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: 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: 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.
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: What's the best way to select a good pair of eyeglasses? Can I get a top designer brand and get the best protection for my eyes?
A: Tom Ford is one of the most sought-after and innovative styles in our dispensary. We appreciate the quality of the frame. I'm very particular when it comes to eyewear comfort, and Tom Ford frames have been a pleasant surprise. They say each frame is handmade and that it takes 100 days to assemble each pair! Our clients say they love how light Tom Fords feel on their face, and they offer a very clean, distinctive look, without much brand-advertising on the frame itself.