Q: Is there any way to prevent macular degeneration?
A: Doctors aren't sure how to prevent macular degeneration. Research suggests that ultraviolet light (and possibly blue light) factors into the problem, so sunglasses could be very beneficial. What you eat also affects your macula. Researchers know that antioxidants (vitamins A, C and E), zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin and essential fatty acids all can aid in preventing and slowing down macular degeneration. Read more about nutrition and eye health. Ask your doctor about recommended nutritional supplements. Exercising and quitting smoking might also be helpful.
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.
Q: What are the common symptoms of OCULAR allergies?
A: Excessive tearing, frequent eye rubbing, constant irritation especially in the corners of your eyes closest to the nose, lid swelling or puffy eyes, and red or pink eyes are some of the most common ocular allergy symptoms.
Q: I have seasonal allergies. How come my eyes are still itchy even after I take a Claritin pill?
A: You may need an anti-allergy eye drop to target the symptoms in the eye. Sometimes, oral antihistamine medications are not that effective at treating the ocular symptoms, especially within the first few days of treatment. In fact, many of them can cause dry eyes, which worsens eye discomfort. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, over-the-counter or prescription-strength eye drops can provide relief.
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: Does reading my smartphone or tablet in the dark damage my eyes?
A: Reading from a tablet or smartphone in the dark is okay for your eyes, as long as it's not for a long period of time. These devices have decent lighting and good contrast. However, they give off blue light, and long-term exposure may cause damage to the structures of the eye. As well, studies have shown that blue light at night disrupts melatonin production and interferes with healthy sleep cycles. Optometrists recommend wearing blue light blocking eyewear for extended digital device use, and limiting screen time during the last hour before bedtime.
Q: My doctor says I have a cataract, but he wants to wait a while before removing it. Why?
A: A cataract usually starts very small and practically unnoticeable, but grows gradually larger and cloudier. Your doctor is probably waiting until the cataract interferes significantly with your vision and your lifestyle. You need to continue to visit your eye doctor regularly so the cataract's progress can be monitored. Some cataracts never really reach the stage where they should be removed. If cataracts are interfering with your vision to the point where it is unsafe to drive, or doing everyday tasks is difficult, then it's time to discuss surgery with your eye doctor.
Q: What is a cataract? How will I know when I have one? What can be done to fix it?
A: A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens. The crystalline lens sits behind the iris, or the colored part of the eye. Its function is to fine tune our focusing system by changing shape as we view objects at different distances. Our lens eventually loses its ability to change shape; this is when we require reading glasses or bifocals. In addition, the crystalline lens can become cloudy or yellow as a part of normal aging. This is also known as an age-related cataract. Normal, age-related cataracts are unavoidable and everyone will develop them at some point if they live long enough. The discoloration of the lens leads to an overall blur, a decrease in contrast sensitivity, and a worsening of glare, especially at nighttime. Because they tend to develop gradually, the symptoms are often unnoticed by the patient. A yearly eye exam will allow your optometrist the opportunity to identify the cataracts and advise on how to proceed. When you and your optometrist determine that your cataracts are affecting your vision and are advanced enough to require removal, you will meet with an ophthalmologist. Cataract surgery is a safe and effective out-patient procedure that will reverse any vision loss caused by the cataracts; and it is usually covered by your medical insurance.
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: 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: Can I wear my contact lenses at the beach?
A: Technically, no, it's not a good a good idea to wear contacts at the beach, because there's a risk of infection. However, disposable contact lenses that you'll throw out when you get home from the beach would be okay. Just make sure that, if you experience any redness or irritation, you remove them and flush your eyes out with a saline solution if available, or clean water. If the redness or irritation continues, call our office for further instructions.
Q: We have many choices today to correct our vision. What do you recommend as the earliest age for contact lenses?
A: This is very patient-specific and task-specific. Once the parent and child agree on the goals, and if the child is responsible enough for contacts, we can begin assess each situation individually. For example, disposable contacts may be used specifically for a sport, as needed.
Q: Who can wear contact lenses and at what age can you start?
A: Just about anyone can wear contact lenses, however occasionally a patient's ocular surface health may not allow them to wear contacts. A contact lens exam including a complete evaluation will determine if a patient is a good candidate for contacts. We suggest that children over the age of 10 can wear contacts as long as the parents feel their child is going to be responsible to care for the contact lenses and the child feels he/she is motivated in wanting to wear them.
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 are the pros of daily disposable contact lenses?
A: Daily disposable contact lenses are great for many reasons. The risk of infection is reduced, because a new sterile lens is used everyday, and there is no need to clean the lens or the case. This is also a great option for patients who have allergies, contact lens solution sensitivities, or dry eye, as it eliminates the buildup of contaminants on the lenses, which can exacerbate those problems. Dailies make for a low-maintenance and comfortable option for almost any patient!
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: Is wearing contacts better for sports activity?
A: Yes, wearing contacts provide a wider field of view, which can up your game and prevent avoidable injuries. Prescription sports goggles work well but, depending on the activity, they may fog up and slip around from sweat, so many of my physically active patients prefer contacts.
Q: I wear multifocal eyeglasses. Is it possible for me to wear contact lenses?
A: Of course! There are several different types of multifocal contact lenses, and we specialize in fitting each patient with the one that will be the most comfortable and correct his or her vision the best. There are bifocal, multifocal, and monovision lenses to choose from, and they're available in Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) or soft contact lenses. Depending on your prescription and what is most comfortable, we will fit you with a contact lens that will provide you with great vision. There are 3 good options for patients who want to use contact lenses to correct distance and near vision at the same time. Most patients can be successful with either multifocal contact lenses or monovision. Both of those options would make you glasses free. Some people prefer having contact lenses for distance and then wearing "cheaters" when they need to read. The right decision is usually based on your lifestyle and visual demands.
Q: Can you explain what multifocal contact lenses are and who can wear them?
A: Multifocal contact lenses are soft contacts or rigid gas permeable contact lenses that are appropriate for anyone with a prescription for distance vision and near vision, common in patients with presbyopia. They are available in different modalities, from single-use disposable lenses to monthlies, or even much longer. Most designs have one power in the center that changes toward the periphery of the lens and they can be adjusted to emphasize better distance or near correction for either eye as required. The advantage is that patients can reduce or eliminate the need for reading glasses while maintaining good distance vision. People in their 40s and later are good candidates for multifocal lenses, as this is the time when it becomes increasingly difficult to focus at near. Often these patients are already wearing contact lenses so making the switch is a natural thing to do. Motivation and flexibility, as well as healthy corneas and a good tear film improve the likelihood of multifocal contact lens success. A trial fitting will give you a good idea if these lenses are right for you.
Q: Can I wear contacts when I'm swimming?
A: Contact lenses should never be in contact with regular water, tap or pool water. The contacts act like magnets that hold bacteria found in water, which can cause harm to the eyes. However, we understand that sometimes when swimming, it is hard to see without your contacts, and glasses aren’t an option. For these reasons, we generally recommend daily contact lenses when swimming, along with waterproof goggles. If daily disposable lenses aren’t an option, we recommend using your contact lenses along with waterproof goggles and when you are done that evening, remove the lenses and thoroughly clean them with the proper disinfection systems. Whatever you do, DO NOT SWIM IN YOUR CONTACT LENSES AND THEN PROCEED TO SLEEP IN THEM. This is a recipe for disaster and can cause significant damage to your eyes. Serious swimmers should consider prescription goggles instead.
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: I woke up with my eyes glued together with some white/yellow sticky stuff, what should I do?
A: There could be several causes for this including bacterial or viral eye infections, corneal abrasions, or corneal ulcers. These can sometimes be vision threatening and should be seen on the same day. Make an emergency eye appointment with us so our eye doctor can determine the exact cause and treat accordingly.
Q: I woke up with a red eye, but it’s not painful. Should I wait a few days or have it seen right away?
A: It is always a good idea to come to see our eye doctor to make sure if it is something threatening to your vision, but most often red eyes that aren’t painful could be due to subconjunctival hemorrhages or viral infections. Subconjunctival hemorrhages look like small pools of blood on the whites of the eyes which are harmless if only confined to the outside of the eye; however, could be vision threatening if also on the inside of the eye. Call for an emergency appointment so that our eye doctor can determine what the problem really is and treat if necessary.
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: I recently got hit in the eye by a ball/pole/fist/other object, should I have it checked out?
A: Yes! Even if there is only minor bruising on the outside around your eye, our doctor will examine the eye to ensure none of the structures have shifted from their original positions, assess if there are any abrasions on the cornea, and make sure that the retina has not been torn in any way. Make an appointment with our eye doctor: the sooner the better!
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: 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: What can I do to prevent eye fatigue?
A: Eye health issues can all lead to difficulty with near related visual tasks. Here are 5 Simple Tips for Avoiding Eye Strain from Near Vision Tasks. 1. Good posture: Whether you’re lying or sitting as you perform near tasks, having good posture can dramatically help with eye strain. If not, then you may be reading where one eye is farther away from the reading material than the other eye. If the head is angled away from the material, one eye’s view of the near task can often be completely blocked by the nose. Sit up straight, and face the reading material where both eyes appear equidistant from the reading material. Children are often the biggest culprits of poor posture when performing near tasks. 2. Incline of the reading material: If a page is lying on a flat surface like a table when you read it, the top part of the page is typically farther from the eye than the bottom part of the page. Then when you read across, line by line, from top to bottom, the distance between the reading material and your eyes is constantly changing. This causes the eyes to work harder. By propping the reading material up at an angle, it makes the top and bottom of the reading material more equidistant, thus making the eyes work less than when the material is on a flat surface. 3. Good lighting and contrast on your book/near task: With tablets, computers, and smart phones, we can usually have decent contrast. If the material is a book, or paper, it’s very important to have plenty of direct lighting on the reading material. This sounds simple, but too many people take this for granted, and then wonder why they get eye fatigue after reading for short periods of time. 4. Move your reading material a little bit farther away from your eyes: This can be especially effective for those approaching 40 and beyond! This doesn’t mean that you have to hold the near task as far from you as possible. Just be sure that it’s not too close to your face, and if you do get eye strain, try moving the near task a few inches farther from your eyes than you normally do. Children may lie on the floor or bed, and read or use hand-held devices positioned way too close to their faces, and often need to be reminded to adjust it, especially when they’re “in the zone” playing on a device. 5. If you have more than one simultaneous near task, try to make the multiple near tasks more equidistant: Many of my patients work on more than one monitor, or have a computer and also near-work beneath the monitor. If they have eye strain, I’ll often recommend that they try to make the monitors and multiple near tasks more equidistant, to reduce eye strain. Be sure that you and your family members have annual eye health examinations. These tips do not replace having an annual eye health examination, updating your glasses/contacts if necessary, and visiting your optometrist if you have any visual or eye health problems in between routine eye doctor's appointments.
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: What are floaters and are they dangerous?
A: Older individuals sometimes notice spots and specks floating across their fields of vision, particularly when looking up at the sky or other solid-hued backgrounds. While these “floaters” may initially arouse concern, they are generally nothing to worry about. These floating thread- like fragments are actually strands of collagen (a protein) that commonly occur as a result of shrinkage of the “vitreous humor” (the gel-like substance inside the eye). As we age, the vitreous humor shrinks and the fine collagen fibers it contains become thread-like. Like clouds in the sky, they can block the light hitting the retina, thereby creating shadows that we see as floaters. No treatment is required, but sudden increases or sudden flashes of light should prompt immediate treatment. Although seeing “floaters” typically does not signal a problem, there are some instances where a retinal detachment may occur. Just as you routinely have your teeth cleaned and blood pressure checked, you should also have your eyes examined. Floaters most often occur among people between the ages of 50 and 75, especially in very nearsighted individuals and cataract patients.
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: How do I tell that I am developing glaucoma?
A: The real tragedy behind vision-stealing glaucoma is that most people afflicted with this eye disease do not even realize they have it. As a result, the condition goes undiagnosed and untreated, which too often leads to unnecessary blindness. Of the 2.7 million people in the United States with glaucoma, half are undiagnosed. Most are lulled into a false sense of confidence because glaucoma often displays no symptoms in its early stages. By the time it begins to affect vision, any lost sight is impossible to regain. The risk of developing glaucoma begins to increase dramatically at midlife, which is why everyone should have a baseline exam by age 40. The most important concern is protecting your sight. Doctors look at many factors before making decisions about your treatment. If your condition is particularly difficult to diagnose or treat, you may be referred to a glaucoma specialist. While glaucoma is most common in middle-aged individuals, the disease can strike at any age, with those having a family history of the disease being especially vulnerable.
Q: If one of my parents has glaucoma, does that mean I will develop it as well at some point?
A: Having a parent with glaucoma does not mean that the child will automatically develop the condition too. However, those people with an immediate family history (parents, siblings) of glaucoma are at more risk to develop this disease. Patients should have a comprehensive eye examination each year to evaluate the health of the eyes and to look for signs of glaucoma. Some of these signs can be an increase in the pressure of the eyes as well as changes to the appearance of the optic nerve. Many times there are no symptoms noticed by the patient. If there is suspicion of glaucoma, more frequent visits to the eye doctor along with additional nerve testing are often required.
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: What’s the difference between vision insurance and eye insurance?
A: “Vision insurance” really isn’t insurance, but rather a benefit that covers some of your costs for eyewear and eye care. It is meant to be used for “routine” care when you aren’t having a problem but want to be sure everything is OK, like having an annual screening exam with your Primary Care Physician. It often, but not always, includes a discount or allowance toward glasses or contact lenses. It is usually a supplemental policy to your medical health insurance. Medical health insurance covers, and must be used when an eye health issue exists. This includes pink eye, eye allergies, glaucoma, floaters, cataracts, diabetes, headaches, and many other conditions. Blurry vision is covered medically if it relates to a medical condition, for example the development of a cataract. For some reason, however, it is considered non-medical if the only finding is the need for glasses or a change of prescription. Of course you can’t know this until you have the exam. In this case, with vision coverage, you would only be responsible for your co-pay, but with medical coverage without vision coverage, you’d be responsible for the usual charge.
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: What does it mean to be “legally blind” ?
A: “Legally blind” doesn’t just mean that you wear glasses with thick lenses. The term “legally blind” actually means that your best seeing eye cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 visual acuity. In other words, if you could see the 20/200 letters on a visual acuity chart with either your glasses or contact lenses, then you are not legally blind. However, you could also be deemed legally blind if you have a visual field or peripheral vision of under 20 degrees, also considered tunnel vision.
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: 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 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: Who's at the most risk for macular degeneration?
A: If you're over age 65, a smoker, african american, have vascular health problems, or have a family member with macular degeneration, you have an increased risk for macular degeneration. You're also at risk if you take these drugs: Aralen (chloroquine) or phenothiazine derivatives [Thorazine (chlorpromazine), Mellaril (thioridazine), Prolixin (fluphenazine), Trilafon (perphenazine) and Stelazine (trifluoperazine)].
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: Are carrots really good for my eyes? Are there other foods that are beneficial for my vision health?
A: Carrots are a good source of Vitamin A which is necessary to produce rhodopsin, the pigment that detects light in your photoreceptors and helps with night vision. However, the leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, and broccoli are also important to maintain healthy eyesight. The green vegetables provide lutein and other important nutrients that help prevent macular degeneration, the most common cause of vision loss later in life.
Q: What benefit does taking fish oil have on my eyes?
A: Fish oil, also known as omega 3 fatty acids, have fabulous anti-inflammatory properties. High quality triglyceride forms of fish oil are absorbed by the body and can help reduce inflammation throughout the whole body, but more specifically the eyes. Dry eyes are the most common symptom of inflammation that affects the front part of the eyes causing blurred vision, watering, redness, itching, and the feeling of "grit" or trash in the eye. PRN Nutraceuticals is the brand that we recommend and sell in our office. The daily recommended dose of omega 3's is at least 2000 mg and should be taken with a meal for proper absorption.
Q: What is the difference between buying eyeglasses online or from a Doctor of Optometry?
A: With all of the options we now have for online purchasing, the question often comes up about buying glasses online. The bottom line is beware of doing this. There are several parameters of glasses that your doctor, the optician, and the optical lab work together to make glasses custom to your eyes and prescription. Ordering glasses online makes it very hard to get all of these parameters correct. In fact, in a recent study, researchers found that nearly half of all glasses ordered online either contained an inaccurate prescription, or didn't meet safety standards designed to protect the eyes. We strongly recommend buying your glasses through your eye doctor, and be fit for them correctly by a licensed optician.
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: Can I use no-line bifocals with fashionably smaller frames?
A: Yes. Varilux® progressive lenses will allow you to use smaller frames while maintaining terrific vision at all distances. The visual channel that progresses from distance vision to near vision is wider and more accurate for that intermediate vision necessary for clarity in the area too far for close and too close for far. It is a wonderful lens for desktop and computer use as well.
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: I have astigmatism and wear bifocals. Is there any chance I could ever wear contacts?
A: Yes! This is one of the most common questions from patients, especially those who tend to use reading glasses over their existing single vision contact lenses. Now more than ever, patients can enjoy newer technology lenses that allow a patient to see all distances without sacrificing quality of vision or relying heavily on reading glasses. Depending on your prescription and visual needs, your eye doctor will determine if monovision, soft multifocal contacts, or gas permeable multifocal contacts are right for you.
Q: Why do my Polarized sunglasses need anti-reflective coatings?
A: Anti-reflective coating on a sun lens is used to prevent backside reflections. This eliminates annoying reflections that occur when light is reflected off the lens surface of the lens. This can interfere with or decrease the effectiveness of the polarized lenses. This treatment is only beneficial on the backside of the lens, especially so that you won't see the reflection of your eye in the lens. Since AR increases light transmission it is a disadvantage on the front of a sunlens. (On a clear lens AR is used to increase light transmission) Also, Usually on Backside A/R is used due to the fact that fingerprints and dirt are more visible on a polarized dark surface that has A/R. You can see smudges very easily. The same goes for any Sun Tinted lens.
Q: Aren’t sunglasses really only needed in the summer?
A: No. Although we think of summer when we think about sunglasses, the damage from UV radiation occurs year-round. Long-term exposure to UV has been shown to increase the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Q: Should I wear sunglasses during the winter?
A: Yes! Ultraviolet (UV) rays can be just as damaging to your eyes during the winter as they are during the summer. UV rays are still strong during the winter because the sun sits lower in the sky, and at a different angle. Your eyes can be susceptible to UV exposure when sunlight bounces off of snow and reflects UV rays back up (sometimes up to 80 percent of them). Additionally, when sunlight reflects off of snow, it makes it very bright outside and can create an intense glare that makes it difficult to see. . In the long-term, overexposure to UV rays can lead to eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.