Do I need vision insurance?
No. There is a lot of confusion about vision insurance and eye exams. In fact, most people do not have and do not need vision insurance, which are really just marketing plans. Most medical insurances allow for a routine eye exam each year. Also, if you have any medical conditions like dry eyes, allergies, cataracts, diabetes, etc, your exam is billed to your medical insurance and is typically covered on a medical basis. All insurances and policies are different, so the easiest way to find out what your medical insurance will do is to call us and ask for Susan or Barri in our billing office. They will call on your benefits specific to an eye exam and let you know. (see this in-depth article about insurance and eyes.)
How often should I have my eyes examined?
Well Child Vision Exams at ages 1, 3, & 5
Every 1 to 2 years until age 60
After age 60, yearly or as directed by your eye care physician
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*Certain risks may require more frequent eye examinations. Risks include diabetes, hypertension, family history of ocular disease (ie, glaucoma, macular degeneration), contact lenses, history of eye surgery, occupations with high visual demand or eye hazards, medications with ocular side effects.
** recommendations established by the American Optometric Association (www.aoa.org)
Should I see an ophthalmologist or an optometrist?
That depends on if you need surgery. Optometrists are primary eyecare physicians. Ophthalmologists are surgeons. For routine eye care, treatment and management of glaucoma and diabeties, trauma to your eye and foreign body removal, allergies, dry eye, etc., you should see an optometric physician. Even if you need or are considering cataract surgery or LASIK, your optometrist will guide you through the process, help you select the appropriate surgeon, and often will care for you during your post-operative healing.
How often should I replace my soft contact lenses?
Each lens has an FDA approval for how often a lens should be replaced. Most lenses are either approved for 2 week or 1 month replacement. The risk of overwearing your lenses includes: corneal ulcers, infections, dryness, and contact lens intolerance. Patients who are feeling the difference between an old lens and a new lens have worn their contacts too long. If you are using discomfort and decreased vision as your guide, you are overwearing your contacts. Adjusting your wear schedule to allow all day comfort will make for much healthier eyes and a better contact lens experience.
Can I sleep in my contact lenses?
The FDA has approved a few very specific lenses for overnight wear. If you wish to sleep in your contact lenses, please follow the recommendations of your eye doctor carefully, as overnight wear dramatically increases your risk of infection. This option is not for everyone, even with the right lenses; however, it can be done safely if done properly.
Why Does My Eye Twitch?
Twitching of the eyelid is actually rather common. The muscles in the eyelid contract quickly causing your eyelid to spasm, they are almost always temporary and completely harmless. The medical name for this kind of twitching is ocular myokymia. The most common causes are stress, lack of sleep, and malnutrition. Improving these three elements of your life will usually resolve the twitch.
Will I hurt my eyes by looking at a computer screen all day?
No, your eyes will not be damaged by looking at a computer screen. It is a matter of comfort. Working long hours at a computer can cause eye fatigue. Glare from the monitor and reflections off the monitor can contribute to eye strain. Taking occasional breaks, resting your eyes, blinking your eyes, and looking off in the distance can all be helpful ways to prevent eye fatique while working at the computer. Also, consider your work environment (lighting, posture, distance to monitor, anti-glare screens etc.). Using glasses made specifically for your vision at the computer can make a big difference in increasing comfort and clarity.
Is pink-eye contagious?
Pink-eye is a catch all label that describes infections (viral or microbial), allergies, or inflammation in the eye. Viral infections are extremely contagious and are the most common type of pink-eye. Be extra aware of touching eyes with your hands. Be sure to wash your hands frequently and do not share towels. Pink eye is contagious while there is watery discharge. Treatment usually consists of palliative care. Microbial infections typically have yellow discharge and can be treated with antibiotics. They are also contagious. You should always let your eye doctor evaluate the reason for any type of red eye since many reasons for red eye can threaten your vision.
Will my children inherit my bad vision?
Maybe, there is no guarantee (even if both parents wear glasses). However, it does increase the odds that your children are likely to need them. Having regular eye exams (described in an answer above) is the best way to know and monitor.
Why does it get harder to read without glasses?
Your eye’s ability to focus (accommodate) on near objects decreases with age and is called presbyopia. Presbyopia is a natural aging of the lens, which does our accomodating for us. It begins to affect us between ages 40 and 45. Your accomodation continues to degrade over the next few years and your need for additional reading power will go up until your lens is no longer accomodating, and then you are left with a standard reading power.
Do I need sunglasses and can I just buy the cheap ones?
UV light damages our eyes like it damages our skin. So, there is a benefit to wearing UV protective lenses. Sunglasses are a great way to get UV protection and increase visual comfort when outdoors. UV exposure can contribute to cataract formation and macular degeneration. Cheap sunglasses not only have poor optics, causing decreased clarity, but they are also limited in effectiveness for UV protection. Also, be aware of the difference between polorized lenses and tinted lenses. Tinted lenses do not filter glare and the tint is not a UV protection by itself. Polarized lenses reduce glare and protect against UV light. Your eyes will have better clarity, comfort and overall eye health with a quality-polarized lens.
How old does my child have to be to start wearing contacts?
That depends. As soon as your child demonstrates the responsibility to clean, maintain, and handle contacts then they are ready. So, there isn’t an exact age. Sometimes kids are highly motivated because of friends or activities and are willing to take the time to work with contacts. A common application for kids is sports. Wearing glasses for most sports is actually a hazard to the eyes. Contact lenses are a perfect solution for both optimal vision and saftey for most sports. Be advised, they do not protect the eyes from injury. So, sport safety goggles are recommended for some sports like racquetball.