Question: What is the difference between an Optician, an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist?

An Optician (LDO) is a health care provider licensed to fill and dispense spectacles, contact lenses and other optical devices from a written prescription of a licensed physician or Optometrist. An Optician may become licensed through a two-year education program or apprenticeship program but is not required to be licensed to work. An optician is not a doctor. An Optometrist (OD) is a Doctor of Optometry. The doctor is licensed to practice optometry and specializes in determining spectacle or contact lens prescriptions, diagnosing, monitoring and offering primary care treatment for most eye abnormalities and diseases of the eye. The Optometry education consists of four years of college and four years in an optometry college. Post-education residencies are optional. An optometrist can prescribe topical eye medications but does not perform major surgical procedures. An Ophthalmologist (MD or DO) is a Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy. Such a physician is licensed to practice medicine and surgery, and each chooses to specialize in different aspects of eye and vision care. An ophthalmologist's education typically includes four years of medical school, one or more years of general hospital experience in treating eye disease in a hospital-based eye residence program. In addition to diagnosing and treating eye abnormalities and disease, an Ophthalmologist can perform major surgery.

Question: Can the sun damage my eyes?

Most likely, yes. There is currently quite a bit of medical research suggesting that exposure to ultra-violet (UV) light may contribute to the development or progression of many eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Therefore, I strongly advocate protecting the eyes through the use of UV blocking lens coatings and/or sunglasses. The sunglasses that we provide offer the highest percentage of UV blocking ability available. To encourage the use of sunglasses we offer substantial discounts whenever a patient purchases a pair of sunglasses in addition to their regular pair of spectacles

Question: Why do I have trouble up close when reading?

Presbyopia is a vision condition in which the crystalline lens of your eye loses its flexibility, which makes it difficult for you to focus on close objects. Presbyopia may seem to occur suddenly, but the actual loss of flexibility takes place over a number of years. Presbyopia usually becomes noticeable in the early to mid-40s. Presbyopia is a natural part of the aging process of the eye. It is not a disease, and it cannot be prevented. Some signs of presbyopia include the tendency to hold reading materials at arm's length, blurred vision at normal reading distance and eye fatigue along with headaches when doing close work. A comprehensive optometric examination will include testing for presbyopia. To help you compensate for presbyopia, your optometrist can prescribe reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals or contact lenses. Because presbyopia can complicate other common vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, your optometrist will determine the specific lenses to allow you to see clearly and comfortably. You may only need to wear your glasses for close work like reading, but you may find that wearing them all the time is more convenient and beneficial for your vision needs.

Question: Why do I see spots?

Spots (often called floaters) are small, semi-transparent or cloudy specks or particles within the vitreous, which is the clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eyes. They appear as specks of various shapes and sizes, threadlike strands or cobwebs. Because they are within your eyes, they move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly. Spots are often caused by small flecks of protein or other matter trapped during the formation of your eyes before birth. They can also result from deterioration of the vitreous fluid, due to aging; or from certain eye diseases or injuries. Most spots are not harmful and rarely limit vision. But, spots can be indications of more serious problems, and you should see your optometrist for a comprehensive examination when you notice sudden changes or see increases in them. By looking in your eyes with special instruments, your optometrist can examine the health of your eyes and determine if what you are seeing is harmless or the symptom of a more serious problem that requires treatment.

Question: Why do my eyes water so much?

The tears your eyes produce are necessary for overall eye health and clear vision. Dry eye means that your eyes do not produce enough tears or that you produce tears that do not have the proper chemical composition. Often, dry eye is part of the natural aging process. It can also be caused by blinking or eyelid problems, medications like antihistamines, oral contraceptives and antidepressants, a dry climate, wind and dust, general health problems like arthritis or Sjogren's syndrome and chemical or thermal burns to your eyes. If you have dry eye, your symptoms may include irritated, scratchy, dry, uncomfortable or red eyes, a burning sensation or feeling of something foreign in your eyes and blurred vision. Excessive dry eyes may damage eye tissue, scar your cornea (the front covering of your eyes) and impair vision and make contact lens wear difficult. If you have symptoms of dry eye, see your optometrist for a comprehensive examination. Dry eye cannot be cured, but your optometrist can prescribe treatment so your eyes remain healthy and your vision is unaffected. Some treatments that your optometrist might prescribe include blinking more frequently, increasing humidity at home or work, using artificial tears and using a moisturizing ointment, especially at bedtime. In some cases, small plugs are inserted in the corner of the eyes to slow tear drainage. Sometimes, surgical closure of the drainage ducts may be recommended.

Question: What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. Most cataracts are found in persons over age 55, but they are also occasionally found in younger people. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. The lens of the eye is made mostly of water and protein. Clouding of the lens occurs due to changes in the proteins and lens fibers. Age-related cataracts tend to form gradually.