Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Eye FAQs


What is the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist?
should my child’s eyes be examined?
When should an adult’s eye be examined?
What is visual acuity?
What is legal blindness?
Can my child wear contact lenses?
Can I wear contact lenses part time?
Will reading in the dark harm my eyes?
Will sitting too close to the television harm my eyes?
How often do I need to get my prescription changed?
Am I a candidate for LASIK eye surgery?
What is a cataract?
What is glaucoma?

What is the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist?
The primary difference is that an ophthalmologist can perform surgery on your eye. Otherwise, both professionals can examine your eyes, determine glasses prescriptions as well as fit contact lenses, diagnose and treat eye diseases, and write prescriptions for medications. If you need surgery for treatment or correction of an ocular condition we would refer you to an ophthalmologist specializing in that condition.

When should my child’s eyes be examined?
It is now recommended that a child have their first eye examination by their first birthday. Eye exams are then scheduled at ages 3 and 5 and then every year thereafter. Very few pediatricians are reminding parents of the importance of this. So, if your child is past this age – any time is a good time for their first exam.

When should an adult’s eye be examined?
The average adult wearing glasses should have their eyes examined yearly. Any adult wearing contact lenses must be examined every year to maintain a valid contact lens prescription. Those lucky adults who need no correction and have no health conditions may have their eyes examined every 2 years.

What is visual acuity?
Visual acuity is the standard of measure that is used to determine how well you see. In other words, it’s a determination of your entire visual system’s resolution. We measure your acuity at distance and near. The term 20/20 is the given acuity for “normal” eyesight. On average, most people can attain 20/20 eyesight. The top number is the testing distance from the eye chart to your eye. The bottom number is the size of the letter on the eye chart you are able to see. There are specific units of measure to the bottom number, but we typically don’t list them anymore. Just remember that the smaller the bottom number is, the better your eyesight.

What is legal blindness?
To be legally blind is to have vision that cannot be corrected better than 20/200 with the use of contact lenses or glasses. These people have some amount of vision, but it is significantly reduced. This is either with or without their visual device. For example, what a person with 20/200 vision can only see at 20 feet, a normal person can see standing way back at 200 feet.

Can my child wear contact lenses?
All children are candidates for contact lenses – even toddlers and babies. Some are just better candidates than others. We prescribe daily/single use contact lenses for these patients. They are the safest, healthiest, easiest contact lenses for these young patients.

Can I wear contact lenses part time?
Absolutely! With the advent of the single use contact lenses, occasional use is easier than ever.

Will reading in the dark harm my eyes?
No. This is one of the many old wives tales that exist about your eyes. You may induce unwanted eyestrain, but you will not ruin them. Just remember, more light more sight! Happy reading!

Will sitting too close to the television harm my eyes?
No. You may incur some unwanted eyestrain, but you will not ruin your eyes. There may be a reason someone sits close to the television or squints at the computer screen. It’s best to have the eyes checked so any underlying issue can be corrected.

How often do I need to get my prescription changed?
We recommend annual examinations for anyone wearing glasses or contact lenses to ensure that your vision is the best is can possibly be. Good vision helps us to feel good, perform well and stay safe. Some people’s vision changes in a year or less. Others may be stable for several years. Some changes to the visual system may go undetected unless discovered at the yearly eye examination. So, to make a long story short, it’s best to be checked annually even if there is no prescription change. Remember, “check yearly, see clearly.”

Am I a candidate for LASIK eye surgery?
Most people who need glasses today are candidates for some sort of eye surgery. LASIK is only one option nowadays. There are many different techniques which allow a refractive surgeon to customize your eyesight. We work with several specialists in our local area to determine the best visual outcome for each individual.

What is a cataract?
A cataract is a change in the intraocular lens that one experiences with maturity/aging. The lens in your eye is supposed to be clear – just like the lenses in your glasses. Biochemical changes with age cause the lens to become cloudy. Cataracts begin around age 60 and may or may not affect your vision enough to need surgical intervention. Everyone will get cataracts if they live long enough. Smoking and exposure to sun has been linked to earlier/faster cataract growth.

What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease usually characterized by high eye pressure, damage to the optic nerve, and loss of peripheral vision. The eye is not like a balloon, it will not expand. There may be an increase in fluid within the eye that causes an increase in “pressure”. This increase in pressure will cause damage to the optic nerve, causing a loss of peripheral vision. The trick to glaucoma is that you have no pain and no symptoms. Glaucoma is the “thief of sight”. It can only be detected through regular dilated eye examinations.