STEPHEN HEMELT — Local eye care options have cleared you for better health

Published 12:22 am Saturday, February 26, 2022

As an optometrist, Dr. Janet Baker has a passion for eye care.

When we talked this week, the Texas State Optical doctor was excited to share how pharmaceutical companies, aging Baby Boomers and our reliance on devices has created a jump in patient care options.

“It’s the baby boomers pushing a lot of this,” she said. “There is also such a large group of our patients coming in who are over 40 and over 50 and have never had eye issues and now can’t see their devices. They want to be able to see, and they are not used to wearing glasses. We’re giving them options.”

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To match this demand, Baker says, pharmaceutical companies are evolving with new drugs that are becoming more accessible to the eye care industry.

“Our role is to have all this stuff available and make sure our patients are using it in a safe manner and making sure they get the prescriptions that they need and the follow-up care,” Baker said.

“What difference you’re seeing is the pharmaceutical companies are, all of a sudden, more interested is how they can serve eye care needs.”

However, eye care can’t wait until a problem arises; yet, parents and young adults often make that mistake.

It’s an omission that runs counter to basic baby and pediatrician care, which see our most precious children routinely checked for eye response during normal visits.

Baker said optometrists are seeing more and more children starting school programs that utilize laptops and devices for a majority of the work.

“What are particular concerns for school-aged children is the effects of blue emissions from devices that have not been fully explored,” she said.

“We don’t know what the long-term effects are. We are really interested in protecting our kids from any long-term effects there.”

Blue-light exposure from screens is small compared to the amount of exposure from the sun, health experts say; however, there is concern about the long-term effects of screen exposure especially with excessive screen time and when a screen is too close to the eyes.

Because of that and so many other concerns new to 2022, Baker said Texas State Optical stays up-to-date with the latest trends on eye health and eye care.

She said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved drops that work as a lift for droopy eyelids.

“It gives the patients more options,” she said. “Instead of having to undergo surgical procedures, they can come in and get these drops. It works as an eyelift. These are really new to the market.”

The most recently released FDA-approved drop, Baker said, is one called Vuity that treats a condition called presbyopia.

Most people over 40 suffer from this condition, where you have reduced accommodation for reading.

“It is a drop that can actually act like reading glasses,” Baker said. “Instead of having to put the glasses on or contacts in, you can use a drop that helps correct your near vision. There are a lot of new pharmaceuticals out there, and we are definitely making all of these available to our patients at TSO.”

According to Baker, optometry has always treated glaucoma and near-sightedness with the help of pharmaceuticals. But that industry’s recent investment back into eye care has created so many more options for patients in search of answers.

To lean more, visit Texas State Optical at 8700 Central Mall Drive in Port Arthur, call 409-515-7386 or log onto tso.com.

You have so many more opportunities to see clearly.

Stephen Hemelt is the president of Port Arthur Newsmedia, which publishes panews.com and The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at stephen.hemelt@panews.com or 409-721-2445.