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4 Risks of Wearing Decorative Contact Lenses This Halloween

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Wish your eyes were a different color or that you could change their ‘look’? That’s exactly why some people find decorative contact lenses appealing. Cosmetic, theatrical, circular, decorative, costume, colored and Halloween contact lenses are some of the names used to describe the lenses that give you eyes a new appearance.

To prevent complications, infection and potential vision loss, all contact lenses should be purchased using a prescription from your eye doctor. Otherwise, your risk the following:

  1. Scratches to the eye – If your contacts aren’t fitted properly or are of inferior quality, they can harm your cornea. A corneal abrasion is a painful condition that can result in lasting damage and even vision loss.
  2. Inflammation of the cornea – According to studies, wearing non-prescription contacts raises the incidence of keratitis (inflammation of the cornea)16-fold. In the best of cases, early treatment with antibiotics or steroid drops may help to maintain vision, and in the worst of cases—surgery may be required.
  3. Pink eye – Many people think it’s not a problem to wear someone else’s cosmetic lenses. In reality, sharing contacts can transfer germs and lead to infections like pink eye. To treat pink eye, your eye doctor will need to understand the root of the issue, but usually antibiotic eye drops suffice.
  4. Vision loss – Wearing non-prescription contacts may cause vision loss—and in extreme cases even blindness—as a result of corneal damage or infection.

Checklist for Decorative Contact Lens Wearers

  • Make sure you get a comprehensive eye exam from an eye doctor, who will properly measure your eyes to fit your contacts.
  • Obtain a prescription from your eye doctor that contains all pertinent information, such as the
    specifications of the contacts, the expiration date, and the brand name.
  • Check that the contact lenses you ordered are identical to the prescription.
  • Decorative contact lenses should always be purchased from a reputable source. Note that only reliable retailers demand a prescription.
  • Follow your eye doctor hygiene guidelines for cleaning, inserting, removing, and storing contact lenses.
  • Make an appointment for a follow-up eye exam as recommended by your eye doctor.
  • Never let anyone else use your contact lenses.

Enjoy your Halloween without the stress or agony of an eye infection or a damaged cornea by following these contact lens safety instructions. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam at EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are decorative contact lenses safe?

  • A: Yes, if they are prescribed by an optometrist. Most people are able to wear tinted contact lenses safely if they are used as instructed. Following your optometrist’s instructions is essential for successful contact lens wear.

Q: Do I need a prescription? What if I don’t require vision correction?

  • A: Yes. Even if you don’t need vision correction, contact lenses are medical equipment that should be prescribed and fitted by an eye care professional.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit EYEcenter Optometric for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Why Back to School Eye Exams Are Important

Since the start of COVID-19, many children have learned remotely at one point or another. While parents are anxious that their children not fall behind academically, eye professionals are concerned that undiagnosed visual problems will have an impact on the child’s performance during the coming school year.

A child’s capacity to learn can be harmed if visual problems go unnoticed. That is why, before the new school year begins, eye doctors strongly advise that children have a comprehensive eye exam.

While it may be tempting to depend on school-provided eye screenings, these superficial visual acuity tests can only detect a small fraction of vision problems. Only a comprehensive eye exam performed by an eye doctor can effectively diagnose and treat a variety of vision and eye health problems.

How Is Vision Affected By Online Learning?

The amount of time children spend staring at computer devices was already a concern before the covid pandemic, but the epidemic has further heightened these concerns. Children spent twice as much time on screens during COVID-related closures than they did before the pandemic, according to The Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.

For one thing, staring at a digital screen for long periods of time strains the eyes, making children and adults more prone to digital eye strain, one of the most common symptoms of computer vision syndrome. People who stare at a screen for two hours or longer are at an increased risk of developing this condition.

Digital eye strain symptoms may include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Eye fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Shoulder and neck pain

A combination of the following can trigger or contribute to symptoms:

  • Poor posture
  • Poor lighting
  • Screen brightness
  • Undetected vision problems
  • Excessive time looking at a screen
  • Glare and reflections from the screen

Aside from digital eye strain, multiple studies have revealed that children who spend a lot of time indoors performing ‘near work’ like writing, reading and staring at computers and other digital devices have a faster rate of myopia progression.

According to a study published in the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s professional magazine, Ophthalmology, 1st graders who spent at least 11 hours per week outside in the sunshine had a slower progression of myopia. Around the world, researchers are investigating whether some component of sunshine, or the fact that children who play outdoors look into the distance, play a role.

Why Are Eye Exams Important?

Since visual learning accounts for up to 80% of a child’s learning, even the tiniest vision problem can have a severe impact on their academic performance. By taking your child to their eye doctor once a year the optometrist can diagnose and treat refractive errors like myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, as well as check visual skills like convergence insufficiency, binocular vision, focusing, and more.

Comprehensive eye exams are the most effective way to detect both minor and major eye problems. Children with a family history of vision difficulties should get their eyes examined more frequently, or as directed by their eye doctor.

Regular eye exams are important for everyone in the family, but they’re especially important for individuals who spend a lot of time in front of a screen.

Don’t put off your child’s annual eye exam. Schedule an appointment with EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights today!

At EYEcenter Optometric, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 916-727-6518 or book an appointment online to see one of our Citrus Heights eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

Nystagmus — Is That a Super Villain or Something?

Back to School: Part 2

How One Football Player Became a Pro Thanks To Sports Vision Training



Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Randy Fuerst F.A.A.O

Q: At what age should I have my child’s eyes examined?

  • A: According to the American and Canadian Optometric associations, it’s recommended that a child undergo their first exam between 6-12 months of age. The second time is at age 3.Before a child starts school they should have their eyes examined, and every 1 to 2 years after that, based on their optometrist’s recommendation.

Q: If my child passes their school vision screening, do they need their eyes examined?

  • A: Yes! School vision screenings briefly examine the eyes to detect a handful of vision problems, such as myopia. They don’t look for visual impairments or other issues that could hinder your child’s academic progress.Your optometrist will evaluate your child’s eye health and vision, along with visual abilities, including eye-tracking and depth perception, to let you know whether your child’s eyes are ‘school-ready.’

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Sacramento, California. Visit EYEcenter Optometric for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Eye Makeup Tips For Those With Dry Eyes

Eye Care & Dry Eye Treatments

Eye Care & Dry Eye Treatments

Most eye makeup is formulated specifically for the sensitive eye area and is considered safe to use. But does this apply to those prone to dry eye syndrome?

Do you experience discomfort while wearing eye makeup? Find out whether the problem might be dry eye syndrome and learn what you can do to prevent future irritation.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic lack of hydration on the eye’s surface. It occurs when your tear quality or quantity are off-balance, and can lead to symptoms like eye dryness, redness, irritation, watery eyes, light sensitivity and blurred vision.

How Can Eye Makeup Lead to DES?

The surface of your eye is covered by a nourishing layer of tears composed of mucus, oil and water. The production and turnover of the tear film helps keep our eyes feel comfortable and see clearly.

When you wear eye makeup, especially powder or glitters, the loose particles can cause the tear film to break down and evaporate too quickly, leaving your eyes feeling dry and irritated. This usually occurs within 30 minutes of applying your makeup.

Eye makeup can exacerbate symptoms in people who already have DES, or can trigger it in people who don’t. That’s why it’s important to apply your eye makeup in a way that will lessen your symptoms and support a healthy tear film.

Eye Makeup Tips For Those With DES

  1. Apply lubricating eye drops to each eye about 30 minutes prior to doing your makeup.
  2. Disinfect your applicators before each use to avoid contamination.
  3. Apply makeup products to the outside of your eyelashes. Avoid lining the inner rim of your lashes, as this area is very close to the tear film.
  4. Use a minimal amount of mascara, or simply curl your lashes without mascara for a lifted effect.
  5. Mascara has the shortest shelf life of all makeup products and should be tossed out 2-3 months after opening to avoid eye infection or clogging the meibomian glands in your eyelids.
  6. When possible, choose cream-based products and avoid anything containing glitter, even glitter promoted as ‘eye-safe.’
  7. Never share your eye makeup with anyone.
  8. Be diligent about thoroughly removing your makeup at the end of the day.
  9. Never apply eye makeup when your eyes are irritated or red.

With the right care, wearing eye makeup with dry eye syndrome is possible. If your eyes have been giving you any trouble, we can help.

Please don’t hesitate to contact EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights for all your eye care needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What’s the best way to remove eye makeup?

  • A: Start off by removing the bulk of your eye makeup with a cotton pad or washcloth and oil-free eye makeup remover. Then, use your face cleanser to wash off the rest of your makeup. Once your face and eyes are basically clean, use an eyelid cleansing wipe to remove any leftover makeup particles from your upper and lower lids.

Q: Which lubricating eye drops work best for dry eyes?

  • A: From soothing to lubricating to anti-redness drops, the pharmacy is full of different types of eye drops. Your optometrist will help you determine which brand and type will work best for your condition and lifestyle.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit EYEcenter Optometric for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

How to Deal with Contact Lens Discomfort

Do your eyes itch or burn when wearing contact lenses? There are several reasons why you may be experiencing contact lens discomfort. Discover the possible causes behind the problem and see what you can do to relieve your discomfort.

What Causes Contact Lens Discomfort?

Some of the top causes of uncomfortable contacts are:

Dry eyes

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that arises when your tears can’t keep your eyes sufficiently lubricated due to an imbalance in the tear film. Certain diseases, medications and environmental factors, like high levels of dryness and wind, can cause or contribute to red, itchy or irritated eyes, especially when wearing contacts.


Allergens are typically harmless substances that induce an allergic response in certain people. Pollen, mold, dust and pet dander are some of the most common airborne allergens that trigger eye allergies. Cosmetics and certain eye drops, such as artificial tears with preservatives, can also induce eye allergies, which can make contact lens wear uncomfortable.

Corneal irregularities

The cornea at the front of the eye may be irregularly shaped due to astigmatism, keratoconus, eye surgeries (i.e. LASIK or cataract surgery), eye injuries or burns, scarring, corneal ulcers and/or severe dry eye. Irregular corneas often prevent traditional contact lenses from fitting correctly and comfortably.

Symptoms of Contact Lens Discomfort

  • Burning, itchy, stinging eyes
  • Sensation of something being stuck is in the eye
  • Excessive watering or tearing of the eyes
  • Unusual eye secretions
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Reduced sharpness of vision
  • Blurred vision, rainbows, or halos around objects
  • Sensitivity to light

How to Relieve Contact Lens Discomfort

Try Different Contact Lenses

Nowadays, there are many types of contact lenses on the market, including specialty contacts for dry eyes and astigmatism. Meet with our optometrist for a personalized eye exam for contacts.

With the variety of contact lens brands available, switching to a different contact lens may be the simplest answer if you’re experiencing discomfort that isn’t connected to improper fitting or issues with tear production. If your existing lenses fit well but still irritate and dry out your eyes, speak to us about trying a different design or brand of contact lenses, or changing your lens-wearing schedule.

Artificial Tears or Eye Drops

Over-the-counter artificial tears or eye drops are a common way to temporarily relieve contact lens discomfort. However, it’s important to keep in mind that unless prescribed by an eye doctor, they may not be treating the root of the problem.

Moreover, certain eye drops are incompatible with contact lenses, and may damage your contacts or harm your eyes. We also recommend staying away from products that claim to remove redness from your eyes, which temporarily reduce the size of blood vessels to lessen redness, but do not address the underlying cause of the condition, and can actually worsen it over time.

Take Good Care of Your Lenses

Inadequate contact lens care leaves residue on your lenses, which can discomfort, harmful eye infections and inflammation. Below are a few important contact lens hygiene guidelines to follow:

  • Before handling your contact lenses, thoroughly wash and dry your hands.
  • Remove your lenses before showering, bathing or swimming to prevent infection.
  • Do not sleep in your contact lenses (unless they are approved for sleeping).
  • Replace your contact lenses according to the manufacturer’s instructions (e.g., don’t reuse daily wear lenses).
  • Regularly clean your contact lens case and ask your eye doctor when to replace it.
  • Only use a contact lens solution that is appropriate for your lenses.
  • Never reuse or mix contact lens solutions.
  • Schedule regular appointments with your eye doctor.

If you are experiencing discomfort with your contact lenses, get in touch with EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights today. We’ll get to the bottom of the problem and provide effective solutions for all-day comfort.


What kinds of contacts are available?

Contact lenses are available in a wide range of materials and replacement schedules. Disposable contact lenses and extended wear contacts are the most convenient for many users.

I’ve already been fitted for contact lenses, so why did my optometrist ask me to come back?

If you’re asked to return a week later, it’s because your optometrist wants to rule out any issues, such as contact lens-related dry eye or irritation.

If it’s been around a year since your last eye checkup, you’ve likely been contacted to check whether your prescription has changed and to evaluate your eye health. The sooner problems are detected and treated, the better the outcome.

3 Reasons to Buy Eyeglasses from an Optical Store vs Online

Quality Eye Care in Citrus Heights

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping has grown in popularity. But when it comes to your eye health, nothing beats an in-person eye exam and fitting. While searching for specs online is a fantastic way to discover the current trends in eyewear, there are some key reasons you should buy your glasses from your local eye care shop.

Quality Eye Care in Citrus Heights


According to the American Optometric Association, 29% of glasses ordered online from the top 10 online retailers arrived with incorrect prescription lenses. Incorrect lenses make it impossible to see clearly and can induce headaches and eye strain. When you buy glasses at an optical store, you can be sure you’ll get the perfect prescription and fit, assuring clear vision and maximum comfort.

High Quality

Poor-quality frames may end up costing you more in the long run. While searching the web, frames may appear to be high-end but actually composed of low-grade materials. Frame materials that aren’t up to grade can limit their durability and irritate your skin. Furthermore, after a few months of use, the sun’s intense rays may even bleach the frames.

Personal Service and Continuity

Why do so many individuals return year after year to their neighborhood optical store? Because they receive excellent service from someone they can rely on. Doing so ensures continuity of treatment and the certainty that your doctor will examine your eyes to assess both your visual acuity and eye health.

Finally, by shopping locally, you are contributing to the strength of your community.

When considering where to buy your next pair of glasses, keep all of these criteria in mind. While the initial price difference between an online and in-person purchase may be enticing, it comes at a cost. Looking for a new pair of glasses? Contact EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights to receive the highest level of care and quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I make sure my glasses are adjusted to fit properly?

  • A: Most online stores will adjust them based on a standard fit, while brick-and-mortar eyewear retailers will adjust your glasses to fit your personal needs.

Q: How frequently should I replace my glasses?

  • A: If your prescription has changed, you should get a new pair. See your optometrist every year or two to maintain clear vision.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit EYEcenter Optometric for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Performance Vision – How sports training using stroboscipic technology can affect reaction time and processing to give athletes an edge


The use of liquid crystal stroboscopic sports vision training dates back to our introduction in 1995. With vision being the predominant sensory modality driving a motor response—whether hitting a baseball, shooting a basketball, a goalie stopping an incoming puck hurtling towards him—coaches, sports psychologists, researchers and sports vision doctors have worked to develop strategies to improve performance.

The entire neuro-visual processing—what can be measured? Can you improve this processing? If so, what are the most effective regimens? How long does it last?

What is it that the athlete visually discriminates on for meaning and expertise? Saccadic eye movements are the most common visual skill used to acquire the target. When making these eye movements, the brain ‘masks’ the visual world for a few milliseconds until the eye come to a stop. This is known as saccadic omission and suppression. Are there effective strategies to minimize the effect and speed up the saccadic eye movements? Can we improve fixation accuracy? Decrease latencies? Improve target acquisition, sometimes referred to as dynamic visual acuity? There is quickly becoming a body of research that is uncovering what stroboscopic vision training (SVT) can and cannot impact. Both anecdotal and statistically significant research studies are shedding light on SVT enhancing central visual processing, visual concentration, and athletic performance tied to the subskills impacted by SVT.

Disclosure statement

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.


In the book, Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, by Atul Gawande, MD, each chapter documents substantive efforts to improve performance in varied fields (1). This unrelenting drive to improve—whether a surgeon, a cab driver, a manufacturer—is woven into the makeup of society. As an optometrist involved in vision performance, what does ‘better’ look like? Since forty percent of the brain solely deals with vision (2.), can we learn to see better, visually process more quickly and adequately, and perform visually guided tasks more efficiently? If so—how? The process of translation from light to visual understanding and subsequent motor response is a fascinating process. There are inaccuracies, discrepancies between the eyes, lag times between stimulus presentation and response while the process ensues.


The visual system begins, obviously, with the eyes. Light is focused through the optics of the cornea and crystalline lens, passing the light to the retina. You have between 110 and 130 million photoreceptors (rods and cones) per eye, within the layers of the retina. They release a photochemical, rhodopsin. Layered like lilies on a pond is a network of approximately one and one half million nerve fibers that serve to soak up the photochemical, stimulating an electrical output that travels, within milliseconds, into the brain for processing. Latency and amplitude of this signal can be measured, but the amazing aspect is from this electrochemical transmission, we derive in real time motion, color, inference, clarity, and, oftentimes meaning and understanding. Of critical import is keeping the image perfectly centered on the fovea. If the object, or the eye, or movement of the observer displaces the target just the slightest amount, blurring can take place, depth and spatial awareness is compromised, and the motor response thwarted.

Internally, there is a focusing system, referred to as accommodation. Akin to a trampoline which comprises three elements (metal frame, springs, and canvas)- the focusing muscle is known as the ciliary muscle, which attaches to zonular fibers. The crystalline lens is analogous to the canvas of the trampoline, while the ciliary muscle would mimic the metal frame, and the zonular fibers, the springs. As a target is brought closer and closer, focusing increases, and eye movement occurs, known as accommodative vergence. The human focusing system is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. External to each eye are six extraocular muscles. These muscles fulfill the binocular alignment, convergence, divergence, depth perception and stereopsis, along with the human tracking skills of smooth pursuit and saccadic eye movements. The central nervous system controls these extraocular muscles, and hence tracking and binocular vision. One of the only places in the body where the central nervous system and autonomic nervous system is innervationally connected is here in the eyes. Known as the AC/A ratio, the effect is when accommodation is increased, it innervationally causes the binocular vision to converge. Similarly, if you converge your eyes, increased accommodation is elicited. This is one of the elements of neurologic processing that enables vision. Depth perception unites with eye alignment and peripheral visual awareness.

The tracking system and their neural substrates are of critical interest to this paper. Let me start with an example. Suppose you are playing tennis. You hit a forehand shot towards your opponent’s backhand. Watching the other players’ response, you note that they get a delayed jump towards the ball. Sensing that they will not be able to get much force to their return shot, you decide to move up into the court for a possible kill shot. Getting into the forecourt, you track your opponent as he strikes the ball. He has decided to try a lob shot over your head. You rapidly rotate your head and body (along with your tracking eye movements) to follow the ball. Cuiffreda and Tannen describe this well (3.). These retinal, ocular and combined head and body movements primarily stimulate (1) the saccadic system to attempt to acquire foveation, (2) the pursuit system to match eye velocity to the velocity of the smoothly moving target, (3) the vestibular system to stabilize gaze during the initial transient phase of head and body rotation, and (4) the optokinetic system to stabilize gaze during the later, sustained phase of head and body rotation. This visual processing through the tracking system is quite sophisticated. As mentioned previously, garnering information through the visual system is most effective when images are held steady on the retina. Images moving over the retina at even a low rate of speed degrade visual acuity. Add concurrent head and/or body movement and the potential for retinal image disruption escalates. Rapid judgement of distance, depth, size, and object orientation, referred to as motion parallax sensitivity, absolutely depends upon the stability of retinal images. (4.) The fovea (the central structure within the macula) is the point of clearest vision. This area takes up less than one percent of the retina and is the only place where one can see down to one minute of arc or smaller. Maintaining retinal image integrity, i.e., keeping the image focused upon the fovea (foveation) is the overarching sole purposes of the tracking system. The various components of vestibular, optokinetic and visual fixation systems act to hold images steady on the retina. Smooth pursuits, saccades, and vergence eye movements work to shift gaze onto the fovea.

Stroboscopic Vision Therapy (SVP) Premise

We know that, with training, accuracy can be improved, speeds can be improved upon, as can latencies. Right Eye, Inc., ( utilizes high speed eye tracking, and their data capture system is reproducible, allowing for change analyses. Further, since their database is so enormous, they have received FDA approval to provide metrics that show how your tracking metrics compare for others your age. A recent article ( 5.) using Right Eye technology showed how oculomotor skillsets were predictive for professional baseball batting performance. The data now suggests tracking skillsets can be readily improved upon.

Pursuit movements originate in the parietal lobe and cerebellum. The faster tracking system, saccades, derive from the frontal lobe, cerebellum, and motor control nuclei (dorsal vermis) in the brainstem. While a subject utilizes pursuit movements to track an object moving slowly, the visual processing is ‘steady state on’. Saccadic eye movements, on the other hand, are substantially faster. The typical elicitation of a saccadic movement is, on average, a delay of 200 msec after presentation of the stimulus. [2,3re] Express saccades have a delay of just 100 msec. which is akin to a batter attempting to time a fast ball. Saccades can reach velocities of up to 500 deg/sec. There is also a frequently measured “slippage” between the two eyes as a saccadic eye movement occurs, known as pulse dysmetria. But, one of the most intriguing aspects of saccadic eye movements is known as saccadic suppression and omission. The brain effectively visually masks the neural noise. The key here is the brain is not ‘steady state on’ during saccadic eye movements, as it does not process the visual information concurrently with the saccadic movement. The subject uses their peripheral or peri-central vision to acquire the target. Then the brain estimates the location, and the eyes rapidly move to the desired location (hopefully). This can be as simple as a shortstop peripherally acquiring the first baseman after fielding a ball hit to him, making the requisite rapid saccadic eye movement followed by the motor response of throwing the ball. Or perhaps a basketball player quickly locking onto the basket rim peripherally, then snapping the saccadic eye movement onto the rim, landing there long enough to calibrate his/her shot. This could also be representative of a driver making rapid saccadic eye movements from oncoming traffic to cars in their lane, then to gauges, and back to a road sign. Saccadic eye movements are what is used when reading- -peripherally finding the next ‘sentence fragment’, then making the quick saccadic eye movement. Once fixation is established, the brain goes to its’ central processing, decodes the word(s), then performs the process all over again.

You can readily experience this.


Fig. 1. Smooth Pursuit Tracking

Here is a simple fixation target. Select a target to follow with your eyes. Track the target as you move it slowly from side to side over a distance of 6-8”. While fixated on the target, notice the background beyond the target. You should see it appearing to move–moving opposite the direction of the target trajectory.


Fig. 2 Saccadic Eye Tracking

For saccadic eye movements, select two targets to view. Here you separate the targets the same distance you had for the smooth pursuit movements (6-8”). Fixate on the left target. Now find the right target in your peripheral vision. Once you have found the right target in your peripheral vision, ‘snap’ your eyes quickly to the right target. Repeat the process, now making the saccadic eye movement to the left target. As you ‘oscillate’ back and forth, please be aware of background movement. You will note that the background does not appear to move as it did while making the smooth pursuit movement. This filtering is what was earlier described as saccadic suppression and omission. In effect, once the peripheral target Is acquired, the brain locks in the image of the first target. The eyes make the rapid eye movement shift to the second target. Once the target appears to be acquired, the brain resumes processing its’ central vision. If the eye movement is not adequately aligned, then a short adjustment saccadic eye movement takes place—before central vision is restored. This is referred to as either undershooting or overshooting. This short period of processing ‘disruption’, which the brains attempts to visually mask and filter out, keeps the distractions down, allowing the person to concentrate more effectively.

So why is this of interest? The reason is that when tracking a baseball, you are unable to maintain fixation on the ball from the moment it leaves the pitchers’ hand and crosses the plate. The better hitters in baseball begin to recognize the pitch- a curveball, slider, fast ball or change up, literally milliseconds from the release point. Then, the effort is to make a saccadic eye movement and re-acquire the ball, hopefully near the contact point of bat meeting ball. Just like while reading, the brain uses the visual information before making the saccadic eye movement. Then the brain ‘fills in‘ the gap. The goal is to utilize stroboscopic vision training (SVT) to help refine the visual information needed before saccadic suppression is initiated, then to work for faster and more accurate saccades, with improved fixation stability so once visual processing resumes, it does so at a faster and more discerning rate.

Ask a baseball player or tennis or soft ball player if they watch the ball all the way to their bat or racquet, and the likely response is absolutely! Or the volleyball player working to dig out a kill shot. “I watched it all the way!” many will emphatically insist.

With competitive sports, the higher the level, the game, in essence, speeds up. This places greater demands on the human visual system. Acting and responding accuracy depends on a measured focus upon reliable information from the playing environment. Thus, it follows that maximum performance critically relies on rapid, distributed, and precise visual perception and attention abilities. An essential aspect is the role of visual feedback –being able to rapidly assess and update the relative movements, distances, and masses of objects in the visual environment in order to gauge the appropriate force required for a successful motor response (6.)

Motor actions are guided by a combination of cognitive planning and feedback from the visual system updated in as close to real time as the surrounding environment dictates. Research investigating the role of feedback on visual–motor control has demonstrated that movements become progressively more visually guided as the athlete shows improved performance. (7.)

Another significant element in athletic events is that of balance. A substantial number of visual fibers synaptically connect to the inner ear for balance. Two major cortical neuron bundles that deal with vision are the parvocellular and magnocellular layers. The magnocellular layer is involved with balance, spatial awareness, and depth perception. When one gets out of balance, there is a strong intrinsic ‘pull’ to quickly look down at the surface beneath you in order to right oneself. In almost all team sports, the elite players are able to perform at a high-level despite being out of balance. Whether this is a wide receiver diving to make a catch, or an NBA player getting an accurate shot off while their body is horizontal and will shortly hit the deck, the reality is that when one gets out of balance, the neural ‘wiring’ lights off in an attempt to regain proper balance. The pull to move from peripheral vision to central vision is a strong one. (2,3)

In this author’s experience, I have been intrigued by professional baseball players commenting on how, during short stretches within the season, the ball appears larger and slower—allowing them to hit with increased visual-motor control. Then, in the next sentence, contrasting this with times when they had trouble picking up the ball, describing the ball as zooming by. Or a quarterback who compared moments when he could read the defense and throw accurately to a receiver seemingly in slow motion, as opposed to other times when everything seemed to be in frantic motion, disrupting his ability to concentrate and read the surroundings.

Given this, I began to explore what the implications might be if visual feedback was interrupted, providing the athlete substantially less time for visual feedback and decision making? Akin to running a car up to 120 miles per hour, at first the surroundings are ‘flying by’. But quickly the brain makes the corresponding adjustments in concentrated dynamic visual acuity and tightens down the visual feedback loop to acclimate to the heightened speed. Slowing down to 55 miles an hour, the driver routinely reports at how slow the environment seems to be going by.

Senaptec vision training

Senaptec Vision Training

Testing this, I had the opportunity to work with a community college football team. College footballs have the two white stripes on the ball. We would take the receivers and defensive backs into the wrestling room (no windows), turn out the lights, and light the room with four theatrical strobe lights. As the athletes acclimated to the visual demand, the strobe light was slowed to where the oscillating light was ‘on’ less and less. The sports euphemism, watch the ball all the way into your hands, was forced to be adhered to. Anecdotally, the coaches found this helpful, and continued to add this to their weekly practice schedule. Next, I had the opportunity to work with two defensive backs and a running back for an NFL team. This use of strobe lights was one of the more impacting therapies I was able to deploy. At this same time, I was working with an NBA first round draft pick who was quickly being slapped with the moniker of having ‘bad hands’. I was able to spend hours with him, the strobe light flashing and working on catching tennis balls and basketballs. I was able to use the team’s practice facility –for on court work—but this was onerous and hard to schedule time availability. I began to think of how much simpler it would be if I had glasses that would work for this. Baseball players could use them for their regimen of hitting off a tee, soft toss, and batting practice. Tennis players could play on their practice courts, and football players could run on their fields rather than a dark room that took them away from their teammates in practice. Rather than using flashing lights, would high speed liquid crystal suffice? What would the duration of the opaque phase be? The clear phase? I was able to coordinate with a businessman. We received a patent (5,478,239) and developed several prototypes prior to the commercial StrobeSpex version. I was able to use these with a number of NBA players, professional women’s tennis players, and my contacts at the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. With this serving as proof of concept, we committed to spending to obtain the frame molds, liquid crystal ‘lenses’, battery units, electronic circuitry, packaging and marketing materials. We filmed our marketing video with testimonials from several players and coaches from the San Francisco 49ers. Unfortunately, shortly after the commercial version of StrobeSpex were delivered, I had to leave the company we had formed.

Senaptec performance vision

Senaptec Performance Vision Glasses

A few years later, Nike came out with their Vapor Strobes. Nike negotiated with my former partner to buy the patent. Shortly thereafter, Nike decided to drop out of the diagnostic and therapy space. Senaptec, Inc. bought out the Nike group of products involved in sports vision. Fortunately, Senaptec strobe glasses and their sensory station continue to be improved upon and readily available.

So, what is the applicable research in this space teaching?

Initially, in 1995, we worked with Sacramento City College baseball and their coach, Jerry Weinstein. Jerry was also a manager for the Dodger’s single A affiliate, and assistant coach to USA Baseball. He was intrigued and allowed us to take four of his players who were starters—but had lower batting averages–to see if there would be an effect. The average increase was 56 points after 6 weeks. Since this clearly was not a placebo controlled, randomized double blind study, the results would not pass scientific de rigueur.

In 1996, Sierra College’s Denise Stone, MA, worked with Kelly Hankins on her CSU, Sacramento Master’s Thesis, The Effects of Using StrobeSpex as a Training Tool to Improve Hitting Efficacy in Collegiate Baseball Players. Although unpublished, and having her subject pool collapse from 41 baseball team players to 14 who completed the 6 week course, Hankins was able to make several inferences. While the statistical data set leaves validity open to question, the players in the two groups using StrobeSpex improved their batting averages, one at 60% improvement, and the other at 72% gain. The control groups improved 22.7% and 25%, respectively.

Fortunately, academic researchers began to set up better designed studies. Early studies started looking at visual occlusion—how little of the visual information does the athlete need before performance begins to erode? Moreno et al (8.) found that the more experienced athletes garnered more information visually. As increased occlusion took place, the authors report that nonexperienced athletes made significantly more errors.

One of the foremost authorities in stroboscopic training is L. Gregory Appelbaum, PhD from Duke University. In their 2011 article, Appelbaum found that SVT can increase the ability to quickly process visual information in the central visual field. (9.).

In a follow up article in 2012, Appelbaum, et al found that stroboscopic visual training improved information encoding in short term memory. (10.)

Also in 2012, Clark, et al published in PloS ONE that sports vision demonstrated that a sports vision training regimen that included stroboscopic vision training improved the University of Cincinnati’s baseball team batting average from 0.251 in 2010 to 0.285 in 2011. Both hitting and slugging percentages improved. This was juxtaposed against the rest of the Big East conference’s 12 baseball teams, who saw their team batting average fall slightly. While this cannot be attributed just to stroboscopic therapy, the data in quite robust.(11).

Appelbaum followed with a similar article detailing sports vision testing with the Nike Sensory Station, and training improvement with an organized sports vision training treatment program including stroboscopic training, again showing statistically significant improvement. (12.)

In Appelbaum’s 2020 article (13.), An Early Review of stroboscopic visual training: insights, challenges and accomplishments to guide future studies, he notes that foveation (central visual processing) has been shown to improve with SVT.

Again, the visual deprivation brought on by diminished visual information draws the subject’s visual attention to their central vision, similar to what out-of-balance disruption does to vision. Working through this in SVT is now beginning to show measurable improvements in improved test results, and, more importantly, in on field/court/pitch performance.

Lastly, in a 2020 study entitled, The effect of stroboscopic visual training on eye–hand coordination, Ellison et al noted using SVT works to improve perceptual cue usage and visual search behaviors on performance. They write, One way to train vision and attention for sport is ot practice and train in suboptimal environments to overload perceptual processes, making return to the performance setting seem easier.(14)


Since I introduced strobe glasses into the sports vision space, there has been a number of well designed research papers from around the world. We are seeing that SVT is showing promise in visual attention, foveation, eye hand coordination, and athletic performance. Researching saccadic omission, the relationship of the vestibular, visual fixation, optokinetic, balance, smooth pursuit movements, and vergence movements provides significant opportunity for ongoing research. Looking to answer questions as to can we improve the saccadic latency prior to initiation of movement? Can a person quicken their saccadic speed, whereby the eyes reach their target more quickly? What about the accuracy of target acquisition? Saccadic eye movement studies have been going on since the 1970’s, if not before. We know that as your reading improves, the number and magnitude of undershooting and overshooting diminishes. For reading, a little residual accuracy error can still allow for word recognition (through the perceptual skill known as visual closure). It stands to reason that with a moving target, especially a baseball, tennis ball, hockey puck, or shooting clay, one might not have as much room for error. SVT is a promising tool in the quest for understanding what limits can (and cannot) be reached in human visual performance.



  1. Gawande, A.(2008) Better A Surgeon’s Note on Performance. Picador, New York
  2. Leigh, RJ; Zee, DS (eds): The Neurology of Eye Movements. FA Davis Co, Philadelphia, 1991, pp 3-138
  3. Ciuffreda, KJ, Tannen, B (eds) (1995): Eye Movement Basics for the Clinician. Mosby, New York, 1995, pp 1-18.
  4. Nakayama, K: Motion parallax sensitivity and space perception. In Hein, A and Jeannerod, M (eds): Spatial Oriented Behavior. SpringerVerlag, New York, 1983, pp 223-242.
  5. Sicong Liu , Frederick R. Edmunds , Kyle Burris & Lawrence Gregory Appelbaum (2020): Visual and oculomotor abilities predict professional baseball batting performance, International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, DOI: 10.1080/24748668.2020.1777819–
  6. Desmurget, M., and Grafton, S. (2000). Forward modeling allows feedback control for fast reaching movements. Trends Cogn. Sci. (Regul. Ed.) 4, 423–431.
  7. Proteau, L., and Cournoyer, J. (1990). Vision of the stylus in a manual aiming task: the effects of practice. Q. J. Exp. Psychol. A. 42, 811–828.
  8. Moreno FJ, Luis V, Salgado F, Garcia JA, Reina R (2005) Visual behavior and perception of trajectories of moving objects with visual occlusion. Percept Mot Skills 101(1):13–20. https​://doi. org/10.2466/pms.101.5.13-20
  9. Appelbaum, L. G., Schroeder, J. E., Cain, M. S., & Mitroff, S. R. (2011). Improved visual cognition through stroboscopic training. Frontiers in Psychology, 2, 276. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00276
  10. Appelbaum, L. G., Schroeder, J. E., Cain, M. S., Darling, E.F. & Mitroff, S. R.(2012) Stroboscopic Visual Training improves information encoding in short-term memory. Atten Percept Psychophys 74(8): 1681-1691
  11. Clark JF, Ellis JK, Bench J, Khoury J, Graman P (2012) High-Performance Vision Training Improves Batting Statistics for University of Cincinnati Baseball Players. PLoS ONE 7(1): e29109.
  12. Appelbaum, LG, Lu Y, Khanna R, Detwiler KR, (2016) The effects of sports vision training on sensorimotor abilities in collegiate softball athletes. Athl Train Sports Health Care 8(4):154-163
  13. Luke Wilkins & Lawrence Gregory Appelbaum (2020) An early review of stroboscopic visual training: insights, challenges and accomplishments to guide future studies, International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 13:1, 65-80, DOI: 10.1080/1750984X.2019.1582081
  14. Ellison P, Jones C, Sparks SA, Murphy PN, Page RM, Carnegie E, Marchant DC (2020) The effect of stroboscopic visual training on eye hand coordination. Sports Sci for Health 16:401-410

What’s the Link Between Vision Therapy and Self-Confidence?

Whats the Link Between Vision Therapy and Self Confidence 640×350When most people think of vision, they think of how well a person can see up close or from afar. Many schools perform a simple vision screening to identify students who may be having difficulty seeing the board in the classroom.

Unfortunately, these vision screenings don’t evaluate a child’s functional vision, which comprises all of the fundamental visual skills required for learning.

As a result, many children with inadequate vision skills go undiagnosed and end up struggling in school and on the sports field. Often, these children are considered clumsy and sluggish and tend to be misdiagnosed and labeled as having a learning disability, dyslexia or ADHD.

Improving visual skills enables many of these students to read more effortlessly, boost grades and improve athletic performance.

Visual skills can be learned and retrained with vision therapy, particularly during childhood and adolescence, when the brain is still developing.

What Is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is a specialized treatment program that aims to enhance visual processing by developing and/or improving the communication between the eyes and the brain. The training is typically made up of specialized lenses, prisms, and eye exercises.

The following eye conditions can be effectively treated with vision therapy:

  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Strabismus (eye turns)
  • Convergence insufficiency
  • Eye movement problems
  • Binocular vision problems
  • Accommodative/focusing disorders
  • Visual processing difficulties
  • Visual disturbances from a brain injury

Vision Therapy Can Boost Your Child’s Confidence

Children who endure difficulty in school or on the sports field in reaction to subpar visual skills tend to feel frustrated that they cannot perform like their peers. This, in turn, affects their confidence levels and may lead them to exhibit behavioral issues and thwart their ability to make friends.

Vision therapy has been shown to transform lives. Children who previously struggled to read or catch a ball due to a deficit in visual skills usually see a significant improvement in their abilities and results in increased self-confidence and competence.

Vision therapy can help a child become a better student and achieve his or her academic goals. Moreover, vision therapy can be indispensable when preparing for higher education, since accomplishments can lead to a greater belief in one’s own talents and abilities. This newfound self-assurance will undoubtedly spill over into other areas, improving the child’s quality of life.

Don’t let your child’s visual dysfunction prevent them from experiencing self-confidence and self-assurance. Contact Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric to learn how vision therapy can unlock your child’s hidden potential.

Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric provides vision therapy and other services to patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

Frequently Asked Questions with Palmer N. Lee, O.D.

Q: How long does a vision therapy program last?

  • A: Since each case differs based on the nature and severity of the visual condition, there is no defined time limit. Patients can observe progress after just a few sessions, but treatment might last for several months. In general, once a child has completed a vision therapy program, the effects are permanent.

Q: How young can a child start vision therapy?

  • A: Children as young as 5-6 years old can begin vision therapy, but formal in-office sessions are recommended for children aged 7 and up since they are better able to follow instructions.


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Preventing Concussions With Sports Vision Exercises

Preventing Concussions With Sports Vision Exercises 640×350Between 1.7 million to 3 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur each year in the United States alone. 70-80% percent of those surveyed have vision issues.

So what can you do to avoid a concussion? Consider sports vision training. It can help you perform better and protect your head and brain from injury.

Sports Vision Training and Sport-Related Head Injuries

Concussions are among the most prevalent injuries sustained in sports.

When your visual abilities aren’t up to par, you may underestimate the distance between yourself and the ball or between yourself and other players. Due to limited peripheral vision, miscalculating the velocity of a ball or the location of competing players may result in significant head or other injuries.

This is why, like exercising your muscles, it’s important to train your eyes to communicate more efficiently with your brain and body.

Sports Vision Exercises to Prevent Concussions

If you’re looking to improve your game by improving your visual skills, visit today. Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Lynch will prescribe a sports vision training program based on your sport and the visual abilities you need to develop.

Until then, here are some very basic exercises you can do at home. (Keep in mind that there is no alternative for a specialized sports vision assessment and training tailored to your individual visual strengths and deficiencies.)

Depth Perception

Depth perception is crucial for a variety of sports. Baseball players require it to hit the ball as it crosses the plate, while football players need it to judge where the ball will land. Even swimmers use depth perception when doing a flip-turn near the pool’s edge during a race.

You can practice this skill by holding a drinking straw at arm’s length and trying to drop a tiny pebble or balled-up piece of paper through the straw with your free hand.

Peripheral Awareness

Peripheral awareness is crucial for succeeding in sports, as athletes must be able to sense the world around them without turning their heads. By honing this visual skill, they can drastically improve their game.

One thing you can do to improve peripheral awareness is to stand at a junction and look straight ahead at the road in front of you. Practice seeing cars pass horizontally from left to right without moving your head—simply perceive them through the edges of your visual field.

Focus Flexibility

The ability to shift your concentration from far away to nearby objects is referred to as focus flexibility.

Focus on an object close to you, then adjust your focus to an object behind the first one in the same line of sight to improve your focus flexibility. A bowl on a table in front of you, for example, and then a painting on the wall in the distance.

Switch between focusing on the bowl and the painting. This is also a good exercise for those who spend a lot of time at their computers. It will not only improve your focus flexibility but will also ease eye strain caused by prolonged screen use.

If you’re looking to improve sports performance, contact today. Sports vision training will help you up your game whether you’re a competitive athlete or simply enjoy playing on the weekends.

Frequently Asked Questions with Palmer N. Lee, O.D.

Q: What is Sports Vision Training?

  • A: Sports vision training is a customized program that uses a series of techniques and exercises to teach your brain and body to respond more accurately and efficiently to a fastball or hockey puck rapidly coming toward you. The training focuses on improving visual skills, such as hand-eye coordination, eye tracking, depth perception, focusing and peripheral vision.

Q: Can sports vision training lead to a decrease in sport-related injuries?

  • A: According to a study done by the University of Cincinnati Division of Sports Medicine, football players who had undergone sports vision training to improve their peripheral vision had fewer concussions than those who did not do it.
  • This is because sports vision training helps the eyes and brain react more quickly to changes in the environment, resulting in more successes and fewer accidents.
  • Sports Vision Center at EYEcenter Optometric serves patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, and Elk Grove, California and surrounding communities.

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What To Do if a Mosquito Bites Your Eyelid

Many of us spend the warm weather outdoors, barbecuing, camping, hiking, swimming. Although the itchy mosquito bites are typically associated with summer, mosquitos can be relentless and be a major pest, in the spring and even into the fall.

Why do Mosquitoes Bite?

Mosquitoes are small flying insects, but they don’t actually “bite”. They pierce the skin to reach a person’s blood vessels to access a source of protein for the female’s eggs. Male mosquitoes do not consume blood.

While most mosquitoes are harmless, others may carry dangerous diseases, such as malaria, in certain parts of the world. In rare cases, mosquito bites can cause other complications.

What does a mosquito bite on the eyelid look like?

A mosquito bite on the eyelid typically causes redness and inflammation of the eyelid and the surrounding area.

Since the tissue around the eye is loose, fluid accumulation and inflammation following an insect bite is common. In severe cases, it can even inhibit the eye from opening, especially after lying down, as the fluid gravitates to that area.

The skin around the eye is sensitive, so the itching and discomfort from a bite on the eyelid may feel particularly intense. Rest assured that most of the time the itchiness lasts only a few days, but try to avoid rubbing your eyes as it can exacerbate the swelling and irritation.

Are Mosquito Bites on the Eyelid Dangerous?

Usually not, but they can cause severe itching and swelling.

Young children are at a higher risk for acute swelling from a mosquito bite, as they tend to have a stronger immune response than adults do. While your child’s eye may look concerning, the inflammation should naturally subside within a few days.

Signs of an infected mosquito bite

Although uncommon, there are instances when a mosquito bite can become infected and require medical attention. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • An eyelid that develops a deep red appearance
  • An eyelid that is hot and hard to the touch
  • Discharge from the eye
  • Intense pain around the eye
  • Swelling doesn’t subside after 2-3 days

Sometimes, if the bite becomes infected, the infection will spread to the second eye and symptoms will likely be apparent in both eyelids.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms or if your vision is affected by your swollen eyelid, contact us for an eye exam and to determine the best course of treatment. If the eyelid isn’t infected, the following home remedies may help.

Home Remedies to Reduce Eyelid Discomfort and Swelling

Try these tips to help relieve your discomfort and promote healing.

  1. Cold Compresses. Place a cold, wet compress on your eye for around 20 minutes, 2-3 times per day to reduce the swelling and numb the itchiness. Be sure that the compress is not too cold as it can damage the skin around your eye.
  2. Allergy Medicine. Take an antihistamine, either in liquid or tablet form, to reduce itching and inflammation. Be sure to read the directions on the bottle for proper dosage information.
  3. Eye Drops. Eye drops can help further reduce inflammation and provide additional relief, especially if your vision is being affected. Vasoconstrictor eye drops are generally recommended to reduce the swelling of the blood vessels in the eyes. These drops should be used sparingly as they can cause a rebound effect – making the eyes red once they heal. It’s best to consult with your eye doctor before using any eye drops, just to be sure.

Most mosquito bites will heal on their own without any need for additional treatment. However, the eyelid is a sensitive area and may require special care to speed up the healing process.

Experiencing symptoms of an infected mosquito bite on the eye? Have any questions or concerns about your eye health or vision? We’re here to help! Simply contact EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights and one of our professional eye care professionals will be happy to assist.


What is an eye infection?

An eye infection is a condition in which viruses, bacteria or other microbial agents attack the eye, causing itchy and red eyes. The infection can also affect the eyelid, cornea, and conjunctiva (the thin area that covers the inside of the eyelids and outer part of the eye).

​​What are the typical symptoms of an eye infection?

Usually people with an eye infection experience at least one of the following:

Eye pain, persistent itching, grittiness, sensitivity to light, watery eyes, fluid discharge, blurred vision, irritation, swelling and dryness. These symptoms can often be confounded with dry eye disease. To determine the source of the issue and receive optimal treatment, contact EYEcenter Optometric today.

Understanding Eye Refraction

Our eyes need light in order to see. While we do not understand every aspect of light, we do know how it travels. A ray of light can be reflected, deflected, absorbed, or bent. When light travels through a lens or water, its path is refracted or bent. When the light that enters the eye does not focus directly on the retina, it causes a refractive error.

What Are Refractive Errors?

Refractive errors are a type of vision problem that makes it difficult for a person to see clearly. Checking for refractive errors is the primary part of the standard eye exam. They can be treated with the help of prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery. There are four main types of refractive errors:

  • Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Presbyopia (inability of the lens to focus)
  • Astigmatism (a refractive issue based on the shape of the eyes’ cornea)

How Do The Eyes See?

The eye contains certain structures that contain refractive properties similar to lenses or water, and can bend light rays into a specific point of focus. This is essential for sharp vision.

Most eye refraction occurs when rays of light travel through the curved, clear front surface of the eye (cornea). The eye’s lens then further bends light rays..

The process of vision begins when rays of light reflect off objects and pass through the eye’s optical system. The rays of light are then refracted and focused into a point of sharp focus. For clear vision, the focus point should be on the retina, the back part of the eye. The retina has nerves to capture the light rays The retinal nerves transmit signals through the optic nerve from the eye to the brain, where they are interpreted.

What Is Eye Refraction?

Eye refraction is how the power for a person’s eyeglasses or contact lenses is calculated. This measurement is based on the curve of the cornea, the lens, and the length of the eye. The optical prescription is determined by the refraction test, also known as a vision test, which is part of your standard eye examination. This refraction allows your eye doctor to provide the eyeglass or contact lens prescription to achieve clear vision.

Eyes change as we age and regular testing helps your eye doctor learn if you need a new prescription. Schedule a refraction test at EYEcenter Optometric in , Gold River, Rocklin, Folsom, Sacramento.

At EYEcenter Optometric, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 916-727-6518 or book an appointment online to see one of our Citrus Heights eye doctors.

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