Getting to Know Your Optometrist

March 23rd is World Optometry Day, an excellent time to get to know your Optometrist. Question 1: What do you know about your Optometrist? Do you know what they do?  Question 2: When was the last time you saw yours?  Question 3…Wait! Why don’t we work on questions one and two first, and that sneaky Question 1.5 I snuck in the middle.

What is an Optometrist?

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Healthy eyes and vision are all part of a child’s development and with cell phones, tablets, hand held video game devices, and computers all part of a daily routine, it’s worth considering how much time your child is spending per day in front of a computer screen.

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is computer eye strain caused by our brain reacting differently to characters on a computer screen then they do on printed material.  There are levels of contrast and definition on computer screens that make the characters harder to focus on, and this continuous focusing muscles of the eyes creates fatigue and eye strain.  Eye glasses and reading glasses will typically optimize vision but they are not ideal when working on a computer for excessive periods of time.

Make Eye Exams a New Year Resolution

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The new year has arrived and gym memberships are at a premium again.  Many will make regular scheduled appointments for a physical check up, or semi annual dental exams so why not schedule an annual eye exam?

Did you know that many diseases such as diabetes, can be first detected from an eye exam? As we begin the health kick to get into better shape we should not overlook our optometrist. 

Dry Eye: When Tears Don’t Do the Trick

Tears are a major part of the eye’s natural defense system. They are helpful in maintaining overall eye health while keeping the cornea moisturized and lubricated. The amount of tears we produced, unfortunately, can be affected by diet, activity and environmental concerns. When dry eye syndrome sets in, your eyes can become overwhelmingly dry, scratchy and painful.

Dry eye syndrome is caused by numerous factors.

  • Lack of tears. Occasionally, the eye will experience inflammation or other factors that prevent tears from forming properly.

Difference between an Optometrist and Ophthalmologist

How do you choose between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist? These are two types of health care professionals for vision care.

The optometrist has a degree as Doctor of Optometry (OD). The optometrist must complete a four-year degree in the sciences at a college, plus an additional four years in a post-graduate program at an optometry school. The optometrist can examine a person’s eyes for vision. They can also examine someone for health problems and can now issue prescriptions for medication to treat eye problems and diseases.

Optometrists can prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct refractive eye problems. They may also participate as part of a team if eye-surgery is required, as they can refer patients to the surgeon. Then they would follow-up with the post-operative care.

On the other hand, an ophthalmologist is a doctor of medicine (MD) and specializes in vision care and optic problems. Ophthalmologists must complete four years of college, four years of medical school, a year internship program, and at least three years of a residency in a hospital. They also examine a person’s eyes, treat vision problems and disease, and prescribe medicines. Some Ophthalmologists do refractive exams but they mostly concentrate on eye diseases and problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal issues and surgery. You must be referred to an Ophthalmologist either by your general M.D or Optometrists.

Your Optometrist can determine if your eyes are healthy, so you should have regular check ups. If a concern is found you will be referred to a specialist.

Contact Lenses Should Enhance Lifestyle

Your contact lenses should enhance your lifestyle, not add to your worry.

Today wearing contact lenses is easier than ever before. There are more types of lenses and lens care products available to an ever widening audience. Contact lenses move with your eyes which allows for a more natural field of vision, giving you freedom from glasses. However there is responsibility keeping lenses clean and disinfected, etc. The better you care for your lenses, the more comfortable they will be.

If dryness, irritation, or redness are frequent occurrences for you, your lenses may not be performing the way they should.