It’s the time of year that kids dread and parents look forward to: back-to-school time. Research has shown that about 80% of learning through the first 12 years comes from vision, so back-to-school is a time when parents should be thinking about their children’s eyesight.
Unfortunately, not enough of them do. Only about 50% of kids have had an eye exam by the time they graduate from high school. It has been estimated that up to 80% of kids who get a vision screening at school do not get a follow-up eye exam, and these screenings miss a lot of problems. Many parents think that a school vision screening is a substitute for an eye exam.
Kids’ vision problems can affect several aspects of learning, including reading comprehension, eye-hand coordination (especially important for sports), attention span, and the child’s overall confidence at school.
Parents need to understand the importance of frequent eye exams for their kids. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that children should have their first eye exam at about six months, another at age 5 or 6, and annually after that.
Parents should also be alert to the warning signs that a child is having vision problems. According to the AOA, these include:
· Frequent eye rubbing or blinking
· Avoiding reading and other close activities
· Frequent headaches
· Covering one eye
· Tilting the head to one side
· Holding reading materials close to the face
The full list can be found here.
At back-to-school time, parents are thinking about their children’s education, so it’s a great time to teach them about the importance of excellent vision in learning. You can do it through your website, your Facebook page and other social media. (By the way, if you’re interested in effective and very affordable social media, we’ve got it! Call us at 800-833-4779 or talk to your GSRx rep to find out more.) GSRx’s prices also mean that you can make kids’ eyewear affordable for parents and profitable for your practice.
Mark Twain once said, “Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” In our industry, everyone talks about blue light, but we’re doing something about it. GSRx offers two proprietary solutions that work on different principles and provide different levels of blue light reduction.
PrevaBlue® is an anti-reflective coating with a difference. While it eliminates reflections through most of the visible spectrum, it has a special layer that actually reflects some blue light in the harmful range away from the eye. The blue light reflection peaks at about 460nm, then declines, allowing the frequencies that help regulate the circadian cycle to pass through.
Because it intentionally reflects light in certain frequencies, PrevaBlue® won’t provide the same light transmittance as Infinity® or Infinity Clear Non-Glare, meaning that there will be more residual reflectance. However, it may be a good option for people who want anti-reflection and some blue-light reduction, but don’t want to pay for both.
GSRx’s other blue light treatment, UVhp™, AKA epik™ Blue, works through absorption rather than reflection. UVhp lenses are infused with an substance similar to the melanin in the iris. This approach provides superior blue light control, absorbing 99% of blue light at 400nm, and continuing to absorb a significant percentage of blue light up to 450nm.
Blue light-absorbing lens materials sometimes get a bad rap because some products have a pronounced yellowish-brown tint that people with good taste find unattractive. However, UVhplenses are virtually clear, delivering the best combination of protection and cosmetics available today. UVhp is available in Polycarbonate, 1.60, 1.67 and 1.74, with CR, Trivex® and Tribrid™ coming soon.
GSRx can’t do anything about the weather, no matter how much we’d like to – we’re in the desert, after all, and it’s July. But with PrevaBlue® and UVhp, we can do something about blue light for you and your patients.
As we’ve all seen, concern about the effects of blue light is increasing among eye care professionals and patients alike. We feel strongly that every patient who uses digital devices should be educated about these effects, and an appropriate solution should be recommended. GSRx has an outstanding blue light filter lens: UV Hyper Protection, or UVhp™. But to help you communicate the message of blue light protection, we’re giving it a separate consumer-facing name: epik™ BLUE. To avoid complicating the ordering process, the UVhp™ name will not change in our price book and on our menus.
UVhp™/epik™ BLUE has outstanding blue-light filtering properties. It blocks approximately 90% of blue light rays between 400 and 420nm, and about 45% of the harmful range overall. The lenses are virtually clear, without the brown or yellow tinge found in other in-mass blue filtering products.
To aid in communicating the message of epik™ BLUE to your patients, we’ve developed an infographic, a patient brochure and a poster. But the most effective communication is a face-to-face conversation with the patient. Patients should know that blue light contributes to Digital Eye Strain, and may play a role in sleep disorders and AMD. Blue light protection is a prudent step for both adults and kids.
For more information and to order epik™ BLUE sales aids, please contact your GSRx rep or call Customer Service at 800-833-4779.
GSRx has received VSP’s “Unity Independent Lab of the Year” award for the second time. The award was granted for GSRX’s “exceptional quality of work, superior service, sales volume and overall performance in 2018.” In recognition of the award, VSP Optics will donate $2,500 to the GSRx Foundation to provide funding for projects initiated by GSRx partners to support visual health.
In announcing the award, VSP’s director of business development, Todd Riley, said “Our partnership is rooted in making the needs of ECP’s a priority, and that mindset has paved the way for a successful year.”
We are honored to receive this recognition for the second time in five years. As the supplier of the complete line of Unity products, along with GSRx’s exclusive epik™ lenses and Infinity® coatings, we are proud to be your one-stop shop for VSP and private-pay patients.
In January of 2017 we acquired our first MEI Ez fit edger. Since then, our business has increased to the point where we’ve just added our third.
MEI puts the edging capabilities of big, industrial labs into our Scottsdale facility. They deliver the highest level of flexibility and accuracy, and allow us to do even the most complex edging jobs in-house, for greater speed and efficiency. It will cut any edge profile up to a base 16, which eliminates delays on the most problematic jobs.
Three edgers give us the capacity to keep up with our increasing demand, and ensures that there will be no delays when one of them is down for maintenance. This new acquisition represents our continued commitment to providing you with the greatest precision and highest quality for every job you order.
by Keith Posin
GSRx officially opened its doors in March of 2014. At that time, we had four employees and about 1500 square feet of space above an indoor batting cage. Today we have over 30 employees, investing heavily in technology, and a 6500-square-foot facility – and we’re running out of room.
GSRx was born out of a commitment to independent optometry, and that commitment is reflected in the signature programs we’ve developed over these five years. Programs like Proper Optics, an in-house marketing program designed to keep more patients in your optical. Or ProperOptics.com, which gives you the power to compete in the online market. Or the Family Vision Plan, designed to increase your patient base through partnerships with local businesses.
There are a lot of reasons for our rapid growth – outstanding products, a commitment to quality, and the best customer service department in the industry, to name a few. But the number one reason, by far, is you. You have trusted us, you have welcome us into your practice’s family, and you have partnered with us for mutual growth and success. Please tell a friend about GSRx if you think we can help them, that is the best compliment we can receive!
Over the next five years we will continue to grow. But we will never outgrow the values that built our company. And we will always look for new and better ways to support you.
Thank you for accompanying us on our journey. It has been fun and rewarding and will continue to be both!
Thank you for all your trust and support!
Photochromic lens treatments are better than ever. At one time they were characterized by darkening slowly (and not all that much), slow darkening and slower clearing, poor performance in high temperatures, and a noticeable gray tint indoors. Today, they have become a product that delivers the benefits without the annoyance of previous generations.
And as time has passed, more benefits have been discovered. Everybody knows that photochromic treatments make a primary pair of glasses more useful by providing a dark tint outdoors while being virtually clear indoors. As people have become more aware of the dangers of UV radiation, the 100% UV protection they provide has become a more important. And now it has become clear that photochromics protect against the effects of blue light – even in their “inactivated” state indoors.
Today’s best photochromic treatments darken very rapidly in the sun, and clear much more quickly than previous generations. (Photochromic molecules will always take longer to return to their normal state than they do to activate, so they’ll never clear as fast as they darken.) They are clearer indoors than ever before. They are less sensitive to temperature, and they maintain great performance through the life of the prescription.
GSRx is proud to offer you the best photochromics (or light-reactive lenses) available today. We offer the latest from the leading photochromic brand, Transitions® on our complete range of lenses from epik Variable to stock lenses. For your VSP patients, we offer the latest version of SunSync® light-reactive lenses. Addressing the one of the biggest complaints about photochromics, VSP claims that SunSync goes “from dark to clear in seconds.”
If you stopped talking to patients about photochromics because of performance issues, it’s time to take another look: the latest products are light-years ahead of older generations. And whether you’re dispensing eyewear to a private-pay or VSP patient, GSRx has you covered with the very best.
A positive culture is one of the most critical aspects for driving success. Over the years, much has been written about the importance of culture, but I’m not aware of any step-by-step guideline you can follow. Culture starts with leadership, and if you have leadership who doesn’t care about culture, you will have a long road ahead of you no matter how much effort you put forth.
Our goal at GSRx is to create a caring, energetic, and family oriented team, where everyone feels like they are working to make a difference in other’s lives as well as their own.
Here are just a few points of reference we use for developing a great culture.
In the end, we are not afraid to communicate how proud we are of our team and that without them success would be impossible.
Having a great culture takes hard work, time, and consistency. You definitely will have some highs and lows, but talking to your employees/teammates about issues, making them a part of a team with higher objectives, and holding them accountable when needed will help your business succeed.
We’ve been talking about Digital Eye Strain for years. In our world, it seems ubiquitous and obvious. But according to The Vision Council’s July 2018 VisionWatch survey, as reported in Vision Monday, the problem and its solutions are still not clear to many consumers.
Not surprisingly, digital device usage continues to take up a huge chunk of our days:
Almost 60% of adults report symptoms of Digital Eye Strain. The #1 symptom is neck and shoulder pain, followed by eyestrain, blurred vision, neck strain, headaches and dry eyes.
Among children, the most common symptoms of device use reported by parents are not strictly vision-related: short attention span, irritability, and poor behavior. These were followed by eye strain (9%), headaches (9%), and neck and shoulder pain (5%).
While symptoms of DES abound, awareness of these symptoms as an ocular health issue lags. About 51% of U.S. adults say they are aware of DES, which isn’t bad considering that most people spend very little time thinking about vision issues. But it still means that half the population needs to be educated. About 35% report that they aren’t concerned about the impact of digital device use on their eyes, and 25% of parents say they’re not concerned about the impact of DES on their children’s eyes.
Awareness of solutions for DES is also low. 70% don’t know that eyeglasses designed to treat DES symptoms are available. Disturbingly, half of those who had eye exams in the past year say that vision problems associated with digital devices were not discussed.
What We Can Do
Digital device use is nearly universal, and 8 in 10 adults have symptoms of DES. What’s more, there are lenses for nearly every type of wearer that are designed to treat the symptoms. Even for people who don’t need prescription eyewear, there are solutions like “gamer glasses” designed that address both DES and blue light effects. Given all that, there’s every reason to discuss DES and possible solutions with virtually every patient. Even if they don’t report symptoms of DES on their patient questionnaires, a conversation might cause them to think a little harder, or to start noticing the symptoms after the appointment. Even if the conversation doesn’t lead to a sale of DES lenses, the patient will know his or her options. A more informed patient is always a better patient.
In the 1950s, 10-20% of the Chinese population was myopic. Today, as many as 90% of children and young adults are. Over 96% of 19-year-old Korean men are nearsighted. And the problem is not confined to East Asia: 40 years ago, 25% of Americans aged 12 to 54 were myopic. Today the number has risen to 42%.
There’s no doubt that we are witnessing a huge increase in myopia around the world, and it’s not just a matter of more kids needing glasses. Early childhood myopia can lead to serious vision problems later in life, like glaucoma, macular degeneration and even retinal detachment. So what’s behind this dramatic increase in myopia?
Clearly, genetics are one factor. But genes alone can’t explain the very rapid increase in myopia, so environmental and behavioral factors must also play a role. Book work has long been considered a primary culprit. Centuries ago, Johannes Kepler, the astronomer and optical scientist, attributed his own nearsightedness to all the time he spent studying. And even today, people associate eyeglasses with intelligence (or nerdiness, especially if the bridge of the frame is taped together.) Kids who read and study more appear more likely to be myopic, and the pressure for academic achievement helps explain the high levels of myopia in China and Korea. But even before they can read, many children play with smart phones and tablets, which could be setting the progress toward myopia into motion even earlier.
However, some evidence suggests that up-close work is not the actual trigger for the eyeball to elongate. A study by the Ohio State University College of Optometry found that neither book nor computer work correlated to increased risk of myopia. The one factor that did appear to reduce the likelihood of myopia was spending time outdoors. If this is true, increased study time and is still a factor to the extent that it can mean less time spent outdoors. Other factors could include the reduction of PE programs in many schools, parents’ reluctance to let their kids play outdoors unattended, and the rise of video games as a preferred leisure activity among kids.
Results are preliminary, and more research is needed to confirm the link between outdoor time and myopia. The specific mechanism by which outdoor time prevents myopia also requires further study, but some researchers believe that sunlight plays a role. But whatever the causes, the increase in cases is real, and likely to continue.
There are a number of treatment options that have been effective in slowing the progression of myopia in children: atropine eye drops, soft multifocal contacts worn in the daytime, or rigid contacts worn at night (ortho-k). Some eyeglass-based treatments have also been developed or are in development. But none of these can compete with the natural solution – more outdoor time for kids, which of course has additional benefits for children’s health (and perhaps the mental health of their parents.)
The explosion in myopia shows that parents need to be more vigilant than ever before in detecting warning signs so the problem can be addressed through behavioral changes or treatment. These include squinting to see in the distance, holding books very close to the eye or sitting close to the TV, headaches and eye strain. Once elongated, and eyeball can never be made shorter, but it is possible to slow the progression.