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Welcome to Eye Concepts Optometry

At Eye Concepts, Dr. Barry J. Cohen, OD and staff are available to meet all of your vision care needs. We offer the complete range of eye care services, including eye exams, screening and treatment for glaucoma, specialty lenses, Lasik consultations and co-management, Macular Degeneration DNA testing and more. Dr. Cohen is an Anterior Segment & Dry Eyes specialist. Read More >

Serving Santa Monica and Greater Los Angeles for over 30 Years



What Is a Retinoscopy and Why Is It Used?

retinoscopyHave you been told that you need to have a retinoscopy? This is a specific type of test that is used to determine the refractive error of the eye. This test can help to provide the level of vision the individual has whether it is related to nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Ultimately, this test can provide information as to whether or not there is a need for glasses and at what level those tests are necessary. Overall, this type of testing is very easy and only takes a few minutes. Generally, you do not have to do much during this test.

How Does a Retinoscopy Work?

During this test, the eye doctor will use a retinoscope, which is a hand-held instrument, to beam a light into the eye. This process does not hurt the eye and it is not hard to see through. You will be told to look straight ahead and usually not into the light. The light is moved vertically and then horizontally across the eye while the doctor looks into the eyes at that time. The doctor is looking at the reflected light that is located at the back of the eye. This creates a reflection, which is called a red reflex.

Then, the individual will place a lens in front of the eye. He or she will change the power of the lens during this process to see how the reflection changes. Ultimately, this process allows for the eye doctor to determine what is likely the best prescription or power of lens you need in order to see the most improvement in your vision.

retinoscopyMost commonly, this test is used to determine the prescription and need for glasses I children, though it can also be used in adults. Generally, adults can communicate the improvement to their vision without the need for the doctor to use this test, though. Those who are at a risk for needing glasses but are unable to communicate if a lens is better for them than another, will ultimately need to have this test. Some eye doctors also prefer to offer this test as a way to verify the right prescription is begin given to the individual.
If you have not had an eye exam recently, now is the time to do so. Call us now to schedule a complete eye exam with the best eye doctor in Santa Monica.

Take the step right now to protect your eyes by calling the best Santa Monica eye doctor at 310-464-0229 to schedule an appointment.310-464-0229 

What Are Visual Acuity Tests?

visual acuity testMost people will have a vision screening at some point in their lives. The goal of this type of screening is to get a better idea of how well you can see. And, ultimately, the goal is to determine just how small of writing you can read and at what distance, if any, your vision becomes less clear. This type of test is called a visual acuity test and it is one of the most common types of vision screenings given today because it provides specific information about what you are seeing.

What Does It Do?

A visual acuity test is used by an eye doctor to determine the smallest letters that you can see. This is done using the Snellen chart, or standardized chart that is displayed on a monitor or a card at about 20 feet away from where you are standing or sitting. It is also possible for these charts to be at other distances from you. The goal here is to show you various sized letters to determine how clear your vision is at various levels.

Why Do You Need It?

This is a non-invasive test and it does not take more than a few minutes to complete. When you have it done, usually in the presence of your eye doctor, it will provide very specific information to your eye doctor about the health of your eyes. It is a part of the standard eye exam in most cases. This test can provide individuals with:

  • Information on the quality of their vision
  • Whether or not vision needs to be corrected
  • More accurate information about the vision quality of a child

eye examOpportunities to minimize the risk of permanent damage to the eyes by providing a diagnosis of a condition earlier
If your results from a visual acuity test are not normal, this may mean that you need to wear glasses. In doing so, you may see that your vision improves significantly. Contact lenses may also be an option for many individuals in this case.

In some cases, failing this type of test can also indicate a more progressive type of eye disease or condition. This will allow your doctor to take steps to correct, prevent, or overcome the condition.



If you have not had a visual acuity test in some time, now is the time to do so. Call our offices in S310-464-0229anta Monica to get an eye exam.

Take the step right now to protect your eyes by calling the best Santa Monica eye doctor at 310-464-0229 to schedule an appointment.

Does Your Child Need a Color Blindness Test?

color blind testColor blindness is often a worrisome experience. Take a few minutes to consider if there is any history of color blindness in your family. If so, your child may be at risk for having the condition. However, even if there is no hereditary link, there is still a potential for your child to develop or have this condition. But, what is it, why does it happen, and how do you know if your child is at risk?

Understanding Color Blindness

Though it impacts boys much more commonly than girls, it can impact anyone. In short, those who are color blind cannot see certain colors or may not be able to distinguish between some colors. The following are the most common early signs that color blindness could be a concern for your family member.

  • The child uses the wrong colors on various objects such as when coloring. For example, he or she may color a tree leaf yellow instead of green. This often happens with dark colors.
  • The child smells food before he or she eats it.
  • There is a low attention span when coloring in paperwork.
  • The child is likely to deny any type of color concern. They often have no idea about it.
  • There is a sensitivity present to bright lights.
  • They have an excellent sense of smell and/or night vision.
  • The child cannot or struggles to identify various colors of crayons or the color of an object.
  • They may complain that their head hurts or their eyes hurt frequently, which is more common in situations when the child is looking at something that is the color red on a green background or the other way around.
  • The child will struggle with reading when there are colored words on paper.

color blind testThere are many situations in which it is very hard to determine if a child is color blind or not. The ultimately way to learn if this is a concern is to have the eye have an eye exam that specifically targets their color vision.


This is often a test given to males at a young age, but it can also be given to children of any age when there is a concern or a thought that color blindness may exist.

Call our offices today at 310-464-0229 to schedule a vision screening for your child. You’ll get a screening from the best eye doctor in Santa Monica.

What Is Vision Training?

vision trainingVision training, which is also sometimes called vision therapy, is a type of physical therapy that works to improve the connection between the brain and the eyes. It is one of the best non-surgical options available for common eye-related concerns including lazy eye, double vision, crossed eyes, convergence insufficiency and some disabilities related to learning and reading.

For some people, vision therapy is even effective if they have gotten older and have been told it is too late to treat conditions related to the eye.

Define the Problem

The first step is to have your eyes examined by a trained eye doctor as soon as you notice or think you notice some type of concern related to your vision. Many people need to have their eyes screened at a young age, even before they turn five, especially if there is any indication of eye function limitations. Your child’s family doctor may spot these initially and recommend treatment. Getting it sooner can help to ensure that your child’s eye vision is the best it can be throughout their lifetime.

There are a few things to know about vision training. Here’s how it works:

  • The goal is to progressively exercise the eye muscles. This process will progressively change the way the eye muscles work.
    This should only be done under your eye doctor’s supervision.
  • An in-office consultation is generally the first start and then there are one or two weekly sessions of 30 minutes to an hour of treatment in the office.
  • Most people will also have home reinforcement techniques offered to them to improve the vision even further.
  • The patient will have a customized care plan designed to meet their specific needs. This not only differs from one person to the next, but it will change over the course of the process.eye exam

Generally, this process can help to improve the visual skills a person has over time. It can improve the ease, visual comfort, and efficiency of vision.

For many people, it allows for improvement of the way the brain interprets visual information. If you or your child suffer from any type of vision impairment related to these concerns, it may be helpful to talk to your eye doctor about the benefits of vision training. It may give you the opportunity to achieve a better level of sight.
Call our office to schedule a consultation with the best eye doctor in Santa Monica to learn more about your eye health.

Take the step right now to protect your eyes by calling the best Santa Monica eye doctor at 310-464-0229 to schedule an appointment.

What Is the Difference Between Soft and Rigid Contacts?

eye contactGetting contact lenses, potentially for the first, time, can be a big decision and a process. When you come in to see your eye doctor, he or she will offer suggestions to you about the best type of contact lens for your eyes. There are many factors that play a role in the type of contact one person should have over another.

Ultimately, your eye health is the most important factor. You also may want to consider your lifestyle and other concerns. There are a few things to keep in mind when considering contact lenses that are rigid and those that are soft.

First, realize that rigid contact lenses, also known as GP contact lenses, are not the same as traditional hard lenses from years ago. Those are virtually obsolete. These products are designed to be more flexible, but they offer a high tech solution. They are often known as rigid gas permeable or simply GP lenses. Consider how these stack up with soft lenses:

  • High quality soft lenses are much like GP lenses when it comes to oxygen delivery. In many situations, GP contacts are better because they provide the eyes with more ability to breathe.
  • GP lenses are less comfortable, especially when you just start wearing them, than soft lenses. Because soft lenses tend to fit the eye so easily, they are likely the easy solution right away.
  • When it comes to visual acuity, GP contacts are some of the best. They retain their shape no matter what, even when you blink your eyes.
    This can help those who have astigmatism or those who have a need for bifocals as well.
  • GP lenses are less expensive overall since you do have to replace and clean traditional soft lenses more frequently. They also last longer than soft lenses.
  • When it comes to durability, GP lenses and soft lenses can be a good option. Both products are designed to last a great deal longer than traditional products.

eye contactsIf you are like many people, you want a high quality solution when it comes to contact lenses. Work closely with your eye doctor to find the best choice for your individual needs. You will find that these contact lens options can fit your needs with plenty of versatility between all of the options available. Call our eye doctor in Santa Monica today to schedule a consultation.


Take the step right now to protect your eyes by calling the best Santa Monica eye doctor at 310-464-0229 to schedule an appointment.

How Often Should Your Eyes Be Checked?

eye examGoing in for an eye exam does not take long. In many cases, your health insurance will cover at least one eye exam each year for each person on the plan. And, that is because this type of exam is just as important as having a physical. But, your traditional family doctor does not have the means or the equipment to provide a full eye exam. If you have not come in for an exam in some time, now is the best time to do so. But, how often do you really need to do so?

When Should You Have an Eye Exam?

It is recommended that you have an eye exam, without a debut, when there is any damage or potential damage to your eyes. For example, if you have been in an accident or you are having significant headaches loss of vision, or eye-related health issues seek out your eye doctor for an appointment. You do not want to avoid these types of visits when there are medical concerns at play. In addition to this, follow these guidelines for securing your vision screening.

Children should see the eye doctor:

  • For those under the age of 3, the child’s pediatrician will likely handle most types of eye-related matters.
  • Between 3 and 5, the child should have his or her first vision screening with a traditional eye doctor.
  • School age children should be checked at the point of entering first grade. If there are no symptoms of concerns at this time, and no family history of it, the child should be rechecked every two years.

For adults, consider the following guidelines:

  • kideyeexamFor those who are in their 20s and 30s, schedule an eye exam as often as possible but at least every five to 10 years.
  • For those who are 40 to 54, schedule an eye exam as often as annually but at least every two to four years.
  • For those who are between the ages of 55 and 64, schedule an exam at least one time a year to up to three years.
  • For those who are over the age of 65, schedule an exam every year or every other year.

You may need more frequent exams, especially if you wear glasses or contact lenses now or you have a family history of any type of eye disease. Call our Santa Monica office now to schedule you eye exam with us.

Take the step right now to protect your eyes by calling the best Santa Monica eye doctor at 310-464-0229 to schedule an appointment.

How Does High Blood Pressure Impact Eye Health?

eye healthHigh blood pressure is a concern in and of itself. It is a condition that can lead to a number of complications to your vision as well as to your heart, brain, and other organs in your body. High blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension can develop in the blood vessels located around the eyes. In addition, having untreated high blood pressure in your heart or other blood vessels can also increase risk to your eye health and overall vision.

Here’s what you need to know about how high blood pressure can cause you to lose your vision.

Straining Blood Vessels

When you have high blood pressure in the vessels that feed into the eye and the optical nerve specifically, it can damage those blood vessels. This can cause the blood vessels to narrow and, over time, to bleed. This can cause too much blood pressure force and ultimately leads to the swelling in the optic nerve, which also leads to damage to your vision.

Is Your Blood Pressure Untreated?

eye healthAlthough having high blood pressure is a big deal itself, if it is untreated, the risks are even higher that something will ultimately cause vision loss or limitations. When you come in for an eye doctor visit, your eye doctor will need to examine the blood vessels located in your eye to ensure that they remain healthy.


What’s very common is for these vessels to be at a higher risk of blockages as well as too much optical nerve pressure. If it is untreated, and it remains this way, there is a very high risk of damage to your sight. In many cases, this is permanent damage.

Increasing Your Risk of a Stroke

High blood pressure can also cause a stroke. When you have a stroke, that can lead to brain damage and vision loss. Strokes occur because of the high level of pressure in the blood vessels causing a block of plaque to break off from the lining of the blood vessel. This travels to the brain and cuts off pressure there. This can cause unrepairable damage to the brain.
Ultimately, high blood pressure needs to be treated to help you to avoid the onset of all sorts of medical complications. Call our office to schedule an eye exam with the best eye doctor in Santa Monica to learn more about your needs and risks.

Take the step right now to protect your eyes by calling the best Santa Monica eye doctor at 310-464-0229 to schedule an appointment.

How Does Diabetes Impact Eye Health?

eye careYou’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. You know that this is bad for your health in various ways, but your doctor is telling you that you need to have regular eye screenings as well. How does having diabetes impact the health of your eyes? Many people do not realize that vision problems and overall eye health can deteriorate in those who have diabetes whether or not you are being treated with insulin or not.

It is important to have regular screenings, usually recommended on an annual basis, to look for potential concerns.

What Are the Risks?

The risks associated with diabetes to the eyes are numerous. Those who have the condition are more likely to see vision deteriorate over time. And, there is a very real risk of developing blindness. Most people do not see the condition or complications advance that far, but others do and everyone should be warned and monitoring. Some of the key risks associated with diabetes include:

  • The development of glaucoma is 40 percent more likely in those who suffer from diabetes than those that do not. This worsens even more so as you get older. Glaucoma causes a buildup of pressure in the eyes, which can cause drainage of the aqueous humor, ultimately leading to constriction of the blood vessels and potential damage to the retina and nerve.
  • Cataracts are also a common complication. They are 60 percent more likely to develop in people who have diabetes than in those that do not. You are also likely to get cataracts at a younger age if you have diabetes. This condition can lead to a film that covers the vision field, making it harder to see clear images.
  • Diabetic retinopathy can also be a concern, though there are various types of it. Non-proliferative and proliferative are the most common forms. In both cases, the blood vessels in and around the eyes become blocked and limit overall flow of the blood to the eye.

eye healthIf you have been diagnosed with diabetes, do not put off getting help for the condition. What you will find is that the sooner a condition is spotted, the more likely help can be to improve your vision or slow down the progression of the vision impairment.


Take the step right now to protect your eyes by calling the best Santa Monica eye doctor at 310-464-0229 to schedule an appointment.

Protective Eyewear for Sports

Protective Eyewear for Sports

Your child is playing sports this year. However, you know your child needs to protect his or her eyesight. And, you also may know your child needs to improve vision so that he or she can perform at their best when they are on the field, the diamond, or the court. But, what type of protective eyewear should you choose from your son or daughter? The good news is there are numerous products on the market today that are highly effective and designed to provide ample protection.

First, Understand the Risks

The main reason for a child to wear protective eyewear during sports is to protect from injury to the eye. Being struck in the eye with an object may be one risk. Having someone poke you in the eye is enough. In some rough and tumble sports, this is very common and, as a result, very important to protect against. If your child’s vision is already compromised in any way, protective eyewear is critical to ensuring your son or daughter remains protected throughout game play.

Finding the Right Protection Eyewear Solution

There are a variety of products on the market. Some of the most basic and the most commonly used are simply shield-like goggles placed over the player’s face covering the forehead through the upper nose. These are commonly worn in professional sports because they provide ample protection. If your son or daughter wears prescription glasses, you can often have these products upgraded to include the prescription lens that is necessary to improve his or her vision. This means your child does not have to play wearing glasses.

Protective Eyewear for SportsOther products fit around the face in a more streamlined fashion. They are tight fitting just over the eyes with straps that tie at the back of the head. These products simply look like glasses with a strap to hold them into place. They can be more fashionable and some products are designed to be highly effective.


The key here is to ensure that these glasses fit your son or daughter well and that you have invested in the right lens for them.

If your son or daughter is in need of protective eyewear for any type of sport, call our offices and schedule a consultation with the best eye doctor in Santa Monica. Take the time to look for specific products designed to provide your son or daughter with the very best solution.

Call us at 310-464-0229 to schedule a consultation.

What Should You Look for in Sunglasses?

sunglassesWhen it comes time for summer to roll around, one of the first things you should update is your sunglasses. If you wear glasses, the investment in prescription sunglasses can be an excellent one. It can give your eyes the must needed protection they need from the sun while also giving you the cool and stylish look you want. But, what should you look for when buying these? There are a few things to keep in mind as you do so.

Invest in Eye Protection First

When comparing the products available to you, do not overlook the importance and value of buying sunglasses designed to protect your eyes. While you may like the look of one pair over the other, make sure you are buying the highest level of UV radiation protection available to ensure your eyes are never at risk.
It is a good idea to look at how much UVA protection the prescription sunglasses can offer. The best options block 99 percent of UVA rays. You may be able to choose those with 95 percent blockage, but you do not want to choose anything less than this if you spend a lot of time outdoors.

Check Out the Quality of Sunglasses

Not only do you want a stylish pair of sunglasses, but you are likely investing a good amount of money into these lenses. As a result, you want to invest in sunglasses designed to be highly durable. Look for those that are scratch resistant, for example. If there is damage to the lenses from a scratch, this may lead to damage of the UVA protection. It is also important to look for durable frames that you like but that are also not easily bent or disfigured, especially if you do not plan to wear your sunglasses all that time.

sunglassesThere are numerous options available to today’s consumer in prescription sunglasses. You may be looking for lenses that can change from shaded to clear as you move from within a building to outside of it. You may want sunglasses that have a specific level of tint or shine to them.

The good news is that you will find today’s prescription sunglasses are flexible enough to offer something for everyone. To get started, call our offices at 310-464-0229 and schedule a vision exam or prescription sunglasses consultation with the best eye doctor in Santa Monica and the area.