Can an Eye Exam Detect Diabetes?

Comprehensive eye exams are important for many reasons. Along with eye-related concerns, eye doctors may be able to detect other health issues during a comprehensive eye exam.

Can you detect diabetes through an eye exam?

The answer is yes, yes you can.

Diabetes affects the blood vessels, and the back of the eye is the only place in the body where an eye doctor can directly view the blood vessels.

If there’s a problem happening, your eye doctor is sometimes the first to detect that change. According to Dr. Cormier, this is why it’s so important you make sure to get your annual eye exam.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows 30.3 million people have diabetes in the U.S., however, 7.2 million people go on undiagnosed.

It’s especially crucial for people with diabetes to get their eyes examined regularly, as they can develop diabetic retinopathy, a condition where the blood vessels in your retina become damaged.

Often the early stages of diabetic retinopathy have no noticeable symptoms, so Dr. Cormier recommends that everyone with diabetes have a comprehensive eye exam once a year. According to the CDC, about 90 percent of diabetes-related vision loss can be prevented, but early detection is key.’

Haven’t had your eye exam yet this year? Contact Coastal Eye Care today at either our Clearwater or Pinellas Park locations to make an appointment.

Is It Time to Change Your Contact Lens Case?

The time has changed and probably so should your contact lens case. Dr. Cormier says one of the most common mistakes he finds is contact lens wearers that do not replace their contact lens case frequently enough. Dr. Cormier recommends changing contact lens cases at least every 3 months to avoid eye irritation and infection. So if you are over due for a replacement case, consider buying them in bulk or even setup a recurring subscription so you won't have to remember next time.

Not only is it good practice to keep a fresh lens case on hand, but consider these other contact lens safety tips:

  • Always wash hands with soap and water before handling contacts.
  • Every day, empty contact solution out of the case, wash with solution and clean fingers.
  • Let the case air dry, upside down on a paper towel, before putting caps back on.
  • Boil the case in water for 5 minutes, then rinse with solution to sanitize between replacements.

By incorporating these practices into your contact lens routine, you will prevent as much bacteria as possible from contaminating your contact lenses and ultimately your eyes themselves. Of course, if you ever have questions regarding your vision you can contact us or request an appointment to come see us at either our Clearwater, FL or Pinellas Park, FL locations.

New Location in Pinellas Park

We are very excited to announce that due to our remarkable growth in the Clearwater/Pinellas area, we are opening a new location in Pinellas Park on November 6th. This will be an exam only location inside of the Walmart Vision Center off of US 19 (8001 US Hwy 19 N, Pinellas Park, FL 33781). Our same staff and doctors will be at this location so we can deliver the same quality of service to our patients. We will continue to offer the same friendly service at our original location in Clearwater as Dr. Cormier will see patients at both offices. When requesting an appointment online you will choose whether to see us in Clearwater or Pinellas Park. We invite you to drop by and see us during your next trip to Walmart!

8001 US Hwy 19 N, Pinellas Park, FL 33781
Walmart Vision Center
Request Appointment
Office Hours
9:30am - 5:00pm
9:30am - 5:00pm
12:00pm - 4:00pm

Myth Busters – Common Eye Exam Misconceptions

We can all agree that having healthy eyes is important, but did you know just over 50% of people get annual eye exams? Why you might ask? According to a recent VSP survey in partnership with YouGov, a majority of people skip eye exams because they don’t think they need vision correction, think eye exams are expensive, or don’t have vision insurance. Although common, these reasons are often related to misconceptions about eye exams. Let’s clear the air and bust these myths.

eye exam misconceptions

Myth: Eye Exams are Unnecessary

Those who don’t wear glasses or contacts might think, why would I need an eye exam? It’s a fair question. What most people don’t know is that an eye doctor can help detect early signs of more serious diseases and conditions through a comprehensive eye exam. Diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, thyroid diseases, and certain types of cancers can be detected through your eyes.

Although you might not have needed vision correction in the past, your eyes can change as you age. Perhaps when you were younger you could see objects up close, but as you get older those objects start to become blurry. Changes in your vision can be caught early by your eye doctor at an annual eye exam.

Myth: Children Don’t Need an Eye Exam Until They Start School

Children should have their first eye exam when they are six-months old. Most parents are unaware that eye exams should begin so young. Following a child’s first appointment at six-months old, eye exams should also take place at three years old, before starting elementary school, and then yearly thereafter.

Annual eye exams for kids are important because many children may not be able to articulate that they can’t see well. This becomes problematic because although, eight in ten parents agree that regular eye exams help kids do their best in school, almost half wait until their child complains about their vision to schedule an eye exam.

5 Surprising Benefits of Anti-Reflective Lens Coatings

You may already know that anti-reflective (AR) coatings make your glasses easier to clean by preventing oil, water, and dirt from sticking to the lenses. But what you might not know is that they also play a big role in how you see, how you look, and how your eyes feel at the end of the day.

Anti-Reflective Lens Coating

Here are five little known, but important benefits to consider if you’re thinking about enhancing your lenses with a high-quality AR coating:

1. Increase Your Visual Clarity

AR coatings enhance the way you see the world by allowing more light to pass through the lens while eliminating glare, so you have clear vision on the job, in the classroom, around the house, and behind the wheel.

2. Enhance Your Appearance

By removing harsh reflections from your lenses, AR coatings allow others to see you – not that annoying glare. Whether you’re posing for a picture or video chatting with a friend, you can feel confident that your eyes take center stage.

3. Extend the Life of Your Lenses

AR coatings protect your glasses against scratches and smudges, resulting in lenses that last longer. This also means you’ll be replacing your lenses less frequently, which can help save you money.

4. Reduce Your Blue Light Exposure

Specialty AR coatings like TechShield™ Blue, combat digital eye strain by reducing your exposure to blue light from digital devices and lighting. If you’re unfamiliar with digital eye strain, it’s that tired, irritated feeling you get in your eyes after looking at a digital screen for a few hours.

5. Protect Your Eyes from UV Rays

AR coatings can also help protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays. UV protection can be added to the backside of the lenses to defend your eyes against UV rays reflected off surfaces like sidewalks and windows.

Ask your Coastal Eye Care doctor about enhancing your lenses with an AR coating.

This is a guest blog post by VSP employee, Paul Janes.

DIY Halloween Kids Costumes

October is here which means Halloween is right around the corner. Picking out the perfect Halloween costume for kids can be a big deal, especially when they want to impress their friends while trick or treating. If your child wears glasses then they may ask to forgo their eyewear, concerned that it won’t fit with the style of their costume. Instead of tossing their glasses to the side, make their frames a core part of their Halloween costume.

We’ve gathered a few of our favorite DIY costume ideas that feature glasses as a key costume component. Start by finding the costume below that works best with your child’s style or interest. If your child is due for a trendy new pair of glasses, we’ve also included where you can find each of the frames below.


Halloween kids costumes

For the kid who enjoys science experiments, a scientist is just the thing.

Costume DIY:

  • A white lab coat
  • Black gloves
  • Plastic toy test tubes

Glasses: This costume works best with thick black frames.


Halloween kids costumes

For the kid who is feeling a little mischievous and really likes yellow, a Minion is the ideal choice.

Costume DIY:

  • Yellow shirt
  • Yellow beanie
  • Jean overalls
  • Black gloves

Glasses: This costume works best with grey round frames.

Where’s Waldo

Halloween kids costumes

For the kid who’s feeling adventurous, Where’s Waldo is the perfect match.

Costume DIY:

  • Red and white striped shirt
  • Red and white striped beanie
  • Jeans

Glasses: This costume works best with black or brown circular frames.

Cat Lady

Halloween kids costumes

For the kid who wants to be comfy while they trick or treat, a cat lady will do the trick.

Costume DIY:

  • A fuzzy pink bathrobe
  • Slippers
  • A few stuffed kitties
  • Velcro hair rollers

Glasses: This costume works best with bright colored frames, the brighter the better!

Your child is sure to have a new perspective on their glasses following Halloween this year. Just remember that no matter the costume, your child’s vision shouldn’t be obstructed, and they should be able to see properly for safe trick or treating. Happy Halloween!

Serious Diseases Detected Through an Eye Exam

“You’re an eye doctor? I’d come see you except I have really good vision.”

“I don’t need to check my vision. My glasses I got 10 years ago are still working fine.”

“My kids don’t need eye exams. They get a vision screening at school every year.”

In my 18 years of practicing optometry, I’ve heard all of these comments or something similar, and everytime I want to proclaim an important message: Protecting your vision requires maintaining good eye health. And better eye health requires annual eye exams.

Did you know, according to a recent survey conducted by VSP Vision Care and YouGov, eight-in-ten people rate vision as the most important sense and nearly everyone agrees that having healthy eyes is important, but only half of people actually get annual eye exams?! Although alarming, I’m not surprised as most people are unaware an annual eye exam can check for more than just clear vision and the need for glasses or contacts.

eye health

I’ve noticed that in my practice most people don’t associate their eyes with the rest of their body and overall health. Virtually no one knows that signs of serious diseases and conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, thyroid diseases, and certain types of cancers can be detected through an eye exam. In fact, the eyes and overall health are all connected. And eye doctors are frequently the first to detect signs of abnormal health conditions.

During an eye exam, eye doctors have an unobstructed view of blood vessels and the optic nerve which is an extension of the brain. In addition to the serious diseases noted above, we are also routinely checking for dry eyes, digital eye strain, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and so much more. Regardless of age or physical health, eye exams can identify early signs of eye conditions before they impair your vision or cause permanent vision loss.

Typically, after I share the importance of an annual eye exam, most patients I talk to agree that it is a necessary part of their overall health plan. If your vision is important to you and you want to protect it, schedule an eye exam with your local eye doctor and have your eyes examined. And don’t forget, kids need regular eye exams too! A majority of learning is visual and screenings performed at school or at the pediatrician’s office are not meant to be comprehensive.

This is a guest blog post by Dr. Mei Fleming, the founder and practicing optometrist at Luminance Vision Optometry in Lafayette, CA. She is also the creator and author of Eye Like Fashion.

What Are the Benefits of a Retinal Screening?

Getting an annual eye exam is about more than checking your vision. An eye doctor will examine everything from visual acuity to the pressure of your eyes to signs of any infections or diseases. They are looking at the overall health of your eyes. That’s why it’s so important they look at not just what’s in front of your eyes, but also what’s behind them. That’s where a retinal screening comes in.

What are the benefits of a retinal screening?

“[It] allows the doctor to have a wider view of the inside of your eyes without having to dilate your pupils,” explained Dr. Meghan Riegel.

This enlarged view can help eye doctors assess for conditions such as:

  • Retinal Detachment
  • Glaucoma
  • Age-related Macular Degeneration
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension

Dr. Riegel shared that retinal screenings use high-resolution imaging systems to take pictures of the inside of your eye. In addition to helping detect diseases early, these images provide a permanent and historical record of changes in your eye. Images can be compared side-by-side, year after year, to discover even subtle changes and help monitor your health.

“The screening helps me see inside of your eyes and its more convenient for you. It’s a win-win!” said Dr. Riegel.

Retinal screenings do not replace regular eye exams, and in some cases, dilation may still be necessary. Talk to your VSP network eye doctor to see if retinal screenings are right for you.

Attention Parents: Amblyopia Treatment

Attention Parents: Earlier is Better for Amblyopia Treatment

What is Amblyopia?

As the leading cause of visual impairment among children, amblyopia affects approximately 2 to 3 of every 100 children. The condition occurs when vision in one eye is reduced; though the eye may appear normal, the eye and the brain are not working together properly. Rather than taking the images from both the left and right eyes and combining them to make a 3-D image, the brain favors one eye’s image over the other. Over time, this scenario can lead to reduced vision in the weaker eye, which can cause amblyopic individuals to be slower with close-up tasks such as reading or computer work. Additionally, using one eye instead of two diminishes the field of vision and reduces depth perception, leading to frequent tripping or bumping into things.

What causes Lazy Eye?

Sometimes called lazy eye, amblyopia has two primary causes.

  1. Strabismic amblyopia is the most common version of lazy eye. While this type of amblyopia is often confused with strabismus (wandering eye) due to similar names and symptoms, the two are completely different issues. Strabismic amblyopia is caused by eye misalignment. As the eyes take in separate images that the brain can’t match up, the brain prioritizes the image received from one eye over the other.
  2. Refractive amblyopia is the second common type of lazy eye, in which there is a distinct discrepancy between the refractive abilities of the right and left eyes. One eye may be significantly more nearsighted, farsighted, or have greater astigmatism than the other. As a result, the brain relies on the stronger eye and ignores the blurred image, causing amblyopia in the underused eye.

There is a third, rare type of amblyopia, where vision is obstructed by visual occlusions such as congenital cataracts―called deprivation amblyopia. Unlike the more common causes of lazy eye which can often be addressed without surgery, this third type must be surgically corrected to allow normal vision development.

Earlier is better when it comes to treatment

Amblyopia is not only the top cause of eye impairment in kids; it is also the most common cause of monocular (single eye) issues among young and middle-aged adults. Unless lazy eye is effectively treated in early childhood, it almost always persists into adulthood. Fortunately, prospects are bright for children who receive treatment early, between the ages of 3 and 6.

If amblyopia is left untreated, or if treatment is delayed until the preteen or early teen years, it could mean the difference between full and partial recovery. Because the brain has ignored the weaker eye for so long, retraining it becomes more difficult, and vision in the affected eye may be permanently impaired, causing weak depth perception and peripheral vision.

Treatment options

The best treatment for amblyopia depends on its cause. For refractive amblyopia, the solution may be as simple as correcting the refractive error causing distorted images with glasses or contact lenses. For more extreme cases of refractive amblyopia as well as strabismic cases, optometrists often choose visual therapies.

Common treatment options include:

  • Patching the stronger eye to force usage of the weaker eye.
  • Eye drops that blur vision in the stronger eye, also to force the weaker eye to work.
  • Visual acuity exercises to strengthen the weaker eye and align the eyes for better function.

Regardless of treatment recommendation, compliance is key to successful recovery. Though children may cry or throw a tantrum in resistance to wearing an eye patch, time is of the essence in effectively treating the condition. The younger a child is, the faster treatment works to improve vision―so parents must be persistent and encouraging. Regular visits to the eye doctor to track treatment and changes are important, too.

School screenings rarely catch amblyopia

Amblyopia is best treated early and by a licensed optometrist. Preschool and elementary school eye screenings aren’t designed to diagnose amblyopia, and even pediatric vision screenings often fall short. Such screenings are often cursory and may miss up to 60% of children with vision problems; they are intended to indicate a potential need for further evaluation, not to catch underlying issues. As such, they are not a substitute for a visit to the optometrist. To ensure your child’s vision is its best for the school year, schedule a comprehensive eye exam today!