Q. How often should I have my eyes tested?
A. Unfortunately your ocular health is not always accompanied by recognizable symptoms. It is important to have a regular visit as there is often an increased risk to you if timely treatment is not initiated.
After your initial examination with Parker Optometry, we will schedule regular return visits at a frequency that meets your eye care requirements. If your vision is healthy, general guidelines have been established for recommended checkup visits.
- 0 - 24 months: Infants and Toddlers - by age 6 months is recommended
- 2 - 5 years: Preschool - by age 3, and prior to entering elementary school is recommended
- 6 - 19 years: School Age - Annual visits are recommended
- 20 - 64 years: Adult - Every 1 to 2 years is recommended
- 65+: Older Adult - Every year is recommended
Q. Will my eyes get worse by wearing my glasses too much?
A. Your Optometrist will explain the purpose of your prescription and when they should be worn. In most cases, glasses will not cause any deterioration that would not otherwise occur. However, wearing glasses for activities different than recommended (i.e. distance glasses worn to read up close) may make the eyes work harder than they need to.
Q. How can I prevent my vision from getting worse?
A.Take frequent eye breaks, look up and away from extended near or computer work, spend time outdoors, don't hold reading material too close to your face, practice eye-focus skills as recommended by your doctor, and ensure you are wearing a current lens prescription.
Q. When should I book my child's first eye exam?
A.We recommend that you book your child's first eye exam as early as 6 months of age. It's a fairly simple procedure as vision tests for children at this age are appropriate.
Q. How can you test my child's eyes if he/she is not able to read letters or speak yet?
A. We use simple symbols instead of letters. Much of the testing that is done requires little input from your child. It is focused on assessment of the strength of the eye, eye muscle status, and eye health to ensure proper vision development. Critical information can be obtained about your child's eye without them needing to say a word!
Q. What are symptoms that may indicate my child is having vision problems?
A.There are many symptoms that require attention. They include rubbing eyes, squinting, turning or tilting head, losing their place or using a finger to follow along when reading, moving head or mouthing words while reading, headaches, red eyes, wandering eyes, complaints of blurred vision. Many disorders have no symptoms. ALL children need eye examinations at age 3.
Q. Should I bring my glasses to my appointment?
A. We do ask that you bring your eyeglasses with you to your eye examination appointment. This allows us to check and compare your current prescription if there are any changes. Even if there is no change, it is good for us to quickly assess for scratches or defects, and to ensure everything is fitting properly.
We also ask that you bring your glasses to your contact lens assessments as sometimes dyes have to be put into the eyes that can strain your contact lenses, so it may be necessary to wear your glasses home.
Q. Should I wear my contacts to my appointment?
A. Yes. If you are a contact lens wearer we do ask that you wear your contacts to your appointment as this allows us to assess the current fit and level of vision and make appropriate recommendations.
Q. How often should disposable contact lenses be replaced?
A. Replacement time varies depending on eye health and tear chemistry, lifestyle and environmental exposure, time worn per day and days worn per week. Disposable lens replacement options can vary from daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and even quarterly. Your doctor will assess your eye health and vision status with your contact lenses to ensure you are following an appropriate wearing schedule.
Q. How old do you have to be to wear contact lenses?
A. Although contact lenses can be fit to patients of any age, generally patients have to be mature enough to manage their contact lenses well to prevent severe eye infections and complications. When one is not capable of being responsible for this management then parents or guardians must be willing to take over the role of responsibility to ensure that the lenses are worn the proper number of hours, cleaned properly, replaced as directed, and inserted/removed properly.
Q. Why are eye drops used?
A. Eye drops that dilate the pupils, called mydriatics, are used in some examinations to enable the doctor to get a better view of the inside of the eye. The doctor will decide how often this type of examination is necessary for each individual depending upon his or her symptoms, age, health, and family history. The drops generally leave your vision a little blurry and sensitive to light, so you may not be able to drive immediately after this procedure. The effect of the drops will wear off in 2 to 6 hours.
Eye drops that relax the focus of the eyes, called cycloplegics are used to accurately measure the degree of far-sightedness of the eyes. These are generally used, when necessary, for children and young adults. These drops also leave the vision blurry and sensitive to light.
Eye drops to anesthetize (numb) the eye are used for procedures that require an instrument touching the eye. The anesthetic does not affect vision and lasts about 15 minutes. Some eye drops contain a dye that helps the doctor diagnose abnormalities of the surface of the eye.
Q. Can I drive after my eye exam?
A. Most patients find that after the eye exam they are okay to drive. During the eye examination eye-drops may be used that dilate the eyes to help the doctor see different parts of the back of the eye. These drops can cause light sensitivity for a few hours after the examination so we recommend that sunglasses be worn after the eye exam during daylight hours. For very light sensitive patients they may be more comfortable having someone drive them home after the eye examination although the sunglasses should suffice for most people. Other drops may be used which temporarily affect one's focusing system. These patients may have to wear prescription lenses home to see well (or have someone drive them home after the examination). All drops used for the purposes of the eye examination have short duration activity and generally within 3-7 hours the effects of these drops should be worn off.
Q. What is 20/20 vision?
A. This is a ratio used to indicate normal visual acuity. It means that people with 'normal vision' on the acuity chart are able to see a certain size of detail at 20 feet. That detail is calibrated to be the same size in all eye examinations so that visual acuity can be standardized when tested between different offices. The detail viewed could be letters, pictures or numbers.
Some people have better than normal vision and some have weaker than normal vision. The top number in the ratio indicates the test distance (20 feet) that the target is calibrated for. The bottom number of the ratio indicates the distance at which a person with normal (20/20 vision) would be able to see that size of target. For example if a person had poorer than normal visual acuity, say 20/400 it would mean that the size of the target that this person sees at 20 feet would actually be recognized by the person with 20/20 vision at 400 feet. Conversely, a person with better than 20/20 visual acuity, say 20/15, would be able to see the small detail at 20 feet that a person with 20/20 vision would have to bring closer to 15 feet to be able recognize it.
Q. What causes cataracts?
A. Cataracts are largely an age-related condition, but many factors can enhance earlier onset. Ultraviolet light exposure has a cumulative effect, as does smoking.
Q. How come my eyes get tired at the computer?
A. Being far or near-sighted, having astigmatism, or becoming presbyopic can all make computer use less comfortable. Your eyes may have to exert extra focusing effort or be forced to work harder to maintain a clear image on the screen. This results in eye strain and fatigue.
The following are some helpful tips to facilitate comfortable and efficient computer use:
Correct positioning of your computer, keyboard, and typing copy is essential. Your screen should be about an arm's length from your eyes and 15-20 degrees below eye level for optimum alignment and neck positioning.
Room lighting should be diffuse, not direct, to reduce glare and reflections from your screen. Use blinds or drapes on windows and/or use an anti-glare filter for your monitor.
Anti-reflective coatings on the lenses of your glasses can be applied to reduce discomfort and to ease reduced vision from bright and/or flickering light sources such as VDTs and fluorescent lights. Don't forget – your optometrist can talk to you about eyeglasses designed specifically for computer users.
To prevent eyestrain, try to rest your eyes when using the computer for long periods. Optometrists recommend the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break, and focus your eyes on an object at least 20 feet away.
Did you know that, on average, we blink 12 times per minute? But, when we are on the computer, we only blink 5 times per minute? Infrequent blinking causes tear film evaporation; in other words, dry eyes. Relieve the discomfort by using artificial tear drops and remember to blink!
Q. Does laser eye surgery correct all vision problems?
A. Laser eye surgery is used to correct many cases of myopia (blurred distance vision) and astigmatism safely and predictably. Laser correction of hyperopia (farsightedness) is in its advanced testing stages. Results are not as predictable, nor as successful. Presbyopia, which causes the need to wear reading glasses or bifocals, cannot be corrected by laser surgery. As a result, individuals over 45 years will require reading glasses in most cases following surgery. Amblyopia (lazy eye) or other existing conditions that have caused damage to the eye or loss of vision, cannot be repaired by laser surgery.
Q. Can laser eye surgery correct my need to wear reading glasses?
A. If you have good distance vision without glasses, but need reading correction only, laser refractive surgery is not an option for you. If you wear bifocals to correct both distance and near vision, you may be a candidate to have the distance vision corrected, but still have to wear reading glasses after.