Young man working on a computer from home

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.

Kimberly Landwehr, OD

We’re celebrating Dr. Kimberly Landwehr’s 17th anniversary at Valley Eye Associates!

What is your favorite thing about being an optometrist?

My favorite thing is my patients! I have met so many people, each with a different story. I look forward to catching up on their family and adventures every visit!

What are your hobbies?

Right now, my hobbies are my three kids! I watch a lot of basketball, baseball, and softball games. I also love going to Brewer games and crafting with my daughter.

What’s your favorite holiday and why?

My favorite holiday is Halloween. My middle child was also born on Halloween!

Where would you love to travel to?

I’d love to travel to Australia!

What has been your favorite thing about working at VEA?

I have the best co-workers! I also love that every appointment is something different, could be an exam, a surgery evaluation, a post-op, foreign body removal, contact lens fitting, the list goes on!

Valley Eye Associates staff and the Best of the Valley and Best of the Winnebago logos

At Valley Eye Associates, we are honored to be voted “Best of the Valley” and “Best of Winnebago” in the LASIK Surgery Center category for 14 years in a row. The Appleton Post Crescent and Oshkosh Northwestern publishers have hosted the contest over the past several years. We are humbled and value the confidence the community has placed in us.

“For the doctors and staff at Valley Eye Associates, it means the world to us to be able to share our expertise with our neighbors and friends who have entrusted us with their eyecare. We take the responsibility seriously. Since 1981, we have proudly served the Fox Valley and beyond with a singular focus on eye care excellence for each of our patients,” says Dr. Michael Vrabec.

We bring together state-of-the-art technology, leading doctors, and a fantastic staff to ensure you receive the best vision care available. Whether you’re interested in routine eye care to help maintain good ocular health, LASIK and other surgical options to help reduce your dependence on glasses and contact lenses, or advanced cataract treatments, Valley Eye Associates is here to ensure your vision is maintained for a lifetime.

Thank you to everyone who voted for Valley Eye Associates in this year’s “Best of the Valley” and “Best of Winnebago County” contests! We’re extremely grateful for all your support and we will continue to strive to provide the best care possible.

Woman reading book after cataract surgery

Around 3 million Americans undergo cataract surgery each year. Cataract treatment involves surgery to remove the clouded natural lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. Here are five frequently asked questions about cataracts.

1. How do I know if I have cataracts?

Cataracts can create a wide variety of vision symptoms for people, but most people suffering from cataracts experience some of the following symptoms:

    • Cloudy vision
    • Blurry vision
    • Colors that don’t appear bright or vivid
    • Trouble seeing or driving at night or in low-light environments
    • Increased sensitivity to glare
    • Frequent prescription changes in your glasses or contacts

If you are experiencing any of these vision symptoms, schedule a Cataract Examination with your eye doctor to determine if cataract surgery can improve your vision and lifestyle.

2. When is the right time to have cataract surgery?

For many people, cataracts develop slowly, over months and even years. They don’t notice how much their vision has declined until it begins affecting their daily lives in many ways. This is one of the most frustrating parts of cataracts for many people — they slowly create poor vision without people noticing the slow decline.

The best time to have cataract surgery is whenever your cataracts begin to affect your daily vision and lifestyle. Whether your cataracts are small or large, our advanced cataract surgery technology ensures you no longer need to wait or suffer from blurry, cloudy vision due to cataracts.

3. Is cataract surgery painful?

No, cataract surgery isn’t painful! Thanks to the numbing eye drops applied to the surface of the eye before the procedure, you won’t feel any pain. The drops do wear off a few hours after cataract surgery. Once this occurs, you may experience some minor discomfort that can be treated with an over the counter pain reliever.

4. What happens during cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed outpatient surgery in the United States — it is a predictable, comfortable, and precise surgery experience. During the procedure, eye numbing drops and a light sedation will be administered through IV to keep you relaxed throughout the procedure. Your surgeon will gently remove the cloudy cataract lens and replace it with an intraocular lens (IOL). With the latest advancements in cataract surgery, no stitches are required, leading to quicker recovery and more precise outcomes. Cataract surgery at Valley Eye Associates is a premium experience that will get you back to seeing clearly.

5. What’s the recovery like after cataract surgery?

After your outpatient procedure, you will return home and rest for 12-24 hours. Your eye will feel comfortable very quickly after cataract surgery, and most patients experience improvement in their vision just one to two days after cataract surgery as their eyes adapt to the new IOL. It’s very important that you use your prescribed medications and follow your doctor’s instructions after your surgery.

Most patients resume normal daily activities just two to three days after cataract surgery. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions after your surgery and will check on your recovery during your follow-up visits. After this short recovery period, you’ll be free to enjoy your new vision for a lifetime!

Patients using telehealth to connect with their doctor

We are all making changes to adapt to social distancing as a result of the COVID-19 virus. Some changes make things more convenient and are likely to continue even past the virus outbreak. One of these is telehealth.

What is Telehealth?

It is the ability to deliver healthcare remotely by means of telecommunications technology. We call these “virtual visits.” When it is difficult or inconvenient for you to come to our office, we can schedule a telehealth visit with one of the doctors or technicians to evaluate your condition and provide treatment options.

Telehealth Services

We can provide the following services through a virtual visit with a doctor:

  • Emergency and urgent eye care needs (vision loss, red eyes, dry eyes, painful or sore eyes, flashing lights, floaters)
  • New patient and follow-up care for cornea, lens, and retina conditions (keratoconus, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration)
  • Second opinions for patients and doctors (MDs and ODs)
  • Virtual Free VIP Consultations for vision correction (LASIK and custom lens replacement).

How to Connect to a Telehealth Call

Please try to connect five minutes prior to your appointment time in case of any issues. Here are some tips for getting the best connection for your appointment:

  1. Find a quiet, private, distraction-free space
  2. Use a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer with a good internet connection and a webcam
  3. You will need to use Chrome, Safari, or Firefox web browsers
  4. Make sure to “allow” access to the audio and video on your device

More questions? Learn more about our telehealth program here.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has issued a month-long safer at home order that prohibits all ”non-essential business“ and prohibits all ”non-essential travel“ in the state during the coronavirus outbreak.

The order goes into effect at 8:00 am on Wednesday, March 25 and remains in effect until 8:00 am on Friday, April 24, unless the governor announces otherwise.

Valley Eye Associates is open for emergency care only, which includes the following:

  • Eye pain
  • Chemical in eye(s)
  • Loss of vision
  • Double vision
  • Foreign body
  • Flashes/floaters/cobwebs/curtains

Some post-op and follow-up appointments are still occurring per each individual doctor’s instructions (injections for patients with macular degeneration, for example, or care following corneal transplant surgeries). Patients are being contacted appropriately, whether appointments are still occurring or being rescheduled.

We have a comprehensive team ready to assist and answer questions (ophthalmologist, optometrist, technician, surgery counselor, and more). Of course things are evolving more and more every day, so we will continue to keep everyone up-to-date.

2020 A Year in Sight: Free LASIK Drawing

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, all non-emergency procedures like LASIK have been postponed to allow for needed medical services. As a result, we are extending our free LASIK sweepstakes until Friday, May 29. The lucky winner of the free drawing will be announced Monday, June 1.

Celebrate 2020 with new vision! Valley Eye Associates is giving one lucky patient the chance to win a free LASIK procedure and everyone who is a candidate a $700** savings on LASIK.

To enter, just fill out the entry form and someone from our team will contact you to schedule a free consultation. If you complete your consultation by Friday, May 29 and are a LASIK candidate, you’ll receive $700 off** your procedure and be entered to win the entire procedure for free!

The winner will be announced Monday, June 1.

Make 2020 your year for better vision!

*Based upon candidacy. No prior refractive procedures or evaluations. Offer valid for LASIK or PRK only. Cannot be combined with other offers or insurance discounts.
**$350 per eye.

The PanOptix intraocular lens implant (IOL) for cataract patients is now available at Valley Eye Associates. It is the first and only FDA-approved trifocal lens to replace the eye’s natural lens after cataract surgery!

If you’re over the age of 45, you may be noticing changes in your vision. Colors may be less vivid, reading without glasses may be difficult, you may require more light to read, and your vision may be blurry or hazy. These are all common symptoms of cataracts and presbyopia—vision conditions that affect the majority of people as they age.

Vision following cataract surgery with the PanOptix lens exceeds previously unattainable levels with older technology. The PanOptix lens provides patients with:

  • Outstanding range of vision—near, far, and in-between
  • Brighter, more vivid colors
  • Less dependence on glasses or contacts

“I have been very impressed with the latest generation of multifocal intraocular lens implants,” says Dr. Michael Vrabec. “The trifocal multifocal IOL, called the Alcon PanOptix lens, has been used overseas for many years with excellent results. It was approved by the FDA for use in the United States in the last half of 2019 and I began offering it to patients shortly after its approval. With over 50 patients having had this IOL implanted in their eyes, I have found the lens to have even better distance, intermediate, and near vision without glasses when compared to older generation of bifocal multifocal IOLs,  better vision in low light, and less glare and halos at night.”

99% of people with the PanOptix lens would choose the same lens again.*

98% of people with the PanOptix lens would recommend it to family and friends.*

80.5% of people with the PanOptix lens reported that, within the past week, they never had to wear glasses to see.*

To schedule your cataract examination and learn more about the PanOptix lOL, please call Valley Eye Associates at (800) 344-4443.

Valley Eye Associates' 2020 Eye Facts