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Frequently Asked Questions

Following are answers to the questions we hear most frequently. If you have additional questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call.

(Click on a question for the answer.)

What’s the difference between an Optometrist, Optician and Ophthalmologist?
Optometrists are Doctors of Optometry (OD’s). They examine, diagnose, treat and manage disease and disorders of the eyes, and prescribe glasses, contact lenses, and certain medications. Optometrists treat eye diseases such as glaucoma, dry eyes, infections, and allergic and inflammatory conditions, and often perform the pre- and postoperative care portion of eye surgery.

Opticians are not doctors and do not perform eye exams or prescribe glasses or contact lenses. They are skilled professionals trained in the selection, dispensing, repair and fitting of eye glass frames and spectacle lens. Opticians fit eyeglasses, sunglasses, and specialty eyewear made to an optometrist’s or ophthalmologist’s prescription.

Ophthalmologists are Medical Doctors (MD’s) who specialize in the eye. They treat disease, prescribe medication and perform surgery. Most ophthalmologists concentrate their practices in a particular specialty such as cataracts, glaucoma, corneal disease or retinal and LASIK surgery. Ophthalmologists sometimes write prescriptions for glasses and contact lenses.

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What is Nearsightedness, or Myopia?
Nearsightedness, medically known as Myopia, is a visual condition where images focus in front of the retina, instead of properly on the retina, resulting in distant objects appearing blurry. Near objects, if viewed close enough, appear sharp and clear, therefore this condition is referred to as “nearsighted”.

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What is Farsightedness, or Hyperopia?
Farsightedness, medically known as Hyperopia, is a visual condition where images focus at a location beyond the retina, instead of properly on the retina, resulting in near objects appearing blurry. Distant objects usually appear clear, therefore this condition is referred to as “farsightedness”. Signs of farsightedness can include eye strain, fatigue or headaches after performing close work.

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What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a visual condition that has to do with the way light focuses in your eyes. Most of the light that enters your eyes is focused by the cornea, the front part of the eye. If the cornea is spherical, like a basketball, the light entering your eyes is properly focused into one point. If the cornea is shaped more like a football, the entering light will not be focused into one point, which can cause both near and far images to appear blurry, resulting in eye strain. Wearing prescription eyewear can compensate for this focusing error and alleviate the eye strain associated with the condition.

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Why do you want to dilate my eyes?
Dilation makes the pupils much larger, allowing the doctor to see more of the internal part of the eye and thereby provide a more comprehensive exam. With dilation, the doctor is better able to see any potential signs of glaucoma, diabetes, hypertension, retinal detachment or diabetic retinopathy. The dilation typically lasts 3 to 4 hours and can make your near vision blurry and light seem particularly bright. Once the effects wear off your vision will return to normal. If you have diabetes, it is especially important to have a dilated exam at least annually.

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What are these small spots, or floaters, in my vision?
Floaters are small spots that move as your eyes move, and seem to dart away when you try to look directly at them. These spots are caused by deposits located in the vitreous, which is the clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eyes. Floaters are usually normal and rarely limit vision, however, if you notice any sudden increase in the number of floaters, or if they are associated with flashes of light, it could be an indication of a more serious problem and you should seek care immediately.

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What is pink eye, or conjunctivitis?
More correctly known as conjunctivitis, pink eye is a contagious inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, the clear-like covering of the eyeball and eyelid, which can result from either a bacterial or a viral infection. If bacterial, your eye doctor can prescribe eye drops or ointment to help clear the infection. If viral, symptoms will usually clear on their own in 7-10 days. Should you contract pink eye, it is important to see your eye doctor and wash your hands frequently, replace your eye cosmetics, avoid rubbing your eyes, avoid reusing eye wipes, and replace your contact lenses.

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Why are my eyes so dry / what is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Tears are necessary for good eye health and clear vision. They provide your eyes with lubrication, reduce the risk of infections, wash away foreign matter and keep the surface of your eyes smooth and clear. When your eyes do not produce enough tears, or when your tears do not have the proper chemical composition, you can develop Dry Eye Syndrome. Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome can include irritated, scratchy or burning eyes, excess tearing, a feeling of something in your eye, and blurred vision. If you suffer from any of these symptoms we can help.

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What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the internal pressure in the eye increases to a level that damages the nerve fibers of the optic nerve, often leading to vision loss. This increase in pressure happens when the passages that normally allow fluid in the eyes to drain become blocked. The reasons that the passages become blocked are not known.

Glaucoma usually develops slowly, without obvious symptoms, pain or discomfort, and often people do not know that they have a problem until significant vision loss has occurred. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to a significant loss of vision and even result in blindness. Currently, glaucoma cannot be prevented, but if diagnosed and treated early, it can usually be controlled with medication or surgery. Vision already lost to glaucoma cannot be restored. An annual dilated eye exam is a good way to identify early signs of glaucoma.

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What are cataracts?
When the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and less transparent it is called a cataract. In most cases, cataracts are simply a part of the natural aging process, however, they can also be caused by trauma to the eye, excessive exposure to ultraviolet light and certain systemic diseases such as diabetes. A person with a cataract may experience light sensitivity, blurry vision, and distorted colors.

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What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a disease that causes damage to the cells in the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail and perform tasks such as reading and driving. The most common form of the disease is dry macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans over the age of 60. Dry macular degeneration does not cause total blindness, however, it can blur or cause a blind spot in your central vision. Treatment cannot restore a loss of vision, but it can slow the progression of vision loss.

Common symptoms include a gradual loss of the ability to see objects clearly, distorted vision, a gradual loss of color vision, or a dark area appearing in the center of your vision. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your eye doctor immediately.

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When should my child have their first eye exam?
Absent any present or previous eye, vision or health conditions, infants should have their first eye exam with a pediatrician at 6 months, followed by a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist at age 3 and then again at age 5 or 6. If your child is wearing glasses or contact lenses, they should get an eye exam every year. Early eye exams are particularly important for children because without properly functioning vision, a child’s ability to learn can be severely impeded.

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What are some signs that my child might need glasses?
Your child might need vision correction, and should obtain an eye exam, if your child displays any of the following behaviors:
• Consistently sits too close to the TV
• Consistently holds a book too close
• Uses a finger to follow along while reading
• Squints a lot
• Frequently rubs their eyes
• Has excessive tearing
• Closes one eye to read
• Complains of headaches or tired eyes
• Receives lower grades than usual

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How often should I have an eye exam?
In general, absent any present or previous eye, vision or health conditions, a comprehensive eye exam should be obtained every one to two years for non-contact lens wearers and every year for contact lens wearers. The presence of certain risk factors may necessitate more frequent exams, based on the judgment of your doctor. Since many eye and vision disorders present no obvious symptoms, early diagnosis and treatment are vital to maintaining healthy eyes and good vision.

An eye exam is also a valuable source of information regarding your overall health. Diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, high cholesterol and others frequently display evidence in the eyes, and regular eye exams can help monitor or detect these conditions.

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Why is it getting harder for me to read since I turned 40? / What is Presbyopia?
The closer something is to our eyes the more focusing our eyes have to do to see it clearly. As we age, especially after 40, the lenses in our eyes become more rigid and less able to change shape, which inhibits their ability to focus. This condition is called presbyopia. If you find you have to hold things further away to see them clearly, or you think your arms are getting shorter, you probably have presbyopia.

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Can LASIK eye surgery correct my vision problems?
In many cases, LASIK surgery is a good option for correcting myopia (blurred distance vision) and astigmatism. LASIK correction of hyperopia (blurred near vision) is not as predictable or as successful. In general, presbyopia (the need to wear reading glasses or bifocals) cannot be corrected by LASIK surgery, and as a result, in most cases people over 45 years of age will require reading glasses following the surgery. Damage to the eye or loss of vision cannot be repaired by LASIK surgery. LASIK is not appropriate for everyone and factors such as your age, medical history, individual eye anatomy, and expectations should be considered prior to undergoing the procedure.

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Can computer use harm my eyes?
There is no scientific evidence that computers cause damage to your vision, however, extended computer use, poor lighting and poor ergonomic conditions can cause eye strain and fatigue. In many cases, simply rearranging your work environment can reduce eye strain and correct computer related vision problems. For greater relief, customized computer glasses can help you see at just the right distance for viewing a computer.

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Is it better to purchase glasses on-line or at a doctor’s office?
The fit of a pair of glasses is as important as the prescription and the only way to assure a proper fit is in a doctor’s office. Even if you have a prescription for lenses, measurements of your eyes need to be taken. In addition, to make sure that the glasses are the proper height and width for your face and comfortable to wear, you should always try on frames before buying. You’ll also want to make sure the shape and color of the frame compliments your appearance.

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Can you fill a glasses or contact lens prescription from another doctor?
Yes, we welcome all outside prescriptions.

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Can a contact lens get lost behind my eye?
No, however, if you rub your eye and dislodge the lens from its proper position, it is possible to have a little trouble finding the lens under your eyelid. Should you ever have any difficulties with your contact lenses, we are here to help.

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Can I put contact lenses in my mouth to rewet them?
A mouth is not a sterile environment. Please do not ever use saliva to rewet your contact lenses. Always use the lens care products and regimen recommended by your doctor.

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Can I wear contacts while participating in sports?
In most cases, contact lenses are an excellent option for sports. They provide exceptionally good vision and unlike glasses, they don’t fall off, break or fog up. In addition, it’s easier to wear sports goggles with contact lenses.

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Is it okay for my friend to wear my contact lenses?
No, a person should never wear contacts that were not prescribed specifically for them. Wearing a contact lens that has not been assessed on your eye can lead to serious complications.

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Can I get colored contact lenses if I don’t need contacts for vision correction?
In most cases, yes, you can get contact lenses to change your eye color even if you don't need vision correction. You will still need to get a regular contact lens exam and fitting, and instruction on how to care for and clean your lenses, just as if you needed the lenses for vision correction.

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Can I swim with my contacts in?
Contact lenses should never be exposed to water, including water from the tap, shower, swimming pool, ocean, lake or hot tub. Water contains countless viruses and dangerous microbes which can cause eye infections, irritation and other potentially sight-threatening conditions. If you absolutely must swim with contacts, the safest option is to use daily disposable lenses and throw them away after the swim. If you're going to swim with contact lenses, the best way to reduce your risk of irritation and infection is to wear waterproof swim goggles. If water does get in your eye when swimming with contacts, remove, clean and disinfect the lenses as soon as possible.

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Can I use water as contact lens solution or to store my contacts?
No, you should never use tap water, bottled water or distilled water in place of contact lens solution or to store contacts.

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How can I tell if my contact lens is inside out?
Place the lens on the tip of your finger so that the edge of the lens is pointing up and view the lens from the side. If the lens forms a perfect cup-shape with the edge upright, the lens is correct and is ready to be placed on your eye. If the lens edge has a noticeable outward bend, like a rimmed soup bowl, the contact is inside out. Generally, as soon as you put the lens on your eye, you'll be able to tell if it’s inside out as it will feel uncomfortable and move around too much when you blink.

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Can wearing contact lenses damage my eyes?
In general, contact lenses are very safe, and the risk of eye damage related to contact lens usage is very low, if you follow your doctor's advice and recommendations. Still, contact lenses can damage your eyes if you wear them too long, fail to clean them properly or do not replace them as directed by your doctor.

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How old must my child be to wear contact lenses?
Since contact lenses can damage your eyes if you wear them too long, fail to clean them properly or do not replace them as directed by your doctor, the answer to this question depends mostly on how responsible your child is. This decision is best made jointly between you and your eye doctor.

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Are daily disposable contacts worth the extra money?
Since you dispose of daily disposable contacts daily, there is little opportunity for protein and bacteria to build up on the lenses, therefore, daily disposable contacts are an excellent choice health-wise. An added bonus, since you are not storing and reusing the lenses, there is no need to buy contact lens solution.

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How should I care for my glasses?
• To clean your lenses use a liquid eyeglass lens cleaner and a micro fiber cloth, or rinse the lenses with mild soap and water and wipe them dry with a lint-free cotton cloth.
• Never wipe lenses when they are dry or use paper towels.
• Never use household detergents or window cleaners, such as Windex, to clean your glasses.
• Always use two hands when putting on and taking off your glasses.
• Avoid leaving your glasses in excessive heat, such as on the dash and sun visors of a car.
• Avoid getting hair spray on your glasses.
• Never place your glasses face down on the lenses.
• Store your glasses in their case and take advantage of complimentary frame adjustments at our office.

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How can I get rid of these reflections on my glasses?
You can add an Anti-Reflecting Coating (“AR”) to your new lenses. In addition to reducing reflection and making the lenses “disappear”, an AR coating provides for better clarity, improved night vision, and reduced eye fatigue.

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How can I reduce the glare I see in bright sunlight?
The best option for eliminating glare is to get polarized lenses in your glasses. Polarized lenses can make a substantial improvement in vision for hunters, boaters, fishermen, golfers and drivers, just to name a few.

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What are Progressive lenses?
In a nut shell, progressive lenses are very high-tech, no-line, “multi-focal” lenses that allow you to see far (driving a vehicle), intermediate (working on a computer), and near (reading books) with the same lens. With progressive lenses, you can perform multiple tasks at the same time, without the need to pause and remove your glasses, and since they do not have any visible lines, these lenses are cosmetically very desirable.

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