Do we need to wear sunglasses year round or just in the summer?

We need to protect our eyes year round from the sun’s harmful rays. While you want to be in the sun to get your Vitamin D, you definitely don’t want to hurt your eyes. The damage of the sun’s harmful rays is continually increasing.

During the winter, it is especially important you wear proper sunglasses. Sometimes reflections from snow or ice can be worse than just driving during the summer sun. If you don’t protect your eyes with proper sunglasses the invisible rays can cause irreversible damage.

Everyone is at risk for eye damage from the sun year-round. The risk is greatest from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you spend time in the sun for extended periods of time, you are at highest risk.

Children should definitely wear sunglasses; even infants and toddlers who are exposed to daylight during an outing. Toy sunglasses can provide a false sense of safety because they don’t provide complete UV protection. Ask us about infant and toddler sunglasses.

Do I need to have a backup pair of glasses?

Everyone is used to backing up their computer on a regular basis. And if they don’t back it up, they at least know they should. But did you know you should have a back-up pair of glasses too?

Whether or not you wear contact lenses, everyone needs to have a back-up in their current prescription. Think about it for a moment. Let’s say you are on vacation, and, all of a sudden your glasses meet a horrible fate – either they end up at the bottom of the lake, or someone sits on them and they are beyond repair. Sure you can always get them replaced, but what if you are the driver?

In addition, if you wear contacts and get an eye infection, you will need to wait until the infection is gone before you can wear your contacts again. If you don’t have a pair of glasses you like in your current prescription, you might be tempted to wear your contacts for that important meeting. That could be damaging to your vision.

The old saying, “It’s better to be safe than sorry,” is very true when it comes to your vision. You only have 2 eyes and they need to last you for your entire lifetime. It is our job to help you have good vision for life. If you don’t have a back-up pair of glasses, please give our Optical Boutique a call today!

Is it safe to buy glasses on line? What should I watch for?

Think twice before ordering your next pair of glasses online. A recent study found that almost half of online-ordered glasses were made incorrectly. Close to half (44.8%) of online prescription glasses did not meet either the optical requirements of the patients’ visual needs or the physical requirements for the patients’ safety.

The study evaluated 154 pairs of glasses from 10 of the most visited internet vendors. More than one in every five pairs were delivered incorrectly, with lens treatments added or omitted. More than one of every four pairs had at least one optical parameter out of tolerance (translation – you’ll be uncomfortable and not see well) and more than one of every five pairs did not pass impact testing. Purchasing your next pair of glasses at the Anderson Family Vision Care ensures you are getting quality products and your satisfaction is guaranteed.

See Optometry Journal of the American Optometric Association, September 2011 for more information.

Can a poor report card be a sign of a vision problem?

Yes. Typically parents assume that if their child has passed a regular eye exam or vision screening that their child’s vision is fine. However, if your child has any of the following symptoms, it means an eye coordination problem may be contributing to your child’s difficulties. Does your child:

  • avoid reading or homework?
  • understand the materials when you read them to her, but not when she reads for herself?
  • turn his or her head at an angle when reading?
  • have more trouble comprehending what is read the longer he or she reads?

These are some of the signs that a vision problem is blocking learning. They are easy to see, when you know what to look for. Unfortunately, parents and educators assume that a child can see up close because the child can obviously see things in the distance – like the board in the classroom, the TV, etc. They also assume everything is fine visually because the child hasn’t complained about a vision problem.

Children typically don’t complain when they have trouble seeing because they assume everyone sees the same way they do. Therefore, parents need to know the various behavioral signs that signal a vision problem.

There are 17 visual skills that are required for reading and academic success, and being able to see the letters on the eye chart (20/20) is just one of those visual skills. For a more in-depth checklist click here.

Let us help you make the next report card a better one. If your child struggles with reading or the report card doesn’t reflect what you know your child can do, please call us today.

Is Your Child Ready to Wear Contacts?

Parents are often asked, or even begged, by their children for the right to trade in their glasses for contact lenses. What do you say? When should you say yes?

The next question is usually, “Are contact lenses appropriate, or even safe, for my child to wear?” The good news is that research shows that contact lens wear is safe when appropriate care is followed for a child of any age. Your child would need to understand that it is not safe to swap lenses with others or wear them longer than prescribed. Thanks to daily disposable contact lenses you don’t have to worry about cleaning.

It’s not a matter so much of age as a matter of maturity. Many infants and toddlers successfully wear contact lenses, as their parents are responsible for their care. If your child would like to wear contacts – give us a call.

Do you examine children who have special needs?

Yes, we do. Please be sure to let our staff know of your child’s special needs so we can schedule the right amount of time.

How do I prepare my child for her first eye exam?

Infants are easy, just try to schedule the appointment after a nap or first thing in the morning. For younger children, be sure to let them know there will be no shots, so they can relax.

Is 3D Viewing Harmful?

While most movie goers are enthralled with the special 3D effects for some, the images may be falling flat or worse, may be giving people headaches.

Other symptoms can range from not being able to see the special 3D effects when viewing 3D to dizziness, nausea, motion sickness, and eye strain. People who have trouble seeing in 3D will also have trouble with depth perception.

There is a new website that provides all the information you need along with some great videos that explains how 3D vision works and also has the latest information on 3D Cameras, 3D HDTVs, Mobile & handheld 3D Systems, and even 3D eyewear! Visit: www.3deyehealth.org.

If you or someone you know has difficulty viewing 3D, contact us now to schedule an examination. We can help!

Red Eyes: Allergy or Pink Eye? Or -- Are They Just Dry?

We find that most people are not able to easily tell what is causing their eyes to be red, watery, or dry. It’s important to know the actual cause in order to get the right treatment. Allergies are the most likely cause in the springtime, but often get confused with pink eye. Each requires a different prescription or treatment.

Whatever the cause, it’s always best to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors immediately so he can determine what is actually causing the redness, dryness or watery condition, and treat it properly.

If your eyes are red because they are dry, there are special drops to help to lubricate them and keep them moist. If you let your eyes stay red and dry for very long, it could harm your vision.

I think my child has pink eye, should I take her to the pediatrician or to a doctor in your office?

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is very contagious and needs to be treated as soon as possible. As your vision and eye care specialists, it is best to bring your child to our office so your doctor can diagnose the actual cause of the pink eye and determine your best treatment option.

When should a child have an eye exam?

Infants should have their first exam when they are 6 months old. If there are no concerns, your child should have a comprehensive eye exam once again at 3 years old and then every year after that, especially when your child is school-age.

Children often don’t complain when they have trouble seeing. Parents need to be alert to various behavioral signs that their child has difficulty. Attention problems, homework assignments that don’t make it home, avoiding reading, tracking problems, difficulty with sports and learning problems are all signs that there may be a hidden vision problem. For a more in-depth checklist and information about the critical link between vision and learning, click here (link to vision and learning).

What is low vision?

Low vision is a visual impairment, not correctable by standard glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, that interferes with a person's ability to perform everyday activities.

We are able to help many people who have low vision with special visual aids. Sometimes we can help with special glasses, and other times magnifiers help. It depends on the depth of your vision problem.

What causes low vision?

Low vision can result from a variety of diseases, disorders, and injuries that affect the eye. Many people with low vision have age-related macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy. Age-related macular degeneration accounts for almost 45 percent of all cases of low vision.

This is why it is so important to have your yearly eye exams. Most eye diseases have no early symptoms. If the disease is caught early enough we can often minimize the amount of damage to your vision. If you have a family history of eye disease, it is vital you see your eye doctor every year.

How many people have low vision?

About 135 million people around the world have low vision.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases in which the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises, leading to vision loss or even blindness. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease.

What causes glaucoma?

Clear fluid flows in and out of small space at the front of the eye called the anterior chamber. This fluid bathes and nourishes nearby tissues. If this fluid drains too slowly, pressure builds up and damages the optic nerve. Though this buildup may lead to an increase in eye pressure, the effect of pressure on the optic nerve differs from person to person. Some people may get optic nerve damage at low pressure levels while others tolerate higher pressure levels.

What is diabetic eye disease?

Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that people with diabetes may face as a complication of this disease. All can cause severe vision loss or even blindness.

Diabetic eye disease includes:

• Diabetic retinopathy: Damage to the blood vessels in the retina.
• Cataract: Clouding of the lens of the eye.
• Glaucoma: Increase in fluid pressure inside the eye that leads to optic nerve damage and loss of vision.

What is the most common diabetic eye disease?

Diabetic retinopathy. This disease is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. In some people with diabetic retinopathy, retinal blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In other people, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. These changes may result in vision loss or blindness.

What are its symptoms?

There are often no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. There is no pain and vision may not change until the disease becomes severe. Blurred vision may occur when the macula (the part of the retina that provides sharp, central vision) swells from the leaking fluid. This condition is called macular edema. If new vessels have grown on the surface of the retina, they can bleed into the eye, blocking vision. Even in more advanced cases, the disease may progress a long way without symptoms. This symptomless progression is why regular eye examinations for people with diabetes are so important.

Who is most likely to get diabetic retinopathy?

Anyone with diabetes. The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely he or she will get diabetic retinopathy. Between 40-45 percent of those with diagnosed diabetes have some degree of diabetic retinopathy.

How is diabetic retinopathy detected?

If you have diabetes, you should have your eyes examined at least once a year. Your eyes should be dilated during the exam, which means eyedrops are used to enlarge your pupils. This dilation allows the eye care professional to see more of the inside of your eyes to check for signs of the disease.

What is a comprehensive dilated eye exam?

A comprehensive dilated eye exam is a painless procedure in which an eye care professional examines your eyes to look for common vision problems and eye diseases, many of which have no early warning signs. Regular comprehensive eye exams can help you protect your sight and make sure that you are seeing your best.

What are common vision problems?

Some of the most common vision problems are uncorrected refractive errors. These include myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, and presbyopia. However, there are also a variety of eye movement and eye coordination disorders which can interfere with reading and even sports performance.

What are age-related eye diseases and conditions?

As you age, you are at higher risk of developing age-related eye diseases and conditions. These include: age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, low vision and dry eye.

What is Myopia?

Myopia is often referred to as "short-sightedness" or "near-sighted". An eye is myopic when the "far point"; a point at which light from an object is focussed on the retina, is located at a finite distance in front of the eye.

Myopia can be due to a variety of reasons. If you find you are having trouble seeing signs or objects in the distance, be sure to schedule an appointment today.

What is Hyperopia?

Hyperopia is often referred to as "long-sightedness" or "far-sighted". Simply put, it means you can see objects in the distance but have trouble seeing up close for activities such as reading. Children can often be far sighted, so it is important to make sure they have a yearly eye exam.

What is Presbyopia?

As we get older the lens in our eyes starts to have difficulty changing from looking at things far away to looking at items at reading distance. Presbyopia describes the condition whereby the ability to focus on objects at near decreases with increasing age. It is corrected by a different prescription for reading, which is added to the normal spectacle correction used for distance vision.

If you notice that you are starting to have difficulty seeing up close, at reading distance or on the computer, schedule an appointment today.

How is Visual Acuity Measured?

Visual acuity is the measure of how clearly one can see letters on the eye chart from a distance of 20 feet. Normal vision is expressed as 20/20 (or 6/6 in countries where metric measurements are used). An acuity of 20/60 means that the patient was tested at 20feet but could only see letters that a person with normal vision could read at 60 feet. However, it is important to note that there are more than 17 visual skills required for reading, learning, sports performance and functioning in today’s hi-tech world. Visual acuity is just one of those visual skills.