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The American Optometric Association recommends that adults between the ages of 18 and 60 have their eyes examined about every two years and annually for those over 61 years. Along with determining the proper prescription of eyeglasses or contact lenses, your optometrist will evaluate the overall health of your eyes, how well your eyes work together, and determine if other health concerns might exist. The optometrist will check for glaucoma, cataracts, and the presence of other conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Eye disease and disorders often occur without obvious symptoms. Early detection is essential for proper care.
The ability to focus on reading and objects within 16 – 20 inches decreases with age. The eye’s focusing system includes a muscle that controls the tension on fibers attached to the lens inside the eye. As the muscle contracts, the shape of the lens changes. Age affects the entire system. Starting at about age 40, the ability to focus becomes reduced, and is further reduced until age 70. This is why most people require reading glasses or bifocals at about 40 years of age. The power of the reading glasses or bifocal prescription gradually increases over time.
Virtually everyone can wear contact lenses. Today, contact lenses – both rigid and soft – fit nearly every patient and lifestyle. Even patients requiring bifocal or toric lenses can wear the new advanced lenses. However, patients with dry eye syndrome, chronic allergies, or corneal disorders should not wear contact lenses. Additionally, certain medications may affect a person’s ability to wear contact lenses. Your optometrist will be happy to discuss your contact lens options with you.
Bifocals are only one of many options available to people who require additional prescription power for reading. Bifocals have two lens focal lengths — distance (20 feet and beyond) and reading (18-24 inches), and there is a noticeable line differentiating these two lens areas. The modern spectacle lens alternative to traditional bifocals is Progressive Addition Lenses, or PALs. As the name indicates, the additional prescription power for reading becomes progressively stronger from the top of the lens to the bottom. This allows for the proper prescription power at every focal length between distance and reading. As a result, PALs provide the most natural vision of any multifocal lens—without the line associated with traditional bifocals! Other alternatives to bifocal eyewear are contact lenses, either monovision or multifocal lenses.
DEFINITELY! Headlights reflect off many surfaces before their light reaches your retina, and optical lenses are a highly reflective surface. However, Anti-Reflective Coatings are available today for prescription and non-prescription lenses. Standard lenses reflect 8% of the light that reaches them, so you only use 92% of the light available for your vision. With the glare from headlights virtually eliminated, you can drive with greater confidence. Additionally, anti-reflective lenses are easier on your eyes under daytime conditions, helping to reduce glare and eye fatigue associated with bright lights and computer screens. With anti-reflective lenses, you can work or play in greater comfort.
Cataracts involve the clouding of the lens inside your eye. The lens can become "cloudy" for many reasons. Most often, the lens becomes cloudy with age. Although many people believe that a cataract affects the front of the eye, this is not true. The lens of your eye is located inside of your eyeball. The lens can be removed when it becomes too "cloudy" or "ripe." The lens is replaced with a man-made substitute lens that functions in much the same way as the lens that was removed. Your optometrist will thoroughly check your eyes for cataracts during your eye exam.
Glaucoma is a disease that affects your retina. The retina is the part of your eye that transmits information to your brain. When the retina is disturbed, your brain cannot process all visual information. With glaucoma, the retina is initially affected on the outside, then centrally. Consequently, vision loss due to glaucoma is very subtle, with peripheral vision loss gradually moving into more central vision loss. Glaucoma results in high blood pressure in you eye. As part of a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist should check your eye pressure, examine your retina, and discuss your family history of glaucoma.
Polycarbonate lenses are the safest lenses you can wear. Polycarbonate is approximately 10 times more impact resistant than standard plastic lenses. We recommend polycarbonate lenses for all sports activities and any patient under the age of 18.
Astigmatism (a-STEEG-ma-tiz-em) is caused by an irregular curvature of the cornea. The cornea is the transparent front surface of the eye and it is normally round in shape. If you have astigmatism, your cornea is shaped more like a football, causing your vision to be distorted. The blur from astigmatism is frequently combined with nearsightedness or farsightedness, and can usually be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. If you choose to wear contact lenses and have a high degree of astigmatism, a hard or gas permeable contact lens may be needed to correct your vision. In some cases, a special soft lens, called a toric lens, may be required. The symptoms of astigmatism are blurry vision, headaches and eye strain. If you experience any of these visual problems, see an eye doctor for a thorough eye exam.
Conjunctivitis (kon-junk-ti-VIE-tis), or pink eye as it is commonly called, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva (kon-junk-TI-vah), or the thin, transparent membrane lining of the eyelids and front of the eyeball. Conjunctivitis can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, an allergy, or an irritant in the eye. Viral and bacterial forms of conjunctivitis can be highly contagious. They can spread by contact with contaminated fingers, towels, handkerchiefs, or wash cloths. Symptoms may include eye swelling, redness, irritation, and a yellow, sticky discharge that causes the eyelids to stick together. The infection is often treated with antibiotic drops or ointments which must be prescribed by a doctor. If symptoms of pink eye are experienced, an eye doctor or physician should be consulted.