Focusing on a Niche
A south Florida optometrist sets his sights on busy executives
Dr. Barry Kay got the idea to offer after-hours and weekend eye exams after working late at his Hollywood Eyes office.
Executives strolled in, he says, after dining at neighboring restaurants.
"They're so busy during the day, they just can't get in," says Kay, who charges an extra $200 for appointments outside regular working hours. When people get strapped for time, eye care is one of the first things they knock off their calendars, he says. "They think if they see fine, nothing's wrong."
But many vision problems, including glaucoma, sneak up on people and show no symptoms until it's too late. Kay recommends routine eye exams every two years for adults younger than 40. Between ages 40 and 50, when eyesight changes dramatically, people should schedule annual visits.
Kay says vision care is improving rapidly. Among recent advancements:
? Contacts: New lenses breathe more and prevent eyes from drying.
? Progressive eyeglass lenses: Designed for people over 40, they are easier to adjust to than they used to be. People seldom complain anymore about tripping when they walk up a curb.
? Corrective surgery: Non-invasive lasers can now be used to treat more vision disorders and with greater precision. "We're able to treat problems we can't even measure in the routine eye exam," Kay says. Treatments used to be based on the patient's prescription, which was fairly general, but are now tailored to the individual's eye, producing more accurate results.
? Implants: People will start hearing more about refractive intraocular lenses surgically implanted in the eye. This invasive technique is mostly for people over 40 who want to avoid wearing reading glasses after they have laser surgery to correct their vision for distance.
? Lens replacement: The invasive surgery replaces the eye's entire lens with a man-made substitute that improves
vision. "I call it extreme makeover of the eye," Kay says. It's for people with unusual prescriptions who can't be treated with laser surgery.
Contact Lens Lowdown
? Bifocals or multifocals let wearers see near and far at once. They are similar to bifocal glasses.
? Light-filtering tints can help wearers distinguish shades of colors better. Balls appear clearer for tennis players and golfers.
? Disposable lenses can be replaced daily or every two weeks, depending on the type. These are healthier than long-term lenses because there's little time for mineral deposits to form on them.
? A new type of continuous wear lens made with super-permeable silicone hydrogel can be worn up to 30 days without removal.
? Gas permeable lenses can last for years. They must be cleaned like the old-fashioned hard lenses, but vision is crisper with these than with soft lenses. They allow more oxygen to pass through to the eye than soft or hard lenses. This new type of lens contains a gas permeable center for clearer vision and a soft outer ring for comfort.
? Monovision is an alternative to bifocals that involves two separate prescriptions. A lens in the dominant eye corrects distance vision, and one in the other eye enhances near vision.
? Orthokeratology lenses are worn at night to reshape the cornea and eliminate the need for glasses or contacts during the day. Some people prefer this to laser surgery. Getting a fitting from the doctor takes multiple visits and is more costly than fittings for other types of lenses.
? Toric lenses help people with astigmatism who have not been able to wear contacts. Some are weighted at the bottom to keep the lens in the same place at all times.