Q: What is meant by the term allergic conjunctivitis? Is that the same as “pink eye”?
A: Allergic conjunctivitis is the clinical term for inflammation of the lining or membrane of the eye, called the conjunctiva, caused by allergic reactions to substances. Although a patient may present with red or pink eyes from excess inflammation, the common term "pink eye" can signify a broad range of conditions and can be misleading, as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other irritating substances can cause redness resembling a "pink eye." Your eye doctor can differentiate between an allergy and a true infection, which can lead to faster healing with the right treatment.
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: 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 are cataracts and what's the best treatment?
A: Cataracts occur when the natural lens of the eye, positioned just behind the pupil, changes from clear to cloudy. This causes increasingly blurry vision that a higher vision prescription cannot help. When the blurriness worsens to the point that it interferes with a person’s ability to read or drive, or otherwise hinders their lifestyle, the cloudy lens is surgically removed and replaced with a clear plastic one, restoring clear vision. These days, cataract surgery can take as little as 20 minutes, with little down-time and excellent outcomes.
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 says it gets blurry when looking from his paper to the board at school, and getting him to read is difficult. Is there anything I can do to help?
A: Your child is not alone. While we have been seeing children with focusing problems for many years, there is a huge increase in accommodative (focusing) problems with children today. Our eye doctor works with children to make reading easier and more enjoyable. Words shouldn’t move in and out of focus or move around when you are reading. For example, spec lenses with extra power for reading or multifocal contacts, can make reading more comfortable for many children. School is challenging enough as it is, without the added difficulty of eyestrain and the eyes working hard just to see.
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 is color blindness?
A: Color blindness describes the inability to see colors in a normal way. Most often, color vision deficiency is when someone cannot distinguish between certain colors, usually between greens and reds, and occasionally blues. In the vast majority of cases, it's genetic, and is inherited from their mother's side of the family, affecting males more often than females. Acquired color vision deficiency can be caused by certain diseases such as multiple sclerosis, drugs or chemicals, but it's rare.
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: 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: 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 children wear contact lenses?
A: Yes! Once a child is mature enough to learn how to insert and remove contact lenses as well as take care of them, they can wear contact lenses. The best option for children is daily disposable contact lenses. Kids greatly benefit from contact lenses, especially when playing sports and during other extracurricular activities. They also help with a child's self esteem and confidence.
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: I keep hearing more and more about contact lenses that are thrown away every day. What is the advantage? Wouldn't that be more expensive?
A: One-day disposable contact lenses have several advantages over traditional lenses. They are the healthiest way to wear contact lenses, because all lenses get dirty over time with a biofilm of protein and lipids that are part of our tears. These lens deposits are what cause eyelid irritation, redness, and reduced wearing time. Single-use lenses, on the other hand, greatly reduce the build-up of deposits on contact lenses. The other advantage is the low maintenance required since you do not have to clean and soak your lenses overnight. This is especially helpful for children and teenagers who may not take care of their lenses well. Another advantage is that, when you travel, you can just take some strips of contact lenses with you and do not have to carry solution or cases. Daily disposables do cost more than traditional lenses, but the difference in price can be as little as $30.00 per month. In this day and age, that is the cost of a few cups of coffee at your favorite coffeehouse. In addition, one-day lenses are now available for astigmatism and as multi-focal contacts, as well. Daily lenses are ideal for part-time contact lens wearers who wear lenses occasionally. The percentage of one-day disposable wearers is increasing rapidly in the United States and will likely become the predominant way that people wear contact lenses in the near future.
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: My eyes are always burning and tired, what is causing this and what can I do about it?
A: Tired, burning, and irritated eyes are signs of dry eye syndrome, a very common condition. Women are more prone to developing dry eyes, and aging is a risk factor too. Eye dryness is often due to a decrease in the oil production in our eyelid glands, which causes the tears to evaporate too quickly. Certain medications and health issues can also contribute to dryness. There is no true cure for dry eye, but many treatments are available such as the use of artificial tears, Omega 3 nutritional supplements, prescription medications such as Restasis, and eyelid hygiene. Our eye doctors customize the treatments for each person and their specific condition.
Q: What are some of the symptoms of Dry Eye?
A: There are numerous symptoms of dry eye disease, but the most common ones include excess tearing, lack of tearing, burning, redness, foreign body sensation, intermittently blurred vision, and an inability to tolerate contact lenses. If you have any of the above symptoms, and want a professional diagnosis, please make an appointment here.
Q: Why do my eyes water if I have dry eye?
A: People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or have poor quality tears. As the eyes dry out, they become more irritated and uncomfortable. The lacrimal glands may produce more tears in response to the inflammation and ocular surface changes, but they evaporate too quickly. Mild cases of dry eyes can often be managed using over-the-counter artificial tear solutions. These can be used as often as needed to supplement natural tear production.
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 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: Is wearing makeup or eye mascara harmful to my eyes?
A: Wearing makeup is not harmful to your eyes, if it's done properly. Eyeliner should be worn on the outer eyelid margin, not the inner margin where it can cause issues with infections and dry eyes if it blocks the openings of the meibomian glands, which secrete oil to keep your tears on your eyes longer. Additionally, all eye makeup should be removed every night before bed. We all have bacteria that lives on our skin, which is normal. However, the bacteria and mites that live in and around our lashes like to feed on the dried mascara and eyeliner overnight, which can cause bacterial overgrowth and infections. Replace your mascara every 3-4 months: that bacteria gets in the tube, too!
Q: What's the best way to select a good pair of eyeglasses? Can I get a top designer brand and get the best protection for my eyes?
A: Tom Ford is one of the most sought-after and innovative styles in our dispensary. We appreciate the quality of the frame. I'm very particular when it comes to eyewear comfort, and Tom Ford frames have been a pleasant surprise. They say each frame is handmade and that it takes 100 days to assemble each pair! Our clients say they love how light Tom Fords feel on their face, and they offer a very clean, distinctive look, without much brand-advertising on the frame itself.
Q: Are glasses better for my eyes than contact lenses?
A: Eyeglasses are safer, because you do not have a foreign material resting on your eyes; however, with advancements in technology, contact lens material have become more breathable and healthy than before.
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: 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: 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: 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: What is Keratoconus?
A: Keratoconus is a disorder of the anterior surface of the eye (the cornea). In simple terms, the cornea becomes thinner causing it to bulge from its normal round shape to a cone-like shape. This bulging interferes with a person's vision and can severely affect the way they see the world, making simple tasks like reading, watching TV or driving very difficult. The distortion caused by keratoconus has been compared to viewing a street sign through your car windshield during a driving rainstorm.
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: 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: 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: What's the difference between buying eyeglasses online or from a Doctor of Optometry?
A: The best way to select a great pair of eyeglasses would be to use a team effort. The eye doctor generally interacts with the client during the exam and then all information is discussed along with the optician. The staff are trained to consider the shape of your face along with the size, and listen to exactly how the client prefers for their customized glasses to perform. Under our care, you get to be more hands- on and ensured of the quality of your purchase. The measurements and quality assurance we provide are critical to guarantee that you are seeing your best at all times. Our opticians take the time to make sure that you are educated thoroughly and that you are making informed decisions before purchasing, and we provide a warranty.
Q: At what age should my child have his/her eyes examined?
A: According to the American Optometric Association, infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months old. Children should return for eye exams at 3 years of age and prior to starting kindergarten at about age 5 or 6 years old, then every year afterwards. School screenings are not adequate and often miss vision issues. Having an early eye examination is important to ensure proper visual skills for learning. Read More Here to learn more about children's eye exams.
Q: Is it normal to need reading glasses as we get older?
A: Beginning at approximately age 40, most people find themselves holding reading material further from their eyes in order to see the print clearly. This loss of close-up focusing power, known as “presbyopia” (Latin for “old man’s eyes”) is caused by age-related stiffening of the eye lens, which eventually makes reading at a normal distance impossible. At this point, those with no previous need for prescription lenses often resist their need for reading glasses out of vanity, denial, or the mistaken notion that wearing glasses makes eyes weaker. However, the fact is that eyes are going to lose their near focusing ability as we get older whether or not we wear glasses, so we might as well opt for sharper vision. To help you compensate for presbyopia, your eye doctor can prescribe reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals, or contact lenses.
Q: What are progressive lenses? How do they differ from regular lenses?
A: Progressive lenses are lenses that have the distance prescription in the top portion of the eyeglass lenses, then gradually increases power to the bottom, reading portion of the glasses.
Q: Should I wear sunglasses during the winter?
A: Absolutely! Ultra-violet (UV) rays are present and harmful whether it’s cloudy out or sunny! While we all know that UV rays can cause damage to the skin, UV exposure can also cause damage to several important parts of the eyes and can lead to problems such as early onset cataracts and macular degeneration later in life.
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: Will wearing (or not wearing) corrective lenses change my eyesight?
A: NO! For those who need corrective lenses of any kind to see better, the choice to wear or not wear them will NOT alter your vision in the long term. As kids grow, their eyesight changes naturally and that process is different for everyone. Wearing correction will not cause children or adults to become more near or far sighted and will not bring about any added change in prescription. For adults, wearing "cheaters" for reading and computer work also does NOT make you more reliant on them. Any changes in up close vision are caused by the natural lens inside your eye becoming immobile and unable to change shape, making focusing difficult. However, near vision can be altered slightly by certain medications at any age.