Category Archives: computer

Total Eye Care is a Google Glass Preferred Provider

What is Google Glass

Google Glass Thin Titanium FrameGoogle Glass incorporates a video screen into an eyeglass frame; however, it is not an ordinary eyeglass frame. This pair of glasses interfaces with your cell phone allowing you to view emails, tweets, take pictures and videos, follow directions on a map, and many other cool features. Last year you may have heard how Google was inviting explorers to “test drive” the new Google Glass. google-glass-splitThe initial prototype did not provide a method to incorporate prescription ophthalmic lenses into the frame, making it of limited use for eyeglass wearers. In late 2014 Google has announced Google Glass will also be available with ophthalmic lens options. Four titanium ophthalmic frames and four sunglass frames be available upgrades.

Total Eye Care is a Google Glass Preferred Provider

google-glass-sun-edgeThe Colleyville, Texas and the Keller, Texas Total Eye Care locations have completed the Google Glass Preferred Provider Training. Google Explorers can schedule an appointment online if they need an eye exam at either our Colleyville or Keller/Southlake location.

Using Vision Benefit Plans with Google Glass

google-glass-curveGoogle glass explorers with VSP (Vision Service Plan) vision care benefits will be able to use their frame and lens benefit towards their new Google Glasses. Total Eye Care Colleyville and Total Eye Care Keller/Southlake locations are both VSP providers.

Computer Glasses – What Are They, How Will They Help, Are They Worth it?

Computer glasses are an under used component of a comfortable office environment. As a person approaches their 50’s it becomes more difficult to see things not only at near but at an intermediate range as well. Normal progressive lenses let you see objects clearly at this distance but only by lifting your head up to look through the intermediate portion of the glasses. Using regular glasses while working at the computer leads to neck pain, back pain and eye strain. This is where computer glasses come in.

Progressive lenses allow a person over 40 to view objects clearly at all distances, even computer distance. Progressive lenses let us view intermediate objects by looking half way down the lens. With computer glasses; however, you can view an intermediate object by looking straight ahead (most computer monitors are at eye level), and the bottom of the computer lens lets you focus an object at normal reading distance. Computer glasses allow for a natural eye position so you can comfortably view your computer.

If your computer monitor is at eye level, you are in your late forties or older, and spend more than 30 minutes at the computer a day then computer glasses are definitely a worthwhile investment.

Computer glasses are an important part of making your workstation a comfortable place to work. See this article on visual ergonomics for more information on setting up your workstation.

What’s on Doc’s iPad Part 2

Tablets are becoming an increasingly bigger part of how we entertain ourselves and even conduct business. I have found some of the most useful apps via recommendations of friends, colleagues, patients, and articles like this one. I hope you find a must have app or two. This article is the second of a series of articles on useful iPad apps. Part one of the iPad app series was published a few months ago.

Google Earth iPad App Logo

Google Earth is a great way to see what your iPad is capable of. Pick a destination on the globe and you can then view it in 3D. It doesn’t matter if your desired location is your childhood home or the Pyramids of Egypt, virtually the entire earth is available. The resolution is great. If you can imagine having the ability to fly, you get an idea of the viewing perspective available with Google Earth. Most popular destinations and cities are available to view in 3D. You can zoom in or out on your desired location and hover above it from any altitude. A fun and interesting way to kill a few hours. Google Earth is free.

When I was looking for an office productivity suite I first checked out the Apple products, Keynote, Pages and Numbers, however I wanted better Microsoft Office compatibility and settled on Quick Office Pro HD. It allows for basic formatting of Word, Powerpoint and Excel documents and overall works pretty well. It is clearly not a replacement for MS Office, but it takes care of most of your needs when advanced formatting is not required. What I do like best about it is that it integrates well with numerous cloud storage providers such as Google Drive, SugarSync, DropBox, and Evernote. Quick Office Pro HD is $14.99.

LastPass-Tab-BrowserLastPass is a password management tool and consequently a very important app for me. I use it multiple times a day and can not recommend it highly enough. When you set up your account, LastPass encrypts your passwords on your PC, and uploads the encrypted passwords to their servers, giving you an encrypted offsite back up of this critical information. You can then opt to only store encrypted passwords on your PC, further enhancing your passwords security. I usually use the desktop version which smoothly incorporates password management into your internet browser. The LastPass iPad app gives you access to all of your passwords via its own internet browser. LastPass uses its own browser since iPad’s Safari browser does not allow plugins or app integration. LastPass works very well and provides a safe, secure way to store  passwords and other confidential information. LastPass offers free and paid options.

desktoponliveiconOnlive Desktop gives you a virtual Microsoft Desktop. This is great when you need to make a 100% Microsoft compatible document. The only drawback is that it requires an internet connection. When you log in it looks like you just logged into a windows PC. You can share your OnLive files with your desktop PC or Mac by logging into files.onlive.com. I can’t believe this service is free.

itunesu ipad App LogoDo you want to learn about a particular subject? iTunes U has hundreds, possibly thousands, of free courses available on nearly every topic you could want. There are college level courses offered by major universities in addition to K-12 classes. There is also a section where private or non-profit organizations offer courses. The courses are very well done with class notes, audio and video material. iTunes U is an incredible resources. You can download the complete courses to your iPad for later use or pull them off the internet as needed. The iTunes U app and access to the library of classes is free.

skype_for_ipad_iconWho doesn’t love Skype? Do you remember seeing the Jetson’s as a kid? I remember seeing Jane Jetson talk on the video phone, and if she wasn’t “presentable” she would cover her face with a mask of herself while she talked. I thought how cool would it be to be able to see the person you are talking with on the phone, just like on the Jetsons. Skype now gives us that ability. The free version allows you to video-teleconference with one other person. If you want to make calls to ordinary telephones or video-teleconference with more than one person there is a modest monthly charge. Skype is a must have, making it easy to stay in touch with family members that are far away.

wordpress-iconThe Eye Doc Blog is powered by WordPress I often use this app to manage comments, check statistics, and read other blogs. If you do any blogging this is a great app. The WordPress app lets you manage your blogs, and functions as a good blog reader. This app is free.

Gmail iconIf you have a Gmail account then this app is a must have. I use it daily. It allows me to do everything on the app that I can do when I log into my Gmail account via the web.  This app is a freebie.

logmein-ios-app-icon-225x225Have you ever been at home and wished you could log into your office computer? LogMeIn let’s you do just that. Most often, you will navigate to the Logmein (Log Me In) website and gain remote access to your registered PCs. The iPad app is very well done and easy to use. It’s a handy app when there is something you must do or have access to on a remote PC. I do miss the lack of a mouse while using the app; however the advantage of using the app versus logging into Logmein via Safari is they have incorporated various finger gestures into the app to simulate mouse functionality. While not quite as efficient as using a mouse it will allow you to do what you need to do and beats having to drive to the office to get that must have file. Logmein is free for basic access to 6 PCs, a subscription service is available for more advanced options.

That will do it for now. Nine more iPad apps I have found helpful. I’m sure you have some winners as well. I would love to hear your recommendations on iPad Apps that you have found helpful. You can read part one of the iPad App series here.

What’s on Doc’s iPad Part 1

I used to be one of those that thought I didn’t need an iPad . . . OK few of us really NEED an iPad, but I’ve come to the conclusion that my iPad is a wonderfully handy tool and I use it almost daily. The iPad has not replaced my Kindle as my favorite way to read books. I find both the Kindle and the iPad helpful for different purposes.

Some of my favorite apps were recommendations from friends or articles I’ve read.  This article is the first of a series of three articles where I will review my favorite, most used iPad Apps.

The first app I installed was Evernote which is essentially a digital filing system. Evernote is a must have. It works across all platforms, allowing you to save something on your desktop PC and have it automatically sync with all of your other devices.

See the book on Amazon.com

It is excellent service and obviously not just for iPad users. When I was doing research for my book An Eye Doctor Answers: Explanations To Hundreds Of The Most Common Questions Patients Wish They Had Asked all of my data was saved to Evernote, thus no trees were harmed in the making of this book. Evernote has a free starter program and if you need more storage or expanded options there is a paid program.

SugarSync is another must have which syncs your saved data among all of your devices. SugarSync will automatically back up anything you designate and then allow it to be accessed by all of your devices. SugarSync has many other nice features, too many to list here; however, one of the features I particularly like is that it  automatically backs up the photos on your phone and makes them accessible to all of your devices. SugarSync  has a free 5 GB introductory account with paid accounts starting at $5 per month.

Many people. myself included, like to work with music in the background. Numerous apps do this. I like Pandora. It lets you enter a song or an artist and builds a play list with similar songs. When a song you like is played Pandora will then let you buy it within the app. Pandor has both free and paid options.

There are many apps that let you organize your Todo list. I like Remember The Milk. I use it frequently every day. It is free for use on your PC, however if you want to share your Todo list across mobile devices, such as an iPad, Kindle or your cell phone it’s $24 per year.

So far we’ve covered productivity apps. The iPad is a great device for entertainment though. If you hit writer’s block or need to blow off some steam, logging a little bit of air time flying a paper airplane or a foam biplane might loosen things up. Air Wings lets you sit in a five different airplanes or a quadracopter and dogfight with your friends or people all over the world. Games are quick, lasting only a couple of minutes. A word of caution though, it can be addictive. Air Wings is free. Upgrades are available for different airplanes and new maps.

Gmail has rapidly become one of the most popular cloud-based email providers. Gmail’s iPad app gives an excellent user experience and gives you fool access to your email, just like using the browser interface.  Given that email has become such an integral part of our work and personal life I this is easily one of my top 5 most used apps. The Gmail service, as well as the Gmail app are free. This app is easily a must have for all Gmail users.

Flipboard board is beautiful on the iPad. During set up you tell it what feeds you want it to include, such as Twitter, Facebook, or numerous other social media services. You can also include online news services such as CNN and FoxNews. Also available, is the option to include your interests or hobbies and it will go out and find relevant content. Flipboard then formats the data into your very own personalized news magazine. Flipboard is free.

Alarm CLock HD is just what it says, however it will wake you up in the morning by reading the news, your tweets or Facebook  or even wake you to music. It also has a flashlight mode should you need some light in the middle of the night. In addition to giving you the time, Alarm Clock HD also has the current temperature and weather for the day. Alarm Clock HD has a free ad-supported version or for $.99 you can go advertising free.

There you have it, in no particular order, nine of the apps on my iPad . I’ll post part two of this series very soon. Like I said, some of the best app recommendations I’ve received have been from people like you so I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let me know what iPad apps you can’t do without.

Revisiting Visual Ergonomics

As I sit here this morning sipping my morning mocha and looking for a place to get a little admin work done before I see patients I thought it would be great to look out the window and do a little people watching while I get some work done….. wrong.  What was I thinking?

It sounded great at first, sitting here with good coffee and chocolate carefully blended together while I view a beautiful Texas morning out the window.  Have you ever tried looking at a computer monitor with a bright sunny background in the back?  I’ll save you the trouble don’t.  Your eyes will be killing you before you get your computer connected to the coffee shop’s WIFI.  The appeal of it all sounded great, however had I remembered an article I wrote a while back about visual ergonomics I would have thought better about my seat location.  What can I say the Texas sunshine was calling to me.

Visual Ergonomics is the study of setting up your environment for maximum visual comfort and productivity.

Computer Glasses Help Reduce Eyestrain & Neck Pain

Computer glasses can not only help reduce eyestrain but they also reduce neck pain at your desk.  Numerous factors need to be addressed to maximize your comfort and effectiveness while working at the computer.  Computer related eyestrain is especially common for those approaching their 50s and above.

When working at our computer we often find ourselves raising our chin to make the monitor clear.  This puts our neck in a very bad, uncomfortable position.  Everyone that experiences neck pain should see their eye doctor about computer glasses. A few minutes to read a quick email is not a problem, however the longer you spend in this position the worse it is for your eyes, your posture and your neck.  Computer glasses place your monitor in the proper focus allowing you to look directly at the monitor while still allowing you to view reading material at a normal reading distance.

Another important consideration while working at the computer is your blinking.  When we work at the computer we become so engrossed in what we are doing that our blink rate goes down which increases the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.  The video below gives a good summary of computer vision syndrome and computer glasses.

Visual Ergonomics – Setting Up Your Computer Workstation For Maximum Visual Comfort

The older we get and/or the more time we spend at the computer the more important it is to set up your work environment for the maximum visual comfort. Generally, from a visual standpoint, laptops, placed on a desk, are set up rather well for the maximum visual comfort. They have us looking down allowing a user that wears bifocals to see the screen through their bifocal and because the screen is directly in front of the keyboard it is close
enough the bifocal, whether it is a progressive lens or a flat top lens, the distance is correct.

A desktop is another matter. Placement of the monitor is very important. The new LCD monitors make it much easier to place them in a positions allowing for easy, comfortable viewing. The monitor should be placed in a position that is typically 20 inches or more away and positioned low enough that when you are looking straight ahead you are looking over the top of the monitor. This last point is especially important for bifocal wearers, especially those 50 or older that rely on the intermediate portion of their progressive or trifocal lenses.

Why is monitor height important? If the monitor is too high you have to tilt your chin up to focus with the intermediate portion of your progressive lens. If you are only at the computer for a few minutes this may be tolerable, however if you sit at the computer for an extended period moving your chin up like this spells a neck ache. If you don’t tilt your chin up to use your bifocal to focus the monitor you are looking though the top part of your glasses instead of the intermediate zone and thus straining your eyes. Neither option is acceptable for any reasonable length of time.

So how should we set up our workstation? First, if your monitor is sitting on top of the CPU, place the CPU under the desk and the monitor directly on the desk. Having a chair with an adjustable seat will allow you to raise your seat thus further improving your position.

Second, never place your monitor where there is a bright light behind it such as in front of a window. Also having a window directly behind you may cause bothersome reflections unless you have an antireflective screen on your monitor.

Third, place the monitor 20 to 30 inches from you. If neither of these options is sufficient or simply not possible computer glasses are an option. Progressive or bifocal computer glasses are generally not necessary for those under 50, however anyone over 50 that spends more than a couple hours a day at the computer will benefit from computer glasses. Most patients simply leave their glasses at the computer. Computer glasses are progressive lenses prescribed so that the top part is set to focus at computer distance, roughly arms length, and the bottom will focus at near, usually 16-18 inches. An antireflective coating will eliminate reflections and also make for better visual comfort.

Lastly, a good, adjustable chair with a foot stool is a great idea.

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