Staying Healthy

March 10th, 2020 by Dr. Spears

The health and well-being of our patients and staff is our top priority. We always take measures to sanitize all patient contact surfaces and encourage hand washing and hand sanitizer, especially during cold and flu season. The new coronavirus currently spreading across the country is yet another reminder of the importance of these steps. We ask that if you or anyone planning to accompany you to your exam has any signs of illness, including a cough, fever, sinus drainage, sneezing or breathing difficulties, that you please call to reschedule. We see patients of every age and with varying levels of general health, so what might be a minor illness to you could be serious for someone else.

PersonalEyes Vision Care Welcomes New Optometrist

August 5th, 2016 by Ima Admin

Dr. Aaron Stewart joins Personal Eyes Vision Care, home to Grand Rapids Optometry, RX Lenses, frames and contact lensesThe PersonalEyes Vision Care family is delighted to welcome Dr. Aaron Stewart to its Grand Rapids optometry practice and eye glass frame showroom.

“Aaron comes with a strong background from working in an ophthalmology practice, which helps us expand our availability for patients with occular disease and other complex eye health issues,” said Dr. James Spears, principal of the practice.

Dr. Stewart will be accepting appointments beginning August 15th, 23rd, 29th and 30th, then fully from September 6th. He will in part be assuming some of Dr. Dan Mlnarik’s patients. Dr. Mlnarik is currently pursuing a residency in occular disease at the Vetrans’ Affairs Medical Center to extend his knowledge base.

“Aaron is a very knowledgeable, friendly professional who will fit right in with PersonalEyes Vision Care,” Dr. Spears said.

Dr. Stewart is involved in the West Michigan Optometric Association, currently serving as Vice President. He has combined his love for travel with his expertise in eyecare by participating in several international eyecare missions. He has provided medical eyecare at a rural clinic in Guatemala in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015, and looks forward to more trips in the future.

Dr. Stewart and his wife enjoy traveling, tennis, and spending time with family.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Stewart, please use our Online Scheduler or call (616) 364-8484.


Learn All About Vision at!

July 5th, 2016 by Ima Admin

Logo of All About Vision, the vision information site for eye health and vision careAt PersonalEyes Vision Care, we’re always happy to answer questions and help you understand eye health. If you’d like to do extra reading on different eye conditions and options at home, visit the optometry news center at is a site designed to give patients additional eye health information and features the latest products and services in the vision care industry. They also have a page dedicated to coupons or cost-saving offers on specific products – follow this link:

Feel free to ask us about any articles or products you learn about at during your next (or first) appointment. If you’d like to schedule a consultation, visit our Online Scheduler.

Extended Computer Use Affecting Children and Teenagers’ Eyesight

February 26th, 2016 by Dr. Spears

Computer, tablets, laptops, cell phones and even smart watches are becoming more of our lives. It should be no surprise then that they might affect your vision!

Computer Vision Syndrome, also referred to as Digital Eye Strain, describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems when viewing digital screens for extended periods. The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of digital screen use.

Children and teenagers (ages 8-18) are spending more than 7.5 hours a day consuming electronic media which can cause blurry vision, dry and irritated eyes, headaches, neck pain and back pain. As children grow up in a digital world full of personal computers, hand-held video games, smartphones and e-readers at their disposal, they are increasing their risk of computer vision syndrome (CVS) or digital eye strain.

Eating Green Veggies Reduces Risk of Eye Disease

February 12th, 2016 by Dr. Spears

lettuce_smDiet and exercise make a big difference when it comes to the health of the retina, macula, and optic nerve. In this article published on the Science World Report website, researchers from Harvard University explore the link between eating nitrate-rich vegetables and staving off a form of glaucoma.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Nitrates and leafy green vegetables can help in lowering the risk of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), according to a recent study.

Researchers at the Harvard Medical School found that increasing dietary nitrate intake helped improve blood flow in the eyes and helped to decrease the risk for the condition.

“We found those consuming the most green leafy vegetables had a 20 to 30 percent lower risk of glaucoma,” said study leader Jae Kang. Kang is an assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

During the study, researchers followed up with 63,893 women in the Nurses Health Study, as well as 41,094 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who did not have POAG at two-year intervals during the course of the study.

Researchers identified at 1,483 cases of POAG during a follow-up period–during which participants were divided into five groups based on nitrate intake. Those who reported greater consumption of leafy green vegetables resulted in higher nitrate intake and were 20 to 30 percent less likely to develop POAG.
Participants with higher nitrate intake were also 40 to 50 percent less likely to develop a subtype of the condition that’s known as early paracentral visual field loss–caused by dysfunction of blood flow autoregulation.

“These findings could have important implications for POAG if the association of higher dietary nitrate and green leafy vegetable intake with a lower POAG risk is confirmed in observational or intervention studies,” researchers wrote, in a news release.

This article was published on

What Is Macular Degeneration?

February 3rd, 2016 by Dr. Spears

normaleye_1Do you have a history or family history of macular degeneration? We now have the technology to closely follow you for any changes in the health of your macula. OCT, or optical coherence tomography, has many applications, with one of them being excellent images of the macula — similar to mRI imaging of the brain. If you are, or have a loved one who is, concerned about your eye health, PersonalEYES is your destination.

This article from The American Macular Degeneration Foundation details the types, stages, and causes of this disease. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans – more than cataracts and glaucoma combined. At present, Macular Degeneration is considered an incurable eye disease.

Macular Degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. The retina’s central portion, known as the macula, is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye, and it controls our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces or colors, and see objects in fine detail.

One can compare the human eye to a camera. The macula is the central and most sensitive area of the so-called film. When it is working properly, the macula collects highly detailed images at the center of the field of vision and sends them up the optic nerve to the brain, which interprets them as sight. When the cells of the macula deteriorate, images are not received correctly. In early stages, macular degeneration does not affect vision. Later, if the disease progresses, people experience wavy or blurred vision, and, if the condition continues to worsen, central vision may be completely lost. People with very advanced macular degeneration are considered legally blind. Even so, because the rest of the retina is still working, they retain their peripheral vision, which is not as clear as central vision.

You can read the full article on
Photo Credit: The American Macular Degeneration Foundation

Optometrists Best Equipped to Spot Fabry Disease

February 3rd, 2016 by Dr. Spears

Teen_Eye_ExamFabry disease is a rare genetic disorder, but one of its hallmark signs is easily visible in the cornea during a routine exam. Doctors of optometry who are able to diagnose this often overlooked disease can help patients receive critical treatment.

Fabry disease, which is estimated to occur in 1 in 40,000 live births, is a lysosomal storage disorder in which the enzyme that normally breaks down a particular fatty substance called globotriaosylceramide is defective. This causes the fat to build up over time in blood vessels, which can lead to kidney damage, heart disease and stroke. Fabry disease symptoms usually show up in childhood as pain and discomfort in the hands and feet. Symptoms include the inability to sweat, spontaneous diarrhea and a dark red rash in the area from their navel to their knees. Patients may go undiagnosed for 15 to 20 years or more.

It is not difficult to discover—if doctors know what to look for. Nearly all patients with Fabry disease have corneal verticillata, a golden-brown “whorling” pattern typically seen in the inferior corneal epithelium during a regular exam.

“The whorling is very thin, half a micron thick, so it has no effect on acuity,” says Albert Morier, M.A., O.D., an associate clinical professor of ophthalmology at Albany Medical College in New York.

Certain medications, such as the anti-malarial chloroquine and heart drug amiodarone, also can cause whorling, so doctors should rule out prescription drug use as a cause. However, patients may be taking amiodarone for heart issues related to undiagnosed Fabry disease. Doctors should refer the patient to a genetic specialist, who will conduct DNA testing to confirm Fabry disease. There is no cure, but patients can benefit from enzyme replacement therapy.

Read the rest of the article on Photo credit: The American Optometric Association.