Q: How often should I have my glasses prescription checked?
A: The American Optometric Association recommends yearly eye-health examinations. As part of a comprehensive eye exam your optometrist will not only check your glasses prescription for changes, but he/she will also evaluate your eye health. Every patient needs to be regularly monitored for glaucoma and other eye conditions. For adults, it’s important to screen for age-related ocular diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration. Certain medical conditions, like diabetes, require annual eye-health exams, to monitor the potential side-effects they can have on the eyes. For children, visual dysfunction conditions like “lazy eye” and “crossed eyes,” can be missed with school vision screenings alone, so yearly eye exams are recommended for kids too. A regular complete eye examination is an integral part of routine health care.
Q: What’s the difference between vision insurance and eye insurance?
A: “Vision insurance” really isn’t insurance, but rather a benefit that covers some of your costs for eyewear and eye care. It is meant to be used for “routine” care when you aren’t having a problem but want to be sure everything is OK, like having an annual screening exam with your Primary Care Physician. It often, but not always, includes a discount or allowance toward glasses or contact lenses. It is usually a supplemental policy to your medical health insurance. Medical health insurance covers, and must be used when an eye health issue exists. This includes pink eye, eye allergies, glaucoma, floaters, cataracts, diabetes, headaches, and many other conditions. Blurry vision is covered medically if it relates to a medical condition, for example the development of a cataract. For some reason, however, it is considered non-medical if the only finding is the need for glasses or a change of prescription. Of course you can’t know this until you have the exam. In this case, with vision coverage, you would only be responsible for your co-pay, but with medical coverage without vision coverage, you’d be responsible for the usual charge.
Q: 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 passed the screening test at school, isn’t that enough?
A: Distance and reading are two different things. Someone with perfect distance vision can still have focusing problems up close. Eye doctors check for both. Many children have undiagnosed accommodative (focusing) problems because no one ever looked for it before. We always check the distance and near vision of our patients of all ages because it is so important. Other areas that need to be checked include: eye muscle alignment, color vision, depth perception, and overall health of the eyes.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: What is the examination like to determine whether someone is suffering from Dry Eyes?
A: A full dry eye evaluation may include a series of tests depending on initial signs and symptoms, systemic history, medication, and lifestyle. Most of these tests are non-invasive and painless. They can include using special colored dyes placed on the eyelid to assess severity, direct visualization of the oil glands to check for Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) or atrophy, and tear production analysis. The evaluation will be tailored to narrow down the specific cause of Dry Eye Syndrome.
Q: What are the typical treatments used to help people suffering from Dry Eyes?
A: Treatment for dry eye depends on the cause, severity, and stage of the disease. Artificial tears can be helpful in the early stages. If over-the-counter eye drops are insufficient, we progress to a prescription medication such as Restasis or Xiidra. Lid hygiene as well as omega-3 fish oil supplementation can improve symptoms. Anti-inflammatory medications as well as punctal plugs are also available if needed for treatment.
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: 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 are the pros of daily disposable contact lenses?
A: Daily disposable contact lenses are great for many reasons. The risk of infection is reduced, because a new sterile lens is used everyday, and there is no need to clean the lens or the case. This is also a great option for patients who have allergies, contact lens solution sensitivities, or dry eye, as it eliminates the buildup of contaminants on the lenses, which can exacerbate those problems. Dailies make for a low-maintenance and comfortable option for almost any patient!
Q: What happens if I wear my contacts longer than recommended?
A: The longer a contact lens is worn, the less oxygen the eye receives. The cornea needs to receive oxygen directly from the air, and contact lenses inhibit this process to some extent. If your eyes don't get enough oxygen, you can have symptoms including eye pain, blurred vision, red eyes, light sensitivity, tearing and irritated eyes. If you experience any of these symptoms from contact lens over-wear, make sure to see your eye doctor. You may need to be treated for any damage to your eye, and you may need to take a break from wearing your lenses.
Q: 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 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: I wear multifocal eyeglasses. Is it possible for me to wear contact lenses?
A: Of course! There are several different types of multifocal contact lenses, and we specialize in fitting each patient with the one that will be the most comfortable and correct his or her vision the best. There are bifocal, multifocal, and monovision lenses to choose from, and they're available in Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) or soft contact lenses. Depending on your prescription and what is most comfortable, we will fit you with a contact lens that will provide you with great vision. There are 3 good options for patients who want to use contact lenses to correct distance and near vision at the same time. Most patients can be successful with either multifocal contact lenses or monovision. Both of those options would make you glasses free. Some people prefer having contact lenses for distance and then wearing "cheaters" when they need to read. The right decision is usually based on your lifestyle and visual demands.
Q: 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. Here are 5 of the most common reasons that we come across. 1. Dry Eye: Dry eye symptoms affect more than 20 million people in the U.S., according to one Allergan study. 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: Many people suffer from different degrees of allergies associated with contact lens wear. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC) is when 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 eyes. 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.” That strategy is like changing the oil after the car breaks down. 5. Fit / Type of Contact Lenses: 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, including certain systemic conditions, as well as the factors mentioned above. Visit your eye doctor, so we can diagnosis the issue, and try to help you feel more comfortable with wearing contact lenses.
Q: Can I wear contacts when I'm swimming?
A: Contact lenses should never be in contact with regular water, tap or pool water. The contacts act like magnets that hold bacteria found in water, which can cause harm to the eyes. However, we understand that sometimes when swimming, it is hard to see without your contacts, and glasses aren’t an option. For these reasons, we generally recommend daily contact lenses when swimming, along with waterproof goggles. If daily disposable lenses aren’t an option, we recommend using your contact lenses along with waterproof goggles and when you are done that evening, remove the lenses and thoroughly clean them with the proper disinfection systems. Whatever you do, DO NOT SWIM IN YOUR CONTACT LENSES AND THEN PROCEED TO SLEEP IN THEM. This is a recipe for disaster and can cause significant damage to your eyes. Serious swimmers should consider prescription goggles instead.
Q: 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: 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 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: 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 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: How do allergies directly affect the eyes?
A: Chronic allergies may lead to permanent damage to the tissue of your eye and eyelids. If left untreated, it may even cause scarring of the conjunctiva, the membrane covering the inner eyelid that extends to the whites of the eyes. Ocular allergies can make contact lens wear almost impossible and are among the many causes of contact lens drop-out. Most common allergy medications will tend to dry out the eyes, and relying on nasal sprays containing corticosteroids can increase the pressure inside your eyes, causing other complications such as glaucoma.
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 are the common symptoms of OCULAR allergies?
A: Excessive tearing, frequent eye rubbing, constant irritation especially in the corners of your eyes closest to the nose, lid swelling or puffy eyes, and red or pink eyes are some of the most common ocular allergy symptoms.
Q: 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: My previous eye doctor told me I have “stigma!” Am I going to go blind?
A: Stigma is actually referring to a type of refractive error known properly as astigmatism, and no, you will not go blind from having astigmatism; it is not a disease. In fact, this condition is relatively common. There are three types of refractive errors: myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. The former two are also known to as nearsighted (cannot see far away) and farsighted (cannot see up close). Astigmatism is simply the third category; it can affect both the near and far vision. Much like nearsightedness or farsightedness, astigmatism is corrected using glasses or contacts. Technically speaking an eye with astigmatism requires two different prescriptions to correct vision in one eye, due to the more oval shape of the cornea. For contact lens wearers, this will require a more specialized contact lens and a more in-depth fitting procedure.
Q: What exactly is astigmatism?
A: Astigmatism is usually caused by an irregularly shaped cornea, the front surface of the eye. Instead of being a perfect sphere, like a ball bearing or a marble, it can become a little more like a football, being more curved in one direction than the other. This brings light into focus at more than one point on the retina at the back of the eye, resulting in blurry or distorted vision.
Q: Does reading my smartphone or tablet in the dark damage my eyes?
A: Reading from a tablet or smartphone in the dark is okay for your eyes, as long as it's not for a long period of time. These devices have decent lighting and good contrast. However, they give off blue light, and long-term exposure may cause damage to the structures of the eye. As well, studies have shown that blue light at night disrupts melatonin production and interferes with healthy sleep cycles. Optometrists recommend wearing blue light blocking eyewear for extended digital device use, and limiting screen time during the last hour before bedtime.
Q: 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: Is too much computer or hand-held device use bad for my child’s eyes?
A: The last few years have seen a radical shift in how our children use their vision. More and more time is spent looking at an electronic screen; TV, computer, cell phone, game device, and so on. Vision scientists have long pointed out that excessive near point tasks can lead to increased myopia (nearsightedness) in children, eyestrain, and headaches. Combined with the potentially damaging effect of the blue light these screens emit, you have the possibility of a dangerous situation. We recommend a common-sense approach. First, limit the time your child has to electronic media. Psychologists, educators, and doctors all agree: too much is not good. Second, practice the 20/20/20 rule. For every twenty minutes of near point tasks, take twenty seconds and look at something twenty feet or more away. In short, take frequent rest breaks. Third, use lenses that are designed for your particular activity. Having the correct eyeglass or contact lens prescription is always the place to start. There are lenses and coatings that not only provide the proper focus, but also block unwanted glare and limit the amount of damaging blue light.
Q: Is it a bad sign if I see dots or strings that float around when I move my eyes?
A: Usually, the dots and threads you describe are called floaters, and are generally harmless. If you had a recent eye injury or an impact to the eye, see a new onset of them, see a lot of them, or if they're accompanied by flashes of light, make an emergency eye appointment with our eye doctor so that we can make sure there aren’t any concerning problems forming on your retina, such as retinal holes, tears, or detachments, which case could potentially result in permanent vision loss. Most often, floaters are just shadows caused by the jelly-like vitreous fluid inside your eyes.
Q: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 are specialty contact lenses?
A: Specialty contact lenses are contact lenses made for people who have trouble wearing regular contact lenses because of some type of eye health or vision issue. If you have dry eyes, or astigmatism, or kerataconus, you may have been told that you can't wear contact lenses. However, we now have new technology that allows us to fit all different types of patients with contact lenses that are comfortable, and provide great vision. These contact lenses require special fittings, performed by an eye doctor who is trained in this area, and knows what contact lenses will be best for your particular condition.
Q: What are Scleral Contact Lenses?
A: Scleral lenses are custom made lenses that rest on the sclera, the whites of your eyes. 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: What is Orthokeratolgy (Ortho-K)?
A: Did you ever wish you could wake up in the morning being able to see perfectly? By wearing Ortho-K lenses nightly, you can correct your vision if you are nearsighted to close to perfect vision. Your eye doctor will fit you with GP lenses that gently correct the shape of the front of your eye when you sleep. The correction remains for a day or two, so you must continue to use the contacts nightly if you want to maintain good vision during the day. Interested in trying Ortho-K lenses? Book a consultation today.
Q: What are CRT contact lenses?
A: Paragon CRT® Contact Lenses are therapeutic contact lenses that gently remold the cornea while you sleep to temporarily correct nearsightedness up to -6.00 diopters, and mild amounts of astigmatism. If you or your child have been diagnosed with nearsightedness (or myopia), Paragon CRT® Contact Lenses offers a non-invasive and non-surgical treatment.
Q: Please explain what Ortho-Keratology is and give a basic sense of how it works.
A: Orthokeratology is a procedure using specially designed gas permeable contact lenses to gently reshape the corneal curvature of the eye while sleeping. The lenses are designed to be removed upon awakening and the patient will have great vision throughout the day without the need of daily contact lenses or eyeglasses.
Q: What is Amblyopia?
A: Sometimes called Lazy eye, it is the underdevelopment of central vision in one or sometimes both eyes; it also prevents both eyes from working together.
Q: What 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 Vision Therapy?
A: Vision therapy is an individualized treatment plan prescribed by a Doctor of Optometry. It is used to treat eye conditions, such as strabismus (eye turn) or amblyopia (“lazy eye”). Through Vision Therapy, a Doctor of Optometry also teaches, improves and/or reinforces important visual skills, such as eye tracking, eye focusing and eye teaming abilities. Without these visual skills, simple tasks like reading or copying notes from the board become difficult. Skipping words or lines while reading, using a finger while reading, blurry near vision, double vision, eyestrain and/or eye fatigue are also common symptoms.
Q: How do I know Vision Therapy is right for my child?
A: If your child displays symptoms of strabismus (eye turn), amblyopia (“lazy eye”), skipping words or lines while reading, using a finger while reading, blurry near vision, double vision, eyestrain and/or eye fatigue, it is suggested your child has a complete eye exam from a Doctor of Optometry. If symptoms persist or the Doctor of Optometry recommends Vision Therapy, then a Vision Therapy assessment is the next step. The doctor will perform a thorough one-on-one assessment and will determine which conditions are present, whether Vision Therapy is suitable, the type of eye exercises required and the number of sessions needed.
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: Do I need an optometrist or an ophthalmologist?
A: Both are eye doctors that diagnose and treat many of the same eye conditions. The American Optometric Association defines Doctors of Optometry (optometrists) as: primary health care professionals who examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as diagnose related systemic conditions. They can prescribe glasses, contact lenses, low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy and medications as well as perform certain procedures. The main difference between the two, is that ophthalmologists perform surgery, where an optometrist would not. Optometrists, however, would handle the pre-and post-operative care of these surgical patients; collecting accurate data, educating the patient, and ensuring proper healing after the procedure. In addition to specializing in eye examinations, and glasses and contact lens related services, an optometrist can treat most eye conditions like glaucoma, eye infections, allergic eye conditions, dry eyes, etc., including the use of topical or oral medications, if needed. A third “O” that often is overlooked is the optician. An optician is not a doctor, and they cannot examine your eye under their own license. However, a highly trained optician plays an indispensable role in the most successful eye doctor’s offices. An optician most often handles the optical, contact lens, and glasses side of things. Based on their vast knowledge of lenses, lens technology and frames, they manufacture eyeglasses, as well as assist in the selection of eyewear based on the requirements of each individual patient.