Q: How do allergies directly affect the eyes?
A: Chronic allergies may lead to permanent damage to the tissue of your eye and eyelids. If left untreated, it may even cause scarring of the conjunctiva, the membrane covering the inner eyelid that extends to the whites of the eyes. Ocular allergies can make contact lens wear almost impossible and are among the many causes of contact lens drop-out. Most common allergy medications will tend to dry out the eyes, and relying on nasal sprays containing corticosteroids can increase the pressure inside your eyes, causing other complications such as glaucoma.
Q: What is Amblyopia?
A: Sometimes called Lazy eye, it is the underdevelopment of central vision in one or sometimes both eyes; it also prevents both eyes from working together.
Q: What exactly is astigmatism?
A: Astigmatism is usually caused by an irregularly shaped cornea, the front surface of the eye. Instead of being a perfect sphere, like a ball bearing or a marble, it can become a little more like a football, being more curved in one direction than the other. This brings light into focus at more than one point on the retina at the back of the eye, resulting in blurry or distorted vision.
Q: What is blue light and why is it dangerous?
A: Blue light is part of visible light and has a wavelength close to UV rays on the light spectrum. It is naturally produced by the sun, given off by fluorescent light bulbs, and emitted by LED screens on computer monitors, tablets, and smartphones. The eye's natural filters do not block blue light and chronic exposure may increase your risk for age-related macular degeneration. Evidence also shows that blue light exposure can lead to sleep problems.
Q: What are cataracts and how can they be treated?
A: Cataracts are a clouding of the lens inside the eye. They are common with age, certain medications and medical conditions. Patients usually feel like they are looking through a dirty window, cannot see colors the way they used to or have increased difficulty with glare. Currently, the treatment is surgery to remove the cloudy lens. Stay tuned for medical advances in cataract treatment in the future!
Q: Do I have to wait until my cataracts are "ripe" before I can have them removed?
A: No! Waiting for cataracts to get "ripe" refers to an outdated surgical technique. Today, we recommend cataract removal when your quality of vision interferes with your quality of life. It is possible to have 20/20 vision, yet be so disabled by glare from headlights or sunlight, that cataract surgery may be the right treatment. We will monitor your cataract progression and help you decide the proper timing of cataract surgery.
Q: My child saw 20/20 at their school physical. That's perfect vision for back to school, right?
A: Maybe! 20/20 only tells us what size letter can be seen 20 feet away. People with significant farsightedness or eye muscle imbalances may see "20/20", but experience enough visual strain to make reading difficult. Eighty percent of learning is visual so include a thorough eye exam in your child's Back-to-School list.
Q: My child is struggling in school. Does he / she need an eye exam?
A: A comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist can often determine if there are visual issues interfering with a child’s ability to perform well in school. Many visual symptoms, some obvious, others less so, can contribute to a child’s poor academic achievement. The most common symptoms to watch out for: blur at distance or near, skipping or re-reading lines or words, reduced reading comprehension, difficulty shifting focus from near to far or far to near, difficulty copying from the smart board, double vision, closing or covering an eye when working at near, headaches -- especially in the forehead, temple, or eyebrow regions, difficulty attending to near work or an avoidance of reading, poor spelling, misaligning numbers in math, unusual head or body posture when working at near. Some of these issues can be alleviated with a good pair of eyeglasses while others may require vision therapy. Vision therapy, like occupational therapy or physical therapy, is a systematic program where the body, in this case the visual system, can be retrained and strengthened to improve it’s ability to function.
Q: What are some of the learning difficulties a child may encounter if they have vision issues?
A: Children may have difficulty reading if their near vision is blurry or the words jump around the page. Older children may have difficulty copying from the board at the front of the class or may struggle with math homework that has multiple questions on the page.
Q: What can I do about Digital Eye Strain?
A: We can help! There are various eyeglass lenses and lens coatings for people of all ages to relieve digital eye strain and ease fatigue after extended reading or computer use. Lens treatments, such as anti-reflective and blue light blocking coatings, protect your eyes and increase comfort. We also prescribe many different types of contact lenses to reduce reading discomfort and make it easier to switch focus from near to far.
Q: Why do my eyes tear up when I am reading or spending time in front of a computer?
A: This may be due to a decreased rate of blinking as you concentrate on reading or working on the computer. When you blink less, less tears are pumped out of the tear drainage system, leading to a welling of the tears. Also, if you have an unstable tear film in conjunction with a decreased rate of blinking, this could lead to reflex tearing. Patients who experience this often have evaporative dry eye, which could be diagnosed with some additional testing.
Q: I work all day on my computer. How can I reduce the strain to my eyes?
A: Usually we recommend that the height of the monitor should be level with the tip of your nose. The screen should be 26 - 30 inches away from your eyes. You can prevent glare from the screen and the harmful effects of blue light by wearing anti-glare lenses and blue light protection. In addition you should follow the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of computer use, you should take a break for 20 seconds by looking at an object that is 20 feet away from you. If you feel that your eyes are suffering from computer use, please call to make an appointment so we can evaluate your condition.
Q: Why do I have difficulty with my bifocal glasses while working on my computer?
A: Many people experience discomfort if they use a desktop computer while wearing bifocals because, to see the monitor at eye level, they look through the top of their eyeglasses, which is the portion for distance vision. To compensate, some patients have to tilt their head upwards to bring the computer into focus on the lower near-vision portion of the lens. However, that's not ideal either, since computer monitors are usually positioned farter away than typical near-vision activities and reading material. One solution for this is to have a separate pair of bifocal computer prescription lenses. In this case, the top part of the glasses has the appropriate power for the monitor at whatever specific distance it is from the eye; the bottom portion of the glasses is the traditional bifocal power for regular near viewing. Also, anti-reflective coatings help reduce eye fatigue and glare from prolonged computer use.
Q: Is too much computer or hand-held device use bad for my child’s eyes?
A: The last few years have seen a radical shift in how our children use their vision. More and more time is spent looking at an electronic screen; TV, computer, cell phone, game device, and so on. Vision scientists have long pointed out that excessive near point tasks can lead to increased myopia (nearsightedness) in children, eyestrain, and headaches. Combined with the potentially damaging effect of the blue light these screens emit, you have the possibility of a dangerous situation. We recommend a common-sense approach. First, limit the time your child has to electronic media. Psychologists, educators, and doctors all agree: too much is not good. Second, practice the 20/20/20 rule. For every twenty minutes of near point tasks, take twenty seconds and look at something twenty feet or more away. In short, take frequent rest breaks. Third, use lenses that are designed for your particular activity. Having the correct eyeglass or contact lens prescription is always the place to start. There are lenses and coatings that not only provide the proper focus, but also block unwanted glare and limit the amount of damaging blue light.
Q: What are progressive computer glasses?
A: Progressive lenses let people clearly see objects at multiple distances by incorporating a prescription for distance, midrange, and near vision. Since they are used full time for all activities like driving and watching TV, the upper portion you see through when looking straight out is for distance vision; you must lift your chin a little to see the computer through the midrange portion. Progressive computer glasses, however, are made for heavy computer use. When looking straight ahead, your eyes focus on your computer and when you look down, you can read. Some lenses can focus out 5 feet, others out to 10 feet. Generally speaking, progressive computer lenses are for computers and reading due to their larger midrange zone and are not recommended for driving. They can be perfect for anyone who spends long hours in front of a monitor.
Q: I have eye allergies, are daily contact lenses better for me than monthlies?
A: The main benefits of daily disposable contact lenses are comfort, convenience and eye health; it's often worthwhile even though they cost a little more. Daily lenses only stay in your eyes for one day, and then get thrown away, eliminating any buildup of bacteria on the lenses that could cause infections or allergic reactions. So for patients who suffer from allergies, dailies are better than monthlies.
Q: What age can you start wearing contact lenses?
A: There's no set age limit for contact lenses; whenever mom says it's okay, it's okay! Typically children start using contacts at age 12 or 13. Daily or 1-Day lenses are easier for children and teens because they require zero maintenance and are a safer option for younger wearers.
Q: What type of contact lenses are best for children?
A: We recommend daily disposable contact lenses for children. Daily disposables allow the patient to have a sterile, fresh lens every day. Many infections occur when patients do not properly disinfect their contact lenses with solution. Daily disposables eliminate this step completely, and help decrease the risk for contact-lens-related problems. Also, you won't have to keep track of when the contacts need to be replaced, as they are thrown away at the end of every day, instead of after two weeks or a month.
Q: Do you carry contacts that can change my eye color?
A: Yes, AirOptix Colorblends was released by Alcon to provide exceptional comfort, vision, and eye health, in a variety of color options.
Q: What happens if I wear my contacts longer than recommended?
A: The longer a contact lens is worn, the less oxygen the eye receives. The cornea needs to receive oxygen directly from the air, and contact lenses inhibit this process to some extent. If your eyes don't get enough oxygen, you can have symptoms including eye pain, blurred vision, red eyes, light sensitivity, tearing and irritated eyes. If you experience any of these symptoms from contact lens over-wear, make sure to see your eye doctor. You may need to be treated for any damage to your eye, and you may need to take a break from wearing your lenses.
Q: Can I wear contacts while I sleep?
A: Generally, we do not recommend sleeping in contact lenses on a regular or prolonged basis. The eye is a dark, warm place while you are sleeping. Bacteria thrive in dark, warm places. There are contact lenses FDA approved to sleep in, but they should always be removed and thoroughly disinfected every week.
Q: Can beauty supply stores or flea markets sell contacts?
A: No, contact lenses are medical devices that are regulated by the government. It is illegal for beauty supply stores or flea markets to sell contacts, even cosmetic lenses, and even if they aren't for vision correction. All contact lenses (including decorative ones) require a valid prescription, and only certified vendors can sell them. It can be very dangerous for your eyes to wear counterfeit lenses. You should contact your local police department.
Q: Why do my eyes feel irritated when I wear contacts?
A: There can be countless reasons why someone’s eyes may be irritated with contact lens wear. Here are 5 of the most common reasons that we come across. 1. Dry Eye: Dry eye symptoms affect more than 20 million people in the U.S., according to one Allergan study. Symptoms can include a burning sensation, excessive tearing, and redness. Some contact lenses can work better than others for dry eye patients. 2. Allergies / GPC: Many people suffer from different degrees of allergies associated with contact lens wear. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC) is when bumps develop under the lid, where the constant blinking motion over the contact lens can irritate the eyes. There are many effective strategies for contact lens wear and allergies. Daily disposable contact lenses can have tremendous benefits for contact lens wearers with seasonal allergies. 3. Lid involvement / Meibomian Gland Dysfunction / Blepharitis: Our eyelids have a complex system that properly lubricates the eyes. When one component of it gets out of whack, it can dramatically affect the comfort of contact lens wear. There can also be different types of buildup on eyelashes, that can then fall into the eyes and irritate the surface. 4. Chronic Abuse of Contact Lenses / Overwear: Many of us have heard contact lens wearers say something like, “I wear my contacts until they start to bother me.” That strategy is like changing the oil after the car breaks down. 5. Fit / Type of Contact Lenses: Whether it’s dated technology, an old school lens, or a lens that’s too loose or tight, there are many aspects of contact lens wear that can be affected by the fit and type of lens used. A person’s history is important in determining what contact lens may work best for them, including certain systemic conditions, as well as the factors mentioned above. Visit your eye doctor, so we can diagnosis the issue, and try to help you feel more comfortable with wearing contact lenses.
Q: I wear contact lenses, but now I’m having trouble seeing clearly to read things up close. What can I do?
A: There are several options but first, it’s important to get a routine eye exam to make sure that your prescription is up-to-date. If it turns out that you need corrective lenses for near vision and distance vision, there are several choices to allow a patient to see at all distances: monovision contacts, multifocal contacts, or distance only contacts with reading glasses over the lenses. Monovision works by correcting one eye for distance and the other for near. With this modality, the two eyes do not work together as a team. It will require some adaptation. Multifocals work by correcting both eyes for distance and near. With this option, getting clear vision at one distance can blur the vision at another distance; the goal is to be spectacle-free with acceptable vision 90% of the time. Distance-only contacts with reading glasses will provide the clearest vision at all distances, but requires the use of glasses for anything up close. The option that is right for you will depend on multiple factors and can be discussed with your optometrist.
Q: I was recently diagnosed with diabetes, and the glasses I had before don't help me see better anymore. What should I do?
A: Diabetes can have many effects on the eyes, including changes in vision. Because you are diabetic most basic health insurance plans will cover your yearly eye exam with an optometrist. These annual check-ups are very important when you are diabetic as your eye doctor will ensure your prescription is stable as well as monitor the health of your eyes for any changes related to your diabetes. We watch for bleeding at the back of the eye from diabetic retinopathy, as well as other ocular diseases such as glaucoma. Please call our office to book your eye exam as soon as possible.
Q: What is diabetic retinopathy?
A: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is an eye disease that can occur at any stage and with any type of diabetes. In fact, sometimes diabetes is identified during an eye exam in a person who never suspected it. It is caused by damage to the very delicate blood vessels within the retina at the back of the eye. As DR progresses, these blood vessels may start to leak blood and fluid into the retina or other areas of the eye, and new vessels may begin to grow within the retina, which can cause vision loss, and sudden complications including internal bleeds and retinal detachment.
Q: How do I know if I have Dry Eye?
A: Dry eye syndrome can only be diagnosed by an eye doctor. We take your symptoms into account, including the eyes feeling dry, burning, itchy or irritated. Watery eyes and blurry vision are also common because the tears, which protect the outermost surface of the eye, can be unstable.
Q: What are some of the warning signs of Dry Eye? How is it best detected?
A: Warning signs of dry eye can accumulate gradually over time. For example, contact lens wearers may incorrectly assume their lenses are old and need to be replaced. Other times, the eyes become watery, burn, or itch. Many cases are sub-clinical – they can only be diagnosed with the use of microscopic detection and special equipment! We look at tear quality, tear meniscus, and gland structure. Research suggests testing the tear osmolarity is a reliable indicator of dry eye disease, for pre-treatment and post-treatment assessment.
Q: What are the typical treatments used to help people suffering from Dry Eyes?
A: Treatment for dry eye depends on the cause, severity, and stage of the disease. Artificial tears can be helpful in the early stages. If over-the-counter eye drops are insufficient, we progress to a prescription medication such as Restasis or Xiidra. Lid hygiene as well as omega-3 fish oil supplementation can improve symptoms. Anti-inflammatory medications as well as punctal plugs are also available if needed for treatment.
Q: My eye is suddenly red and irritated/painful, what should I do?
A: Whenever you get a red eye, it is very important to make an emergency eye appointment immediately with our eye doctor to see what the cause is. Some red eyes will go away with rest, but some are vision threatening and could cause blindness within 24 hours (ie. If the cause was a microorganism from contact lens wear). If you wear contact lenses, remove them immediately and do not wear until the redness subsides. Our doctor uses a high magnification slit lamp to examine your eyes to determine the exact cause of the problem and will treat accordingly. A family doctor usually does not have the necessary equipment and will treat based on your symptoms only. If your eyes need antibiotic eye drops, our eye doctor can prescribe the proper ones for your condition.
Q: What should I do if I have a red eye that is not getting better?
A: This should be checked immediately, as not all red eyes are caused by infections or allergies. Although rare, some red eyes may be due to an increase in eye pressure, which can lead to blindness. Others may be caused by internal eye inflammation which can lead to vision loss as well. We recommend that ALL red eyes be evaluated, since the exact cause needs to be professionally determined.
Q: What exactly is pink eye?
A: Pink eye is really anything that makes the eye pink. The official term is conjunctivitis, meaning an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the mostly transparent, skinnish like covering over the white of the eye. When the eye is irritated, the conjunctiva swells and blood vessels in it dilate, giving the eye a pink or reddish appearance. Many different agents can lead to this, including bacteria, viruses, allergens, and toxic or mechanical irritants. Treatment and contagion protection depend on the specific cause. Often the cause can be determined based on history, eye appearance with specialized instruments, and symptoms. Viral pinkeye, for example, is typically associated with increased light sensitivity, whereas itching is a key sign in allergic pink eye. There is a good deal of overlap with all kinds, however. Bacterial and viral pinkeye are both contagious, and fairly common. With any pink eye, particularly if it is getting worse, or not getting any better within a day, it’s best to be seen by an eye care practitioner. She or he will have the experience, knowledge and instrumentation to provide the most efficient treatment and recommendations.
Q: I see fine. Why do I need to see an Eye Doctor?
A: Regular eye exams are the only way to catch “silent” diseases such as diabetes, glaucoma and other conditions in their early stages, when they’re more easily managed or treated. Considering mass-produced, over-the-counter reading glasses? You are truly doing yourself a disservice, both financially and medically. One-size-fits-all reading glasses not only do not work well for most people who have a different prescription in each eye, and/or astigmatism, or whose lens and frame parameters are not measured correctly. Moreover, they bypass the opportunity to have their eyes checked for early detection of many manageable diseases or conditions. For those insisting on selecting glasses not measured specifically for their eyes, headache and eye fatigue are common symptoms.
Q: Why do I have to have my eyes dilated?
A: A thorough, dilated exam allows your optometrist to do a complete exam of the retina, and that is important to do throughout your life, as several eye diseases and conditions are detected at their earliest stages during a thorough eye exam: diabetes, eye tumors, high blood pressure, infectious diseases, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, glaucoma
Q: As an eye doctor, have you ever saved someone’s life?
A: It does not happen often, as you can imagine, but there are times when an eye exam can lead to a medical disease diagnosis or might even discover a condition that is life threatening. One such story goes like this: A patient came in to get some new glasses. He was in remission for cancer and was finished with treatment and so he came to get some new glasses. Upon testing him, the eye doctor noticed he was having trouble counting fingers in certain quadrants of his vision. A test called a Visual Field test that specifically isolates the size and density of the loss, and comparing it to the other eye, was able to isolate the likely area in his brain that this field defect originated from. A letter was sent to his physician telling the doctor where to look in the brain, and the MRI confirmed the cancer had traveled to the patient’s brain in the area of the field defect. Thankfully it was caught so early the tumor was very small, and the patient is doing well. He thanks his optometrist every time he visits, for catching the defect, because he knows that had it grown a little larger, he would likely be dead. The moral of the story is: Eye exams are valuable for more than just new glasses.
Q: What is the Optomap? Is it important?
A: Absolutely! A major part of your eye examination is when your eye doctor looks through the pupil and examines the inside of the eye. Evaluating the retina is an extremely important health test that should be done regularly, especially since many of the eye diseases we routinely diagnose do not have any symptoms. The Optomap is a fast, easy, inexpensive way of quickly taking a very thorough and detailed image of the inside of the eye. It provides several benefits to the patient. First, it creates a digital record of the inside of the eye, which can be referred to in the future to make sure the eye is healthy and stable. Second, it provides your doctor with multiple images that help them assess certain types of eye problems in ways that they cannot with the naked eye. Third, it is much more comfortable for the patient compared to the extended light sensitivity that comes with dilation. Finally, it is just plain cool. Many people are curious about what we look at during the eye examination and the Optomap allow us to look inside the eye together. Your doctor typically uses the Optomap and a special microscope to look inside the eye and assess the health of the retina. The doctor is looking for cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal tears, or any other eye diseases. Depending on the appointment or symptoms, your doctor may recommend Optomap, dilation, or both.
Q: At what age should I bring my child in for her first eye exam? And how much does it cost?
A: The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends that the first eye exam be done at the age of 6 months, then next around the age of 3, and then yearly thereafter. Your Optometrist may recommend more frequent eye exams if he or she has something they want to monitor more closely. As for the cost; luckily, in many Provinces in Canada, children’s eye exams are covered by the provincial health care provider until the child’s 19th birthday. It’s not just “once per year” either; a child can come in as often as necessary and the province will cover it.
Q: Are electronic devices really unhealthy for my eyes or is it all hype?
A: Our heavy use of electronic devices is causing Digital Eye Strain for people of all ages. Hoya research shows that 61% of adults experience eye strain due to prolonged use of electronic devices. Nearly 25% of children are on digital devices 3 or more hours per day and 40% of Millennials spend 9 or more hours per day on digital devices. The benefits of technology have a downside, especially fatigue brought on by stress to the accommodative (focusing) system. This stress can lead to headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision and difficulty when focusing from distance to near.
Q: Can I borrow someone else's glasses?
A: Eyeglasses are specifically customized for a particular patient. If you are wearing someone else's glasses, while it could improve your vision somewhat, it will not give you the crisp clear vision that a personalized pair of glasses does. And, it may even do more harm than good. Not recommended!
Q: How often should I have my glasses prescription checked?
A: The American Optometric Association recommends yearly eye-health examinations. As part of a comprehensive eye exam your optometrist will not only check your glasses prescription for changes, but he/she will also evaluate your eye health. Every patient needs to be regularly monitored for glaucoma and other eye conditions. For adults, it’s important to screen for age-related ocular diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration. Certain medical conditions, like diabetes, require annual eye-health exams, to monitor the potential side-effects they can have on the eyes. For children, visual dysfunction conditions like “lazy eye” and “crossed eyes,” can be missed with school vision screenings alone, so yearly eye exams are recommended for kids too. A regular complete eye examination is an integral part of routine health care.
Q: Is it a bad sign if I see dots or strings that float around when I move my eyes?
A: Usually, the dots and threads you describe are called floaters, and are generally harmless. If you had a recent eye injury or an impact to the eye, see a new onset of them, see a lot of them, or if they're accompanied by flashes of light, make an emergency eye appointment with our eye doctor so that we can make sure there aren’t any concerning problems forming on your retina, such as retinal holes, tears, or detachments, which case could potentially result in permanent vision loss. Most often, floaters are just shadows caused by the jelly-like vitreous fluid inside your eyes.
Q: I am seeing some black/grey dots and/or strings in my vision that float around when I move my eyes, should I be concerned?
A: Most of these dots and threads are called floaters and are generally harmless. However, if you had a recent eye injury or an impact to the eye, see a new onset of them, see a lot of them, or accompanied by flashes of light, make an emergency eye appointment with our eye doctor so that we can make sure there aren’t any concern your retina. Floaters are generally harmless unless they are accompanied by retinal holes, tears, or detachments, in which case you could potentially have permanent vision loss.
Q: Tax Dollars: If I have flex money available towards an eye exam, what do you recommend I use it towards or what does it cover?
A: Flex money isn't on any eye care plan but just money that comes from your job. If you need an eye exam that comes first, but right after would be eyeglasses. Glasses are something that they can pocket and most of the time, flex money can cover most, if not all, the cost of a pair.
Q: What exactly is glaucoma?
A: Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye's intraocular pressure (IOP) is too high. This means that your eye has too much aqueous humor in it, either because it produced too much, or because it's not draining properly. Other symptoms are optic nerve damage and vision loss. Glaucoma is a silent disease that robs the patient of their peripheral vision. Early detection is very important.
Q: Will my insurance plan cover my new glasses?
A: Most insurance plans only cover a portion of the cost for a new pair of glasses. While your insurance may provide a great saving to you, it may still cost you to have the quality of protection and comfort in vision you are hoping for.
Q: Am I a good candidate for refractive surgery?
A: Patients who are at least 18 years of age, have healthy eyes that are free from retinal problems, corneal scars, and any eye diseases are generally suitable. Many patients who are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism are potential candidates. We will also discuss your lifestyle needs to help you decide if LASIK is the best alternative for you. If you would like to schedule a free LASIK consultation, please contact our office.
Q: How can I reduce the thickness and weight of my eyeglass lenses?
A: Eyeglass lenses are available in a variety of different materials that will reduce both thickness and weight. Smaller frames can reduce lens thickness and weight. Your eye care professional will consider prescription, frame size, and your individual lifestyle as factors in helping you decide which lens material will be best for you.
Q: How can I stop glare at night or at a computer?
A: There can be many causes for this condition. However, many times this problem can be alleviated, or even dismissed, with the use of non-glare lenses. First and foremost, however, annual or semi annual eye exams are the ONLY avenue to your eye health, and the ONLY resource to ascertain the correct reason or cause for any ailment! That being said, and once any medical or physical condition is removed as a possibility of cause, then the perfect solution for glare on computer screens, or glare from night driving would be CRIZAL® Advanced with Scotchguard. CRIZAL® has made astronomical advances with new non-glare technology. Most non-glare lenses have an non-glare coating applied to a finished lens. CRIZAL® has discovered how to manage a lens with new non-glare technology, so the lens is not non-glare coated, but the non-glare actually becomes a component of the lens. This is accomplished during the manufacturing of the lens, thereby giving superior resiliency, scratch protection, and durability.
Q: What exactly is macular degeneration?
A: Macular degeneration is a condition in which the eye's macula breaks down, causing a gradual or sudden loss of central vision. There are two forms called wet and dry. Patients need a detailed retinal eye exam to determine if they have this condition.
Q: Do eye vitamins help stop macular degeneration?
A: While there is no definitive cure for macular generation, only treatments to halt or slow the progression, eye vitamins are shown in some studies to help strengthen the macula and aid in keeping this central area of the retina stable. Vitamins for this condition need to be rich in Lutein, Zeaxanthine, and Omega 3’s such as fish oil. Most vitamins for the eye can be found over the counter without a prescription.
Q: What causes myopia?
A: Myopia is caused by a combination of environmental factors and heredity. Studies show that if we can move the focal point in front of the mid peripheral retina we can slow the progression of myopia. The increased use of cell phones and computers, as well as less time outdoors is probably a contributing factor.
Q: Why shouldn't I buy my eye wear over the internet?
A: We feel it is important that proper measurements are taken and the frames are fitted for your face when choosing eyewear. There are certain measurements we utilize outside of just the "PD" (pupillary distance, which is the measurement between the eyes) that ensure a proper fit and centration of the lenses in the frame. This will enhance the optics of the lenses and the comfort of the prescription. This is especially important with patients who have an astigmatism, high prescriptions and patients who are progressive wearers.
Q: From what age should a parent be bringing in their children for an eye exam?
A: I like to see children for a comprehensive eye examination around age 4 or 5. Children should have a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist before starting kindergarten in order to identify any problems that could affect reading and/or the child’s ability to learn.
Q: We hear a lot about “seeing your eye doctor regularly.” In school aged children, ages 5 through 17, what does regularly mean?
A: Annually is recommended. Children change quickly and often do not complain about vision and/or are unaware what ‘normal’ might be.
Q: Why can I no longer focus on objects up close?
A: Vision changes occur naturally as you age. When you reach your 40’s, focusing at close range becomes difficult. This is a natural part of the aging process caused by a gradual hardening of the eye’s crystalline lens, reducing its ability to change shape and focus at near. This condition is called Presbyopia.
Q: What are progressive lenses and how do they differ from ordinary bifocals?
A: Progressive addition lenses feature a continuous, clear field of vision from distance, through the intermediate ranges to near without the use of annoying bifocal lines. Bifocal lenses use very old technology. Abrupt and awkward changes between distance and near prescriptions are separated by annoying lines that can be frustrating to wear. Please discuss with our optometrist to see if progressive lenses would be right for you.
Q: What are the signs of a retinal detachment?
A: A detachment of the retina may be preceded by flashes of light, increased “floater” spots in the vision or areas of “wavy, distorted vision”, etc. Most retinal detachments are painless. They can happen as a result of recent or past trauma such as falls, automobile accidents or other types of head injury. In some instances, people may be at risk for retinal detachments based on family history and increased nearsightedness. If you experience any of the above symptoms, consult your eye care professional as soon as possible.
Q: Why should I take an image of my retina during my eye exam?
A: A picture can say a 1000 words, and this saying holds true with the eye. There are many components of the eye, but one of the most important parts of the eye is the retina,which is located in the back of the eye behind the pupil and lens inside. The retina is responsible for converting light energy into chemical signals that are then transferred via the optic nerve to the brain, where that information is processed, resulting in our vision. There are no pain receptors within the retina, and so you will never feel any issues in the retina that may be life threatening, such as melanomas, and sight threatening, such as glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy. Changes within the retina can cause vision loss, therefore it is important for us to get imaging in the back of the eye so that we can check for any retinal disease, such as Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma, and so that we can establish a normal baseline so that we can monitor any changes more accurately. Dilations are also necessary for us to evaluate the back of the eye as well as imaging to ensure we have a complete overall sense of the eye.
Q: At what age should someone start wearing sunglasses?
A: We recommend starting children young, as we now know that UV rays from sunlight is damaging to many parts of the eye, including the skin around the eyes. UV light is known to cause cancer, cataracts, and macular degeneration, so starting children young in sunglasses should provide them a lifetime of protection from UV light, and help to keep their eyes healthier in their later years.
Q: What exactly does "20/20 vision" mean?
A: "20/20 vision" is commonly accepted as the standard of normal distance vision for a human being. Basically it means "good visual acuity at 20 feet." So if your vision is 20/20, you can read certain sizes of letters on a Snellen chart clearly at 20 feet or closer. But if your friend has 20/15 vision, his visual acuity is better than yours: you would have to stand 15 feet away from the chart to read the smaller letters that he can read while standing 20 feet away. Conversely, someone with 20/30 vision has worse distance vision than you. By the way, visual acuity at a distance isn't the only measure of how good your vision is. You could have 20/20 distance vision but still have difficulty seeing at night because of poor contrast sensitivity. Or you could have near vision problems because you're over 40 and experiencing presbyopia.