Year: 2021 (Page 1 of 2)

Eye Twitching

We love to come on here and explain different eye phenomena to our patients. We like to keep you informed and hope to educate you for the future. Have you ever had your eye start twitching all on its own? This is an extremely common issue that many people experience. There are several reasons why this might happen.

What can trigger eye twitching?

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Irritation
  • Caffeine excess
  • Smoking

The technical term for this issue is essential blepharospasm, which is a movement disorder of the muscles around the eye. There isn’t an exact cause that has been found, but it is believed that a malfunction of some cells in the nervous system called basal ganglia is a likely culprit.

Conditions that can include eye twitching:

  • Corneal Abrasion
  • Dry Eye
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blepharitis-this is an inflammation of the eyelid commonly caused by your tiny oil glands becoming clogged around the base of your eye lashes.
  • Uveitis-this is another form of inflammation that is trickier to find a cause for. It is important to catch this one early so if you start to feel inflammation along with your eye twitching seek care immediately.

The above conditions are benign, which means they are usually nothing to worry about. There are some more serious nervous system disorders that eye twitching can be associated with, but they are rarer.

In most cases, if it persists longer than a day, make an appointment with us. We would be happy to examine your eye and see if we can pinpoint the cause.

This is usually just an annoying little issue that will clear up on its own, so if you experience this don’t worry.

We here at TriCounty Eye Associates look forward to helping you no matter what your eye care needs are!

Vision Insurance: Do you need it?

This time of year is popular for a lot of companies to do their Open Enrollment for benefits. The most common way for people to get vision insurance is through their employer. Most employers will offer plans to cover you and your family.

The overload of insurance information and the different prices can make it seem overwhelming during the open enrollment, so we wanted to point out some of the pros to having vision insurance. Of course, you know you and your family’s needs better than anyone, so that should be your big deciding factor.

Vision insurance is going to vary depending on your employer and the plans they offer. Usually, vision insurance can be limited compared to medical or dental insurance, but it is also known to be much less expensive.

Things to evaluate:

  • Do I or anyone in my family have current vision needs?
  • How much is the monthly cost?
  • Does my preferred provider accept the carrier my employer offers?
  • Will I or anyone in my family have vision needs soon?

All in all, whether you enroll in a vision plan should be based on your needs. Keep in mind the below list of carriers we can guarantee we can accept:

Vision Insurance Plans:

  • Eyemed
  • VSP Vision Care
  • Vision Benefits of America (VBA)
  • National Vision Administrators (NVA)
  • Physicians Eyecare Plan
  • Community Eyecare
  • Spectra
  • Superior
  • Davis Vision

Medical Insurance Plans:

  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield
  • United healthcare
  • Aetna
  • Tricare (standard and prime)
  • Most Medicare plans
  • Many Supplemental Medicare plans
  • Majority Medicaid plans

Should you have any questions about a carrier that isn’t listed here, please call us. We want to be sure we can serve you and your family.

Our main goal is to make sure our patients are well informed when it comes to their eye care. Choosing the right insurance for you is key. Make sure to weigh the monthly cost against the amount of usage you will get out of it.

As always, call us with any questions you may have. We want to be a part of your continued eye health journey and are here for you and your family always!

2021 Is Coming to a Close Use Your Vision Benefits

It’s that time of year again! Time to look at your Vision benefits and evaluate your health savings options to see if you need to use it before you lose it. We see it happen all the time, you contribute to your FSA all year long, but before you know it December rolls around and you need to use what you have saved.

Many employers offer different types of health savings accounts. While we know this time of year can be busy enough, we wanted to try to help weed through the different kinds of health savings.

Two Major Health Savings Options

FSA-Flexible Spending Account

This type of account is the type you want to plan carefully how much you save. This type of account can be used to help pay for copay deductibles and prescriptions. You don’t pay any taxes on this money so it can be helpful to contribute throughout the year if you can accurately estimate your family’s needs. This is the one to watch though, if you still have funds in there this late in the year, you want to make sure to use them.

HSA-Health Savings Account

This type of account also allows you to put in pretax dollars, but you don’t have to worry about losing the funds at the end of the year.

Whether you have an HSA or an FSA TriCounty Eye Associates could be the perfect use of those hard-earned dollars you put aside for health expenses. Maybe you or someone in your family needs new glasses or sunglasses? Maybe you just haven’t made the time yet this year to schedule your yearly appointment? That brings us to our next point…

Vision Insurance Limitations

Another part of your insurance you want to be aware of is the Vision Plan you have. Depending on the type of plan you have you may be limited to a certain number of frames, lenses, contacts, or eye exams per year. Make sure you get it in during the calendar or plan the year your plan supports. You pay for these benefits so don’t let them go to waste!

Call us today to schedule your end-of-the-year appointment and make sure to utilize your vision benefits in every way possible.

What can a Cold Compress do to Your Eyes?

Sometimes a home remedy is exactly what you need. You know that everyone one of our moms have put a cold compress on our foreheads or eyes at one point or another in our lives. While we may not have understood the direct correlation, we are here to explain how this can and will help if you have eye discomfort.

What can a cold compress do?

Using a cold compress can help to alleviate many different eye problems, especially ones that are less serious and do not require a trip to the eye doctor. You may want to consider a cold compress for:

  • Dry eye
  • Pinkeye
  • Eye Pain
  • Dark Circles or Bags under the eye

How to Make a Cold Compress

They can be made out of household items such as a clean towel, ice pack, or frozen food pack.

Clean towel – run the clean towel under water, ring it out so it is damp and not wet. Put that towel in a freezer bag and seal it. Leave it in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the plastic bag and use it right away.

Ice Pack – place ice into a plastic bag that seals. Break the ice into small pieces and then warp the sealed plastic bag with a clean towel.

Frozen food pack – this one is a bit more creative if you don’t have access to the first two options. Find some frozen veggies like peas or corn, pour some into a plastic bag that seals. Wrap that plastic bag with a clean towel.

How to use a Cold Compress

The best way to see the most benefits and alleviate any discomfort is to gently place whichever cold compress you chose to make on your affected eye while your eye is shut. It is recommended that you leave the cold compress on for 15 minutes max at one time. You can repeat if needed. It is best, however, to make sure you are not putting ice directly on your skin as that will irritate it further.

We of course always want you to come to see us if you need us, but in some cases, it is helpful to know a home remedy that will keep you comfortable through some minor eye discomfort.

Please always be sure to seek medical attention if you feel like it could be more serious. If your pain or swelling lingers after trying a cold compress give us a call to make an appointment to get your eye checked out.

Contacts: Do’s and Don’ts

Contacts can make your life so much easier by not having to keep track of your glasses and not having something on your face all day long. There are so many pros to contacts but as with any eye accessory, they are not without some extra care.

Contacts are tiny little lenses that you place into your eye to be able to see well without wearing glasses. When you think about it this way, it makes sense that they will be more susceptible to infection.

If you are a veteran contacts wearer or you are just starting to think about making the switch, we want to point out things to remember daily.

Contact Care

It is so important to clean and disinfect any contact lenses you remove for you eye before you put them back in. We can go over the many types of cleaning systems when you pick up your order.

Things to remember:

  •  Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your contacts
  • Rub your contact with clean fingers and then rinse the lenses in solution before soaking them
  • Do not use your mouth to re-wet contacts
  • Do not use water to rinse or store contacts
  • Don’t make a homemade saline solution

Another two big things to remember is that you should NEVER sleep in your contacts or wear them in the shower, pool or hot tub.

While asleep, they can dry out because your eyes produce less tears. If they dry out it could cause your contact to slice your eye. That would open the opportunity for infection in your eyes.

The risk from showering or swimming in contacts is that if your contacts come into contact with water and are left in your eye it can cause infection, such as Keratitis.

By following these few rules, you will save yourself the pain of possible infection.

Did you contract an infection?

No one is perfect. There may be a time that you fall asleep with them in. Or maybe you are so comfortable in them that you keep them in while showering. Some signs to look out for after forgetting proper care:

  • Blurred vision
  • Discharge from your eyes
  • Redness or watering

If you start to feel like something isn’t right its important to make sure you have taken your contacts out. Once out of your eye, reassess the situation and call your eye doctor.

Of course, if you accidentally encounter any complications with your contacts the first course of action should be to call us! We can help go over any questions you may have as well as address any of your concerns.

Stress and Your Eyes

We think it’s fair to say that we have all been stressed since March 2020, don’t you think? There have been many studies done on mental health since the start of this pandemic. We are all feeling the effects of new responsibilities and new things to worry about. That stress is added on top of your normal stressors and might be causing some distress in your life. Did you know stress can affect your eye health?

Stress can cause a lot of health issues when not properly dealt with. Whether you are concerned about your work, your kids, your finances, or this pandemic, it is important to carve out time each day to de-stress.

What is stress?

Stress is your body’s response to any changes that interfere with its normal activities which can cause your body to have an adverse reaction. We think it’s worth a mention so that you can pay attention to the warning signs and take care of your all-around health.


  • Blurry Vision
  • Eye Twitching
  • Headaches
  • Watery or Dry Eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye Floaters

If you are experiencing any of these signs its important that you don’t write them off. They can persist and start to affect your day-to-day activities. In some very server cases, prolonged stress even caused vision loss.

What to do?

The best thing you can do is start to recognize what causes you stress and try to change your mindset about it. We also recommend setting aside a time each day to do something you enjoy. Find a hobby that can help you to let the stress of everyday life melt away. Some things we recommend:

  • Taking a Walk
  • Bike Ride
  • Reading
  • Meditation
  • Getting to bed early
  • Breathing exercises

The last, and most important thing we want you to remember is that if you have any of these symptoms come and see us here at TriCounty Eye Associates. We want to be a part of your eye health journey and make sure you are staying as healthy as possible.

Screen Time: How much is too much?

We are in a unique time of history, almost everyone has a tiny computer in their pocket all day. From work computers, televisions, phones and tablets screen time has become something so normal we sometimes don’t even realize how much exposure we really have. Of course, some exposure is necessary, don’t go telling your boss you can’t work because TriCounty Eye Associates told you not to look at a computer screen! There are, however, things you can control to
make sure you are keeping your eye health in mind.

The Issues:

While we have discussed the negative effects of Blue Light on our blog before but felt it was important to bring up again the effects screen time can have on you and your family.

Digital Eye Strain (DES) is the most common outcome from too much exposure to electronic screens.

Symptoms of DES can include:

  • Sore, tired, burning or itching eyes
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Headache
  • Sore neck, shoulders or back
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open

DES often leads to dry eyes and puts an extra burden on the muscles in your eye that help your eyes focus. While looking at an electronic screen, you actually blink less than normal which causes your eyes to dry out faster. This in turn causes burning and stinging in your eyes.

What you can do:

The easiest solution is to limit the time you and your family spend on electronic devices. Especially younger children, as blue light exposure can cause issues with eyesight development.

A lot of devices these days have screen time timers built in so that it will alert you once you have spent too much time looking at the screen. This can help you to realize just how much time is being spent looking at the blue light.

For more necessary exposure, like looking at a computer screen for work, we recommend:

  • The 20/20/20 rule: For every 20 minutes of usage, look away for 20 seconds and focus on something 20 feet away.
  • Eye drops to help if you have dry eyes
  • Keep your eyes and arms distance away from the screen.
  • Increase the text size on devices to see screen content more easily
  • Use blue light blocking lenses in your glasses

We have a great selection of blue-light-blocking glasses here at TriCounty Eye Associates. If you feel you or your family might be at risk of too much blue light exposure, bring it up at your next eye exam with us. Getting your yearly exam can help our doctor to identify any issues that may arise early, as well as help you to prevent issues later on.

Eye and Vision Myths-Debunked

In our world these days, with so much information readily available, it is easy for misinformation to get spread around. We think it would be a good idea to bring to light some of the myths about eyes and give you the facts.

Let’s start with the myths we know you all hear growing up:

1. Sitting close to the TV can damage your eyes – while a lot of parents may not like it, sitting too close to a TV will not permanently damage a child or adult’s eye health. It could cause temporary eye strain or headaches. Something to pay attention to if a child is sitting very close to the television could signal nearsightedness.

2. Eating carrots will improve your vision-carrots are good for you, don’t get us wrong. They do have many vitamins and minerals good for your overall health. They also possess a large amount of vitamin A which helps maintain healthy eyesight. Unfortunately, though, they will not improve your eyesight and keep you from needing glasses and contacts that you already wear.

3. If you cross your eyes, they will stay that way if we had a nickel for every time we have heard this one! Your eyes are designed to move around. This won’t happen, but it’s still fun to scare the kids with!

4. Only Males can be color blind-this myth stems from the fact that males are more likely to be color blind, but that doesn’t mean women can’t be.

Now let’s talk about the myths you hear when you were older:

5. Eye exercises can improve vision-this one just isn’t true. If you already have vision problems, eye exercises will not improve your vision or keep you from needing glasses or contacts.

6. Reading in dim light is harmful to your eyes-while low light might make it harder to see the words, it will not damage your eyesight. It could cause temporary eye strain and headaches but nothing long-term will come of it.

7. Wearing glasses or contact lenses will make you dependent on them-this one just isn’t true. If you need glasses or contacts, wearing them will not make your vision worse. Glasses and contacts will only help you.

8. Eye problems cause learning disabilities -this one comes from the fact that sometimes vision issues can be mistaken for learning disabilities. Eye problems are separate from learning disabilities, but if your children are having trouble in school it’s best to look at all possible causes. This is one of the many reasons we recommend yearly eye exams at the start of every school year.

9. Losing Vision is an inevitable part of aging-Losing vision does not have to be inevitable. The best way to combat possible eyesight issues as you age is to keep up your regular yearly eye exams. A lot of eye problems can be caught early and treated.

10. All eye doctors are the same-Now we don’t know who said this one….but if you are one of our patients we know it wasn’t you! TriCounty Eye Associates pride itself on being the best eye care practice for our patients. We are continuously staying up to date on the newest information and technology to serve you better. We are a family here and treat our customers as such. If you haven’t had the pleasure of working with us, call and make your appointment today!

Our source for this information was the American Academy of Ophthalmology. They have a longer list of myths on their website. If you are looking for more information on this topic, visit

Make Your Child’s Vision appointment with Us!

That time of year is in vision! Last year’s school year looked very different for most of us. As we are all still getting used to the new normal, it looks as though face-to-face learning will be in full swing for our local school districts.

School is set to start in mid-August, so this is your yearly reminder to make your child’s vision appointment with us!

As kids grow, their vision can change, and yearly appointments to identify those changes can make a difference in your child’s learning.

Some vision skills that are needed to effectively read and learn are:

  • Visual Acuity-this is the ability to see clearly in the distance, up close, and at an intermediate distance.
  • Eye focusing-  maintaining clear vision when changing focus from far away to up close.
  • Eye-tracking- keeping eyes on target if they are looking from one object to another.
  • Eye Teaming-this is the coordination of both eyes to work together and to judge distances.
  • Eye-hand coordination-this is the ability to direct hands by using visual information.
  • Visual perceptions-this is the ability to understand and remember when they read by organizing images into letters.

Your role in your child’s eye health

It is important for parents to spot any possible vision problems as early as possible to avoid learning impairments. One sure-fire way to spot them early is with yearly eye exams. An optometrist is looking for any early signs of issues at each visit. This can help your child learn and progress better than if these possible issues are left undetected. We recommend using the start of school as a good reminder to schedule an exam. This helps to identify any potential issues before the school year begins and make sure your child is set up for success each and every year.

Call us today to schedule your child’s yearly exam!

 Moncks Corner Location

North Charleston Location

All about Eyebrow and Eyelash Enhancement

We feel very strongly that one of the best ways to help our patients is to arm you with knowledge. Today we are focusing on Eyebrow and Eyelash Enhancement. If we make sure to inform you of all things related to your eye health, it helps you to be more aware and take control.

What are the treatments?

One trend that has popped up over the last few years is eyebrow and eyelash enhancement. This could be wanting to make your eyebrows darker by dying them or getting a treatment at a salon to make your eyelashes longer. A few common enhancements include:

  • Tinting – when a semi-permanent dye is applied to your eyebrows to make them look darker
    and fuller
  • Microblading – This is when a permanent pigment is tattooed on the skin under your eyebrows to
    make them appear darker and fuller.
  • Lamination – this is when a cream is applied to your eyebrows, once sculpted into the desired
    shape, it can last for several weeks.
  • Eyelash Perm – this is when your eyelashes are coated with an adhesive and then curled with a
  • Eyelash Lift – this involved combing the eyelashes while using an adhesive and chemical lotion, this procedure is meant to make your eyelashes grow upward instead of outward.

As the beauty standard changes with society, people have adapted and tried to find new ways to make themselves look better. While the above enhancements have become popular, we want to point out why you may want to think a little harder before getting them.

What are the Risks?

It is important to note, that cosmetic companies are not required to share their safety data or consumer complaints. This means that there is no official record of the effects some of these products can have on your health.

The permanent tints and dyes they use have caused serious eye injuries. Since the FDA cannot regulate salons, it falls to the local governments to regulate them. Not all states have the same regulations or any regulations when it pertains to these types of treatments.

If Eyebrow and Eyelash Enhancement is something you are interested in doing, do some extra research into the salon you are going to and the types of dyes they use. If you can go with something less permanent it could save you some issues down the road.

As always, if any issues arise with your eyes, make an appointment with us at TriCounty Eye Associates. If we can catch an issue early, you may avoid long-term effects.

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