Vision Q&A: What is the difference between regular and polarized sunglasses?

Q: What is the difference between regular and polarized sunglasses?

A: While normal sunglasses offer basic protection against UV rays, they are often not enough for people who spend a lot of time outdoors. Regular sunglasses protect your eyes against direct vertical and horizontal light rays, but not indirect horizontal light rays that bounce off of surfaces such as water, snow, and pavement. These light rays create an annoying glare that can prevent you from seeing clearly. Polarized lenses have a built-in filter that allows in only vertical light and almost completely eliminates glare.

There are many benefits of wearing polarized lenses. Polarized sunglasses increase contrast to enhance vision clarity, improve visual comfort, reduce eye strain, and eliminate annoying glare. While they are commonly more expensive than an average pair of sunglasses, the benefits outweigh the cost for someone who relies on polarization for clear vision.

Anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors or driving will benefit from polarized lenses. Polarized lenses are very popular among boaters, runners, skiers, and bikers in order to retain clear vision during outdoor activities. Glare can be especially harsh when reflected off of water or snow.

If you think that you might benefit from increased protection from UV rays and glare, consult your optometrist to see if polarized sunglasses could be the right option for you.

Vision Q&A: What’s the difference between a vision screening and a full eye exam?

Q: What’s the difference between a vision screening and a full eye exam?

A: Vision screenings performed at school or work are useful for determining whether you can see clearly, but often do not check for serious vision problems, eye diseases, or other health problems. They do not replace a comprehensive eye exam performed by a licensed optometrist.

Vision screenings are often performed by an untrained volunteer and not a skilled eyecare professional. Vision screenings are generally only partial eye evaluations that test your vision acuity (ability to see clearly at close and far distances) and check for the presence of basic symptoms of eye diseases. If a problem is detected, they suggest that you make an appointment with an optometrist.

A comprehensive eye exam examines both your vision acuity and the complete overall health of your eyes from front to back. A licensed optometrist can detect glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and other eye diseases that can lead to vision loss. They can also identify early signs of diabetes, high blood pressure, or even a stroke just by examining the inner structures of your eyes! If vision problems or symptoms of an eye disease are found, your optometrist will work with you to set up an effective treatment or correction plan.

Yearly comprehensive eye exams are an important part of your overall health care. Vision screenings often miss serious eye problems that comprehensive exams are designed to identify. Even if you don’t notice obvious changes in your vision, a yearly comprehensive eye exam can be the difference between retaining and losing your sight.

Click Here to request an appointment with an IEC optometrist!

Treating Eye Allergies

Spring is officially here, which means allergies are in full swing! Eye allergies develop when the body’s immune system overreacts to something in the environment, causing tiny blood vessels to leak and eyes to become itchy, red, and watery.

Eye allergies share symptoms with some eye diseases, making accurate diagnosis imperative. The symptoms of eye allergies can range from mildly annoying redness to inflammation severe enough to impair vision.

The first approach in managing eye allergies is to avoid any known allergens. Stay indoors as much as possible during the mid-morning and early evening hours, when pollen counts are at their peak, and wear sunglasses when outdoors. This will minimize the amount of pollen entering your eyes. Avoid using window fans that can draw pollen and mold into the house. Be sure not to rub your eyes, as this will further irritate them and could worsen your condition.

Many allergens that trigger eye allergies are airborne, so you can’t always avoid them. Artificial tears can temporarily wash allergens from the eye, which often become dry when red and irritated. These drops, which can be refrigerated to provide additional soothing and comfort, are safe and can be used as often as needed.

If symptoms persist, be sure to consult your optometrist to determine which treatment options are right for you. They will review your medical history and symptoms, as well as conduct tests that can reveal an eye allergy. If you suffer from severe eye allergies, click here to schedule an appointment with an IEC doctor!

How To Get Rid of a Stye

What is a stye?

A stye, or hordeolum, is a pimple-like bump that forms on the inside or outside of your eyelid, and is caused by the clogging of oil glands or sweat pores in the eyelid. While they usually do not cause any actual vision problems, these bumps can be painful and annoying to deal with. A stye will often go away on its own within a few days, but there are some ways that you can expedite the healing process.


The best way to ease the pain of a stye and speed up the healing process is to apply a hot compress to your eye four to five times a day for about 90 seconds at a time. This can unclog any blocked pores.

When you have a stye, it is important to keep your eyes clean at all times. Cleanse your eyelids several times a day, and do not wear makeup. If you require vision correction, you should refrain from wearing contacts until the stye goes away. Be sure to wash your hands after touching your eyes and throw away any makeup, makeup applicators, or contact lenses that came into contact with your eye while it was infected.

Consulting your Optometrist

Be sure to consult your optometrist if your stye becomes painful, persists for more than a week, or if you develop a fever. In some severe cases, styes can require further treatment or even surgery.

IEC Family Gone Not Forgotten Food Drive

International Eyecare Center is hosting our second annual “IEC Family Gone Not Forgotten” company-wide food drive to honor IEC staff members who have passed away too soon, and to benefit local food pantries in their memory.

IEC will be collecting non-perishable food items from March 20th through March 31st during regular business hours. IEC staff members will be available to accept donations, and patients that donate a food item will receive a free cleaning cloth!

“In the memory of the IEC family members that we have lost, we will fill the shelves of food pantries, so families who have little will have the security of food in their times of need,” stated Teresa Carter, IEC President.

The food drive was established in memory of IEC employee Kylie Farrell who passed away in 2015. IEC’s food collection will be held annually on the week of March 22, the date that Kylee began working for IEC in 2010.

For more information about the Food Drive, call toll free 1-877-457-6485.