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FAQ

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 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: 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: I have seasonal allergies. How come my eyes are still itchy even after I take a Claritin pill?
A: You may need an anti-allergy eye drop to target the symptoms in the eye. Much of the time, oral anti-allergy medications are not that effective at treating the symptoms in the eye. In fact, oral anti-allergy medications can cause dry eyes which then worsen the symptoms due to allergies. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, either over-the-counter or prescription- strength eye drops can be prescribed to provide relief.

Q: Why does allergy season affect my eyes?
A: It’s that time of the year for allergies, and for those who suffer, it’s more than just sneezing. It can mean months of itchy, watery, and puffy eyes. Because many of the allergens are in the air, they easily get into the eyes and cause problems. For many people, a sudden case of red and watery eyes can feel like an infection when really it’s just allergies. Eye allergies, known as “allergic conjunctivitis”, can often be treated with over the counter medication, but for some, it is not enough. Let us help you manage your allergies this season.

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.

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 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: 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, it is relatively common. There are three types of refractive error, myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. The former two are more regularly referred to as nearsighted (cannot see far away) and farsighted (cannot see up close). Astigmatism is simply the third category; it affects both the near and far vision at the same time. 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. This will require a more specialized contact lens and a more in depth fitting procedure. Nonetheless your eye care provider can, and will, correct your astigmatism with glasses and/or contacts.

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: 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: 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. How does vision play into the problems and what are the differences?
A: In some cases a large undetected prescription (farsightedness or astigmatism) or an eye muscle imbalance (binocular vision) 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. The most common symptoms to watch out for: Blur at distance or near Skipping or re-reading lines or words Reduced reading comprehension Difficulty shifting focus from near to far or far to near Difficulty copying from the smart board Double vision Closing or covering an eye when working at near Headaches; especially in the forehead, temple, or eyebrow regions Difficulty attending to near work or an avoidance of reading Poor spelling Misaligning numbers in math Unusual head or body posture when working at near Some of these issues can be alleviated with a good pair of eyeglasses while others may require vision therapy. Vision therapy, like occupational therapy or physical therapy, is a systematic program where the body, in this case the visual system, can be retrained and strengthened to improve it’s ability to function.

Q: My child says it gets blurry when looking from his paper to the board at school, and getting him to read is difficult. Is there anything I can do to help?
A: Your child is not alone. While we have seen some children with focusing problems for many years, there is a huge increase in accommodative(focusing) problems with children today. Our eye doctor has helped many children make reading easier and more enjoyable. Words shouldn’t move in and out of focus or move around when you are reading. Either with spec lenses with extra power for reading or multifocal contacts, we can make reading more comfortable for many children. There is no reason to make school and reading more difficult by straining and having the eyes work harder to see.

Q: How can a child's learning in school be affected by their vision?
A: A child's ability to learn is strongly dependent on having a normal visual system. 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: 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. All the doctors at Eye Vision Associates are trained in the diagnosis of vision related learning problems.

Q: What are some of the learning difficulties a child may encounter if they have vision issues?
A: Children may have difficulty reading if their near vision is blurry or the words jump around the page. Older children may have difficulty copying from the board at the front of the class or may struggle with math homework that has multiple questions on the page.

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. Doctors need to 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 on all ages because it is so important. Other areas that need to be checked is eye muscle alignment, color vision, depth perception, and overall health of the eyes.

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: What is color blindness?
A: Color blindness is actually color 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: What can I do about Digital Eye Strain?
A: We can help! We offer a number of different eyeglass lenses that can help people of all ages relieve Digital Eye Strain and ease fatigue after extended reading or computer use. There are also lens treatments such as anti-reflective and blue light blocking to protect our eyes and make our eyes more comfortable. We also prescribe many different types of contact lenses to make reading more enjoyable and make it easier to focus from distance to near.

Q: Does reading my smart phone or tablet in the dark damage my eyes?
A: Reading from a tablet or smart phone in the dark is okay for your eyes, as long as this is not for a long period of time. There is good lighting from these devices, with good contrast. There is, however, blue light emitted from these devices. Blue light is a short wavelength light, with high energy that may cause damage to the structures of the eye if exposed for a long period of time. As well, studies have shown this blue light can disrupt melatonin production which is required for a healthy sleep cycle. Doctors of Optometry recommend limiting screen use 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: Why do I have difficulty with my bifocal glasses while working on my computer?
A: On a desk top computer monitor, many people have difficulty using their bifocals because they are looking through the top or distance portion of their glasses with the monitor being usually at eye level. To compensate, patients often have to tilt their head upwards to bring the bifocal into view and sometimes move closer. Most computer monitors are positioned outward at a greater distance than the everyday reading distances for other activities. One solution for this is to have a separate bifocal computer prescription. 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: Do I need to use an anti-glare filter on my computer screen?
A: Anti-glare filters for the computer can be effective at reducing reflections from the computer screen, which may improve comfort for some. However, computer screen anti-glare filters will not help if you have eye fatigue due to visual problems associated with the constant focusing and refocusing of the eyes while working on computers. An evaluation with your eye doctor may determine that you may need prescription computer eyewear.

Q: What are progressive computer glasses?
A: Progressive lenses let people see at distance, midrange and reading. Since they are used full time for all activities like driving and TV, when looking straight out, you see distance. You must lift your chin a little to see the computer. Progressive computer glasses 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: I have eye allergies, are daily contact lenses better for me than monthlies?
A: The benefits of daily disposable contact lenses are comfort, convenience and eye health. Daily lenses only stay in your eye for one day, eliminating any buildup of bacteria on the lenses that could cause infections or allergic reactions. So for patients who suffer from allergies, I recommend using dailies over monthlies, even though the cost is a bit more. Dailies also tend to be more comfortable than monthlies, partially because there is no buildup on the lens. They are also more convenient, as you just throw away the lenses after the day, and use a brand new lens the next morning.

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: We have many choices today to correct our vision. What do you recommend as the earliest age for contact lenses?
A: This is very patient specific and task specific. Once the parent and child agree on the objectives and that the patient’s responsibility level is acceptable, we can properly assess each situation individually. For example, disposable contacts may be used specifically for a sport only if needed.

Q: Can kids wear contact lenses?
A: Yes! Once a child is mature enough to learn how to insert and remove contact lenses as well as take care of them they can wear contact lenses. The best option for children is daily disposable contact lenses . Kids greatly benefit from contact lenses especially when playing sports and extracurricular activities. They also help with a child's self esteem and confidence.

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. This method of wearing contact lenses also eliminates the need for you and your child to keep track of when the contacts need to be replaced, as they are thrown away at the end of every day rather than at the end of two weeks or a month.

Q: What are the advantages of daily disposable contact lenses?
A: Daily disposable contact lenses are great for many reasons. The chance of infection decreases 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 that have allergies, contact lens solution sensitivities and dry eye as it eliminates the buildup of contaminants on the lenses that can exacerbate those problems. Dailies make for a low maintenance and comfortable option for any patient!

Q: What Is Convergence Insufficency?
A: Convergence Insufficency is a visual condition where there is a misalignment of the two eyes. Some people have great difficulty keeping the two eyes looking at the same spot while reading. This causes several visual symptoms leading to poor reading ability. The condition can make you see double, lose your place, read slow, make reading so difficult that some people will avoid reading and some people will become sleepy after about fifteen minutes of reading. People with this condition are also very prone to have problems with dizziness and vertigo. The only treatment for convergence insufficency is vision therapy. This is a procedure that lets the person with the condition learn to get better control of their eyes and results in better reading ability. Many children with this problem struggle with reading , take very long to do their homework and often are misdiagnosed as having ADD/ADHD.

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: 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: 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: I have a friend whose eyes are frequently overly watery. That isn't Dry Eye, is it?
A: Ironically yes, complaints of watery eyes many times can be a symptom of dry eyes. When the basal tear production falters, then the reflex tears are called into play to help out. Unfortunately the reflex tears, which are meant to help flush out foreign bodies or function in a good "cry", come in too great a volume for the lids to hold the tears. Thus the reflex tears spill over the eyelids and the patient feels their eyes are watery.

Q: I have a friend whose eyes are frequently overly watery. That isn't Dry Eye, is it?
A: Yes, actually the two biggest causes of watery eyes are allergies (usually accompanied by itching) and dry eye. There are two kinds of tears, basal and reflex tears. If you don't have enough (or the right kind) of basal tears to keep the eye moist, the reflex tears (which are the crying/cutting onion tears) kick in and then you have too many tears streaming down your face! Think of it as your eyes turning on the taps to water themselves.

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: 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: 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 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: At what age should i bring my child in for an eye exam?
A: 6 months old, 3 years old and 5 years old. Those ages are chosen based on critical development milestones between the eyes and the brain and the overall visual system. During each of those visits there are specific signs that we look for to ensure good development of your child's visual system. including binocular development and depth perception. The specific components of the exam are tailored to the age of your child. All children entering school should also have their eyes examined because seeing is a vital component to learning in school.

Q: My child had a vision exam at my Pediatrician, why do I need to come to the eye doctor?
A: Vision screening programs are intended to help identify children or adults who may have undetected vision problems and refer them for further evaluation. However, they can't be relied on to provide the same results as a comprehensive eye and vision examination. Vision screening programs are intended to help identify children or adults who may have undetected vision problems and refer them for further evaluation. Screenings can take many forms. Often schools provide periodic vision screenings for their students. A pediatrician or other primary care physician may do a vision screening as part of a school physical. When applying for a driver's license, chances are your vision will be screened. Many times vision screenings are part of local health fairs put on by hospitals, social service agencies or fraternal groups like the Lions and Elks Clubs. While vision screenings can uncover some individuals with vision problems, they can miss more than they find. This is a major concern about vision screening programs. Current vision screening methods cannot be relied upon to effectively identify individuals in need of vision care. In some cases, vision screening may actually serve as an unnecessary barrier to an early diagnosis of vision problems. They can create a false sense of security for those individuals who "pass" the screening, but who actually have a vision problem, thereby delaying further examination and treatment. Undetected and untreated vision problems can interfere with a child's ability to learn in school and participation in sports or with an adult's ability to do their job or to drive safely. The earlier a vision problem is diagnosed and treated, the less it will impact an individual's quality of life.

Q: Because many children may be too young to read, how is an eye exam conducted if they cannot read a Snelling Chart?
A: We can use objective test which do not require the child to respond.

Q: We hear a lot about “seeing your eye doctor regularly.” In school aged children, ages 5 through 17, what does regularly mean?
A: Annually is recommended. Children change quickly and often do not complain about vision and/or are unaware what ‘normal’ might be.