Four Tips for ‘Grade A’ Vision This School Year

Vision Screening for Kids
When should children have their vision checked?

With back-to-school just around the corner, parents are scrambling to get their children ‘classroom’ ready. As they tick off long lists of school supplies and check-ups, ophthalmologists remind busy moms and dads to take care of one very important learning tool: their children’s eyes.

Good vision and overall eye health are vital to learning and academic success. Florida Eye Institute joins with the American Academy of Ophthalmology to emphasize the importance of healthy vision during Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month this August.

Because children are still growing, being vigilant about eye health is important. The earlier problems are identified; the sooner they can be addressed. For healthy eyes and vision throughout the school year, Florida Eye Institute and the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommend the following four tips:

  1. Get regular childhood vision screenings – Children’s eyes change rapidly, regular vision screening is an important step to detect and correct eye problems early. In addition to screenings for infants, the Academy recommends further vision screening for children as follows:
    • Pre-school age, between age 3 – 3 1/2
    • When entering school
    • When experiencing a possible vision problem

For school-age children, a vision screening, which is less comprehensive than a dilated eye examination by an ophthalmologist, can be performed by a pediatrician, family physician, nurse or trained technician during regular checkups. If the screening detects a problem, the child may need to see an ophthalmologist — an eye physician and surgeon – or other eye care professional.

  1. Know and share your family eye health history – Everyone should find out whether eye conditions or diseases run in their family. Parents should share that information with the person performing the screening when possible. Examples of common eye conditions include nearsightedness, crossed eye, known as strabismus, and lazy eye, known as amblyopia. If these are not treated in childhood, they can cause permanent vision loss in one eye.
  2. Watch for signals of eye problems – Parents should be alert to symptoms that could indicate an eye or vision problem, such as complaints of eyestrain, headaches and squinting when reading or performing other common activities. Other symptoms to look for include a white or grayish-white coloring in the pupil, one eye that turns in or out, or eyes that do not track in sync together.
  3. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports – Eye injuries while playing sports can cause serious damage, whether by getting smacked with an elbow during basketball or hit with a hockey stick. If your child plays racket sports, hockey, field hockey, baseball or basketball, consider having them wear goggles or other certified protective eyewear.

Visit the Academy of Ophthalmology to learn more about common childhood eye conditions and Florida Eye Institute for expert eye care. 

Looking for a good eye doctor? Florida Eye Institute specializes in the advanced treatment of retina, cataract, glaucoma, and corneal disease. You’ll find complete eye care for the entire family, including the latest bladeless LASIK vision correction.

Florida Eye Institute has locations in Vero Beach and Sebastian. Medicare and most insurance are accepted. For more information call 772.569.9500 or visit

Content Courtesy of AAO & Florida Eye Institute

Can Sunglasses Protect Your Eyes from Serious Damage?

Cute girl with Sunglasses
The right sunglasses can protect your eyes AND look awesome.

Summer is in full swing. Days are longer, the sun hotter, and the threat of eye damage from ultraviolet exposure is stronger greater than ever. Florida Eye Institute, along with the American Academy of Ophthalmology, warn that excessive sun exposure can put you at risk for serious short-term and long-term problems. Especially in Florida, this is true for young and old, all year-round.

To bring attention to this important eye health matter, ophthalmologists — physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care — are sharing information on how to keep eyes safe from sun damage.

There is no doubt about the consequences of not protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. If eyes are exposed to strong sunlight for too long without proper protection, UV rays can burn the cornea and cause temporary blindness in a matter of hours.

Long-term sun exposure is linked to more serious eye disease, such as cataract, eye cancer and growths on or near the eye. A lifetime of exposure also likely increases progression of age-related macular degeneration, a condition that can cause blindness.

Prevention is simple. Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet radiation. But how do you know if your sunglasses are up to the task of protecting your family’s sight?

UV protection is the essential piece to look for in a pair of sunglasses. When choosing sunglasses, look for a tag that confirms 100% protection against both UVA/UVB rays, or 100% protection against UV 400. Darkness and color do not indicate the strength of UV protection, and neither does the price tag. Even the least expensive sunglasses can offer adequate protection.

If you doubt your sunglasses have the UV protection claimed by a retail tag, take them to an optical shop. Any shop that has a UV light meter can test your sunglasses. A UV light meter is a handy test for when you doubt your sunglasses have the UV protection claimed by a retail tag or if they are simply old and you want to make sure.

Lee Hudgins, Licensed Optician and Manager of the Optical Gallery at Florida Eye Institute states, “In addition to quality UV protection, look for polarized lenses. Polarization reduces glare by controlling how light is reflected back to your eyes. Polarized lenses are especially helpful around areas that are highly reflective, like water and sand. They are a necessity in the Florida sun.”

In addition to protective sunglasses, consider wearing a broad-brimmed hat. They have been shown to significantly cut exposure of harmful rays. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen!

Looking for a good eye doctor? Florida Eye Institute specializes in the advanced treatment of retina, cataract, glaucoma, and corneal disease. You’ll find complete eye care for the entire family, including the latest bladeless LASIK vision correction.

Florida Eye Institute has locations in Vero Beach and Sebastian. Medicare and most insurance are accepted. For more information call 772.569.9500 or visit

Content Courtesy of AAO & Florida Eye Institute

June is Cataract Awareness Month. Are You at Risk?

Living with cataract can be compared to looking at life through a dirty window.

The condition clouds the eye’s natural lens, causing changes in vision. Sensitivity to glare, dulled color perception, increased nearsightedness and frequent changes to eyeglass prescriptions are common with the onset of cataract.

But, cataracts not only makes life less vibrant, they can dull the visual cues used to prevent personal injury. Studies show untreated cataract increases the risk of accidents for older adults – up to 75% in some cases.

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found automobile drivers who delayed the needed eye procedure were twice as likely to be involved in a car crash than those who opted to have treatment when medically appropriate.

Timely cataract replacement not only lowers the risk of auto accident, it can reduce the risk of damaging hip fracture. An analysis of Medicare patients showed an astonishing 16% decrease in hip fractures after cataract surgery.

Cataract is largely considered a condition of aging, with nearly 23 million Americans showing evidence of the disease. Most individuals will develop cataract by age 80.

Treatment involves removal of the clouded natural lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL) implant. Cataract removal is considered the safest and most common procedure performed in the US today, with more than a million surgeries conducted annually.

In observance of Cataract Awareness Month, Florida Eye Institute will host Free Vision Screenings during June. The screenings provide an opportunity to meet with trained ophthalmic technicians to discuss your risk of cataract or other eye condition. Hours are 9:00 am – 11:00 am; Friday, June 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th at both Florida Eye Institute locations.

Multi-Yard Sale to Benefit Relay for Life

Don’t miss the 3rd annual Florida Eye Institute Yard Sale to benefit Relay for Life of Indian River. You’ll find a wealth of treasures including a wide array of household & kitchen items and clothing for the entire family!

Sale begins 7:30 AM (no early birds please!) in the Florida Eye Institute parking lot and ends at 11:30 AM. Enjoy homemade baked goods and fresh coffee while you shop.

All donations benefit Relay for Life scheduled at Vero Beach High School in April

FREE “Meet the Doctor” Lunch & Learn Series

Photo of doctors & seminar dates at Florida Eye Institute
“Meet the Doctor” Lunch & Learn Seminar Series

Learn about the latest trends in ophthalmology during the Meet the Doctor seminar series at Florida Eye Institute. Enjoy a light lunch and discover how laser advancements and surgical options can improve vision like never before.

All seminars are free and open to the public.

Friday, Feb. 16, 2018: Glaucoma 2018 – MIGs & Medical Marijuana, Dr. Val Zudans
Now that medical marijuana is legal, patients ask if it can improve their glaucoma pressures.
Dr. Zudans discusses the latest research along with new Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery options. Are they for you?

Friday, Feb. 23, 2018: Macular Degeneration and Your Quality of Life, Dr. Thomas Baudo
Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of severe and irreversible vision loss. Proven FDA treatments can now dramatically improve sight and prevent further debilitation. Dr. Baudo explains the difference between Wet & Dry Macular Degeneration, current treatments, and the latest AREDs vitamin research.

Friday, March 2, 2018: The Revolutionary Symfony® Lens, Dr. Karen Todd.
Patients are raving about the latest FDA approved TECNIS Symfony®. Dr. Todd discusses the science behind this powerful cataract replacement lens. See how advanced military-grade optics improve near vision along with unprecedented distance after cataract surgery. Find out if Symfony® is right for you!

Friday, March 9, 2018: Astigmatism…What the Heck? Dr. Christopher Shumake
You’ve heard the term, but what is astigmatism really? Dr. Shumake reviews this common condition and explains how it can be treated – in terms everyone can understand. Dr. Cynthia Kipp, Optometrist, Low Vision Specialist, makes a special appearance. Clear up confusion with today’s cataract and laser options.

Friday, March 16, 2018: Can a Laser Cure My Floaters? Dr. Thomas Baudo
More than a mere nuisance, floaters can cause significant blind spots that impair daily function. Dr. Baudo discusses modern answers to this age-old problem using a two-tiered approach. From the latest laser technology that reduces debilitating floaters up to 90%, to quick recovery micro-incision vitrectomy.

Florida Eye Institute is located at 2750 Indian River Boulevard, Vero Beach. Lectures begin at 1:00 PM with registration at 12:30 PM. A light lunch will be provided.

Please RSVP as space is limited.

Diabetes Head to Toe Symposium & Health Expo

people with diabetesLearn valuable tips on managing diabetes from local experts in the medical community.

FREE Health Screenings and Information!

Featured Presenters:

Thomas Baudo, MD, FACS
Retina Ophthalmologist

Cassi Jones, DO
Internal Medicine

Nicholas Rutledge, DPM

Colleen Symanski, RN, CDE
Certified Diabetes Educator

Chef Ed
Food Preparation Demo

Diabetes is Complex! Don’t go it alone.

Vision Screenings, Diabetes Foot Care, Blood Sugar Checks, Blood Pressure Checks, Mindfulness Education, Diabetes Education & Coaching, Chair Massage, Healthy Food Preparation, Fitness Coaching, Medication Information, and Much MORE….

Call 772.569.9500 to RSVP

Light refreshments will be served and box lunch available.

First Presbyterian Church
520 Royal Palm Blvd, Vero Beach

Sponsored by:

FEI logoa healthier me logoFirst Presbyterian Church logo

July is National Ice Cream and Patient Appreciation Month!

Here’s The Scoop

We’re sweet on YOU!

Thank you for choosing Florida Eye Institute for your eye care.

To celebrate, Florida Eye Institute has officially declared July as Patient Appreciation Month!

Sweet Facts about the Creamy Treat:

  • 1984 – President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July as National Ice Cream Month and established National Ice Cream Day as the third Sunday of the month.
  • 1813 -First Lady Dolley Madison served ice cream at the Inaugural Ball.
  • 1832 – African American confectioner, Augustus Jackson, created multiple ice cream recipes as well as a superior technique to manufacture ice cream.
  • 1843 – Philadelphian, Nancy Johnson, received the first U.S. patent for a small-scale hand-cranked ice cream freezer.
  • 1920 – Harry Burt puts the first ice cream trucks on the streets.
  • 2017 – Florida Eye Institute Proclaims July as Patient Appreciation Month with a coupon for a Free ice cream!

Not a patient? We’re happy to welcome you to our practice! Ask about our services or request an appointment HERE…

June is Cataract Awareness Month

Better Vision Means Better Health

Did you know untreated eye disease, including cataracts, can adversely affect your health? Sometimes to devastating effect.

Studies show a high correlation between auto accidents and untreated cataracts – as much as 75% – compared to those who seek appropriate and timely treatment. Additionally, those over age 65 experience a 16% lower risk of hip fracture after the sight-saving surgery.

It’s estimated more than 22 million Americans live with cataracts and over half of all Americans will develop the condition by age 80. Although cataract is the leading cause of blindness throughout the world, it is considered a conquered disease in the United States due to widely available treatment. However, cataract still accounts for significant vision impairment in the US, especially for those with difficulty accessing care due to cost, availability or other health barriers.

Treatment of cataract involves removal of the clouded natural lens of the eye, replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) implant. Cataract removal is the most common procedure performed in the US with more than a million surgeries conducted annually.

In observance of Cataract Awareness Month, Florida Eye Institute will host Free Vision Screenings in June. Hours are 9:00 am – 11:00 am; Friday, June 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th at both Florida Eye Institute locations.

Call (772) 569-9500 for more information.

Febuary is Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

Resolutions for Healthy Vision

Don’t give up on those healthy New Year’s resolutions just yet!

Numerous studies point to the importance of healthy habits in the prevention of eye disease.

While it’s true that many conditions, like Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration, have a genetic component; a healthy lifestyle can significantly curtail, and even improve vision as we age.

That’s especially important considering the risk for Macular Degeneration increases with age. The disease is most likely to occur in those 55 and older.

Dr. Carl Kupfer, former Director of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, has stated that Macular Degeneration will soon reach alarming numbers of aging Baby Boomers.

“As the Baby Boom generation ages, and in the absence of further prevention and treatment advances, AMD is estimated to reach epidemic proportions of 6.3 million Americans by the year 2030.”

The causes of AMD are not fully understood, but it is associated with other risk factors besides aging. Macular Degeneration often runs in families due to a genetic component and is most common among families of European descent. Smoking DOUBLES the risk of AMD.

Other risk factors include high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity and a diet high in fats and low in green leafy vegetables and fish.

What can be done to improve your outlook and reduce the risk of Macular Degeneration and other eye disease?

First, consider the eye is merely 1 inch in diameter – smaller than a ping pong ball! Within this self-contained orb, blood vessels, arteries, nerves, muscles and brain tissue of the retina coexist.

Blood flow to the eye comes from branches of the internal carotid artery, the same artery that supplies blood and oxygen to parts of the brain.

So, it’s no coincidence then that diabetes, heart and brain disorders can dramatically affect visual health.

While nothing can guarantee the prevention of eye disease, two studies point to the importance of diet, nutrition and smoking cessation as proactive, preventative approaches.

A retroactive study published in the American Journal for Public Health (1) reviewed data compiled by the long-term NHS Nurses Study from 1976 and 2016 to understand the genetic and lifestyle factors influencing the risk of cataract, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma.

The findings from NHS, combined with those of other studies, provide compelling evidence supporting public health recommendations for the prevention of age-related eye diseases: abstinence from cigarette smoking, maintenance of a healthy weight, diabetes prevention, a diet rich in fruits/vegetables and low in animal fat.

Additionally, comprehensive studies by the National Institute of Health (NIH), titled AREDs and AREDS2, confirm certain nutrients are significant in the progressive reduction of Macular Degeneration (2).

Investigators found that participants who had been assigned the original AREDS formulation in the first trial were 25-30 percent less likely to develop advanced AMD than those who had been placed on placebo. Among participants at the highest risk for AMD, 34 percent who had taken the AREDS formulation in the trial progressed to advanced AMD, compared to 44 percent who had taken the placebo.

The AREDS2 study provides new information about the specific formulations for preventing vision loss from AMD (3) .

The take-away? Small changes can create maximum improvements; whether quitting cigarettes, eating more fruits and vegetables, or taking AREDS vitamin supplements. They can all add up to healthy sight for life!

People age 60+ should get a dilated eye exam at least once a year and discuss whether taking AREDS supplements is appropriate.

1. Am J Public Health. 2016 September; 106(9): 1684–1689.
2. For information about AREDS visit
3. For information about AREDS2, visit

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Add a comprehensive eye exam to your list of healthy resolution

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, eye physicians dedicated to the advanced treatment of eye disease.

If you are confused about Glaucoma and what it is, you are not alone. Glaucoma is one of the most damaging and insidious eye conditions because it often begins without warning. It’s estimated that nearly 3 million adults in the U.S. have Glaucoma, yet only half of those know they have it. That’s a scary thought because Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in America and can affect anyone of any age.

Technically, Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that lead to progressive damage of the Optic Nerve. Think of the Optic Nerve as a cable, carrying vital visual signals and information to the brain. If fibers become damaged, visual signals are disrupted and the picture is lost. Damage to the optic nerve from Glaucoma can result in an irreversible loss – even blindness – if left untreated.

Glaucoma begins by attacking the periphery, causing vision on the outermost corners to diminish. Early results are barely perceptible. But glaucoma can accelerate quickly; causing eyesight to rapidly and irreversibly deteriorate. As much as 40% of vision can be lost before a person begins to notice and take action.2

Primary open-angle glaucoma is often called the “the silent thief of vision” because, in early and middle stages, there are usually no noticeable symptoms until irreversible damage has occurred.3 When a person has glaucoma, they often have increased intraocular pressure (IOP), or pressure inside the eye. In some cases, glaucoma can be present with normal IOP ranges, referred to as Normal Tension Glaucoma (NTG).

Anyone can develop glaucoma, but certain factors place you at higher risk.4

  • Elevated Intra-Ocular Pressure (IOP)
    Age 40 or above
  • Hispanic or African-American descent
  • Family history – primary open-angle glaucoma is hereditary
  • Medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Current or previous eye injury

Glaucoma cannot be prevented, but if diagnosed and treated early, it can be controlled. This reinforces recommendations by the American Academy of Ophthalmology: adults need regular, comprehensive eye exams.

Medicare and other Insurance plans cover most or all of the cost of a comprehensive exam with an Ophthalmologist, or Eye MD. Ask your eye doctor or insurance company for more information.

References: (1) American Academy of Ophthalmology (; (2) Alcon (; (3) Glaucoma Research Foundation (; (4) Prevent Blindness (