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Latest Vision News

May is Healthy Vision Month

May is Healthy Vision Month

What does that mean for you? It means that now is the time to schedule a comprehensive eye  exam. 

While these are one of the exams we may often let fall by the wayside, they are extremely important to maintain our eye health. Comprehensive eye exams serve several purposes. During these exams, pupils, the circular black area in the center of the eye where light enters, are widened with eye drops or viewed without dilation through a special camera. This allows your Eye Doctor to check for vision problems and eye diseases, verify what stage of diseases your eyes may be in, and helps determine if you need glasses, contacts or other treatments. 

Comprehensive eye exams are crucial for all ages, here’s why: 

Pediatric exams test for visual acuity, lazy eye, color vision, ocular health, and more. These are extremely important to test for the school years ahead. 

For older children and teenagers, myopia (nearsightedness) is one of the biggest concerns that comprehensive eye exams detect. Myopia affects the eye’s ability to see distant images clearly. It is important to identify and treat early with glasses or contacts as children and teens begin to learn in larger spaces, play sports, and drive. 

Adult exams are recommended at least every two years, or as recommended by your eye care specialist. Exams for adults are necessary to catch eye conditions that can cause vision loss and even lead to blindness. Some of these conditions are cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. 

There are several other conditions that comprehensive eye exams can expose that may not be found without a visit to your optometrist. 

Outside of eye exams, here are 5 ways you can help protect your vision: 

  1. Healthy eating. You know this! Healthy eating helps every part of your body. For your eyes, make sure to add dark, leafy greens and seafood that is high in omega-3 fatty acids to your plate. A great excuse to treat yourself to sushi! We’re adding a spicy sake maki roll to our cart… for delivery.
  2. Protective eyewear. Whether you’re chopping wood for the bonfire pit, mowing the lawn, painting your bedroom walls, or riding your motorcycle around town, protective eyewear is key. Blue-light protection glasses should also be considered to protect your eyes from all the time spent in front of computer screens.
  3. Sunglasses. Much like protective eyewear, sunglasses help protect your eyes from ultraviolet radiation delivered by sun. Not all sunglasses provide the same level of protection. Let us help you pick the best pair!
  4. Clean hands. Wash your hands before putting your contacts in and before taking your contacts out, simply to avoid infection.
  5. Stop smoking. Smoking is known to cause several diseases, but it can also lead to vision loss. It can increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and more. Mark your calendar for your comprehensive eye exam and mark it as the day to stop smoking. 

Happy healthy vision month! Get your appointment in the books with us today. 

 

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More middle-aged and older adults are wearing soft contacts than ever.

And one of the biggest reasons they decrease or stop wearing contacts is the difficulty they face reading with their contacts after presbyopia begins to set in around the early 40’s.

Presbyopia is the diminished ability of the natural lens in our eyes to focus up close on near objects. It begins with the occasional medicine bottle being a struggle to read and then over time more and more gets blurry. It can be very frustrating to stare at something up close and have it be blurry regardless of what you do.

So there are three basic choices a contact lens wearer can do to aid their reading while still wearing contact lenses.

Reading Glasses

Initially, the use of an over-the-counter reader or prescription reading glass for occasional use works well for people in the early stages of presbyopia. They are worn over distance contact lenses so there is little adjustment and vision is clear near and far. However, they need to be with you, not left in the car or at work, and oftentimes people end up just wearing readers all day since it is just that much clearer.

Monovision

This fitting technique can be used with any type of contact lens. The brand of lenses you are currently wearing can often be used to fit you with monovision. Your dominant eye is determined. Then the non-dominant eye prescription is adjusted to compensate to make it a reading contact lens. So once fitted you have one eye for distance and the other for reading. Yes, it sounds really crazy, but it actually works quite well. Your brain initially has to adjust to using each eye individually to obtain the sharpest vision, but once this is achieved, year-to-year adjustments can be made to the reading eye to allow comfortable distance and reading vision for many years.

Monovision fits are not always successful. Some people just cannot adjust to it regardless of motivation or desire. It seems to work best when someone has had some difficulty with reading and they are noticing more and more that they need their readers. At that point, they can appreciate the ability to read and their brain seems to adapt more readily. When I wear my contacts this is the option I have used for myself.

Multifocal Contacts

Another option is multifocal contact lenses. Most every major manufacturer of soft contact lenses has some type of disposable multifocal lens available. They do not work like multifocal glasses. They use a technique called simultaneous viewing where you are actually looking through all the powers at once.

To visualize this, imagine a vinyl record with the label in the center and the various tracks extending outward. Most of the lenses are made with the strongest reading power located in the center where the label would be, then each ring further out gradually becomes weaker until you reach your full distance power. So essentially you are looking “around” the reading part for distance then through the center for reading. It works, sort of.

Multifocal lenses work better on younger patients, say 40-50 years old, for help with reading. There is no adaptation period to these lenses like monovision. What you see is what you get. But if you have any significant amount of astigmatism or if you wear a toric contact that corrects for astigmatism, multifocal lenses are not for you. And because the reading is central in the lens, if you make it too strong for reading then you blur the distance vision too much, so oftentimes a multifocal lens wearer after age 50 faces a dilemma to either wear reading glasses to boost their reading needs or change to monovision.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while none of the options are perfect they all may present some level of relief in your quest to continue to wear contacts into middle age, retirement, and beyond. But some options may better serve you at a certain point in your life or career than others. Talk to your eye doctor to see what choices are best for you.

 

Article contributed by Eugene Schoener O.D.

The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ

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