The team at Valley Eye Associates has conceived a new way to help make money for local charities and keep “cool” over the summer months. On these special “Casual Charity Days,” VEA staff members dressed in casual attire and contributed $5 each to support local charities. These three charities were chosen by VEA doctors. Through the generous donation of Dr. Michael Vrabec, who matched the staff’s contributions, the team delivered over $3,700 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Feeding America , and the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. Dr. Douglas Salm, Dr. Jennifer Unger, and Dr. Sara Schalk provided additional donations.

Surgery Coder, Ivy Blue, explains why she thinks giving back is important: “I think it’s so important to give back to the community in any way that you can, by volunteering your time, participating in fundraisers, sponsoring others that are participating in events, or even paying for a casual day at work. I am very fortunate to have a healthy family and the means to provide for our daily needs. I like to do what I can to help others. I love the sense of community when we come together for a positive cause. Positive actions cause positive reactions and this world needs all the positivity it can get.”

”I love the sense of community when we come together for a positive cause. Positive actions cause positive reactions and this world needs all the positivity it can get.”

Ivy was one of the staff members who helped deliver the first donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. “Make-A-Wish is so close to my heart. My husband Bob and I have been involved with Make-A-Wish for many years. When I heard [Make-A-Wish] was a charity we were donating to, I jumped at the chance to go with to present the donation. I love the fact that it grants the wishes of local children. Kris and her staff work so hard for these children and their families. When we presented the donation, Kris took the time to give us a tour and explain what the donation was going to be used for. She also shared stories of past recipients. I had happy tears and sad tears when we left. It was heartwarming to know how hard this organization works for the wishes of the children!”

Valley Eye Associates staff members deliver a check to the the Make-A-Wish Foundation

Dr. Jennifer Unger made the recommendation of Feeding America. “Casual days are a fun way to serve our community. The VEA staff is so generous. Our Feeding America donation provided nearly 10,000 meals for Fox Valley residents. Every dollar counts and they add up faster together!”

Valley Eye Associates staff members deliver a check to Feeding America

At Valley Eye Associates, we believe in giving back to the community we live in. You’ll also find VEA doctors and staff members participating in youth sports programs, sponsoring local golf outings, and volunteering their time at community events. We’re incredibly grateful to this wonderful community for supporting our practice over the last 37 years, and we’re dedicated to supporting it right back.

Brianne Scanlon, OD

Brianne Scanlon, OD

Get to know Dr. Brianne Scanlon, the latest member of the Valley Eye Associates team!

Where did you grow up?

Park Falls, WI

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I was always torn between being an astronaut or a famous singer… those two things are so similar, I know ;-)

Where did you go to optometry school?

Illinois College of Optometry

What is your favorite food?

Any type of pasta!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love to just get outside and go for a walk or spend time with my family. Lately I’ve been trying to get a little crafty with some DIY projects, but I’m not very good at that yet.

What is your favorite sports team?

Green Bay Packers!

What are your optometric areas of interest?

I love taking care of all patients and provide comprehensive optometry, but I have a special interest in contact lens and ocular disease.

Why do you love being an optometrist?

I love being an optometrist for those moments when I can tell I’ve truly made a difference in someone’s life by bringing back a little happiness with improving vision. It’s one of the most rewarding feelings to witness a change in someone’s expression when they see something new.

The team at Valley Eye is just as excited as you to leave your contacts behind and so that you‘re able to do the things you want to do without your daily contact grind or glasses getting in the way of everything.

The day of your Free VIP iLASIK Consultation, you will be greeted by our front desk staff, who will confirm your appointment and get you checked in. After this, our surgery coordinator will call you back into one of our testing rooms.

First and foremost, we will chat about your vision. The more information you can give us about your ocular history and your vision, the better. Once we establish what your vision struggles are, we will begin to take some quick measurements. First, we will take a brief reading of your prescription. We will need to make sure that your eyes fall into the parameters that we are able to treat with iLASIK or if there are any other treatments we would recommend based on your eyes. Remember that no two eyes are the same, so just because you may not be a good candidate for iLASIK, it does not mean that you are stuck with glasses and contacts forever. This is one of the reasons why coming in for your free consultation is so important.

Once we determine your prescription, we will head over to another machine called the Pentacam. This is a super cool machine that reads your cornea. The cornea is the front part of the eye, sort of the “window” to your eye. The machine will let us know what your corneal thickness is. This is a very technologically advanced piece of equipment. Dr. Vrabec is going to want to make sure that your eye is healthy enough for iLASIK. During iLASIK, we remove tissue from the cornea and we want to make sure that the cornea has enough tissue to be removed in the first place. If we were to proceed with iLASIK when you don’t have enough tissue or healthy tissue on your cornea, we could risk the long-term health and vision of your eye. This measurement is one of Dr. Vrabec’s favorites when it comes to our vision correction patients.

Once we determine which surgical procedure is the right one for you, we will head back to our conference room to discuss the procedures in-depth. We will show you a short video and we also have eye models to help us explain just how iLASIK treatment is done. If you’re squeamish, don’t worry—all videos are animated! You and your surgery coordinator will discuss your options and talk a little more about what you are looking to get out of your vision following iLASIK. Whether you are a hunter and you want to be able to head on into the woods without contacts bothering you, or you are a parent and your little ones keep breaking your glasses, we want to know what you are looking forward to doing without your corrective lenses.

We will continue to inform you of what to expect the day of your procedure, as well as the next few days following. We will also explain your basic restrictions for after your surgery. Within reason, you are able to proceed with everything you normally do after your iLASIK procedure. After you have been informed about price, restrictions, and what to expect before, after, and during your surgery, we will set up your next step in the vision correction journey, which is a full eye exam.

Even if you recently had a full eye exam, it is still required prior to your iLASIK procedure to make sure that you have the best ocular health. We take our time in measuring before to ensure that you are going to have the best outcome after.

Once this is set, we can pick a date for your surgery—the date you will officially be rid of corrective lenses and be able to wake up and continue your day without dealing with your contacts, solution, glasses, etc. This is the date you’ve been waiting for. With this appointment made and all of your questions answered by your surgery coordinator, you are on your way to better vision, naturally.

If this blog post left you wanting more information about iLASIK or if you would like to set up your Free VIP iLASIK Consultation and begin your own journey to ditch glasses and contacts, feel free to give us a call at (800) 344-4443 or fill out our appointment form. You are only one phone call away from beginning the process of leaving your glasses behind!

Bailey Woolgar, Surgery Counselor

It’s a struggle to deal with glasses and contacts on the daily: waking up with blurry vision, not seeing the alarm clock, or reading your text messages. Then you have to the grab your glasses or head into the bathroom and poke your eye with your contacts. It can truly be a struggle. By the end of the day your contacts are dry, scratchy, irritated, and you’re ready to take them out. But your vision just isn’t the greatest, so you just deal with it. But you don’t have to do this every day.

With the latest technology and advancements in the medical field, we are able to offer relief, with iLASIK! Imagine a world where you wake up and can see without dealing with the hassle of wearing contacts or glasses everyday. Now that you have thought about the possibility of ditching the eyewear, what do you do next? Well, you could spend hours researching the best doctors, and clinics, maybe put out a post on your social media saying “thinking about LASIK if anyone has recommendations?” Or, you could call Valley Eye Associates and look no further!

Here at Valley Eye Associates, not only were we voted the best iLASIK facility 11 years in a row, but our surgeon, Dr. Michael Vrabec is also the area’s top corneal specialist, which means that you are getting the expertise of a specialist for your iLASIK surgery. But what happens next?

This is the easy part… Simply grab your phone and contact one of our surgery coordinators to set up a Free VIP iLASIK Consultation. That’s right, it’s free! And coming in for your consultation is easy. We just want to confirm that you are in fact a good candidate for iLASIK as well as inform you about how we perform iLASIK and what to expect before, during and after your surgery. The consultation will take about 30-45 minutes and will be easy and most of all, fun. Yes, your Free VIP iLASIK Consultation should be fun!

While most people are familiar with the concept of organ donation, many do not realize that part of the eye can be donated and transplanted, as well. The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped outer surface of the eye. Every year, over 70,000 people receive a corneal transplant, and each of those transplants came from an organ donor. Unlike organ donation, most anyone can donate their cornea. The great thing about corneal tissue is that everyone is a universal donor. Your blood type does not have to match. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what color your eyes are or how good your eyesight is. Aside from those suffering from infections or a few highly communicable diseases, most people are suitable donors. To become a donor, all you need to do is mark a box on your driver’s license!

Dr. Michael Vrabec, a fellowship trained corneal specialist, transplants over 100 corneas every year. There are many reasons why a patient might need a cornea transplant, ranging from corneal disease to injury. Valley Eye Associates works with the Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the mission of restoring the Gift of Sight through recovery and transplantation of corneas. Without them, restoring sight to many cornea patients would be impossible!

For more information on donation and the Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin, visit their website.

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

AMD is one of the leading causes of vision loss in people over 50. AMD damages the macula, which is a small spot near the center of the retina—and is responsible for sharp central vision, allowing us to see objects that are straight ahead clearly.

In less advanced cases, AMD symptoms are mild and may not impact activities, while more advanced cases result in severe loss of sight in the central part of vision. AMD eventually creates “blind spots,” which are not correctable with surgery or glasses.

AMD will not cause complete blindness. However, the loss of central vision can interfere with many normal activities such as driving, reading, writing and doing any work that utilized close up vision. Peripheral vision is not affected by AMD, but is too low resolution to make up for lost central vision.

Who is at risk for AMD?

Age is the biggest risk factor for AMD, as it typically affects those 50 years of age and older.

Other risk factors:

  1. Smoking: Can double the risk of AMD
  2. Race: AMD is more prevalent among Caucasians
  3. Family history: If there is AMD in your family, you are at greater risk

How is AMD detected?

Early and intermediate AMD typically present little to no symptoms, so a complete dilated eye examination is critical in early detection.

Annual eye examinations with your optometrist or ophthalmologist are important, particularly if you fall into a high risk category. Early detection of age-related macular degeneration is vital, as it improves the prognosis and allows for possible treatments that can delay or reduce the severity of the disease.

Patients who already suffer from AMD do have treatment options available to them. Valley Eye offers several different types of injectable medications that can slow the progression of AMD. In end-stage cases, a surgical option called Centrasight might be appropriate. Centrasight is an Implantable Telescope that can help improve central vision in one eye.

For more information about these treatments, please call or visit our website.

Glaucoma, also known as the “silent sight stealer”, is a potentially blinding disease, often with no symptoms in early stages. If undetected, and the patient experiences vision loss, the damage is permanent. There are currently more than 2.7 million people in the U.S., and over 60 million worldwide, with glaucoma, the leading cause of preventable blindness.

Who is at risk?

While glaucoma can affect anyone, there are certain factors that may put you at more risk for developing glaucoma. For example, if you are over the age of 65, or are African-American, Hispanic, have a family history of glaucoma, are severely nearsighted or have diabetes, you are at particularly high risk.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness and is an eye disease that can gradually steal sight without much warning. In fact, the most common form of glaucoma virtually has no symptoms until vision loss has begun. Glaucoma causes an increase in eye pressure, which will eventually damage the optic nerve, causing vision damage and loss.

Regular eye examinations are important

Glaucoma can be easily detected in the early stages with an eye examination. Routine eye exams are especially critical for patients who are at higher risk for glaucoma.

Treatment options for glaucoma have changed dramatically over the past several years, offering you a wide variety of possible options.  One of these options is the iStent, which both Dr. Michael Vrabec and Dr. Douglas Salm recommend to patients frequently.  The iStent is a device implanted in your eye during cataract surgery that can help control eye pressure.

Early detection is vital in preventing vision loss from glaucoma—schedule your appointment for an annual eye examination today!