It’s likely that you’re already paying for standard medical insurance, dental, and any other mix of add-on types of insurance. So it’s a fair question to ask, “Is vision insurance worth it?”
Some would ask you to think, “Is being able to see worth it?” but that’s a little bit extreme. At the end of the day, it will depend on your situation as to if it makes dollars and cents to opt in for vision insurance coverage.
Here’s what you need to know.What does it cover?
Vision insurance does not cover everything related to eye health. Regular medical insurance covers accidents, surgery and eye disease. So you should know that regular emergencies and accidents are covered by your main health insurance.
Vision insurance covers the basics: eye exams, glasses and contacts. It also covers you if your vision becomes permanently impaired. More comprehensive plans will help with costs of eye surgery, eye diseases, and permanent vision impairment or discounts on laser eye-correction surgery.
There’s a sufficient allowance for basic glasses and contacts, but anything in addition to that is an additional cost. For example:
You want lightweight or anti-glare lenses? That’s on you.
You want designer frames? Vision insurance will pay for a small amount, and the rest is what you pay out of pocket.
In some cases, vision insurance might cover retail markup but you pay the wholesale cost.
In other circumstances, vision insurance might not cover both contacts AND glasses.
Furthermore, there’s the issue of timing in some plans.
Some vision insurance benefits are spread out over 24 months versus the traditional 12 month span of time in health insurance. There may also be waiting periods from 30 days to 36 months with reduced or no benefits.
Make sure you read carefully through benefits and fine print before signing up for a vision insurance plan.
In general, you should get one eye exam each year. With vision insurance, you can expect to pay a low copay between $10-15. But every plan is different. Some say that vision insurance (in some cases) functions more like a discount plan than a typical insurance plan. We’ll look at different insurance offers versus no insurance shortly.
Pre-existing conditions wont prevent you from getting vision insurance, but plans likely won’t cover the pre-existing condition itself.What’s the Cost?
There are three basic different categories when considering the cost of eye health: vision insurance in the group market, vision insurance in the individual market, and eye health costs without insurance:
- $3-7/month per person
- Pretty inexpensive
- Many doctors in network
- Wide range of glasses/contacts/benefits
- $15-60/month per person or for the entire family
- Similar copay as in the group market
- Expect to pay around $120 for glasses or contacts
No vision insurance
- Exams: about $60
- Glasses: from $100-500+
- Contacts: $100-200 each year
There’s usually only one opportunity per year to sign up if you get it through your employer. In some cases, plans charge a one-time enrollment fee.
So make sure all the costs of insurance are enough to make it worth purchasing it.How to Get the Most Out Vision Insurance
- Use it, otherwise it’s a waste of money
- Get measurements for glasses during an eye exam, even if you don’t buy them there
- Buy glasses online to save money, unless your doctor gives you an insurance discount
- Try glasses on at home before committing to a permanent pair
Finally, here are some ways to keep costs down if you don’t opt to purchase vision insurance:
- Big box stores like Walmart or Costco have low cost optical centers
- Cheap glasses can be found everywhere if you’re not picky about designer styles
- Contribute to an employer flex spending account and use tax free contributions to pay
Another consideration is maintaining excellent eye health. Two supplements can help:
Norflo is a supplement that helps with dry eye syndrome, age-related macular degeneration, and central serous chorioretinopathy.
Ialutec not only helps remove floaters in the eyes, but also can aid with symptoms of arthritis and skin aging.
So… should you do it?
It should be pretty obvious by now that there’s no cut and dry answer to this question. Whatever you do, make sure the costs add up in a way that you’re not paying more than you would without it.
Do you use vision insurance? What has your experience been with it? Let us know in the comments!
Inflammation is a natural bodily process intended to help heal an injured area by flooding it with blood and nutrients. However, inflammation can cause a host of problems in our bodies that interfere with daily functioning when the body overreacts, reacts too often, or begins attacking its own cells. Treating inflammation can ease a host of personal ailments and help you feel better faster and improve your health.
In it’s best sense, inflammation is a form of self-protection your body deploys to remove harmful invaders in our bodies or to quickly heal an injured area. For example, if you sprain your ankle, you’re likely to see it swell up to the size of a citrus fruit. This is a result of your body flooding the area with white blood cells and substances that fight bacteria. Your body is trying to help prevent an infection or fight a current one. This form of acute inflammation is known to be a part of the healing process.
However, in many cases, inflammation can cause real problems for our bodies. The body’s defense system can perceive a threat where there is nothing to fight off, rushing swelling to an area where it really isn’t necessary. The body can then start fighting its own tissues. Consistent inflammation is linked to a whole host of ailments that are usually painful and chronic.
Inflammation is most commonly harmful in diseases like arthritis, which causes swelling at the joints, as well as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and muscular pain. Accompanying inflammation can be flu-like symptoms like chills, drowsiness, head pain, and muscle pain, so it can really affect someone’s life negatively.
Chronic inflammation is a condition caused by a variety of habits that keep your immune system engaged and fighting for a long period of time, leading to chronic illnesses. This sort of inflammation is different than the acute inflammation we experience when we get a bruise or sprain an ankle, and chronic inflammation is what can really cause problems in our bodies.
Here are some problems that inflammation can trigger in our bodies.
Chronic inflammation can upset the processes that regulate hunger in the brain. In some people, this will cause them to lose track of that “full” impulse that stops them from snacking and overeating, resulting in increasing weight. It can trigger insulin resistance and upset metabolism regulating hormones as well, leading to a link between inflammation and weight gain. Inflammation gets between our stomachs and our brains and makes it hard to know when to stop eating.
This is more serious than a simple issue of not liking the way that you look when you’re at a weight you’re not happy with. Weight gain and inflammation can cause real harm to our bodies. Inflammation is also linked to type two diabetes, which is caused by obesity and can result in blindness.
In 2015, JAMA Psychiatry performed a study on people suffering from chronic depression. Analyzing data collected from their brains revealed that depression suffers experienced 30% more inflammation of the brain than the control group. It’s important to note here that the depression may have caused the inflammation, but it’s also possible that the inflammation contributed towards the development of the depression. Causality is hard to infer, but the study indicates that inflammation and depression are linked.
Compounding that is the fact that inflammation symptoms, including feeling the blues, difficulty sleeping, and appetite loss are all symptoms of inflammation. A common theory is that cytokines disrupt hunger signals, either making you very hungry or not hungry at all, but it’s less clear how it could be related to feeling sad.
A strong autoimmune response against our body’s own tissues that continues over time can cause DNA damage. DNA regulate the cell division that usually keeps our bodies producing healthy new cells, but when a cancer develops, it’s a result of cells replicating themselves over and over again to the point where they create tumors. Dangerous cell division where it isn’t needed can destroy our bodies, and it’s very hard to stop once it gets started.
DNA damaged by inflammation are prone to recklessly duplicate, which can cause cancer. For example, people suffering from ulcerative colitis and Chron’s Disease, both of which are illnesses associated with inflammation, are at a higher risk of colon cancer.
Another study suggests that inflammatory cells, upon encountering a tumor, will attack the tumor by infiltrating it to destroy it from the inside. Once there, however, it’s possible that the tumor simply absorbs the white blood cells and uses them as nutrients to fuel further growth.
When our bodies detect an abnormal platelet in our blood, they will trigger an autoimmune response where the body attempts to wall off the abnormal cell and isolate it from the rest of the blood stream. However, if the response is too strong or something goes wrong in that process, the inflammation of cells fighting the abnormal cell can break off and come into contact with healthy blood cells, triggering a blood clot formation. These blood clots are one common cause of heart attacks.
Myocardatis is an inflammation of the heart that affects thousands of Americans every year. It causes pain in the chest, shortness of breath, and fatigue in the body, but because these symptoms are so generalized, many people don’t even realize that they have it.
Inflammation is also a common symptom of heart disease, although it doesn’t cause the disease. It is a common side effect that has very negative effects on a person’s quality of life, causing pain and swelling in the body.
Cytokines, the cells that trigger an immune response, have been shown to interfere with insulin signaling and regulation. The result is an increased insulin resistance in the body in combination with spiked blood sugar, which in turn triggers an even greater immune response, increasing the inflammation.
This process, if repeated, can put a person at increased risk for diabetes. As an unfortunate side effect, poor regulation of insulation can also cause weight gain, as we examined earlier in the post.
If the inflammation is chronic, your lungs can be affected. Asthma, infections, and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases like bronchitis and emphysema are commonly associated with chronic inflammation. These diseases make it hard to breathe and do physical acitivity.
Inflamed lungs retain fluid in the tissues, which can interfere with the organ’s ability to help you breathe properly. Obviously, this is a big problem and can be fatal if left untreated.
Healthy bones continually renew themselves through a process of removing deteriorating or damaged pieces of bone and replacing the damaged pieces with healthy new bone. This process keeps our bones from becoming brittle. However, cytokines have been shown to interfere with this process, making it difficult for our bones to stay healthy and strong. Unable to regenerate, they are more prone to breaking and fracturing.
Inflammation can also inhibit the absorption of important nutrients in our stomach and intestines that we need to maintain good bone health, among countless other processes.
Reducing Inflammation Through Diet
We can see that inflammation is linked to a whole host of bodily disorders that can seriously disrupt the everyday life of someone suffering from it. For the average person interested in reducing the inflammation that occurs in our bodies and causes pain and fatigue, there is a diet that keeps inflammation low. There are some simple rules to follow if you’re interested in trying it.
Reduce your wheat consumption. Wheat, flour, and sugar are all foods common in our diets, and they’re not inherently harmful. But they do promote inflammation, so switch from flour to whole grains, brown rice, and bulgur wheat. Eat more beans, squash, and sweet potatoes, which have natural anti-inflammatory traits.
Avoid dairy products and meat. Hard to digest, dairy promotes inflammation and pain, so switch to lean meats and olive or coconut oil for cooking. However, you should also aim to reduce your overall meat intake, especially red meats. If you can eliminate meat from your diet altogether, that’s even better. Fish, on the other hand, are a great food to fight inflammation, so eat them at least twice a week.
Take supplements. Devil’s claw and cat’s claw are herbal supplements widely believed to reduce inflammation. The Mayo Clinic found that Devil’s claw is especially good at reducing short term pain associated with inflammation. Curcuminoids, a compound found in high levels in turmeric, are well known for their anti-inflammatory properties. You can add more turmeric to your cooking, or you can take it in a reputable supplement like NorFlo.
Inflammation is a serious and life altering condition that can lead to some adverse health effects, so be aware of it and take steps to keep inflammation in your body down. A healthy diet and good exercise are great preventative measures, and you can also look into some of the supplements and dietary alterations discussed here. Inflammation is serious, but preventative care is easy to do and very good for you.
Many people know the basics about diabetes or know someone suffering from the condition, but there are many finer details they haven’t been made privy to. Diabetes is a condition that can lead to many other health problems, including eye health problems, so it’s worth going over the different types of diabetes, how they’re caused, and how you can reduce your risk of being affected by it.
So what is diabetes? Simply defined, diabetes is a group of diseases that result in too much sugar in the blood, or high blood glucose.
Diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels in the body consistently stay above normal. More than 25 million people in the U.S. alone are affected by diabetes.
Another important component of diabetes to define is insulin, which is one of the main hormones that regulates blood sugar levels and allows the body to use sugar for energy.
An individual with diabetes either cannot produce insulin, or isn’t producing enough and must supplement it in someway, or take specific precautions in their daily life to make sure their blood sugar level doesn’t go too high.
There are different stages and types of diabetes, as described below.Prediabetes
Pre diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels higher than normal, but have not yet caused diabetes. It’s also known as a condition with impaired glucose tolerance.
Usually prediabetes shows no symptoms, but symptoms may become more obvious and present right before someone gets type 2 diabetes.
It’s important to be aware that complications associated with diabetes, like heart disease, can start to develop at this stage. The same can be true of complications associated between diabetes and eye health.
The good news is that with regular doctor exams, you can get tested for higher than normal blood sugar levels, and you may be able to prevent type 2 diabetes and lower your risk of other complications.Type 1
Type 1 diabetes is associated with the body’s inability to make insulin. What happens is that insulin-producing cells of the pancreas (beta cells) become destroyed by the immune system.
Type 1 diabetes is most common in people under age 20, but type 1 diabetes could happen to a person during any part of their life.
People affected by Type 1 diabetes produce no insulin and must use insulin injections to control blood sugar.Type 2
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by your body not responding to the effects of insulin. What happens is that your pancreas produces an insufficient amount of insulin, or the body is unable to recognize insulin and use it properly. Your body may continue to produce insulin, but insulin production may significantly decrease over time.
Unfortunately, when there isn’t enough insulin (or insulin is not used by the body correctly), glucose can’t get into the body’s cells to be used as energy. This glucose builds up in the blood.
Most people affected by diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, most complications, including blindness and amputations, are associated with Type 2 diabetes. If you’re 40 and overweight, you may be at risk (though it affects people of all ages and body types).
Diabetes can also occur during pregnancy, a situation known as gestational diabetes.
The symptoms of diabetes include:
- Unusual thirst
- Constant need to urinate
- Blurred vision
- Extreme fatigue
Some people show no symptoms at all. In the case of Type 2 diabetes, these symptoms have a gradual build up that’s not initially obvious.
Some people with type 2 diabetes do not need to take insulin injections, and may instead be able to take a pill. It may also be possible to manage diabetes by:
- Controlling weight and avoiding large fluctuations
- Watching diet by planning what to eat and building a balanced meal plan with respect to sugars and fats
- Keeping a regular exercise schedule
- Taking medication if prescribed, and carefully following guidelines for taking it
- Getting regular lab tests and keeping all appointments with health care providers
As part of maintaining eye health if you have diabetes or may be at risk, taking supplements like Norflo or Ialutec RED can help fill in the gaps that a healthy diet cannot completely fill. Both target different sides of overall eye health, for a well-rounded approach.
Do you or someone you’re close to have diabetes? How do you or they manage the condition and additional complications that may result from it? Let us know in the comments!
A free radical is an atom or group of atoms that has an unpaired electron and is therefore unstable and highly reactive.
Free radicals can be formed through natural human processes or as a result of the environment.
Free radicals can result from diet, stress, smoking, alcohol, exercise, inflammation, drugs or exposure to sunlight and air pollutants.
Though many types of free radicals can be formed, the most common in oxygen breathing organisms are oxygen free radicals.The Science Behind Free Radicals
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an unpaired number of electrons.
Free radicals can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules.
Once these free radical form, they can start a chain reaction.
Free radicals cause a danger that comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane.
As a result, cells may function poorly or die.
Free radicals form when one of these weak bonds between electrons is broken and an uneven and unpaired number of electrons remain.
Once a free radical forms, it will gain another electron from a nearby molecule. It leaves its victim molecular short an electron and makes this new molecule a free radical. This new free radical will in turn, try and steal an electron as well.
The result is called a free radical cascade, which is an enormous chain reaction of free radicals that quickly causes damage on living tissue.How do Free Radicals Form?
Free radicals form spontaneously, or as a result of exposure to heat, light or something in environment. A body’s immune system can create them on purpose to neutralize viruses and bacteria.
There are some molecules in our bodies that are more susceptible to free radical attacks than others. These molecules include:
- Cellular membranes
The most common type of free radical, the oxygen free radical, is implicated in overall aging processes. They’re responsible for photo aging, cancer, and skin inflammation. These free radicals will cause lipid peroxidation, which damages cell membranes, which then cause premature aging, skin cancer, and cell death.How to Fight Free Radicals
The most effective defense against free radicals is antioxidants.
Antioxidants are molecules that safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before damage occurs. They inhibit the oxidation of other molecules, which is an important characteristic to note in the discussion of how antioxidants are related to free radicals.
Antioxidants stop the complex chain reaction and destruction of free radicals, but neutralizing the chemical reaction with one of it’s own.
Our body contains some enzyme systems to scavenge free radicals, but not all.
Therefore, we must take supplements or get antioxidants from the food we eat. The most important antioxidants are vitamin E, beta-carotene and vitamin C. Selenium is a trace mineral that’s also helpful in defending against free radicals. The body cannot manufacture these micronutrients on it’s own.
Studies have tried to prove a connection between people who eat a lot of fruits and veggies not getting cancer. So far it’s been impossible to prove, with some results showing that it may be possible to consume too many antioxidants. So be careful and don’t overdo it.
Norflo and Ialutec RED represent excellent supplements that supply nutrients that can’t be procured from diet, alone. Both focus on providing excellent eye health support, but also contain powerful antioxidants to fight free radicals.
What else have you heard about free radicals? What are your strategies for making sure that you have a sufficient amount of antioxidants? Share your experience in the comments!
If that’s you, you’re not alone.
It’s much more common for people to submit to a twice-yearly exam at their dentist’s office. Or at the very least, they’ll go to their doctor at least once a year for a check up or medical problem.
We treat problems in the rest of our body with the respect they deserve, but our eyes always seem to be the last priority.
It’s especially strange because most people would be very unhappy to lose their eyesight. We consider it a need – not a want, to have good eyesight. We’d never forgive ourselves if the problem we’re facing could have been easily fixed by seeing an eye health professional who could have done tests to prevent anything bad from happening.
If you use some type of corrective lenses (or even if you don’t!) your eyes are constantly changing, in prescription or general condition. Just the fact that you’re using corrective lenses means that you’re affecting your prescription!
Wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses will accelerate the deterioration of your eye’s natural prescription. You should expect your prescription to change almost every year, in increments. To prevent further deterioration, make sure that you get the right prescription from your eye care professional to reduce unnecessary eye strain!
Make sure you go to an eye doctor to make any prescription changes, otherwise you’re risking straining your eyes, which could cause them to dry out and could lead to many other eye health issues.
Eye care professionals will help you do much more than get the right prescription – they’ll also help you understand how to best care for corrective lenses, like contact lenses.
It’s easier than you think to do the wrong thing as far as contacts are concerned. A good eye doctor will warn you not to do the following:
- Sleep in your corrective lenses
- Rinse contact lenses with water, as opposed to saline solution
- Throw out your contact lens case after 3 months
- Share contact lens cases with someone else
- Wearing contact lenses in the pool or shower and keeping your eyes open
- Handle contact lenses with messy or dirty hands
And those tips are just a few of many. Basically, you should use your own common knowledge paired with these tips to make sure that you’re handling your contact lenses correctly in a way that doesn’t come back to hurt your eye health.
Did you know that contacts are considered a drug and are regulated by the FDA? You should always follow best practices to avoid eye damage from contact use, as a general rule. You must take your contact lens use just as seriously as any other drug a medical professional would prescribe to you.
One of the main benefits of seeing an eye doctor is the ability to be tested for many different potential eye conditions, as a part of regular preventative eye care. Wouldn’t you be pleased to undertake tests for diseases like Glaucoma and catch them before they become a bigger problem?
An eye doctor may also dilate your pupils to check for other irregularities and potential diseases.
An eye doctor can screen for cataracts cataracts and either slow them down or instruct you on how to handle them. No matter the diagnosis, you’d probably rather know if something’s wrong when you can still do something about it, right?
It certainly would be awful to wait until it was too late to change the way things are, especially when your eyesight is on the line.Are there any eye problems in your family?
An eye care professional will help you to determine if your eye history is likely to cause problems down the line. They can instrct you on what preventative care to take or other precautions are important.Do you have any kids?
Making sure your kids have the right prescription to read faster and more clear. Eyestrain is no fun – it can cause headaches or make children associate reading with pain. That’s certainly not a lesson we want children to learn!
Do right by your body and your health (and your eyes!) and make sure you don’t miss your next eye doctor appointment.
If you’re starting to experience some eye problems, there’s another solution to supplement seeing an eye care professional. Norflo can help you keep your eyes in healthy condition, depending on what is happening with your eyes.
What is keeping you from seeing the eye doctor? Let us know in the comments and support others in eye health!