Ask the Doctor: Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What does it mean to be nearsighted?
A: Being nearsighted means that you are unable to clearly see objects that are far away.
Q. What does it mean to be farsighted?
A: Being farsighted means that you are able to see distant objects better that those close to you.
Q. How often should I get my eyes checked?
A: The Vision Council of America recommends that you visit your eye care professional once a year for a vision exam. Having a comprehensive yearly eye exam can allow your doctor to detect and treat eye diseases early on, thereby helping to insure healthy eyesight.
Q. When should my child have his or her eyes checked?
A: All children should have their first eye examination by age 3 or 4 to screen for "lazy eye," also called amblyopia. Parents may be unaware of its development because the eyes may appear normal. If it is not detected by age 9, amblyopia may be difficult or impossible to treat. When detected in early childhood, "lazy eye syndrome" is an easily treatable condition.
Q. When can a child start wearing glasses?
A: Children may be given an eyeglass prescription as young as one year old. For the healthy growth of the eye ball it is necessary to have a clear focused image on the retina.
Q. Is it important for me to frequently change my lenses after age 40?
A: Yes. The ability for your eyes to focus properly greatly decreases with age. In order to correct this, periodical lens correction is necessary.
Q. What are multifocal lenses?
A: Multifocal lenses include two or more different corrections, such as bifocals and trifocals. Such lenses are prescribed in order to fully treat the precise visual requirements of an individual. People of every age wear multifocal lenses, but they are most commonly prescribed for people ages 40 to 45.
Q. What is a Cataract?
A: Caused by the aging of the eye, cataracts are formed when the clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy and blurs vision. If left untreated, cataracts will cause blindness. Fortunately, this condition can be corrected through surgery.
Q. What is Presbyopia?
A: Presbyopia is the state in which the eyes' ability to focus gradually decreases causing vision, at a normal reading distance, to become blurred. This commonly develops with age but can be corrected.
Q. What can I do to make sure my eyes last a long as I do?
A: You can protect your eyes by getting regular comprehensive examinations, using ultraviolet protection every time you are outside, and maintaining a healthy diet. If you follow these three simple steps, you can ensure a lifetime of healthy vision.
Q. What is Graves Disease?
A: Also known as Proptosis or Exophthalmos, Graves Disease is caused by over active thyroid glands, also known as hyperthyroidism. The over active thyroid glands cause the muscles and tissues around the eye to become inflamed and protrude from the eye sockets. Graves Disease can damage eyesight, but is treatable.
Q. What is Blepharitis?
A: Blepharitis is an unceasing infection and inflammation of the eyelids. Symptoms include swelling, itching, redness of the eyelids caused by bacteria, dilated blood vessels, and crusting. Scarring of the cornea can occur if left untreated.
Q. What is PRK?
A: PRK or Photorefractive Keratectomy uses a gentle beam of light to reshape the surface of your eye, or the cornea. PRK has been FDA approved to be a safe and effective way to reshape the cornea, reducing nearsightedness and farsightedness.
Q. What is retinopathy of prematurity?
A: Retinopathy of prematurity (R.O.P.) occurs in premature babies when scar tissue and abnormal blood vessels grow over the baby's retina. It's difficult to determine if R.O.P. will permanently affect vision. For many, R.O.P. goes away in time leaving vision unimpaired.
Q. Are twitching eyelids serious?
A: Twitching eyelids are not serious. They may be caused from stress or lack of sleep, and will go away when stress is reduced and sleep is replenished.
Q. How many colors can our eyes see?
A: Our eyes see three basic colors: green, blue, and red. Our brain blends these colors and creates up to 8,000 colors and up to 8 million varied shades!
Q. What is the most common eye injury?
A: The most common eye injury is a corneal abrasion, which occurs when the surface layer of the eye is scratched. Corneal abrasions usually heal on their own within 24 hours of the injury but must be kept clean to prevent infection.
Q. Are dry eyes serious?
A: Dry eyes are more of a nuisance than they are a serious health risk, yet they are the most common reason to see the doctor. Dry eyes cause inflammation, irritation and excessive tearing. Over the counter treatment is available.
Q. How does blood appear in the white of the eye?
A: Blood in the white of the eye is known as a subconjunctival hemorrhage. Eyes contain many delicate blood vessels that can burst when eyes are rubbed or a severe sneeze occurs, releasing blood. No damage is done to the eye itself and the hemorrhage tends to fade within a few weeks.
Q. What causes flashes and floaters?
A: Flashes and floaters are not serious and are a normal side effect to the aging eye. The cause of these effects is due to a Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD). At birth, the Vitreous solution is attached to the light sensitive retina of your eye. As we age, the elements of this solution divide. The flashes and floaters we see are simply the remains of this tissue.
Q. What is a Detached Retina?
A: The retina is responsible for sending images to the brain. When the retina is pulled away from the eye, it is considered detached. Symptoms include a "curtain" over the vision, flashing lights, and many floaters. A detached retina is a serious condition that requires surgery for correction.
Q. What is Pink Eye?
A: Pink Eye, also known as Viral Conjunctivitis (the clear lining that covers the white of the eye), is a very common infection caused by many viruses. Symptoms include swelling, tearing, and redness of the eye. Treatment consists of making the patient feel comfortable while letting the virus run its course.
Q. What is Glaucoma?
A: Glaucoma is the most common cause of blindness in the United States. Regular eye exams are crucial to prevent this disease because glaucoma has no symptoms. If caught early by a doctor, glaucoma can be prevented.