Spring is the time of the year we see a spike in patients with red, itchy and watering eyes.  As the trees and plants start to waken from the cold winter they release pollens that can cause these annoying symptoms.  While not sight threatening, the discomfort can be mild to borderline debilitating.  Typically symptoms are redness, itching, burning, scratchy and watering eyes with a white stringy discharge.  In more severe cases the eyelids can be red and swollen. 

Seasonal allergies are type I allergies.  The pollen is the antigen.  When the eye’s surface comes in contact with the antigen floating in the air there is a release of histamine and other pre-formed chemical mediators that cause the symptoms.  The key to treating allergic conjunctivitis is to give the patient practical strategies to minimize antigen exposure and prescribing the appropriate drugs for the severity of the clinical presentation.

Avoiding the pollens can be as simple as wearing a good pair of wrap-around sunglasses when you are outdoors, especially if it is windy.  Using a lubricating eye drop to rinse the pollen out of your eyes is also effective in reducing the contact time of the pollen with your eye. Cold compresses can temporally decrease swelling and itching.  One of the biggest and overlooked strategies is to make sure you shampoo your hair before bed time and to change your pillow case regularly.  Your hair is like a giant filter that traps airborne antigens.  When you go to bed, your hair releases the trapped pollens onto your pillow and then into your eyes.

There are over the counter antihistamines that are inexpensive and will give 3 to 4 hours of relief from itching.  While this is helpful, remembering to consistently dose without overdosing is a problem.  There are prescription medications that can be used once or twice a day that are much more effective.  Your eye doctor will determine if you are in an early or late phase of the type I allergic reaction.  In the early phase we prescribe anti-allergy drugs that have antihistamine and mast- cell stabilizing effects.  Mast-cell stabilizing drugs stop the cascade of the allergic response a step earlier than a basic antihistamine.  They actually prevent the release of the histamine rather than trying to counteract it once it has been released.  After three days of dosing with mast-cell stabilizers, symptoms are dramatically improved.  If the doctor feels you are in the later phase of a type I reaction, topical steroids can stop the immune response.  Once under control, mast-cell stabilizers can maintain the therapeutic effects and will replace the steroid drops. 

With the therapies we have available, we can dramatically reduce the symptoms of eye allergies.  Our doctors are ready and able to treat you.  Come see us.



To all those who follow our blog or facebook page….30% OFF ALL SUNGLASSES IN STOCK!  These include Oakley, Nike, Guess, Bolle, Serengeti, Ray Ban, Coach and more! Mention this special to our staff and share this with your friends. Let us help complete your Christmas shopping list. Offer valid until 12/31/2011.

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Posted by on December 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


Ocular Surface Disease (Dry Eye Syndrome)

Dry eye syndrome (DES) is an underestimated and under diagnosed condition.  There are millions of Americans that put up with symptoms, think that it’s just the norm, and never seek treatment.  Fortunately we know more about the cause and contributing factors of this disease than ever before.  This has spawned new medications and treatments that help us help patients deal with this very real disease.

Symptoms of DES

  • Stinging
  • Burning
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Redness
  • Excessive tearing
  • Blurred vision

Factors that increase your risk of having DES

  • Age – DES increases with age
  • Gender – Females have a much higher incidence of DES
  • Contact lens wear
  • Environmental

                 Dry windy environments

                 Heat and air conditioning

                       Computer use


  • Systemic Disease

                 Sjogren’s syndrome

                 Rheumatoid Arthritis





                 Parkinson disease


                 Crohn’s disease

                 Vitamin A deficiency

  • Ocular Conditions


                       Allergic conjunctivitis

                       Meibomian gland dysfunction

                       Corneal dystrophies

  • Medications





                       Hormone replacement therapy

                       Oral steroids

                       Preservative eye drops

                       Systemic Beta blockers

                       Topical Glaucoma medications

  • Diet

                 Diets low in Omega 3’s or with a high ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3

Treatment of DES starts with an evaluation to determine which of the above factors you are dealing with.  A treatment program based on those findings and appropriate monitoring and follow up care are set in place.  The treatment of DES may include some or many of the following medications and strategies:

  • Non preserved eye drops
  • Lid heat and massage
  • Omega 3 supplementation
  • Anti inflammatory medications





  • Punctal plugs
  • Environmental considerations

                       Work space ergonomics

                       Computer lenses to create a microclimate around the eyes

Dry eye syndrome is a true disease process with concrete treatments available.  Call our office and set up a dry eye evaluation today.

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Posted by on December 13, 2011 in Diseases of the Eye


Computer Eyewear – GUNNAR OPTICS

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) causes eyestrain, blurred vision, headaches, dry eyes and loss of productivity due to the unique visual demands computers place on our visual system.  We have seen a drastic increase in the time spent using computers in the workplace as well as at home.  The impact of this ocular stress may range from mild discomfort to severe, debilitating vision loss and structural changes in the eye.

The best place to start to deal with symptoms of CVS is with a comprehensive eye examination.  Through case history and measurements of the way your eyes focus and align, we can recommend changes in the physical setting of your workplace as well as prescribe special computer eyewear to alleviate your symptoms. 

One of the key components to treating CVS is a unique pair of glasses designed for the intense pressures we put on our visual system while working on the computer.  The type of lens depends on the individual and is certainly not one size fits all.  Think of computer eyewear as a tool.  A carpenter or plumber shows up on the job with a truck full of tools to do their jobs safely and effectively.  Computer users need to have the proper tools in the form of specific eyewear to do their jobs safely and effectively as well. 

As I mentioned earlier, there is not one style of computer eyewear that works for everyone.  If you are under age 40 you may need some lenses that simply relieve the stress of focusing for a prolong period of time.  These are usually single vision lenses.  They will incorporate any underlying myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism but have a focal length more appropriate for the computer distance.  Contact lens wearers can wear this type of lens over their contacts.  If you are over 40 you will probably need a computer progressive lens that has different focal properties for viewing the monitor as well as paperwork on your desk.  With any of these lenses, they will be specifically made for the computer and would not be appropriate for full time wear. 

We recommend GUNNAR DIGITAL PERFORMANCE EYEWEAR for our computer users.  These lenses come in a single vision and computer progressive design.  Whether you need a prescription, wear contact lenses or don’t currently need a distance prescription, there is a Gunnar lens designed for you.

The GUNNAR Solution 

  • Wrap design limits air flow, creating a high humidity area to lubricate your eyes
  • Signature tints filter out harsh fluorescent light
  • Premium PureCoat by ZEISS anti-reflective coating reduces reflections
  • Lightweight and ergonomic for all-day use
  • Slight magnification built into the lense

GUNNAR Benefits

  • Minimizes dry, itchy eyes
  • Relaxes ocular muscle and decreases eyestrain
  • Enhances contrast for sharper, clearer vision and reduces glare
  • Increases visual endurance and productivity
  • Optimized for your unique prescription

GUNNAR Results*

Patients were interviewed before and after using Gunnar Performance Eyewear and provided the following results:

  • 100% reported improved ease of viewing
  • 96% reported reduction in eyestrain
  • 90% would recommend use of GUNNARS
  • 80% reported their eyes were less tired when wearing GUNNARS
  • 79% said that wearing GUNNAR eyewear increased productivity

*Based on the results of GUNNAR Optiks’ Market Test questionnaires, conducted March – April, 2009

It all starts with a comprehensive vision exam.  Measure the distance from the bridge of your nose to your computer monitor and bring that information with you to the examination.  This will help us determine the optimum lens power for your computer glasses.  Give us a call at Hillsboro Vision Clinic (503-648-5522) and set up your examination today.



The fastest growing mode of contact lens wear is daily disposable contact lenses.  Traditionally, soft contact lenses have been fit with a two week or monthly replacement schedule.  Cooper Vision, Ciba, Vistakon and Bausch & Lomb are the four major contact lens manufacturers.  Each company has embraced the daily disposable market and there are many fine lenses that our doctors fit.

Advantages of daily disposable contacts

  • New lenses every day
  • No lens care solutions to buy
  • Excellent lenses for non-compliant teenagers
  • Excellent lenses for swimmers
  • Excellent lenses for patients with allergies
  • Excellent lenses for dry eye patients
  • Excellent lenses for occasional wearers

Disadvantage of daily disposable contacts

  • Initially more expensive

Keep in mind the fact that you do not have to buy contact lens care solution makes the overall cost very comparable to two week lenses.  The manufacturers are also very eager to promote the daily disposable lenses and offer substantial rebates.  Let the doctors at Hillsboro Vision Clinic fit you in a week’s worth of these lenses so you can see the advantages before you decide if daily disposables are right for you.



As Halloween approaches the topic of decorative contact lenses always comes up.  Contact lenses are medical devices regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.  A prescription is required to purchase any contacts whether they are tinted or not.  Many street vendors, novelty stores, websites and salons sell decorative contact lenses illegally.

Contact lenses ride on the front surface of your eye, the cornea.  A lens that fits poorly or is used by an untrained wearer can lead to serious eye conditions and possibly blindness.  As eye doctors, we need to see the lens on the eye to determine if the fit is safe.  We do this every day in clinic with diagnostic lenses we have at our disposal in the office.  At one time a large contact lens manufacturer, CIBA, had a product called Wildeyes.  We had diagnostic Wildeyes lenses and could fit and write a prescription for them.  Due to poor sales, CIBA discontinued the Wildeyes line of lenses. 

Because it is somewhat of a fringe product, none of the large contact lens manufacturers are currently making decorative contacts.  The small, niche manufacturers do not have the relationships with the doctors to supply them with the diagnostic lenses for fitting.  So we can’t fit the lens and write a prescription.  This leaves the consumer who wants these contacts in a tough position.  Either go without or get them without a prescription and risk eye injury and infections.  Until something changes and lenses can be fit properly, we recommend leaving these lenses out of your costume plans.

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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Contact Lenses



A common misconception we hear in our clinic is that patients believe they can’t wear contact lenses because of astigmatism.  This is simply not true with technology that has been incorporated into today’s contact lenses.

Astigmatism is usually caused by the cornea, the front surface of the eye, being slightly out of round.  Uncorrected astigmatism causes blurry vision and eye strain and can affect near as well as distance vision.  During the refraction process (the part of the vision exam when we ask all those questions about what looks better) we can determine the exact amount and orientation of your astigmatism.  After your refraction, glasses lenses can be ground to your specifications and those lenses are mounted in a frame. Set with your new specs, you’re on your way.

Contact lenses require a diagnostic lens fitting.  Our doctors have ten different brands of contact lenses (toric lenses) especially designed for astigmatism.  Armed with your refraction and a topography of your cornea we choose the lens that we feel will provide the best vision and eye health.  The lenses are placed on the eye and allowed to stabilize for a few minutes and then evaluated for clarity, comfort and fit.  If the first lens does not perform as we would like we try different lenses until we achieve the perfect fit.  In most cases we can send you out the door the first day with either your exact prescription or something very close.

If you are a new contact lens wearer we will train you how to insert and remove the lenses.  You will receive a case, some cleaning and storage solution and we’ll set up a one week follow up visit.  At the follow up we evaluate the success of our initial fit and adjust or change lenses if necessary.  In most cases one or two visits is enough to finalize the prescription.

If you happen to be a patient with very high astigmatism there are custom made soft and rigid contact lenses that are highly successful.  So don’t let astigmatism keep you out of contact lenses.  The doctors at Hillsboro Vision Clinic are experts in fitting patients with astigmatism.  Call us at 503-648-5522 and set up an appointment for a fit today.  Learn more about our clinic at

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Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Contact Lenses