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Folks don't usually think of eye exams as regular appointments. Eye exams are usually less frequent than doctor's check-ups and visits to the dentist, and people already forget these last two all the time! That means it's no surprise when you let an eye exam get delayed - perhaps year after year. This can be dangerous, though.

People are passionate about their eyes. In our thirty years of serving Asheville, we have received many unique questions and heard countless concerns related to vision, eye care, glasses and contacts, corrective surgeries, dry eyes, allergies, and many other eye-related topics. The most important way you can find answers for your concerns is by asking your trusted optometrist; nevertheless, we will begin addressing some of the most common questions through our blog. In this article, we will address six common eye concerns:

When the temperature is bitter and the air is crisp, you may feel like your eyelids blinking rarely bring the tears you expect. As winter progresses into early spring, you may feel like you never stop scratching your eyes. Without relief, dry, itchy eyes can affect your life and your mood. There may be more to your dry eyes than just weather, pollen, and mountain air. In this article, we will discuss common causes of dry eyes, how to prevent or treat those causes, and how to determine when it is time to see an optometrist.

You’re busy! There is always something on your to-do list: work, meetings to attend, football games and school plays to watch, children to cheer on, dinner to make, bills to pay, family to visit… the list goes on and on! But have you been too busy to schedule an eye exam?

How often do you need to have your vision checked, and should you clear some space on your schedule soon for this important appointment?

They say that the eyes are the window to the soul. When you live near Asheville, those windows let in plenty of pollen. Adding dust, molds, and pet dander to the mix can make for a long spring… and summer… and fall.

While the region offers endless beauty and stunning scenery, nature can take a toll on our eyes. Our fair state can seem unfair if you’re prone to allergies and sensitive to irritants! In fact, North Carolina is one of the “worst” states when it comes to allergies — and staring at screens for work and entertainment only stresses our eyes more.

How do our eyes respond to these attacks — and what can you do if common allergens and irritants cause more than common discomfort and trouble?

  • Sunscreen ✓
  • Cold Drinks ✓
  • Frisbees and volleyballs ✓
  • Burgers and dogs for the BBQ ✓
  • A trashy novel to read at the beach ✓

You’re almost ready for a day of fun in the sun. Just don’t forget your sunglasses!

Surrounded by mile-high mountains and rich with culture, Asheville is one of the fastest growing areas in North Carolina. Asheville’s population has increased nearly 25% since 2000, while Buncombe County has added 50,000 people since 2000. As new residents discover how great our city is, we want to help make sure you find the right eye care professional. We are offering a free e-book guide to help new residents find great healthcare professionals and optometrists.

how to find a new doctor or optometrist

How to Find a New Doctor, Dentist or Optometrist

In addition to incredible beauty, cultural amenities, and excellent educational systems, western North Carolina benefits from nearby medical universities and the presence of Mission Health System. Nevertheless, finding new physicians, dentists, and eye care professionals is always difficult when moving to a new city.

Whether you are moving to or from Asheville, or anywhere else, you may be dreading the process of finding new physicians, optometrists, dentists, and other healthcare professionals. In this short e-book, we discuss six key tips for finding a new eye care professional.

To download the guide, follow this link and fill out the short contact form.

great american eclipse eye care asheville nc

The path of totality for the Great American Eclipse crossed just west of Asheville, NC. Our area saw millions upon millions of tourists passing through our area toward Franklin, Sylva, Murphy, and Andrews. Even for those not in the path of totality, protecting your eyes while viewing the eclipse was something to be taken seriously.

After viewing the eclipse with potentially unapproved glasses she borrowed, one woman in Staten Island reported seeing a weird dark spot in her vision that has sense taken the shape of a crescent.

We were among several experts urging eclipse watchers and chasers across the country to make sure they protect their eyes with approved, viewing glasses. Now that a few months have passed, unfortunately there have been cases of people expressing concern regarding their eye sight and the eclipse.

In this article, we will discuss signs you may have damaged your vision during the eclipse, and what you can do about it.

Did I Damage My Eyes Viewing the Eclipse?

The sun's light was magnified by the passing moon such that it could have damaged your eyesight, even if you did not look directly at the eclipse itself. As the moon passed over the sun, even if you were not in the path of totality, you likely experienced darkness and cooler temperatures. If you were in the path of totality, you may have seen the corona, the especially bright shimmer immediately before the moon totally deflected the sun’s light.

great american eclipse optometrist asheville nc

From moments to months after the event, people who viewed it reported noticing various symptoms of damaged vision due looking at the eclipse without proper glasses, or glasses perhaps falling off of their faces. Signs and symptoms of eclipse-damaged vision include:

  1. Frequent Headaches: Frequent headaches may themselves be a symptom, or squinting from reduced vision may lead to the headaches.
  2. Blurred Vision: If you suddenly or slowly blurred since the eclipse, you should schedule an appointment with an optometrist.
  3. Color Confusion: If you have developed difficulty discerning colors, it could be a result of the eclipse.
  4. Sensitivity to Light: You are squinting more than before you viewed the eclipse.
  5. Seeing Shapes, Spots, Holes: If your vision is now obstructed by dark spots or shapes, it could be a result of eclipse related damage.
  6. Loss of Central Vision: If you are having trouble focusing on your vision, it could be a result of seeing more of the eclipse than you meant to.
  7. Wavy or Distorted Vision: Your vision seems as if you are seeing humidity waves, even when they are not present.
  8. Pain: If you have eye pain emanating from the day of the eclipse, consult an optometrist immediately.

These signs or others could indeed be indicative of vision damage due to viewing the eclipse.

I Have the Signs, What Should I Do About My Vision?

Whether you experience those or other symptoms after the eclipse, or just in general, it is important to consult your eye doctor. Your optometrist will be able to help determine whether it is eclipse related, and exactly what course of treatment will be necessary. Do not panic, but do take seriously any new developments with your vision. If you are in the Asheville area, Asheville Vision Associates would be happy to help you take care of your eyes.

how to protect your eyes during cold weather, eye care asheville nc

Asheville, NC is in the midst of experiencing some of the coldest temperatures in several decades. With lows in the single digits and below zero commonplace throughout Buncombe and Henderson counties, and accompanying low dew points and exceptionally dry air, Asheville residents must include "winter eye care" in their New Year's resolutions.

Even though there are indications of a potential warm up toward the middle and end of January, February and March may bring more cold and dry air to the mountains. In this article, we are discussing several steps for protecting your eyes during the winter months.

How the Weather Affects Your Eyes

Though we are in the southeast, extreme cold in our area is often accompanied by exceptionally dry air. The temperature and lack of moisture can cause or exacerbate issues with your eyes, such as:

  • Dry Eyes
  • Excessive Tearing
  • Red/Swollen Eyes
  • Burning Eyes
  • Sensitivity to Light

It is common to experience some measure of these symptoms. For the most part, they are treatable with simple changes you can do at home.

1) Make an Appointment with an Optometrist

If you have any concern that you are experiencing pain or discomfort beyond what you would expect or have experienced in the past in similar weather, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with your optometrist. If you are new to the area, or you are looking for an eye care doctor, contact Asheville Vision Associates.

Your eye care professionals can help determine whether your discomfort is a greater concern, as well as provide additional tips and resources for protecting your eyes during winter cold snaps.

2) Use a Humidifier in Your Home

Throughout the year, your Heating and Air conditioning systems heats, cools, and dehumidifies your home’s air, to make it more comfortable for you and your family. However, with dew point in the single digits and below zero at times this winter, your HVAC system may be making the air in your home too dry for your eyes.

If your eyes are red, itchy, and/or scratchy, consider using a humidifier inside your home to add moisture back into the air.

3) Beware of Indoor Allergies

Asheville allergy sufferers often look to winter for relief from runny noses, scratchy throats, and itchy eyes; however, dust, dander, and mold may be initiating symptoms and irritating your eyes. If you suspect indoor allergies are the source of your eye discomfort, consider inspecting, or having your home inspected for mold.

eye care optometrist cold weather asheville nc

4) Increase Your Omega-3 Intake

If your eyes are dry and itchy, consider eating more fish. As strange as it may sound, fish oil can help increase your tear production, helping ease the pain of dry eyes.

5) Stay Hydrated

In the cold of winter, we might all increase our coffee and hot chocolate intake, often to the neglect of water. In order to help protect your eyes from the dryness of winter, make sure you are staying hydrated.

6) Wear Glasses or Goggles

Especially on windy days, or when performing activities such as running, cycling, etc., wear glasses or goggles while outside. By taking steps to protect your eyes, you can potentially avoid regular discomfort and future damage. Nothing will replace regular visits to your optometrist. If you need to schedule an appointment with an eye care professional in Asheville, NC, contact us.

how to find a new optometrist asheville nc

One of the great things to evolve from the information age is the availability of customer reviews on Google, Facebook, and other social media outlets. Small businesses, new products, and good ideas have always grown through word of mouth referrals, and internet reviews have made it possible to access those referrals with the click of a button. It is almost difficult to remember what the world was like back before we had such access to ratings and reviews for new restaurants, coffee shops, and hospitals.

If you are searching for a new optometrist, customer reviews can be key to finding the practice that would best fit the needs of you and your family. In this post, we want to provide some quick tips on finding and using internet testimonials:

How to Use Google and Social Media Reviews

Customer testimonials posted to Google and social media outlets are helpful; however, they are not scientific. Sometimes good and bad experiences are matters of perception, misunderstanding, and miscommunication. To help you know how to discern useful reviews, regardless of industry, here are four key steps:

I. Check Multiple Review Sources:

Utilizing a diverse selection of review sources will help you establish a baseline for the reputation of a business or eye car practice. Customer testimonials can be found on these sites:

  • Google/Google Plus
  • Facebook
  • Amazon
  • Trip Advisor
  • Industry Specific Directories

II. Check the Average Rating:

Sites have different algorithms dictating to determine which reviews are displayed first. Some display the most recent testimony, while others the ones garnered the most attention. Sometimes the first reviews displayed might be negative toward the business or practice, while the balance of comments are overwhelmingly positive. Most sites will display an average – X out of 5 potential stars.

III. Check the Number of Reviews

eye glasses asheville nc

A business or practice may have a 5-star rating, but only a handful of reviews; therefore, it is important to note the number of total testimonials. If you only see a few reviews on Facebook, make sure you check Google and other review sources.

IV. Check Multiple Customer Written Reviews

When your visit a Facebook or Google Plus page, your eyes may naturally scroll through the first few written reviews, neglecting the rest. You probably do not have time to read 50 reviews, but it is important to read several different testimonies, to determine a baseline average for the business or practice. Usually, review sites will allow you to sort comments based on the rating (ex. 4 of 5 stars) given. Here are a few quick tips:

  • Read one or two 5-star reviews: These reviews will usually read as glowing endorsements of the business or practice.
  • Read one or two 1-star reviews: These reviews may contain nuggets or truth, but it is important to note whether they stand in stark contrast to the rest of the customer reviews.
  • Read three or four 3 and 4-star reviews: These are the reviews that will provide the most insight into the practice or business. You will usually find out key information such as:
    • Wait time
    • Courteous staff
    • Skillful doctors/staff
    • Expense/value
    • Whether reviewer plans to return
  • Look for repeated compliments and concerns:

Asheville Vision Associates Reviews

We encourage our patients to write honest reviews of our practice, because we are proud of our staff and commitment to quality eye care. If you are looking for a new optometrist, we would be happy for you to schedule an appointment.