Frequently Asked Questions:

 

 

1.  Often we are asked the question -What is the difference between an an ophthalmologist, optometrist and optician?

Ophthalmologists:

  • Are physicians, After medical school, they had a one year internship and a residency of three or more years.
  • Ophthalmologists diagnose and treat eye conditions like glaucoma, iritis, and chemical burns, and those related to other diseases such as diabetes and arthritis,
  • Ophthalmologists offer surgical care, for trauma, crossed eyes, cataracts, glaucoma, and other problems,
  • Ophthalmologists perform plastic surgery to treat eye diseases as well as for drooping eyelids and other cosmetic concerns.

Optometrists:

  • Are medical professionals.  After an undergraduate degree, usually in sciences, optometrists attend optometry school for four years.
  • Optometrists perform eye exams,
  • Optometrists treat conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism,
  • Optometrists prescribe and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses,
  • Optometrists provide low vision aids and vision therapy,
  • Optometrists diagnose eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and conjunctivitis,
  • Optometrists prescribe medications for certain eye conditions,
  • Optometrists participate in pre and post-operative care for people who need surgery.
  • Optometrists and ophthalmologists often work together to take care of your visual needs.

Opticians:

  • Are eye care professionals that have a one to two year degree, certificate or diploma.  They fill the prescription that your optometrist provides.
  • Opticians evaluate lens prescriptions, including the fitting of contact lenses,
  • Provide, adjust, and repair glasses, and contact lenses,
  • Take frame and facial measurements necessary to ensure correct fit and positioning of eyewear,
  • Help you to decide which type of frames and lenses will work best for your specific needs,
  • Order and ensure high level of quality control when checking  eyewear and contact lenses

Ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians work together to take care of your visual needs.

2.  What is digital eye strain?

  • Blue Light – the screens on digital devices (i pads, i phones, laptops, computers and T.V.’s) emit high energy visible (HEV) blue light.  Recent research shows that blue light can mimic daylight.  The blue light suppresses melatonin production in the brain, which keeps us awake.
  • Eye Strain, Headache, Muscle Strain – Extensive mobile use challenges the way we use our eyes.  We read books and magazines at an arm’s length distance.  But, we hold our digital devices significantly closer to the eyes, print and image size as well as lower contrast and resolution require us to hold our phones, i pads, and tablets closer.

3.  Can I strain my eyes reading in poor light?

  • Yes. Low light levels will result in your iris dilating in order to let as much light as possible to enter.  At the same time the iris is attempting to contract to help you focus more clearly.  These conflicting movements as well as reduced contrast in low light, can cause eyestrain.

4.  Why are eye exams recommended at least every two years?

  • Many problems that develop with our eyes have no symptoms,
  • Eye exams will  help to identify glaucoma, which is an inherited disease,
  • An eye health check could help to identify signs of serious medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and brain tumors.
  • Periodic and regular eye exams ensure that you will experience the best possible vision, eliminate eye strain and alleviate headaches.

5.  Can the sun damage my eyes?

  • Yes!  Exposure to UV rays can cause a painful irritation to the cornea.  Research has shown that  UV exposure leads to the development of cataracts,  and age related macular degeneration.
  • It makes good sense to protect your eyes from UV damage, all year long.  As well as you regular eyewear, your eyecare professional recommends a pair of prescription sunglasses to ensure that you are protecting the health of your eyes.

6.  What is astigmatism?

  • Astigmatism is a condition of the eye in which the curve of the cornea is unequal.  As a result, light rays cannot be focused clearly.  Vision is blurred.  The eyes tire easily.  The condition usually can be corrected with contact lenses or glasses.

7.  What is macular degeneration?

  • Advanced Macular Degeneration or AMD is a common eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older. It causes damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina and the part of the eye needed for sharp, central vision, which lets us see objects that are straight ahead.  In some people, AMD advances so slowly that vision loss does not occur for a long time. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in one or both eyes.  As AMD progresses, a blurred area near the center of vision is a common symptom. Over time, the blurred area may grow larger or you may develop blank spots in your central vision. Objects also may not appear to be as bright as they used to be.  AMD by itself does not lead to complete blindness, with no ability to see. However, the loss of central vision in AMD can interfere with simple everyday activities, such as the ability to see faces, drive, read, write, or do close work, such as cooking or fixing things around the house.

8.  What is diabetic retinopathy?

  • Diabetic retinopathy  is a diabetes complication that affects eyes. It’s caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue of the retina.  At first, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. Eventually, it can cause blindness.  The condition can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The longer you have diabetes and the less controlled your blood sugar is, the more likely you are to develop this eye complication.

9.  What is glaucoma?

  • Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, which is vital to good vision. This damage is often caused by an abnormally high pressure in your eye.
  • Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the North America. It can occur at any age but is more common in older adults.
  • The most common form of glaucoma has no warning signs.  The effect is so gradual that you may not notice a change in vision until the condition is at an advanced stage.
  • Vision loss due to glaucoma can’t be recovered. So it’s important to have regular eye exams that include measurements of your eye pressure.

If glaucoma is recognized early, vision loss can be slowed or prevented. If you have the condition, you’ll generally need treatment for the rest of your life.

 

10.  We are often asked the question – “What are floaters”?

  • Vitreous floaters are spots in your vision. They may look to you like black or gray specks, strings or cobwebs that drift about when you move your eyes and appear to dart away when you try to look at them directly.
  • Most eye floaters are caused by age-related changes that occur as the jelly-like substance (vitreous) inside your eyes becomes more liquid. Microscopic fibers within the vitreous tend to clump and can cast tiny shadows on your retina, which appear to you as floaters.
  • If you notice a sudden increase in eye floaters, contact an eye specialist immediately — especially if you also see light flashes or lose your peripheral vision. These can be symptoms of an emergency that requires prompt attention.

 

11.  What are cataracts?

  • A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window.
  • Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car (especially at night) or see the expression on a friend’s face.
  • Most cataracts develop slowly and don’t disturb your eyesight early on. But with time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision.
  • At first, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help you deal with cataracts. But if impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, you will need cataract surgery.

 

 

  • 12.  What is dry eye?

  • Dry eye syndrome occurs when decreased tear production or tear film abnormalities do not allow for adequate lubrication of the surface of your eye. Although dry eye syndrome can occur in both men and women at any age, women are more often affected.