Patients always want to know, “Am I nearsighted or farsighted?” but the more they think about it, the more confused they get. It’s really very simple: your prescription is named after what is easier for you to see without glasses. Without glasses, people with nearsightedness (or myopia) see better up close than far away. The larger your prescription, the closer objects need to be for you to see them clearly.
The terms nearsighted and farsighted are often confused but the easiest way to remember which condition you have is that “you are what you can do best without glasses.” If you see better at near without glasses, then you are nearsighted (myopic). Conversely if you see better at a distance without glasses, then you are farsighted (hyperopic). With farsightedness, a person has difficulty and discomfort when reading or doing computer work.
Astigmatism is a seemingly exotic word and often humorously mispronounced. It is a common vision condition in which light entering the eye can’t be focused clearly – in fact over 90% of all patients we see have some degree of astigmatism. Astigmatism is also often described as the front surface of the eye (cornea) being football shaped, egg shaped, or a warped camera lens. The “nerdy” definition is that an image will come to focus in two different meridians either before or after the retina, thus it is associated with nearsightedness and farsightedness, which is obviously why we don’t describe it this way to our patients.
Glaucoma is generally thought of as a disease whereby the pressure of the fluid inside your eye rises to the point of causing damage to your Optic Nerve. Inside your eye, there is always a fluid being produced to bathe the eye tissue with new nutrients. Then this fluid cycles out and new fluid is secreted back into the eye chamber to replace it.
A cataract is formed when the natural lens of our eye becomes cloudy or opaque. The human eye contains a natural lens which provides much of the “power” that allows us to see clearly and focus on the things we see. Over time, this natural lens begins to lose its clarity, which in turn can affect your overall vision. I like to use the analogy of trying to see through a dirty or hazy windshield. The best way to know you have cataracts is by having your routine comprehensive eye exam.
First and foremost, let me unequivocally state that I hate the term “Lazy eye”. That term always sounded to me that if a patient just stopped being ‘lazy” they would see better. This is far from the truth.
“Lazy Eye” is the common name for a condition we call amblyopia which is a permanent decrease in the ability of a patient’s eye to see 20/20 vision, even with glasses or contacts. Amblyopia is caused by one of four conditions during childhood when the visual system is still developing.
Dry Eyes is a chronic and progressive condition that affects millions of people. In the United States, dry eyes rarely leads to blindness, but in parts of the world near the equator and where medical care is non-existent, it can result in eye diseases that cause blindness. Common symptoms to watch for are dryness, burning, grittiness or sandiness, foreign body sensation, excessive tearing chronic red eyes or eyelid margins, soreness around the eyes, contact lens intolerance or discomfort, and even blurry or fluctuating vision. Even recurrent styes can be a symptom.
A long-time patient made a comment that it seemed to her that “everyone” has either prediabetes or diabetes. She was not too far off. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30.3 million Americans or 9.4% of the US population have diabetes; 23.1 million people have diagnosed diabetes and 7.2 million people have undiagnosed diabetes. The prediabetes statistic is even more staggering…84.1 million or about 1 out of 3 adults in the United States have prediabetes and 90% of them do not know they have it.
When babies are born, they already have the “hardware” necessary for vision, but the hardware still needs to be programmed. Babies are in the dark before birth, so the visual stimulation they experience, particularly between birth and age 2, is key to quality of vision for the rest of their lives.
Today’s seniors are more active than ever and life expectancy is longer than ever. That is why annual eye exams are very important as you get older. Seniors are more susceptible to developing diabetes and high blood pressure - both of which can affect your vision. Cataracts and macular degeneration are two more eye diseases that can develop over the years. Early detection for any of these eye conditions is important in maintaining good visual outcomes.
Clear and comfortable vision is essential to a child’s ability to learn, develop, and play. Any number of issues with the eye health or vision can limit their ability to learn in school, participate in sports, and their ability to navigate the world around them.
Let’s face it. Computers are an ever present, integral part of our daily lives. Even in my profession as an optometrist where twenty years ago the only computers in the office were at the front desk or in highly sophisticated testing equipment, I now have a computerized eye chart, computerized patient records, displays in each room to educate or document, one in my pocket to keep me in contact with my front desk and testing equipment galore with digital display screens.
We all can relate to hours spent each day on our smart phone, tablet and computer. The average adult American spends close to 4 hours a day on an electronic device (excluding television). You start off each day seeing well, your eyes feeling good, but that all changes as the day wears on. By the end of the day, your eyes are now feeling tired, going in and out of focus, maybe feeling dry and needing to blink a lot to focus and even have some degree of a headache around or behind your eyes.
So it’s been determined that a spectacle prescription will help you with your visual system. The type of prescription and amount of power combined with the size and shape of the eyeglass frames you choose will play a big part in how well your glasses perform for you as well as how good they look on you when you wear them.
Progressive lenses have become the standard lens prescribed for people in their 40’s and beyond who need help with their reading vision. Progressive lenses are lenses designed to give excellent distance, intermediate, and near vision without adding any extra lines to our faces. (Those of you that are in your twenties reading this will understand someday….)
Pink eye and red eye are common eye conditions and have various causes ranging from infections, allergies, irritantants, and styes.
Mild cases of pink or red eyes get better on their own, but moderate or severe cases need further attention. If any of the following symptoms are present, it is highly recommended to have it assessed by an optometrist: very red eye, decrease in vision, painful eye, sensitivity to light, or any discharge from the eye.
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