Frequently asked Patient Questions to our Eye Doctor in Mansfield, DeSoto and Fort Worth:
Q: What can I do to prevent dry eyes?
A: Dry eyes are caused by many factors. If you know you have dry eyes, try to pay attention to what makes them feel better or worse. For example, do not blow your hair dryer directly towards your eyes. Add moisture to the air with a humidifier. Use eye protection outdoors like wrap around sunglasses or other protective eyewear. Be mindful of changes in your environment (traveling). Position your computer screen below eye level. Stop smoking and avoid smoky areas. Supplement with lubricating eye drops and Omega 3 (orally).
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: 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 is not wanting contact lenses he/she will not take care of them appropriately and/or will not be successful at handling the lenses. On the flip side, the parent(s) need to agree to assuming the financial responsibility of fit, follow up, and materials; also, they must agree that their child is mature enough to take care of the contacts on his/her own.
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: 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 is one of 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 of ocular 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 term 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 reaction and a true infection, which can lead to faster healing with proper treatments.
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: Can I wear my contact lenses while I sleep?
A: It’s always better NOT to wear your contact lenses while sleeping. Complications and infections in contact lens wearers multiplies 3-5 fold when worn during sleeping/extended wear. Many of these infections and complications can be very painful, they require discontinued use of the contacts during treatment that may last up to a few months, and can even lead to permanent vision loss.
Q: Can I borrow and use someone else's glasses?
A: Most glasses are specifically customized for a particular patient. If you are wearing someone's glasses, it could improve your vision some, but it will not give you the crisp clear vision that a personalized pair of glasses does.
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: 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. Vision controls eighty percent of learning so include a thorough eye exam in your child's Back-to-School list.
Q: Who can wear contact lenses and at what age can you start?
A: Most vision problems are amenable to contact lens correction and there's no set age limit, whenever mom says it's okay. Typically 12 or 13 is when children start using contact lenses. Daily or 1-Day contact lenses are easier for children because of zero maintenance and a safer option for younger wearers.
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, thus making it hard for your child to concentrate and focus. There may also binocular issues, which is how well the two eyes work together, and focusing issues, that may affect a child's schoolwork. When working with your child, we will evaluate the child's visual system including their binocular systems and accommodative systems to determine if his/her vision may be playing a role in their academic performance or sports performance.
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: Should I wear sunglasses during the winter?
A: Yes! Ultraviolet (UV) rays can be just as damaging to your eyes during the winter as they are during the summer. UV rays are still strong during the winter because the sun sits lower in the sky, and at a different angle. Your eyes can be susceptible to UV exposure when sunlight bounces off of snow and reflects UV rays back up (sometimes up to 80 percent of them). Additionally, when sunlight reflects off of snow, it makes it very bright outside and can create an intense glare that makes it difficult to see. . In the long-term, overexposure to UV rays can lead to eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.
Q: Why do my Polarized sunglasses need anti-reflective coatings?
A: Anti-reflective coating on a sun lens is used to prevent backside reflections. This eliminates annoying reflections that occur when light is reflected off the lens surface of the lens. This can interfere with or decrease the effectiveness of the polarized lenses. This treatment is only beneficial on the backside of the lens, especially so that you won't see the reflection of your eye in the lens. Since AR increases light transmission it is a disadvantage on the front of a sunlens. (On a clear lens AR is used to increase light transmission) Also, Usually on Backside A/R is used due to the fact that fingerprints and dirt are more visible on a polarized dark surface that has A/R. You can see smudges very easily. The same goes for any Sun Tinted lens.
Q: I see fine. Why do I need to see an Eye Doctor?
A: Regular eye exams are the only way to catch “silent” diseases such as diabetes, glaucoma and other conditions in their early stages, when they’re more easily managed or treated. Many conditions can be discovered in a carefully planned eye exam. Those who consider mass-produced, over the counter reading glasses are truly doing themselves a disservice, both financially and medically. One-size-fits-all reading glasses not only do not work well for most people who have a different prescription in each eye, and/or astigmatism, or whose lens and frame parameters are not measured correctly, they bypass the opportunity to have their eyes checked for early detection of many manageable diseases or conditions. For those insisting on selecting glasses not measured specifically for their eyes, headache and eye fatigue are common symptoms.
Q: What exactly is astigmatism?
A: Usually it is related to the shape factor of the front surface of the eye called the cornea. Instead of being shaped spherically like a ball bearing or a marble, it is shaped like a football, being more curved in one direction than the other. This brings light to focus at more than 1 point. The root word stigma means point and the prefix A means without a point focus in the eye.
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: Is there a difference between a cheap pair of regular sunglasses versus designer sunglasses?
A: I believe once you put on a pair of polarized sunglasses you will understand and appreciate the difference. the clarity , and the difference in color is amazing. It is also one of the best way to protect you eyes from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. A "regular" pair of sunglasses is better than nothing ( along with wearing a hat) in protecting your eyes from the sun, but there is no comparison to polarized sunglasses
Q: What is color blindness?
A: Color blindness occurs when you are unable to see colors in a normal way. Most commonly, color blindness happens when someone cannot distinguish between certain colors, usually between greens and reds, and occasionally blues. The vast majority of people with color vision deficiency is genetic and is inherited from their mother. People can also become color blind as a result of diseases such as multiple sclerosis or diabetes or the acquire due to aging and medication.
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: My eyes are always burning and tired, what is causing this and what can I do about it?
A: These are often signs of dry eye syndrome, a very common condition that affects many people over time. Women are generally more prone to developing these symptoms and aging is often a cause as well. Dryness of our eyes is often due to a decrease in the oil production in our eyelid glands which causes the surface of the eye to become irritated. Certain medications and health issues can also contribute to dryness. There is no true cure for dryness but many treatments are available such as the use of artificial tears, nutritional supplements incorporating Omega 3, prescription medications such as Restasis, and eyelid hygiene. No single treatment works for every individual so we customize treatments for each person and their specific condition.
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 have heard about blue light being a concern as well. Can you talk a little bit about this and what it means for protecting your eyes?
A: Recently, the optical community has found that blue light can also cause long term damage to the eye. It has been found that overexposure to blue light over time can lead to macular degeneration. To help protect our eyes from these rays, a new coating has been found to block out this blue light. Anti-reflective or anti-glare coating could be a term that is familiar to you. Labs have found a way for these features to block the blue rays coming from our handheld devices, computers and fluorescent bulbs. This coating has several benefits and protecting our eyes from these harmful rays is one of them.
Q: What is blue light and why is it dangerous?
A: Blue light is part of visible light and close to UV on the light spectrum. It is naturally produced by the sun, used in fluorescent light bulbs and emitted by LED screens on computer monitors, tablets, and smartphones. The eyes’ natural filters do not block blue light and chronic exposure can cause age – related macular degeneration. Evidence also shows that blue light exposure can lead to sleep problems.
Q: What are multifocal lens implants?
A: Multifocal lens implants are often used in cataract surgery to reduce the dependency upon glasses for both distance and near vision after the surgery is completed. As with other medical technology, not everyone will be a good candidate for this type of surgical implant. Patients with conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration, etc. may not receive the full benefit of these lenses. Also, some patients with corneal scarring or those with significant astigmatism are not always the best candidates for these lens implants either. Your eye care professional can help determine if this lens implant option is right for you.
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. Having clear vision is only one aspect of 17 visual skills that are required for reading and learning. In certain vision disorders, some of the visual skills required for efficient learning are mal-developed. Vision therapy is a treatment program that can remediate mal-developed visual skills, and help children reach their maximum learning and reading potential.
Q: How will I know if my child is getting better from Amblyopia? Is it too late to help my child if the problem is undetected after age 6?
A: Lazy eye will not go away on its own. We have what is called electrodiagnostic testing which can determine the effectiveness of amblyopia treatment without relying on the response of the child to "tell" us how well they are seeing. Oftentimes, parents worry that the eye exam is not accurate if their child is not old enough to read the chart or is uncooperative due to anxiety of getting an eye exam. This test is non-invasive and fast (30 minutes) and can be done right here in our office for patients of all ages, starting in infancy. We can track over time how the therapy is working and the prognosis of vision.