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FAQ

Q: What’s The Difference Between Vision Plans & Health Insurance?
A: Health insurance covers the cost of basic healthcare needs, such as physical exams, emergency care, medically necessary procedures, and some prescription drugs. Many health insurance plans include coverage for sudden eye injuries or disease, but not general vision care. A vision plan covers the cost of care for maintaining healthy vision. This can include annual eye exams, vision tests, some eye surgeries, and prescription eye medications. Some vision plans cover prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses either at reduced cost or offer discounts.

Q: What’s the Difference Between an Optometrist & an Ophthalmologist?
A: An optometrist is a healthcare professional who is licensed to provide vision care. This typically includes eye exams, vision tests, and diagnosis of eye diseases and conditions. Optometrists fit patients with glasses or contact lenses for common refractive errors like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, or presbyopia (farsightedness due to aging). An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who is licensed to practice medicine and perform vision-related surgical procedures. They receive years of advanced medical training to diagnose eye diseases and provide treatments, conduct scientific research on vision disorders, and prescribe medications for their patients.

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.

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 the difference between seasonal and perennial allergies? How would I know the difference?
A: Simply put, seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) is a more common and persistent form of ocular allergies that occurs during changes in season, which include outdoor weeds, grasses, and tree pollen. Whereas perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC) is a more mild and chronic presentation that occurs year-round from common indoor allergens, such as animal dander, molds, fungus, and even dust mites.

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: I've heard that blue light is dangerous, like UV radiation. Do I need to protect my eyes from it and, if so, how?
A: We all know about ultraviolet (UV) sun damage, but recently, the optical community has found that high-energy visible light (HEV) or "blue light" from digital screens may cause long term damage to the eye, too. Over time, exposure can increase the risk of macular degeneration, and other problems. Similar to anti-reflective and UV-protective coatings, a new lens coating has been developed to protect our eyes by blocking out blue light rays coming from our handheld devices, computers and fluorescent bulbs.

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 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: 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: Can younger people get cataracts?
A: Yes, it's very rare but some people are born with cataracts, or acquire them early in life as a result of an injury or surgery. Some such cataracts don't affect vision, but the eye doctor may detect it during an eye exam. Occasionally a child does have a cataract that interferes with vision development and requires treatment.

Q: What are cataracts and how do they affect my vision?
A: A cataract is a gradual clouding of the crystalline lens located inside the eye, which causes decreased vision. Cataracts most commonly occur with aging, and are a normal part of the aging process. Other causes of cataract development include ocular trauma/surgery, radiation, smoking, systemic disease (metabolic and genetic conditions), and certain medications (particularly corticosteroids). Symptoms of cataract vision loss depend on the type, location, and severity of the cataract. Cataracts may cause gradually worsening blurry vision, halos around lights, poor night vision, prescription changes, and glare symptoms. A cataract is treated with outpatient surgery, in which the crystalline lens is removed and replaced with a clear lens implant. Surgery is typically done with local anesthesia, with minimal or no complications. Nearly all patients achieve improved vision and often do not require glasses post surgery. Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most common surgeries performed in the United States. Your optometrist will evaluate your eyes for cataracts at each comprehensive eye exam. Please let your optometrist know if you experience any of the above symptoms.

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: 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: My child is struggling in school. Should I have his/her eyes examined?
A: A comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist can often determine if there are visual issues interfering with a child's ability to perform in school. Many visual symptoms, some obvious, others less so, can contribute to a child's poor academic achievement. Some of these issues can be alleviated with a good pair of eyeglasses while others may require vision therapy. The doctors at our eye clinic are trained in the diagnosis of vision related learning problems.

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: What's color blindness?
A: Color blindness is actually called color vision deficiency. It is the inability to distinguish between certain colors – usually red and green. This results from an absence of color sensitive pigment in the cone cells of the retina and is usually hereditary.

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 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: 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 lens 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: Can I wear my contact lenses to the beach?
A: Besides the obvious risk of losing them in the water or in the sand, you're are also increasing your risk of contracting a serious eye infection. The ocean water has high levels of bacteria which could contaminate your lenses and in turn cause a bacterial infection in your eyes. We recommend that you take regular eyewear or prescription sunglasses for your day at the beach. Enjoy!

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: 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 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: Can kids wear contacts?
A: Yes! With all of the new disposable contact lens options, we are able to put more kids in contacts than ever before. We have an outstanding team to teach patients how to safely handle their lenses at any age. We specialize in first time contact lens wearers.

Q: At what age do you recommend children start with contact lenses?
A: As an optometrist, I believe that contact lenses can be worn at any age. But contacts are a privilege, and not a right. There is a financial responsibility associated with contact lens wear, as well as the need for overall accountability to avoid eye health issues. Therefore, for young people I recommend that we wait to try contacts until both the patient and parent are on board. In my experience, if the patient doesn't want contact lenses, he/she will not take care of them appropriately, and will not be successful at handling the lenses. On the flip side, the parent(s) must agree to assume the financial responsibility of the initial fitting, follow-up appointment, and the contact lenses themselves; also, they must confirm that their child is mature enough to take care of the contacts on his/her own.

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, however the cost difference can sometimes 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: What happens if I wear my contacts longer than recommended?
A: The longer a contact is worn, the less oxygen the eye receives. The cornea needs to receive oxygen directly from the air, and contact lenses inhibit this process. 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 overwear, 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: What are the best type of contact lenses ?
A: The majority of contact lens wearers wear soft contacts (95%). However, the safest, easiest to handle, best that stops deterioration of vision , best value and often the most comfortable (when designed correctly) are rigid gas permeable contact lenses (RGP). So why are they not as popular as soft lenses ? It is because most doctors cannot design them correctly.These are custom lenses and the design will be as good as the skills of the doctor. Obviously these are much more complicated to design compared to the one size fit all soft lens. They can be designed for any prescription, any amount of astigmatism, bifocals or corneal molding (so that they are only worn while you sleep) . People can go blind from contact lens wear and this will usually only happen with soft lens wear. The RGP lens allows over fifty times more oxygen to the eye than soft lens and this is why RGP wearers do not get infections. These lenses are also much more durable than soft lenses and therefore last years . This save patients money in the long run.

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: When I wear my contacts, at the end of the day, my eyes are usually dry and uncomfortable. What can I do to alleviate this problem?
A: Contacts are meant to be worn all-day as long as the eyes are healthy; in order to keep them comfortable here are a few tips: - Work with your optometrist to find the most comfortable lens material/brand for your eyes. - Use one-day disposable lenses. With dailies, the lenses are worn once and then discarded along with the protein and bacteria deposits acquired during the day, both can lead to discomfort. - If you choose to not wear dailies, be sure you are changing your contacts according to your doctor’s recommendation, stretching the life of the lenses can also lead to discomfort and infection. - Choose a contact lens solution that will not only disinfect your lenses appropriately, but will also moisturize your lenses to allow for maximum comfort. Not all multipurpose solutions do this effectively. - Rewetting drops or tear drops are effective in helping to moisturize the contacts during the day as well. Not all drops are safe to use with contacts, but your optometrist can help you choose the best drop for your eyes.

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. I’ll list 5 of some of the most common reasons that I’ll come across. The most important thing with irritated eyes and contact lens wear, is to visit your eye doctor, so they can diagnosis the issue, and try to help you feel more comfortable with wearing contact lenses. 1. Dry Eye Components: Dry Eye affects more than 20 million people in the U.S., according to one Allergan study. (Count me as one of them!) 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 components: Many people suffer from different degrees of allergies associated with contact lens wear. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC) is where 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 eye. 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.” I’ll sometimes use the analogy of comparing that strategy to changing the oil after the car breaks down. 5. Fit/Type of Contact Lens: 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. Do they have allergies, dry eye, or certain systemic conditions?

Q: I wear contact lenses, but now I’m having trouble seeing clearly to read things up close. What can I do?
A: I still want to wear my lenses. There are several options but first, it’s important to get a yearly check up to make sure that the distance prescription is up-to-date, if it isn’t, it can make near vision appear worse. The 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, in order to get clear vision at one distance it 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 is based on multiple factors and can be discussed with your optometrist.

Q: What are Scleral Contact Lenses?
A: Scleral lenses are custom made lenses that rest on the sclera, or white part, of your eye. The size of the lens offers great vision that isn't possible with any other vision solution. These lenses provide a solution for those patients who can't wear other types of contact lenses due to dry eyes, complications from LASIK surgery, kerataconus, and other eye issues.

Q: Can I swim with contacts in?
A: No, there are a lot of bad bugs in the waters and one of the worst is known as pseudomonas which is a bacteria that loves water. This bacteria can cause major corneal damage within 24 hours.

Q: Can I wear contacts when I'm swimming?
A: We usually tell our patients that their contact lenses should never be in contact with regular water, tap or pool water because it can cause an increase risk of bacterial infections. The contact lenses act as magnets and can hold bacteria found in water that 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, I generally recommend daily contact lenses whenever possible when swimming along with waterproof goggles. If daily disposable lenses aren’t an option, I recommend using your contact lenses along with waterproof goggles and when you are done that evening, to 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.

Q: I was just diagnosed with diabetes in August. I had glasses before and I try and use them now, but they don't help me see any better. What should I do?
A: Diabetes can have many effects on the eyes, including changes in vision. Because you are diabetic you are now covered under OHIP for an eye exam once per year with a Doctor of Optometry. These yearly exams are very important when you are diabetic as your Doctor of Optometry 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, 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 is a condition which can occur at any stage or type of diabetes. In fact, many times diabetes is identified during an eye exam in a person who never suspected they may have diabetes. It is caused by damage to the very delicate blood vessels within the retina. Over time, these blood vessels may start to leak blood and fluid into the retina or other areas of the eye. If the condition progresses, new vessels may begin to grow within the retina, which places the retina at risk of additional and sometimes sudden complications including internal bleeds and retinal detachment.

Q: Are there some every day activities that can cause Dry Eye?
A: Yes. Generally those that suffer with allergies, or have systemic inflammatory diseases like arthritis and sjogrens’, or those who use the computer or digital devices often and even contact lens wearers tend to be more susceptible to dry eye symptoms.

Q: Are some people more prone to having Dry Eyes than others?
A: Yes. Generally those that suffer with allergies, or have systemic inflammatory diseases like arthritis and sjogrens’, or those who use the computer or digital devices often and even contact lens wearers tend to be more susceptible to dry eye symptoms.

Q: Are there any day to day activities that can cause Dry Eye?
A: Certainly age, gender and medications can be causative factors, but so can work environment (dry offices or factories), weather/seasons, and
 geographical location.

Q: How do I know if I have Dry Eye?
A: Dry eye can cause quite a few symptoms, anything from the eyes actually feeling dry to the eyes watering often, or having a burning, itchy, or irritated feeling. One of the most common symptoms is the eyes feeling gritty or like something is in your eye. Most people will often experience blurred vision since the tears, which comprise the outermost surface of the eye, are unstable.

Q: Is it true that Dry Eye symptoms seem to be more severe in the winter than in the warmer spring and summer months?
A: Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn't always black and white. Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is a chronic multi-factorial disease process in which signs and symptoms don't always correlate with one another. Some patient may be more sensitive in certain seasons than others, depending on the humidity level, wind factor, working environment, and other variables. Therefore, screening for this common and chronic condition is crucial to maintaining a healthy and stable tear film, no matter the season, and should not be based on symptoms alone.

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 all the time? What can I do to make it stop?
A: Although it seems counterintuitive, watering is a sign of dry eye disease. When the eyes are dry a signal is sent to the brain to trigger tearing. In order to stop the eyes from tearing we need to treat the dryness. There are many lifestyle factors that contribute to dry eye disease. For example, while watching television, using a computer or reading we are so fixated on the task at hand that we do not blink as often as we should and the tear film evaporates and leaves our cornea exposed to the air. Another example is spending time near a fan or in front of an air vent; this too can cause our tear film to dry up quickly. While there are several more reasons for dry eye disease to occur, the good news is that it can be treated. There are several drops, medications, and home remedies that can be used and your optometrist can help to determine the treatment plan that is right for your type of dry eye disease.

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 infections on the eyes, 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. We would suggest you come in for an emergency appointment so that our eye doctor can make sure 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 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: 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. We would suggest you come in for an emergency appointment so that our eye doctor can make sure what the problem really is and treat if necessary.

Q: My eye is suddenly red and irritated/painful, what should I do?
A: 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). 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. 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 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: Why do I need to have my eyes examined by an Optometrist if the nurse at my last physical exam says I can see 20/20?
A: The nurse performed a “sight test”, when you come to see your Optometrist we perform an “Eye Exam”. A “sight test” only measures if you can see 20/20. An “Eye Exam” measures all aspects of visual function: sight (or visual acuity), binocular vision function (ability of the eyes to work together), visual pathway integrity, and the overall health of your eyes. Seeing 20/20 is an important part of the overall function of your eyes; however, just because you can see 20/20 does not necessarily mean your eyes are 100% healthy. There are many conditions that exist in which someone can still see 20/20. To name just a few examples: Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma, and even Retinal tears or detachments (if the macula is unaffected). I recommend having a full eye exam every 1-2 years, even if you are in good health and feel like you don’t need glasses.

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: 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: 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 Alberta (and many other Provinces in Canada), ALL children’s eye exams are covered by Alberta Health Care up until the child’s 19th birthday. It’s not just “once per year” either; a child can come in as often as necessary and Alberta Health Care will cover it.

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 Eye Strain at Near 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 (assuming you have the ability to use both eyes to read and see) appear equidistant from the reading material. Children are often the biggest culprits of poor posture when performing near tasks. 2. Incline on the reading material if it’s on a table or flat surface: If a page is lying on a flat surface 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 putting the reading material on an incline, 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 Ipads, 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 smartphone/ computer/ book/ ect… a little bit farther away from your eyes: This can be especially effective for those approaching 40 and beyond! (I fall in that category. Yikes!) 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 often may lie on the floor or on their beds, and read or use hand held devices where it’s waaaaaay too close to their faces. (I have to remind my kids often to move their hand held devices farther from their faces as they’re, “in the zone”, playing on the devices.) 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 (after they have their eyes examined, and updated their glasses/contacts if necessary) 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 either having an annual eye health examination, or visiting your eye doctor if you have any visual or eye health problems.​

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. Emergency minor evaluations are usually MSP covered.

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. Emergency minor evaluations are usually MSP covered.

Q: I suddenly see random wavy lines, zig-zagging, and/or blotches of missing vision in my vision that last for no more than 30 minutes, should I be concerned?
A: You may have just experienced an ophthalmic migraine or a migraine with aura. Usually these are harmless and indicates some sort of stress. However, it is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning we need to always make sure that isn’t any other ocular concern within the eye itself that may be causing your symptoms. It is a good idea to make an appointment within a few days to have your vision and eye health examined. Emergency minor evaluations are usually MSP covered.

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: 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: I was told I have a thin retina and if I see flashes of light or floaters to come in immediately to my eye doctor as I could go blind. How did I get a thin retina?
A: As the eye grows the tissue in the eye can be stretched causing the tissue to be thinner than normal. The stretch marks can tear without pain and cause loss of sight. This thinning is very common in people with high prescriptions (thick glasses).

Q: Why do I see little “stars” when I cough?
A: Coughing causes a lot of force on the head. Moving the head in a jarring motion, or squeezing the eyes shut can actually cause the retinal cells to fire off with a cough. This is of no concern as long as the “stars” dissipate immediately, do not occur without the cough, and you do not see an increase in floaters in your eyes. Any of these additional signs merits immediate attention.

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: 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: What causes Keratoconus?
A: The characteristics of keratoconus have been known for at least 200 years, but the specific causes are still undetermined. Several theories have been proposed. One scientific theory is that keratoconus is genetic in origin. About 7% of patients have other family members with the disease. Another view holds that keratoconus is a degenerative condition perhaps linked to the altered balance between enzymes and inhibitors within the cornea. Keratoconus may also be secondary to some disease processes. A hypothesis has also been proposed that keratoconus may involve the endocrine system (hormones) since the condition is often diagnosed in young people at puberty or in their late teens. While the exact cause of keratoconus has not yet been determined, research into keratoconus continues and new treatment options are continually under development.

Q: Are some people more likely to develop Kerataconus?
A: The actual incidence of keratoconus is estimated to occur in 1 to 5 persons per 1,000 in the general population. Keratoconus is generally first diagnosed in young people at puberty or in their late teens but can also be first diagnosed in people in their 40's or 50's. Keratoconus has no known geographic, cultural or social pattern, however its incidence seems to be higher in isolated populations. With continuing improvements in diagnostic equipment and eye care practitioner training, more cases of keratoconus are being diagnosed and discovered.

Q: How would someone know if they have Kerataconus?
A: In its early stages, keratoconus causes slight blurring and distortion of vision and increased sensitivity to glare and light. As the disorder progresses, the degree of vision obtained through glasses becomes less acceptable and contact lenses often become the best method of correcting vision problems.

Q: What consequences can occur if Keratoconus is left untreated?
A: The progression of keratoconus is unpredictable, but generally the condition progresses slowly and can cease at any stage. While keratoconus interferes with the clarity of a person's sight it, rarely causes blindness. Most people can successfully manage their condition using special keratoconus contact lenses, however in a small number of cases where the cornea can no longer successfully be fitted with contact lenses, a corneal transplant may be needed.

Q: Is laser surgery possible after wearing ortho-k lenses?
A: Ortho-k lenses can not be worn for several months before LASIK surgery. Ortho-k lenses reshape your cornea, and your cornea must be in its original state when the laser procedure is performed.

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 are some of the qualifications for being a good LASIK candidate?
A: Some of qualifications include having healthy eyes, good general health, corneas that are not too thin, stable vision, a prescription that is not too high, realistic expectations, and be at least 18 years of age. Loudoun Eye Associates is a TLC affiliate office, and we will work together with them to ensure that you are a good candidate for laser refractive surgery before proceeding.

Q: What does it mean if you are legally blind?
A: You are legally blind if your best correction (with glasses or contacts) is less than 20/200 (perfect is 20/20) in your better eye or if your side vision is less than 20 degrees in your better eye (done by visual field testing). Even if you are diagnosed as legally blind, you may still have some usable vision. These patients may also qualify for certain government benefits.

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: What is “Low Vision”?
A: The term “low vision” refers to partial sight that cannot be corrected with surgery, drugs, eyeglasses, or contact lenses. The condition can range from having unsatisfactory vision to being nearly blind. The causes of low vision include eye injury, diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and heredity. As a result of reduced visual acuity or decreased contrast sensitivity, low-vision individuals may be unable to fully distinguish colors, see contrasts, or determine spatial relationships among objects. Fortunately, there are a variety of devices and strategies available for helping people with low vision overcome vision loss and live independently.

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: Is it possible 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.

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: 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 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 does the diagnosis of AMD mean exactly?
A: Age related macular degeneration is the degeneration of the macula, which is the part of the retina responsible for the sharp, central vision needed to read or drive. Because the macula primarily is affected in AMD, central vision loss may occur.

Q: What is meant by leakage with a person who has macular degeneration?
A: It was recommended to have injections. Can you explain?” “Leakage” refers to the wet form of macular degeneration. There is leakage and bleeding of the blood vessels at the back of the eye in the retina. This "leakage" causes swelling in the macula, the area responsible for central vision, and thus there is a significant amount of vision lost. Currently, injections are performed by an Ophthalmologist to try and stop the leakage and thus stop the progression of the macular degeneration.

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)

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: 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: 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: Why is my vision going bad once I turned 50?
A: As we age, there is a natural thickening and loss of flexibility of the natural lens inside the eye. This results in difficulty focusing up close and the need to hold things further away while reading or focusing on detail. This is called presbyopia. Presbyopia happens to everyone at some point. The good news is that we have many treatment options available.

Q: When I read a label on food items, I need to move it further away from me. What’s happening?
A: This is called presbyopia. As we age, the proteins in the lens of the eye begin to change, resulting in a thicker/less flexible natural lens. We lose the ability to change focus from far to close and have to hold things further away to be able to see them. You don’t have to give up things you love like reading or sewing. We can provide multiple options to help you .

Q: I’m 45 years old, why can’t I see my smartphone without holding it further away or enlarging the print size?
A: What you’re experiencing is called Presbyopia. This happens to everyone if you live long enough. Some people start noticing it at age 40 and some not until they hit age 50. There is no 100% proven way to stop Presbyopia from occurring; however we can correct it with the proper pair of glasses. There are many different options for correction. These options are personalized to fit your lifestyle, so book an appointment with your Optometrist to find out which option is best for you.

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: Should I scan my retinas/back of the eye?
A: It depends on the patient. During a traditional exam, drops are instilled to dilate the pupils and allow the doctor to visualize the retina. We utilize scans to see layers of the retina that are not visible to the human eye. These layers can help detect early changes in diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

Q: Why do I need to scan my retinas/back of the eye?
A: The retina shows us a lot about the overall ocular health as well as systemic conditions that can affect the eyes. Often diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol can be observed from a retinal scan. Also, retinal scans allow us to diagnose and treat macular degeneration and glaucoma. Scans are often very important for a complete eye check up.

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 is it Important to Wear Sports Eyewear?
A: Not long ago, athletes rarely wore eyewear specifically designed to protect their eyes during sports, and sports-related eye injuries were widespread. Today, sports eyewear can be spotted on almost anyone who picks up a ball, bat, racquet or stick — whether they play in the major leagues or the Little League. Fortunately, coaches, parents and players now realize that wearing protective eyewear for sports pays off in several ways. The risk of eye damage is reduced, and the player's performance is enhanced by the ability to see better. In fact, many athletic and fitness clubs today do not permit their members to participate without wearing proper eye gear. Initially, there was some resistance by children to "looking funny" when they wore protective eyewear. Today, sports goggles are an accepted part of everyday life, much the way bike helmets have become the norm. In addition, both children and adults like the image that wearing protective eyewear gives them: It shows they mean business on the playing field. If You're Not Wearing Protective Eyewear, Consider This... Prevent Blindness America reports that hospital emergency rooms treat more than 40,000 eye injuries every year that are sports-related. Even non-contact sports such as badminton can present inherent dangers to the eyes. Any sport in which balls, racquets or flying objects are present pose a potential for eye injury. Sports such as racquetball, tennis and badminton may seem relatively harmless, but they involve objects moving at 60 miles per hour or faster. During a typical game, a racquetball can travel between 60 and 200 miles per hour.

Q: Summer is over, so I won't need my sunglasses again until the next swimsuit season?
A: Not so fast. As the days shorten, the sun spends more time lower in the sky and often directly in your eyes! Even worse, when the ground is covered with snow, the reflected light may be painfully bright and give rise to increased reflections. Polarized lenses are especially effective at blocking reflections from snow and ice. So don't forget to use your sun protection even when the thermometer dips into the frozen fingers and toes range!

Q: I have an infant, a toddler, and a teenager; should my kids be wearing sunglasses?
A: Yes. Everyone should protect their eyes from UV-light, which can include tanning beds and welding machines as well as the sun. Excess exposure to UV-light can increase a person’s risk of macular degeneration and premature cataracts. Did you know your eyes can get “sunburn”? It’s a condition called photokeratitis, which can occur after the eyes are exposed to too much UV light. Some symptoms of photokeratitis are sensitivity to light, redness, pain, and foreign body sensation—luckily it causes no permanent damage to the eyes. But, long-term exposure to UV light can cause damage both to the skin and the eyes. To avoid problems in the future, shield your eyes and your children’s eyes with sunglasses that offer UV protection.

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.