Asheville, NC is in the midst of experiencing some of the coldest temperatures in several decades. With lows in the single digits and below zero commonplace throughout Buncombe and Henderson counties, and accompanying low dew points and exceptionally dry air, Asheville residents must include "winter eye care" in their New Year's resolutions.
Even though there are indications of a potential warm up toward the middle and end of January, February and March may bring more cold and dry air to the mountains. In this article, we are discussing several steps for protecting your eyes during the winter months.
How the Weather Affects Your Eyes
Though we are in the southeast, extreme cold in our area is often accompanied by exceptionally dry air. The temperature and lack of moisture can cause or exacerbate issues with your eyes, such as:
- Dry Eyes
- Excessive Tearing
- Red/Swollen Eyes
- Burning Eyes
- Sensitivity to Light
It is common to experience some measure of these symptoms. For the most part, they are treatable with simple changes you can do at home.
1) Make an Appointment with an Optometrist
If you have any concern that you are experiencing pain or discomfort beyond what you would expect or have experienced in the past in similar weather, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with your optometrist. If you are new to the area, or you are looking for an eye care doctor, contact Asheville Vision Associates.
Your eye care professionals can help determine whether your discomfort is a greater concern, as well as provide additional tips and resources for protecting your eyes during winter cold snaps.
2) Use a Humidifier in Your Home
Throughout the year, your Heating and Air conditioning systems heats, cools, and dehumidifies your home’s air, to make it more comfortable for you and your family. However, with dew point in the single digits and below zero at times this winter, your HVAC system may be making the air in your home too dry for your eyes.
If your eyes are red, itchy, and/or scratchy, consider using a humidifier inside your home to add moisture back into the air.
3) Beware of Indoor Allergies
Asheville allergy sufferers often look to winter for relief from runny noses, scratchy throats, and itchy eyes; however, dust, dander, and mold may be initiating symptoms and irritating your eyes. If you suspect indoor allergies are the source of your eye discomfort, consider inspecting, or having your home inspected for mold.
4) Increase Your Omega-3 Intake
If your eyes are dry and itchy, consider eating more fish. As strange as it may sound, fish oil can help increase your tear production, helping ease the pain of dry eyes.
5) Stay Hydrated
In the cold of winter, we might all increase our coffee and hot chocolate intake, often to the neglect of water. In order to help protect your eyes from the dryness of winter, make sure you are staying hydrated.
6) Wear Glasses or Goggles
Especially on windy days, or when performing activities such as running, cycling, etc., wear glasses or goggles while outside. By taking steps to protect your eyes, you can potentially avoid regular discomfort and future damage. Nothing will replace regular visits to your optometrist. If you need to schedule an appointment with an eye care professional in Asheville, NC, contact us.
One of the great things to evolve from the information age is the availability of customer reviews on Google, Facebook, and other social media outlets. Small businesses, new products, and good ideas have always grown through word of mouth referrals, and internet reviews have made it possible to access those referrals with the click of a button. It is almost difficult to remember what the world was like back before we had such access to ratings and reviews for new restaurants, coffee shops, and hospitals.
If you are searching for a new optometrist, customer reviews can be key to finding the practice that would best fit the needs of you and your family. In this post, we want to provide some quick tips on finding and using internet testimonials:
How to Use Google and Social Media Reviews
Customer testimonials posted to Google and social media outlets are helpful; however, they are not scientific. Sometimes good and bad experiences are matters of perception, misunderstanding, and miscommunication. To help you know how to discern useful reviews, regardless of industry, here are four key steps:
I. Check Multiple Review Sources:
Utilizing a diverse selection of review sources will help you establish a baseline for the reputation of a business or eye car practice. Customer testimonials can be found on these sites:
- Google/Google Plus
- Trip Advisor
- Industry Specific Directories
II. Check the Average Rating:
Sites have different algorithms dictating to determine which reviews are displayed first. Some display the most recent testimony, while others the ones garnered the most attention. Sometimes the first reviews displayed might be negative toward the business or practice, while the balance of comments are overwhelmingly positive. Most sites will display an average – X out of 5 potential stars.
III. Check the Number of Reviews
A business or practice may have a 5-star rating, but only a handful of reviews; therefore, it is important to note the number of total testimonials. If you only see a few reviews on Facebook, make sure you check Google and other review sources.
IV. Check Multiple Customer Written Reviews
When your visit a Facebook or Google Plus page, your eyes may naturally scroll through the first few written reviews, neglecting the rest. You probably do not have time to read 50 reviews, but it is important to read several different testimonies, to determine a baseline average for the business or practice. Usually, review sites will allow you to sort comments based on the rating (ex. 4 of 5 stars) given. Here are a few quick tips:
- Read one or two 5-star reviews: These reviews will usually read as glowing endorsements of the business or practice.
- Read one or two 1-star reviews: These reviews may contain nuggets or truth, but it is important to note whether they stand in stark contrast to the rest of the customer reviews.
- Read three or four 3 and 4-star reviews: These are the reviews that will provide the most insight into the practice or business. You will usually find out key information such as:
- Wait time
- Courteous staff
- Skillful doctors/staff
- Whether reviewer plans to return
- Look for repeated compliments and concerns:
Asheville Vision Associates Reviews
We encourage our patients to write honest reviews of our practice, because we are proud of our staff and commitment to quality eye care. If you are looking for a new optometrist, we would be happy for you to schedule an appointment.
As we mentioned in our previous post, the Asheville area is growing rapidly. We are welcoming new residents with tips and keys to finding great healthcare professionals and optometrists. In addition to incredibly beauty, cultural amenities, and excellent educational systems, western North Carolina benefits from nearby medical universities and the presence of Mission Health System. Nevertheless, finding new physicians, dentists, and eye care professionals is always difficult when people move to a new city.
When you move to a new area, one of the keys to finding a great eye care doctor is identifying whether they know and understand their community. Here are four questions to help identify whether an optometrist knows his or her community.
Does the Eye Care Doctor Care About the City in Which They Operate?
An eye care professional does not necessarily need to be from Asheville to care about the city, and the people; however, residents can expect their optometrist to know the area. If you are searching in our area, your eye care doctor should know some key things about Asheville, including:
- A general understanding of our history
- Places to hike and enjoy nature
- Great neighborhoods and places to live
- Community organizations and initiatives
- Attractions to see
A better understanding of the city in which they practice gives healthcare professionals a keener insight into the lives and personalities of the people they serve.
Does the Eye Care Doctor Participate in Community Events?
For optometrists and eye care practices, participating in community events are more than just marketing opportunities. Festivals and events provide an opportunity for doctors and healthcare professionals to get to know their city and earn the trust of its residents. Events in Asheville in which you might see Asheville Vision Associates, our optometrists, and our technicians include:
- SpringGo! In Chimney Rock
- LEAF Festival in Black Mountain
- Ramp Festival in Waynesville
- Mountain State Fair in Asheville
- Beer City Festival in Asheville
- Rhododendron and Azalea Flower Sow in Asheville
- Memorial Day Weekend festivals throughout the area
- Many more
Does the Eye Care Doctor Know the Culture?
Knowing a city involves more “googling” facts and studying statistics, it requires getting to know the cultural heart of the community. Asheville is regarded as one of the most welcoming cities to people from all walks of life, and its eye care doctors and healthcare professionals should understand that diversity is the heart of our city.
Our suburbs and satellite towns throughout Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, Transylvania, and Haywood counties have their own cultural identities as well. When searching for an eye doctor, consider whether they seem to know both the facts, and the culture of your city, town, and region.
Does the Eye Care Doctor Care About Patients' Overall Health?
Optometrists and eye care professionals should recognize the impacts of vision on your overall health, as well as the impacts of your overall health on your vision. In other words, your diet, fitness, and health impact your eyesight, while preserving and caring for your eyes also impacts your overall health and fitness.
At Asheville Vision Associates, we resource our patients to live the best possible life through both eye, as well as diet, exercise, and wellness. For more information, or to schedule an eye exam, contact us. We are located in Biltmore Park, near REI and Starbucks.
As summer turns to fall, and the colors begin to change on the ridges, we are reminded why Asheville is one of the fastest growing areas in North Carolina. Asheville's population has increased nearly nearly 25% since 2000, while Buncombe County has added 50,000 people since the turn of the century. As new residents discover how great Asheville is, we want to make sure you find the right eye care professional.
For the next several weeks, we will publish articles and a short e-book detailing what to look for in an eye doctor when you move to a new area. Though we are located in western North Carolina, we intend for these posts to be relevant wherever you reside. In this article, we will discuss six tips for identifying a trustworthy eyecare professional.
1) A Trustworthy Eyecare Professional Will Be Recommended by Other Residents
With any health professionals, it is important to be to establish a relationship that facilitates openness and honesty. In other words, you need to be comfortable with your eye doctor and eyecare professionals.
Part of what attracts people to Asheville is our closeness as a community. Whether you move here (or anywhere else) for work, a change of scenery, beautiful views, or a fulfilling retirement, ask around before you settle on an eyecare professional. Someone who trusts their eye doctor will be happy to recommend them to others. A person will only put their own reputation on the line to a healthcare professional they trust.
2) A Trustworthy Eyecare Professional Will Know Their Community
Every city and region has a cultural identity. Asheville is famous for acceptance of people from various walks of life. Additionally, our city is known for great food and drinks, access to outdoor activities, and great music. A trustworthy eyecare professional will know their city’s culture and how to communicate with the people in their community. They will be as likely to recommend a great place to eat, or sight to see, as a pair of glasses or contacts.
3) A Trustworthy Eyecare Professional Will Tell You What You Need to Hear
As we get older, our eyecare needs change. A trustworthy eyecare professional will be bold enough to tell you what you need to hear, including:
- You need to check your eyes, even if your vision is 20/20.
- You need to embrace your changing prescription
- You are eligible for contacts
- You need glasses
4) A Trustworthy Eyecare Professional Will Have Good Customer Testimonials
In addition to referrals from neighbors and coworkers, you can determine whether an eyecare professional is trustworthy in part by customer reviews. On Facebook, our average review score is 4.6 out of 5.0. When reading reviews, make sure you read the good ones and the not-so-good ones, in order to determine for yourself the context of the experiences.
5) A Trustworthy Eyecare Professional Will Have Happy Employees
You can learn a lot about the trustworthiness of an eye doctor by the satisfaction of their employees. A healthy workplace is created by eyecare professionals you can trust.
6) A Trustworthy Eyecare Professional Will Sell You What You Need
A trustworthy eyecare professional will not push you toward a product simply for the sake of making additional sales. Find out through reviews, referrals, and your own investigation whether an eye doctor is overly concerned with the bottom line.
At Asheville Vision Associates, our commitment is to your health. We will make recommendations based on what you need. To find out more about our practice, contact us, or visit. You can also follow us on Facebook.