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: Why is my child having trouble reading and concentrating on schoolwork?
A: Your child may have an underlying refractive issue, such as farsightedness, nearsightedness or an astigmatism that maybe be causing blurred vision, making it hard for your child to concentrate and focus. There may also binocularity issues, which is how well the two eyes work together, or focusing issues that can affect a child's schoolwork. When working with your child, we will evaluate the visual system including binocular and accommodative systems to determine if his/her vision may be interfering with academic success.
Q: One of the greatest tasks of a school-aged child is learning to read and in older children, the amount of reading required. What should parents be on the lookout for concerning their child’s reading and potential vision problems?
A: We often discuss vision problems as they relate to sitting in a classroom, but what about the playground or vision acuity’s effect on socialization and play?
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: 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: How can a child's learning in school be affected by their vision?
A: A child's ability to learn is strongly dependent on having a normal visual system. Visual acuity (being able to see the letters on the chart with the big E) is only one aspect of about 17 visual skills that are required for reading and learning. Vision therapy is a treatment program that can remediate mal-developed visual skills and certain vision disorders, helping children reach their maximum learning and reading potential.
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: 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: 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 Is Convergence Insufficiency?
A: Convergence Insufficiency (CI) is a visual condition where the eyes are not able to comfortably focus on near-vision tasks, which makes reading difficult or impossible. The condition tends to make kids see double, lose their place, read slowly, and get tired after a short time reading. Many children with CI avoid books, struggle in school, take very long to do their homework, and may even be misdiagnosed as having ADD/ADHD. Convergence Insufficiency patients are also more prone to dizziness and vertigo. The best treatment for CI is vision therapy. These exercises help the person have better control of their eyes, allowing them to enjoy reading and do well at school.
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: If someone has overly teary eyes, that isn't Dry Eye, is it?
A: Ironically, yes, watery eyes can be a symptom of dry eye syndrome. The eyes try to overcompensate for the lack of good quality tears by producing reflex tears, which are usually meant to help flush out foreign bodies or function in a good "cry", and tend to spill out over the eyelids.
Q: Are there any natural treatments available for dry eyes?
A: Diet is very important for general eye health, and dry eyes. Make sure you eat plenty of green, red, and orange vegetables. Fish, especially wild salmon, also contains eye-healthy nutrients. Most people do not get enough healthy Omega 3 oil in their diet, so we recommend taking an Omega 3 fish oil supplement. Omega 3 has been shown to relieve dry eye symptoms, and is also important for overall health.
Q: I was cleaning in the shed or grinding some metal and I felt something fly into my eye and now it is irritated and watery, what should I do?
A: Call and request an emergency eye doctor's appointment. We will examine your eye to make sure the damage isn't serious, or treat it if necessary, and can recommend safety goggles or specialty eyewear to prevent injuries for next time you do that kind of work.
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: My vision seems fine. That means that my eyes are healthy, right?
A: Unfortunately, no. Most eye diseases will not affect your vision until they are quite advanced. The only way to determine if your eyes are really healthy is to have them examined.
Q: Today it seems that many children are very quickly diagnosed as learning disabled or dyslexic. Does vision play a role?
A: In some cases a large undetected prescription (farsightedness or astigmatism) or an eye muscle imbalance (binocular vision problem) can make reading and learning a challenge. Once properly diagnosed and treated, reading and learning tasks can become much more comfortable, visually.
Q: Whenever I close my eyes, I see flashes of light in my vision, should I be concerned?
A: Flashes of light in your vision could be a very dangerous sign! Something is tugging at your retina and eliciting these flashes of light. Sometimes it could be the vitreous humor pulling at the retina in aging vitreous degeneration, but sometimes it could mean a dangerous retinal tear or detachment. Detachments need to be treated within 24 hours for the best prognosis in preventing permanent vision loss.
Q: I have "spots" floating around in my eye. Should I be worried?
A: Spots and floaters are usually harmless. However, in some cases it can be a sign of a retinal detachment or bleeding. Anyone experiencing symptoms of flashing lights and flashing spots should contact our office immediately for a detailed eye exam.
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: 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: 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: I have heard the term Low Vision mentioned but I don’t know what it means. Can someone tell me what Low Vision is and who would benefit from it?
A: “Low vision” is a term we use for patients that have a reduced best corrected vision. In other words, even with the best possible glasses prescription for the patient’s eyes their vision remains less than 20/20. This generally occurs from disease or injury and makes it difficult for the patient to perform everyday tasks, such as reading, being on the computer or watching TV. Low Vision exams are helpful to these patients because we can assess the vision they have and prescribe magnifying glasses and devices that make it easier for the patient to see. Solutions tend to be very different for different people even when they have the same diagnosis and vision! It’s important to take the time to make sure each patient has a personalized exam and is given the best options for them.
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 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: 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: Because many children may be too young to read, how is an eye exam conducted if they cannot read a Snelling Chart?
A: We can use objective test which do not require the child to respond.
Q: Kids can be hard on glasses. Are there effective glasses for children today that last?
A: Yes. Tough, shatter and scratch resistant lenses are available along with flexible frame materials and durable hinges. Prescription sports goggles and swimwear may be an option as well.
Q: What are some foods I could eat to keep my eyes healthy?
A: Foods rich in vitamins C and E, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids would be helpful. Here are some examples: Vitamin C citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes and broccoli Vitamin E vegetable oils, wheat germ, nuts and legumes Lutein and zeaxanthin Beta-carotene carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato and spinach Zinc oysters, beef and other meats, nuts Omega-3 fatty acids kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, corn, colored bell peppers cold-water fish (sardines, herring, salmon and tuna. esp wild-caught)