If you are a healthy person, under the age of 60, with no specific eye health conditions (lazy eye, glaucoma, family history of blindness), with no systemic health conditions (especially diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, HIV) and are not a contact lens wear, every two years is sufficient.
If you wear contact lenses, you are required to have an annual visit. Contact lenses are considered to be prosthetic devices by the FDA and therefore we are required to monitor their impact on your eye health at least once a year. If you have any health conditions that affect your connective tissue (like arthritis), blood vessels (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, risk factors for stroke), neurologic system (MS) or are over 60 years old, we recommend yearly eye examinations.
If you have a lazy eye, loss of vision, loss of visual field, have glaucoma, any eye conditions that we are treating with medications, you will be required to have at least an annual exam and maybe more frequently depending on the condition.
There is a whole complicated mathematical answer. The simplified answer is that a 20/20 letter is the size that an average person who does not need correction can see from a distance of 20 feet. Some people are able to see better than 20/20.
20/15 means that an individual can see something from 20 feet away that the average person needs to be 15 feet away to see. An individual who has 20/40 vision needs to be 20 feet from something that the average person can see from 40 feet away. Some people cannot see 20/20 even with the best glasses or contacts.
Just to make it a little more confusing, we test visual acuity in each eye individually both uncorrected and best corrected. Your uncorrected vision could be 20/200, but the glasses could correct you to 20/15.
Usually someone who can see 20/20 without correction does not need glasses. However, 20/20 is not the end of the story. If the person has 20/20 distance vision, they still may need glasses for eyestrain when they read or work on the computer. Somebody could require glasses for an eye turn or for double vision.
There is a difference between visual acuity and visual efficiency.
Visual acuity is the 20/something number that we all know about. But that simply measures whether you can read a letter on the chart or not. A good doctor also checks for visual efficiency. The definition of visual efficiency is whether you can read that letter on the chart comfortably.
The easy answer is “no”. Glasses sit on your nose and contacts sit on the surface of the eye. There is no way for these devices to permanently affect the eye anatomy that determines your prescription.
The longer answer is “usually not”. There are some studies that suggest that in some very specific situations, wearing a prescription can accelerate the development of near-sightedness. This is usually when a person has a focusing difficulty or misalignment of the eyes beyond mere near-sightedness, astigmatism or far-sightedness. It has been shown that the rate of nearsighted progression can be retarded by fitting these patients in bifocals which lessen the eyestrain to see things up close. But the lessening is minimal and would not be enough to keep people from needing vision correction.
The mistaken belief that glasses make your eyes get worse usually comes from someone who didn’t realize how bad their vision was. They get glasses and notice that their vision is better. Six months later, they take off their glasses and for the first time really notice how blurry their vision has always been. Thus the belief that they are getting more dependent on their glasses or that the glasses made their eyes worse.
We treat the majority of non-surgical eye health and vision conditions in our office.
We can monitor the health of your eyes if you have systemic diseases, medically treat eye diseases and prescribe almost any visual device you made need. Sometimes primary care physicians (PCP) use ophthalmologist as a synonym for eye doctor. If you are currently a patient of ours and your PCP says you need to see your ophthalmologist, chances are very high that we can take care of you in our office and we already have a relationship established with you.
We do not do surgery. However we have a wide network of eye care surgeons we are happy to refer you to.
OPTICIANS are specialists in optics. They know how to pick a frame that looks good on you and to make sure that same frame will work with your prescription. Not all frames work with all prescriptions. A person with high farsightedness may not do well in a rimless design. A person with high nearsightedness may need a smaller, rounder frame. Opticians know how to fabricate your lenses and how to adjust your frames to eliminate many visual disturbances like the “fish bowl effect”.
OPTOMETRISTS are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating both vision problems and medical eye problems. Optometrists complete four years of graduate school after graduating college. Many complete a residency program.
OPHTHALMOLOGISTS are medical doctors and specialize in surgery. Typical areas: cataract surgery, refractive surgery (like LASIK), strabismus surgery (eye realignment), treatment of retinal detachments, etc.
Although computer screens emit a very small amount of radiation, it is not enough to cause any eye damage. So there is no permanent damage being done to your eyes from the screen.
There is a condition called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). CVS is placed in the same category of repetitive motion injuries, as is carpal tunnel. The constant focusing up close can cause eyestrain or headaches. We also tend to stare at the computer decreasing how often we blink. This can lead to dry eye symptoms such as the feeling that something is in the eye, burning, tearing, redness and tired eyes.
We usually associate the need for “reading” glasses with getting older. However, with the widespread use of computers, more and more younger people are requiring a prescription for near work. “Computer glasses” can make your near work more efficient and comfortable.
Yes. There is a recommended set of visual ergonomics regarding computers; we recommend that you sit approximately 22” away from your screen. Your screen should be below "direct ahead" line of sight about 15 degrees.
You should try to follow the 20/20/20 rule. You should take a 20 second break about every 20 minutes and focus on something about 20 feet away.
You should try to position any task lighting from the side so that it is not either glaring into your eyes or into the screen. The lighting should not be any brighter than three times the brightness of your screen. In most offices, it is ten times brighter. If you are able, it is often helpful to remove half of the bulbs in most fluorescent fixtures.
Yes, there are contacts made for people who do not need a distance prescription but are having difficulty with near work. You still need to have an eye exam and a contact lens evaluation. If you have never worn contacts before, you will also have to schedule a contact lens insertion, removal and care session so we can teach you how to properly care for your contacts.
No. The white part of the eye and the inside of your eyelid become one tissue just below the brow line and just above the cheekbone. The lens cannot go any further back than that. If you lose a contact in the top part of your eye, do not panic. Put a couple of drops in your eye, close your eye, look down and gently massage down from the brow area. This should move the contact down to where you can find it. If you still cannot find the lens, please come in to see us. Do not keep digging at your eye. Many people abrade their corneas by digging excessively trying to find a lost lens.
Sometimes. We do not recommend sleeping overnight in your contacts. Some lenses are approved by the FDA for 7 day or 30 day continuous wear. But even with these approved lenses, you are 7 times more likely to develop a severe vision-threatening condition (most frequently a corneal ulcer) than if you wear lenses only during the day.
For a patient who insists on sleeping in their lenses, we prefer "flex wear". This means primarily taking out the lenses every night, but knowing that you are wearing approved lenses and can, on special occasions, (we all know what those could be) leave them in overnight.
If you do sleep in your lenses, the doctor will most likely recommend more frequent office visits to monitor your eye health. Also, if you sleep in your lenses, any symptoms of pain, redness, blurred vision, discomfort even after removing the lenses, extreme sensitivity to the light or anything else sudden or extraordinary is an emergency.
You should not swim in your contacts. There are organisms in water, both fresh and sea water that can eat through an intact cornea in 24 hours. The chemicals in treated pool water can also soak into your contacts and cause corneal swelling or a chemical corneal abrasion.
There is good news for patients who insist on being able to see at the pool or beach. Your risk of serious infection or chemical reaction diminishes greatly with single use lenses. Even if you wear standard disposable lenses, ask your doctor if you could be fit with a small supply of supplemental single use lenses. These single use lenses are also available for patients who wear astigmatism contacts.
12 Questions answered — this is the baker’s dozen of medical FAQ. For an extensive optometric medical glossary, please visit the American Optometric Association.
Routine eye exams
Dry eye diagnosis and therapy
Pre- and post-operative care