About Your Eyes
We know how important vision is to our patients, and our mission is to provide the best care possible to keep your eyes healthy. Here are some of the common topics and questions our patients have about eyes and eye care.
Optometrist, Optician or Ophthalmologist?
Taking Care of My Eyes
Click here to find out why it is important to have a dilated eye exam every year!
For more information about caring for your vision, call our office. You can also visit www.allaboutvision.com.
1. What is the difference between an optometrist, an optician and an ophthalmologist?
An optician works in an optical shop and is trained to fit and dispense glasses and contact lenses according to either an optometrist's or ophthalmologist's prescription. At Drake Optical, Cathy is our optician. She has many years of experience and will assure you get the glasses that fit your needs.
An optometrist is an eye care provider who has attended college and then optometry school. He or she studies eyes with an emphasis on glasses and contact lens fitting. An optometrist has an "OD" after his or her name.
An ophthalmologist is an Eye MD physician who has completed college, medical school, and a four-year specialty training program in eye medicine. Ophthalmologists treat medical eye conditions and perform surgery in addition to doing routine exams with glasses and contact lenses. An ophthalmologist has an MD after his or her name. Dr. Moschell and Dr. Coran are ophthalmologists.
2. What are some things I should practice at home to take good care of my eyes?
There are plenty of things you can do to prevent eye injury and to keep your eyes healthy.
a. See your opthalmologist regularly, and whenever you have problems with your eyes or your vision. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following schedule:
Newborns - 3 months: once
6 months -1 year: once
3 years: once
5 years: once
20-29 years: at least once
30-39 years: at least twice; African Americans, because of greater risk for glaucoma, every 2-
40-64 years: every 2-4 years
65 years and older: every 1-2 years
Your Eye MD may recommend visits more often depending on your needs and exam findings.
b. Read chemical product instructions carefully. This includes cleaning products, automotive products, and other household and industrial chemicals. Wash your hands well after using.
c. When using strong chemicals, operating industrial tools, doing auto repair, using power garden tools, or anything else that could involve fumes, particles, sparks or other danger to the eyes, wear safety goggles with side shields.
d. Stay away from smoke, including cigarette smoke.
e. Never use a match or lighter to look under the hood of a car; always use a flashlight at night. Extinguish all cigarettes and matches prior to opening the hood. Read instructions carefully before jump-starting a car.
f. If a foreign object gets in your eye, do not rub it. You can lift your upper eyelid over your lower lid, to try to dislodge the particle, or try blinking a few times. If the particle remains in your eye, keep it closed and seek medical attention.
g. For cuts to the eye or lid, seek medical attention. Do not wash the eye or try to remove an object stuck in it. Do not apply pressure to the eye or lid, and do not rub.
h. For blows to the eye, apply an ice compress and seek medical attention.
i. For chemical burns, flush the eye with water immediately, for 15 minutes or more, and seek medical attention.
For more information, call our office. You can also visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology website: www.aao.org.
3. Could I be a candidate for Lasor Vision Correction (LVC)?
When a patient inquires about LVC, we need to ask many questions about you and your eyes. First of all, we need to know your refractive error (RE). RE is the prescription in glasses that gives you the best possible vision. Refractive errors include nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
Astigmatism is also considered when planning for LVC. Astigmatism is the asymmetric curvature of the cornea. People with astigmatism have corneas that are shaped like a football instead of a baseball. Astigmatism is treated by the laser at the same time as the near or farsightedness.
Your prescription must fall into a certain range of nearsightedness or farsightedness, and/or astigmatism, for you to be considered as an LVC candidate.
Refractive error Amount LVC Candidate
Nearsighted -1.00 to -8.00 YES
Nearsighted -8.00 to -10.00 Possibly
Farsighted +1.50 to +3.00 Likely
Astigmatism >+3.00 Unlikely
Other questions that need to be addressed concern the health of you and your eyes. Certain eye conditions, such as keratoconus, make a patient ineligible for LVC. Dry eyes need to be treated prior to LVC to optimize the outcome. Some systemic conditions can also limit a patient's eligibility for LVC. Your medical history will be evaluated to be sure you do not have any of those conditions.
A successful procedure also depends on a well-educated patient. Be sure you understand how the procedure is done and what the visual expectations are. The goal of LVC is to give you the same vision without glasses or contact lenses that you had before with those visual aids. LVC cannot make you see better than you did in your glasses or contact lenses prior to the procedure. Make sure all your questions regarding the procedure are answered. We are happy to address any and all questions you may have regarding LVC. For more information, call our office.
4. What is Latisse?
Latisse is a prescription treatment that can be used to grow eyelashes, making them longer, thicker and darker. It is prescribed for a condition called eyelash hypotrichosis, which means inadequate or not enough eyelashes. It is also available for cosmetic purposes. For more information, call our office. You can also visit www.latisse.com.
5. What are floaters?
Floaters look like small dots or cloudy material moving in your field of vision. You may see them when looking at a solid color background such as a clear blue sky. These are tiny bits of gel or cells inside the vitreous gel, the fluid that is inside your eyes.
As you approach middle age, the vitrous gel pulls away from the back of the eye (called posterior vitreous detachment). This can cause floaters. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, posterior vitrous detachment is more common if you:
* are nearsighted,
* have undergone cataract operations,
* have had YAG laser surgery of the eye, or
* have had inflammation inside the eye.
Floaters are not usually serious, but they can occasionally lead to a torn retina, which needs to be treated immediately. See your ophthalmologist right away if a new floater appears suddenly or if you see sudden flashes of light. If you have questions, call us or visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology website: www.aao.org.
6. What is a cataract, and what is involved with cataract surgery?
When you have a cataract, the lens of your eye becomes cloudy. You will not experience pain, but may have blurred vision, sensitivity to light or to glare, poor night vision or double vision (in one eye). You may also find yourself needing brighter light to read, or notice that colors don't seem as vibrant as they used to. With time, everyone develops cataracts.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, cataracts can also be affected by:
* family history,
* medical problems such as diabetes,
* injury to the eye,
* medications, expecially steroids,
* long-term, unprotected exposure to sunlight,
* previous eye surgery, or
* other unknown factors.
As cataracts progress, you may need a change in your eyeglass prescription. If the symptoms are interfering significantly in your daily activities, you and your ophthalmologist may decide to remove the cataract with surgery.
During surgery, the cloudy lens is removed, and a permanent intraocular lens is implanted. We now offer Premium Lens Implants during cataract surgery, to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. For more information, speak to your ophthalmologist. You can also visit www.aao.org, www.acrysofrestor.com, or www.visioninfocus.com.
7. What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease that affects the optic nerve. Glaucoma occurs when there is improper drainage of your eye's aqueous humor--a clear liquid that circulates inside the front of your eye (separate from tears that form on the outside of your eyes). When the aqueous humor cannot drain properly, fluid pressure builds up in the eye and pushes against the optic nerve.
The best way to detect glaucoma is to have regular eye exams by an ophthalmologist. The most common form of glaucoma has no symptoms in the early stages, and vision remains normal, until the optic nerve becomes more damaged. Because damage from glaucoma cannot be reversed, it is critical to detect it in its early stages. If not treated, glaucoma can lead to blindness.
Treatment for glaucoma includes medicated drops, laser surgery, and regular surgery in the operating room. For more information, call our office. You can also visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology website: www.aao.org.
8. What is macular degeneration?
A small area in the retina, called the macula, gives you the ability to see fine details clearly. Macular degeneration occurs when the macula does not function correctly, and your central vision becomes blurry, dark or otherwise distorted. You may have trouble reading, doing other close work, or driving a car.
Although it is not known exactly why it occurs, the most common form, "dry" macular degeneration (atrophic) typically develops as part of the aging process in some people. "Wet" macular degeneration (exudative) is much less common, and happens when abnormal blood vessels form underneath the retina.
Nutritional supplements such as vitamins C and E, beta carotene and zinc can help to slow the progress of macular degeneration. In some cases, laser surgery or drug therapy can help to preserve sight. For more information, call our office. You can also visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology website: www.aao.org.
9. If I have diabetes, will I get diabetic retinopathy?
If you have diabetes mellitus, you are at risk for diabetic retinopathy, but that risk can be significantly lowered by maintaining close control over your blood sugar and visiting your ophthalmologist on a regular schedule. If your body has a high blood sugar level, blood vessels in the retina can be damaged, resulting in diabetic retinopathy.
Many people with diabetes have mild nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), where tiny blood vessels in the retina leak blood or fluid. Vision may not be affected. In some cases of NPDR, however, macular edema (swelling of the macula) or macular ischemia (a lessening of the blood supply to the macula) can occur, either of which can cause vision blurring or loss.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) means that abnormal vessels are present on the surface of the retina or optic nerve. This can result in a vitreous hemorrhage (bleeding in the vitreous, the clear substance in the center of the eye), traction retinal detachment (scar tissue that pulls the retina out of its normal position) or neovascular glaucoma (a pressure build-up in the eye that damages the optic nerve).
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people with diabetes schedule eye exams within five years of diagnosis for those 29 years old or younger, and within a few months for those diagnosed at age 30 or older. Exams should be conducted yearly thereafter. An ophthalmologist can diagnose and treat diabetic retinopathy before you are even aware of a vision problem. Treatment can include medicine, laser surgery or vitrectomy (a microsurgical procedure). Again, strict control of blood sugar is the best method for prevention and risk reduction. For more information, call our office. You can also visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology website: www.aao.org.