automatically adjust the brightness based on your surroundings.

2. Position

This tip may come as a surprise, but posture can also affect eye strain. Assuming proper posture can be one of the most challenging obstacles when working from home. Chair height and monitor distance are the key factors in setting yourself up for good posture. Your feet should rest comfortably on the floor and your monitor should be placed directly in front of you about 20 to 24 inches away from your eyes. Ideally, to avoid squinting and neck strain, the center of the screen should be 10 to 15 degrees below your eyes.

 3. Exercise

We all know exercise is important and that goes for your eyes too. Healthy eyes can easily shift focus between near and far vision. Looking at a computer screen for extended periods may make it difficult for your eyes to focus at a distance. Although this is temporary, it’s a good practice to exercise your eyes to relax the muscles and reduce fatigue. Consider working the “20-20-20 Rule” into your daily routine. It’s as simple as pausing to look at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.

Working primarily at a computer can also cause dry eye. We tend to blink less while looking at a screen. Studies have shown that people blink about one third less while working at a computer. Help avoid dry eye by blinking your eyes slowly 10 times every 20 minutes.

4. Contact & Glasses Care

It is always important to be diligent with hand washing before touching the area around your eyes. As with any contagious disease, it is not recommended to wear contacts while sick. If you aren’t currently ill, it is safe to wear contact lenses, but we encourage you to take precautions by properly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and drying with a clean towel. You should also continue to follow the disinfection methods recommended by your contact lens manufacturer and eye care provider.

To avoid transferring germs to your face, it is also recommended to sanitize and wash your hands and glasses often, especially when frequently removing or adjusting reading glasses.

We know there are many things to think about and balance right now. But taking these small actions of self-care can help you protect one of your most precious assets: your vision.

Valley Eye Associates' 2020 Eye Facts

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults. Diabetic retinopathy is a general term for all disorders of the retina caused by diabetes.

Diabetic retinopathy can go undetected without a thorough eye exam. This is because it often has no symptoms in its early stages. As diabetic retinopathy progresses, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • An increasing number of floaters
  • Blurry vision
  • Vision that changes from blurry to clear
  • Blank or dark areas in your field of vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Colors appear faded or washed out

Diabetic retinopathy symptoms usually affect both eyes.

Diabetics are at risk for permanent vision damage and even blindness if diabetic retinopathy is left untreated. However, there are steps that can be taken to help prevent diabetic eye disease, including:

  • Maintaining good blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol control.
  • Getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam and/or obtaining retinal photographs that are examined by an eye doctor at least once a year, or more often as recommended by the eye doctor.
  • Women with diabetes prior to pregnancy should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam early in their pregnancy. The eye doctor may recommend additional exams during pregnancy.
  • Keeping a healthy lifestyle that includes exercising regularly, not smoking, and following a healthy diet. Talk to a dietician about eating habits and a doctor before starting an exercise program.

Dr. Michael Vrabec of Valley Eye Associates says, “While diabetic retinopathy is a chronic disease, the good news is that by taking the necessary steps to manage the condition, including getting an annual eye exam, we can help to minimize the harmful effects on your vision.”

For more information about diabetic retinopathy, please visit the American Diabetes Association.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending children under age 5, spend one hour or less on digital devices and those under age 1 spend no time at all on a daily basis. The WHO study refers to sedentary screen time, which includes watching television or videos, or playing computer games.

Screen Time Recommendations by Age

Infant (less than 1 year of age) Screen time is not recommended
1-2 years of age No screen time for a 1-year-old. No more than one hour for a 2-year-old, with less time preferred
3-4 years of age No more than one hour

Developing the ability to “use” vision starts at birth, says Glen Steele, O.D., professor of pediatric optometry at Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN. When a baby watches a parent form words or point to objects, their actions lead to development of a baby’s “looking” process, which fosters their internal curiosity, he says. That curiosity leads to the baby wanting to get to an object out of reach and a desire to move toward it.

Symptoms of Screen Time Exposure

According to the Vision Council, 72% of American parents report their children routinely engage in more than two hours of screen time per day. 30% of parents report their children experience at least one of the following symptoms after being exposed to more than two hours of screen time per day:

  • Headaches
  • Neck/shoulder pain
  • Eye strain, dry or irritated eyes
  • Reduced attention span
  • Poor behavior
  • Irritability

Any of these symptoms could potentially affect academic performance and social interactions.

Vision-Related Problems for Children Ages 8 and up

According to Common Sense Media, children under age 8 now spend more than two hours a day with screen media. For 8 to 10-year-olds, screen time triples to six hours a day. And it’s not unusual for kids in middle school and high school to spend up to nine hours per day looking at digital displays.

Risks Associated with Too Much Screen Time

Children who spend multiple hours staring at digital devices are at risk of developing these vision-related problems:

  • Computer Vision Syndrome: Symptoms of computer vision syndrome include digital eye strain, including fluctuating vision, tired eyes, dry eyes, headache, and fatigue. Other non-visual symptoms of computer vision syndrome include neck, back, and shoulder pain.
  • Unhealthy Posture
  • Nearsightedness Development and Progression: The prevalence of myopia has grown significantly in the last few decades and this trend coincides with the increased use of computers and digital devices by children.
  • Increased Exposure to Blue Light: Emission by the LED screens of computers, tablets, smartphones, and other digital devices might increase a person’s risk of age-related eye diseases like macular degeneration later in life.

What to Do

While it’s not realistic to think that children will stop using modern technology, here are some easy things you can do:

  • Encourage Frequent Visual Breaks: Follow the “20-20-20” rule—every 20 minutes, take your eyes off your screen and look at something that’s at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
  • Encourage Frequent Posture Checks: Moving the head slowly to the right and left as well as up and down can relieve strained muscles and reduce fatigue.
  • Protect Their Eyes from Blue Light: It may be wise to take steps to reduce premature aging of the retina by limiting the amount of blue light exposure the eye receives throughout a lifetime.
  • Establish Media-Free Times: Break your child’s fixation on digital devices, reduce eye fatigue, and limit blue light exposure while using this time to connect as a family.
  • Schedule Annual Eye Exams: Schedule an exam prior to the start of every school year.

According to experts, up to 80% of the learning children do is through their eyes. Having an undiagnosed vision problem can hinder a child’s education, confidence, and ability to socialize. It can also subsequently affect their success later in life. Unlike adults, kids might not know how to explain what’s wrong. When you don’t know how other people see, it’s difficult to say you’re having trouble seeing the world around you.

Common Vision Symptoms

Children with vision problems are unlikely to tell their teachers and parents because they don’t realize the source of the problem. Parents can help by watching for some common symptoms:

  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Slow to finish schoolwork
  • Short attention span for close work
  • Tendency to fidget and look away from work
  • Frequent headaches
  • Tendency to cover one eye
  • Frequent blinking or eye-rubbing

When Should Children’s Eyes Be Examined?

Patient Age Examination Interval
Asymptomatic/Low Risk At Risk
Birth to 2 years At 6 to 12 months of age At 6 to 12 months of age or as recommended
3 through 5 years At least once between 3 and 5 years of age At least once between 3 and 5 years of age or as recommended
6 through 18 years Before first grade and annually thereafter Before first grade and annually, or as recommended, thereafter
Source: American Optometric Association

Comprehensive Eye Exams Go Beyond 20/20

A comprehensive eye exam at Valley Eye Associates goes beyond a simple screening performed at schools. It involves checking for color blindness, eye alignment (teaming), ocular motility (tracking), and depth perception. Valley Eye Associates will also provide a prescription for glasses, if needed.

Your family’s vision is important to us! Call (920) 739-4361 today to schedule an eye exam for your child and make sure they see their best this school year.