MEI News

Great American Smokeout

It’s no secret that smoking is harmful to your health. In fact, smoking damages every organ in the body, including your eyes. Although it is not well-known, smoking increases your risk of developing eye diseases and disorders. Smokers are two times more likely than nonsmokers to develop cataracts and three times more likely to develop macular degeneration. The risk for diabetic retinopathy, uveitis and dry eye are also increased by cigarette smoke, but the good news is that quitting smoking at any age can reduce your risk for eye disease

Quitting smoking is hard, but research says that the best way to quit smoking is to mark a day on the calendar. Let us help you out and be your support system! The American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout event on Thursday, November 19 can be your day to quit smoking and begin a new habit of health).

Within moments of your last cigarette, your body will experience immediate benefits:

  • Within 20 minutes, your heart rate will start to drop down towards a more normal level.
  • After two hours, your heart rate and blood pressure will decrease.
  •  After 12 hours, carbon monoxide in your body decreases to lower levels and blood oxygen levels increase to normal.

Nearly 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. Tobacco is the single largest preventable cause of disease and death in the United States and is a large contributor to the development of vision loss. Take a stand and mark your calendar for Thursday, November 16 as your day to quit smoking. The American Cancer Society has many resources available to you on their website, so visit The Great American Smokeout’s page and find more information to quit smoking or spread awareness about the campaign.



Sources: Your Sight Matters, American Cancer Society, Healthline, All About Vision

Casino Morongo Health Fair

Recently, Milauskas Eye Institute participated in the Casino Morongo Team Member Health Fair.  Hundreds of employees came through the event to learn about health care options and local physicians and businesses.  MEI provided information on eye care and LASIK vision correction.  Participants were able to schedule eye exams and LASIK consultations.  It was a fun and informative event.  We look forward to being a part of the next one.


How to View The Solar Eclipse Safely


On August 21, 2017, a global eclipse of the Sun will visibly traverse a narrow corridor across Northern America from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. This event will appear as a partial eclipse when viewed from southwest Riverside County. This solar eclipse begins after 9:00 a.m. locally and ends before noon. A total solar eclipse last occurred in the USA in 1979.

Safety Precautions

Looking directly at the Sun is unsafe, even during a solar eclipse. According to the American Astronomical Society* and the American Academy of Ophthalmology, homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the Sun.  The retina is easily damaged by such intense exposure.

A solar eclipse is when the moon blocks any part of the sun from our view. The bright face of the sun is covered gradually by the moon during a partial eclipse, lasting a few hours. During the brief period of a total eclipse when the moon fully covers the sun (only a couple of minutes), the light of day gives way to a deep twilight sky. The sun’s outer atmosphere (called the solar corona) gradually appears, glowing like a halo around the moon in front of it. Bright stars and planets become more visible in the sky.

Watching a solar eclipse is a memorable experience, but looking directly at the sun can seriously damage your eyes. Staring at the sun for even a short time without wearing the right eye protection can damage your retina permanently. It can even cause blindness, called solar retinopathy.

There is only one safe way to look directly at the sun, whether during an eclipse or not: through special-purpose solar filters. These solar filters are used in “eclipse glasses” or in hand-held solar viewers. They must meet a very specific worldwide standard known as ISO 12312-2.

Please keep in mind that ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, or homemade filters are not safe for looking at the sun.

Steps to follow for safely watching a solar eclipse

  • Carefully look at your solar filter or eclipse glasses before using them. If you see any scratches or damage, do not use them.
  • Always read and follow all directions that come with the solar filter or eclipse glasses. Help children to be sure they use handheld solar viewers and eclipse glasses correctly.
  • Before looking up at the bright sun, stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter—do not remove it while looking at the sun.
  • Never look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other similar devices. This is important even if you are wearing eclipse glasses or holding a solar viewer at the same time. The intense solar rays coming through these devices will damage the solar filter and your eyes.

Talk with an expert astronomer if you want to use a special solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars or any other optical device.

Solar eclipse glasses have met the following standards for becoming ISO certified:

  • 100% harmful UV
  • 100% harmful infrared
  • 99.99% of intense visible light

Even if your eclipse glasses meet the safety standards, don’t use them if:

  • The lenses are scratched.
  • The lenses are wrinkled.
  • They are older than 3 years.

An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is pinhole projection (Visit for directions on this indirect viewing method).

For information about where to get the proper eyewear or handheld viewers, check out the American Astronomical Society.



Sources: American Academy of Optometry, American Astronomical Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CNN

Dr. Winston Alwes Talks About LASIK

LASIK has changed the lives of thousands of people in the Coachella Valley. Here at Milauskas Eye Institute, we take pride in being part of this revolution.

LASIK has proven to not only be beneficial for many but also affordable. I am proud to be part of the LASIK team at Milauskas. I have the privilege of providing consults at no cost to those interested in having the LASIK procedure. This free, no cost visit is good for both the individual and Milauskas Eye Institute so don’t be shy about calling to schedule your consultation. During your visit, I seek to provide an answer to whether or not LASIK is beneficial and promising for you. If it is promising, a more extensive exam is scheduled.

The consults have proven valuable to many. Sometimes I need to say “no” to an individual because of an eye condition. In those cases, I direct the person to receive the care that they need.

Finally, let us not let excitement and success cause harm. So many people are so ecstatic about their LASIK vision, they forget that routine eye exams are needed to protect their vision. Vision can be stolen by silent diseases such as glaucoma or slow changing problems like cataracts or even age. OUr yearly exams check for these problems and much more.

Winston Alwes, O.D.






Dr. Alwes has been an Optometrist
at MEI for over 20 years.


Six Reasons You’re Due For An Eye Exam

When Was your last eye exam -MEIEye health is something we all need to take very seriously. Whether you’ve always had perfect vision or you wear glasses or contacts, everyone needs to get an eye exam on a regular basis. Your eyesight can change at any age, and if you ignore it or are unaware of the changes, problems can worsen and the health of your eyes will suffer.

Thankfully, there are some easy to identify warning signs that let you know it’s time for an eye exam. Here are 6 signs you shouldn’t ignore.


  1. It’s been at least two years since your last eye exam — Experts recommend that you have your eyes checked at least every two years. This even goes for those people who have always had perfect vision.  In some cases, it’s necessary to get your eyes checked even more often. After the age of 40 because vision tends to change rapidly as you age.
  2. You have trouble focusing — Occasionally, we all deal with blurry vision or difficulty focusing. This is especially true after a long day where you put a lot of stress on your eyes. That’s not what this is about. This is for people who regularly run into trouble focusing their eyes. If you have blurry vision on a regular basis, you need to take it very seriously. Schedule an appointment to get your eyes checked out right away. The sooner you act, the more damage you can possibly prevent.
  3. You have headaches on a regular basis — If you get a lot of headaches, it could be a sign of an eye health problem. You could be straining your eyes without even realizing it. That’s because our vision changes slowly over time. You may have had 20/20 vision at your last eye exam, but now you could have declining vision and not realize it. This causes severe eye strain and headaches. Get your eyes checked to make sure this isn’t the source of your headaches.
  4. Your eyes get tired easily — As mentioned earlier, infrequent eye strain isn’t that big of a deal. However, if your eyes are getting tired on a daily basis, it could be a sign of deteriorating eye health. Do your eyes hurt when you move them? Have your eyes suffered fatigue for a period of a few days? If so, you need to schedule an appointment to get your eyes examined immediately.
  5. You find yourself squinting more and more often –  Go get your eyes checked.
  6. Your frames are outdated or scratched up—Eye wear fashion is constantly changing, so if your frames are out of style, it’s probably been a while since you last had your eyes examined. You can also look at the general condition of your frames for clues. If they’re scratched up, chances are that it’s been a couple of years since you had your eyes checked and bought a new pair of glasses.

So…. when is the last time you had an eye exam?  Schedule your appointment here.


Protecting Your Eyes From The Sun

Now that summer is here, It is important that you remember to shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays because the radiation from those rays can damage the surface of the eye. The damage from the sun accumulates so that over time, your eyes can get worse. Unprotected exposure to the sun can increase the risk of certain types of cataracts and cancers of the eyelids. UV rays can also damage the retina, the light-sensitive back lining of the eye, which could lead to significant vision loss.

Here are some tips that can help you protect your eyes from overexposure and damage from UV radiation:

  • Wear sunglasses any time your eyes are exposed to UV radiation, even on overcast, cloudy days.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat, which can block up to half of the UV radiation.
  • Look for quality sunglasses that actually shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays, blocking out 99-100% percent of UV radiation.

For more information on how to protect your eyes, visit our opticians at any of our offices! At Milauskas Eye Institute, we want to help protect your eyes and vision.


Eyewear Care

Glasses 4a

Prescription eyeglasses are an investment for your vision.  Proper care for your glasses will help protect this investment and keep you seeing clearly.

We’ve  put together a list of some Do’s and Don’ts for caring for your eyewear.


Don’t wipe lenses when they are dry.
Any debris on their surface or dust in the cleaning cloth could cause scratches

Don’t wipe lenses with a tissue, paper towel or paper napkin.
They can have a rough surface

Don’t use any type of window cleaner or other product that can damage lenses and their coatings.

Don’t spit clean your lenses.
Spit may seem like a handy cleaning solution, but saliva can contain oil or something else that can be damaging and therefore is not recommended.

Don’t put unprotected glasses in a purse, pocket, bag, etc.

Don’t regularly place glasses on a sink or counter top.
Spatter, sprays, and cosmetics can soil lenses, while things like hair spray and perfumes can damage anti-reflective coatings

Don’t leave glasses in a hot car.
Leaving glasses on the dashboard can be very damaging, as the windshield will work like a magnifying lens.

Do clean lenses regularly with warm water and a drop of dish detergent and dry with a clean, soft cotton or microfiber cloth

Do use a hard-shell case that is correct size for your glasses

Do use both hands to put on and remove your glasses and keep them on your nose, not your head
This will keep your frames from becoming misaligned. Clean lenses are not as effective if they aren’t positioned correctly in front of the eyes.

Take care of your glasses and they will keep you seeing clearly for a long time.


MEI Presentation at the Braille Institute

Recently, Milauskas Eye Institute Optometrist, Dr. Winston Alwes and Extern Stephen Ridder presented a seminar on the latest research, treatment and scientific findings regarding Macular Degeneration, as part of the Braille Institute’s Low Vision Resource Fair.  This free event saw attendees come from all over the Coachella Valley and provided them classes and information on low vision.

IMG_2842-a IMG_2850a IMG_2848IMG_2858


Eye Facts

Here are few facts about your eyes.


  • Everyone has a blind spot.

Yes: if you have perfect sight, there’s still a blind spot or blank area in your field of vision. You don’t know it’s there because your brain fills in that area with what you expect to see there. Some people’s blind spots are bigger than others, but it’s likely all mammals have them. It’s just the way our eyes are built.

  • You can catch a cold through your eyes.

This is true – Touch a sick person or a germ-covered surface (like a doorknob), then put your hands on your eyes or nose. The cold virus travels easily through the duct that connects your eyes to your nose and throat. It gets into your body and causes infection. If you don’t want to get sick, keep your hands away from your face, or wash them before you touch it.

  • Wearing glasses all the time weakens your eyes.

No – You can’t wear your glasses too much. Yes, your eyes change as you get older, but that’s going to happen whether you have specs or not. Remember, glasses don’t fix your eye problems, they just help you see better in spite of them. The right pair can also hold off eyestrain headaches.

  • If you cross your eyes, they’ll get stuck that way.

Not true – Your eyes won’t stay crossed forever, no matter how often you make faces.

  • Your eyes are full-size at birth.

No – Your eyes grow along with the rest of your body up until you’re an adult. That’s why your vision — and your glasses or contacts prescription — changes over time

  • How do your eyes “see” an image?

As light – All your eyes do is process light. It’s your brain that creates the picture. First, your eyes take in light and convert it into electrical nerve signals. They travel to your visual cortex, the part of your brain that controls sight, which converts the signals into the image you see.



How to use your Tax Refund for LASIK Eye Surgery

A blank US goverment check with selective focus on the statue of liberty

While many people take advantage of tax refunds to travel, build savings, or pay off debt,  why not put yours towards clear vision and LASIK eye surgery?

Step 1: File your taxes
First, file your taxes as usual. Follow your regular system of a brokerage firm, accountant or tax software. The United States processes about 90 percent of all refunds within three weeks. Use this is a benchmark to gauge when you should book your LASIK consultation.

Step 2: Schedule your FREE LASIK consultation
While the government processes your refund, you can use this time to have your LASIK eye surgery consultation. This eye exam is where you learn if you’re a laser vision correction candidate. (For instance, your corneal thickness and tear production will fall into certain ranges.) If you meet the LASIK eye surgery requirements, you can schedule your procedure.

Step 3: Day of LASIK eye surgery
If you complete your procedure during tax season, your eyes will have months to heal in time for summer. Treat yourself to new sunglasses or a vacation, or simply see the world through your corrected vision.

Schedule your FREE LASIK Consultation at Milauskas Eye Institute today.

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