Maintaining Good Ocular Health

What Is Ocular Health?

Ocular health is, simply, the health of our eyes. Our eyes capture light and then work with our brains to help us see. Good ocular health is defined as having vision that is 20/20 or better with or without correction, and disease free eyes.

What Threatens Ocular Health?

Unfortunately, our eyes are constantly being exposed to things that can harm our vision. Whether it is UV from the sun or blue light from our extensive use of digital devices, we are constantly jeopardizing our ocular health. Blue light especially is a huge concern, as we spend a lot of time looking at our phones, computers, televisions, and tablets. This can cause digital eye strain and hurt our retinas. We can also strain our eyes by reading in bad lighting.

What Can You Do To Maintain Ocular Health?

It is very important to get your eyes checked frequently! Whether you are an adult or a child, regular check-ups are vital to maintaining good ocular health. Eye exams catch eye diseases early on so that they can be treated and controlled. They also look for refractive errors, which affect your vision by causing nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatisms. These sorts of issues can be corrected by prescription lenses, contacts, or in some cases, surgery. Along those lines, eye exams help you make sure that your prescriptions are up to date and correcting your vision, instead of harming you with the wrong ones! We can protect our eyes from UV by wearing good sunglasses and we can filter out the blue light with special blue light blocking lenses.

Why Is Getting Your Eyes Checked Now So Important?

It is important for people, especially students, to get their eyes checked at this time of year! If you are about to go back to school for the fall, you want to make sure your vision is where you thought it was, and that you have the right prescription. Many people think that they have 20/20 vision, but an eye exam reveals that they actually need some sort of prescription! Your current prescription could also be out of date, and you might need a new one to best correct your vision. Get your eyes checked to make sure you can catch any problems early on and get the right glasses, contacts, or surgery to correct your vision and maintain good ocular health!

The Danger of UV

Most of us have heard about how UV, which stands for ultraviolet radiation, is dangerous. It is invisible light, and only some of it is blocked by the ozone layer. It can cause sunburn and skin cancer. But UV isn’t just bad for your skin. It’s also harmful to your eyes. UV can be linked to plenty of eye problems, from eye strain and temporary vision loss (often called “Snow Blindness”) to cataracts. It can also cause macular degeneration, which is damage of the retina that can lead to permanent vision loss, through prolonged exposure to UV and blue light. As you head outside this summer (and during the rest of the year), it is important to be aware of the effects UV can have on your eyes, and to protect them.

We experience high risk of UV exposure in the great outdoors. Open spaces with sand, snow, or water are higher risk areas, as more UV is reflected off the light surfaces. You’ll find these conditions at the beach, ski slopes, or a lake. It is important to wear sunglasses when you are outside, especially in these settings. UV is also most intense around midday, when the sun is high in the sky. That doesn’t mean, however, that you don’t need to wear eye protection on cloudy days. Cloud cover does not block UV rays, and you are still at risk even when you can’t see the sun.

Because of the damaging effects of UV rays, and our high risk of exposure outside, it is important to purchase good sunglasses. When you choose sunglasses, keep UV in mind. Sunglass lenses have different levels of UV protection, and it’s important to choose a pair that is 100% UV blocking. It’s ideal to purchase a pair that have UV protection on both the front and back of the lenses, and styles that wrap around your face a bit protect your peripheral vision as well. Polarized lenses go a step further and block even more intense glare. Come by Good Looks Eyewear’s Cranberry or Pittsburgh locations to browse our selection of UV-blocking sunwear.

Vera Wang Eyewear

One of Good Looks Eyewear’s main suppliers for frames is Kenmark Optical. Kenmark offers a portfolio of designer brands, including Kensie, and Original Penguin, but the line we’re focusing on today is Vera Wang. I recently had the opportunity to speak to David Duralde, the lead designer for Vera Wang Eyewear at Kenmark, about their work and the process that brings us the beautiful Vera Wang eyewear styles that we know and love.

“The work at Kenmark is an intellectual and creative collaboration between the production team at Kenmark and the fashion team from the designer.” Says Duralde.

Kenmark is a unique operation. Each brand has an in-house designer, but they work directly with the fashion designers whose names are on the finished product. Kenmark works with designers who want to be involved in the process, to the point that the final product can truly be called their design. Vera Wang in particular is very involved in the creation of her eyewear. Known for her innovative designs and ability to capture the style of the modern American woman in her collections, Vera Wang brings her values and personal flare to the eyewear collections and is deeply involved in the design process from beginning to end. According to Duralde, his role at Kenmark is to support Wang with the technical side of things while she gives the fashion direction.

OCTAVIA from the Vera Wang Salon collection, found at Good Looks Eyewear

OCTAVIA from the Vera Wang Salon collection, found at Good Looks Eyewear

Both the technical and fashion designers have a style obligation: to make people feel good and look good, and Vera Wang and the production team at Kenmark spare no time or expense to fulfill that obligation. The development cycle for eyewear lasts 9-15 months, and involves discussions about color themes, moods, shapes, and patterns for the collection. Kenmark designers then take that information and use it as a basis for the first drafts of eyewear sketches, which Wang edits herself. When prototypes are made of best designs, she tries them on to assess their comfort, detail, and quality. There are often more rounds of edits and prototypes before the final design is approved.

According to Duralde, it is very important to Wang that her designs are appropriate, balanced, and composed, as they are worn by a diverse group of women in many different settings. Every woman wearing Vera Wang eyewear must look fabulous, chic, and at the top of her game. The pieces must fulfill these criteria before Wang will put her name and label on them. This makes the process and the final product very personalized. Wang herself is the hardest critic because she won’t sell something that she wouldn’t wear herself. In fact, she is often seen wearing pieces from her eyewear lines!

The Vera Wang collections use components that are sourced from all over the world. A single pair of frames might contain hinges from Austria, plastics from Japan, and a nose pad from France, Duralde told me. Outsourcing allows Kenmark and Vera Wang to achieve the exact colors, textures, and quality they desire without limitation in materials. The use of unique components from global sources is part of Wang’s innovative philosophy.

As you can see, Vera Wang pays great attention to detail. Jewel work, as seen in the Luxe collection, is hand-drawn and cast into the frames using the same techniques as fine jewelers. These aren’t just gems glued to the frames, and they add dimension to the piece while giving the customer confidence in the quality and durability of the design.

“Our mission is to make your patients look beautiful.” Duralde told me. “We aren’t just throwing something together and hoping the frames will sell.”

Kenmark and Vera Wang work hard to make sure that every piece has a background of careful planning to embody the designer’s values and appeal to women throughout America. The quality work, technique, and attention to detail that make up the total design show how Vera Wang fulfills this mission. The frame shapes are hand drawn, so the curves are all unique and never cookie-cutter, based on the lines of a face and what complements it. Kenmark and Vera Wang are always keeping eyewear professionals and customers in mind while they create their products.

TAFFE from the Vera Wang Luxe collection, found at Good Looks Eyewear

TAFFE from the Vera Wang Luxe collection, found at Good Looks Eyewear

David Duralde says that his favorite part of the design process is fitting people for frames at trunk shows. He finds the greatest excitement in finding the perfect pair of frames for a woman, and seeing how happy she feels in them. To witness people feeling so good and so beautiful in the styles his team has worked so hard to create is very fulfilling.

“Seeing the finished products on the people that they were created for, and seeing the excitement they cause, is where the love and passion for what we do comes from.” 

Due to Vera Wang’s passion for innovation, endless curiosity, and boundary pushing, the collection is always moving and changing. The goal is to go out, find what’s next, and bring it back. In order to design what people will be wearing next year, the team must immerse themselves in studying, living, and breathing the future before it even happens! It’s a creative road and Kenmark and Vera Wang want their customers to be part of that journey!

Good Looks Eyewear in Cranberry and Pittsburgh offers Vera Wang Salon and Luxe collections. Come by to experience Vera Wang’s innovative designs!