We want to make sure that you receive all of the information that you need to make educated decisions about your eye health. Our optometrist, Dr. Alan Schlussel is always available to answer your questions. Please feel free to send us your eye care questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Are carrots really good for my eyes? Are there other foods that are beneficial for my vision health?
Dr. Schlussel: Although carrots hold a great reputation for being good for the eyes, there are other foods that play a larger role in maintaining your eyesight. Antioxidants protect against eye damage from UV exposure and cigarette smoking. Foods rich in antioxidants such as lutein and zeathinin are green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Foods rich in Vitamin C also an antioxidant are also great for the eyes, so oranges, strawberries and grapefruits. In addition, essential fatty acids are also considered helpful not only in preventing eye diseases such as macular degeneration but also aiding in tear production for dry eyes, so consider certain oily fish such as salmon.
Q: My eye care provider told me I have dry eyes, and the cause of it is that I spend about eight hours a day in front of a computer or looking at my phone. I’ve reduced the time I spend before the computer, and the grittiness is less frequent. But I still feel dryness, but only a little bit. I’m 17 years old, which is too soon for me to have serious dry eye, but I don’t know whether it’s chronic or not. Is it possible that I can permanently heal my dry eye?
Dr. Schlussel: The tears and ocular surface work together to keep the eye moist and to insure crisp vision. Dryness usually worsens with age, but it can occur in younger individuals who spend a great deal of time in front of a computer monitor or texting on their phones. Computer use decreases the frequency of blinking, and that promotes evaporation of the tears. That can be either the cause or a factor that contributes to your symptoms. You might be helped by one of the newer lipid-based dry eye drops that are available at the pharmacy. Because dry eye tends to be both chronic and progressive, if your symptoms persist I would consult with an eye care provider for a full dry eye evaluation.
Q: At what age should my children have their 1st eye exam?
Dr. Schlussel: We generally recommend a first vision screening at pre-school age. For children whose parents have a strong hereditary history of poor vision, earlier screenings are recommended. In families in which the parents and older siblings have strong eyesight, eye testing can be postponed to an older age.
Q: I've heard about about new Acuvue daily lenses that can enhance my natural eye color. Are these safe to wear?
Dr. Schlussel: Yes, Absolutely. We are one of the first practices in the country to carry the 1-Day Acuvue Define contact lenses. these innovative highoxygen lenses not only bring the convenience and safety of disposable lenses, but also provide a variety of options to enhance the natural color of your eyes.
Q: My friend went to his eye doctor and was told,after reviewing the picture taken of his retina, that he probably has diabetes and hypertension. How can an eye doctor determine this from an eye exam?
Dr. Schlussel: The eye is the only structure of the body whereby we can examine the blood vessels in detail without cutting away tissue or using invasive testing. A retinal photograph allows your eye doctor to evaluate the health of your body- in this case, your friend's doctor may have seen bleeding in the retina and some changes in the blood vessels that indicated a long term problem with diabetes or hypertension.These conditions require immediate treatment by an internist and additional evaluation and treatment by a retinal specialist. Many of our colleagues offer an Optomap photograph to our patients during their routine eye exam in order to detect potential problems like this that can have life- threatening consequences.
Q: If I wear contact lenses should I have an up to date backup pair to wear when my eyes get irritated?
Dr. Schlussel: Yes. It’s very important for Contact Lens wearers to have a pair of glasses to wear one or 2 days a week when their eyes are bothering them. This can prevent more serious eye infections that are caused from excessive contact lens usage.
Q: Are there more comfortable lenses for Dry Eyes?
Dr. Schlussel: Yes, there are newer Daily Disposable contacts made from more breathable and moisture retaining materials that our Dry Eye patients have found to be much more comfortable.
Q: Why do my eyes tear so much when I walk out in the cold?
Dr. Schlussel: Tearing of the eyes, called Reflex tearing is the most common sign of Evaporative Dry Eyes. This occurs when your eyes do not secrete the proper amount of oil or lipid in your tear film causing the tears to evaporate- the eyes then produce more of the watery layer as a way of compensating. I would recommend a comprehensive dry eye evaluation to evaluate the causes and potential treatment regimens. You might try either Systane Balance by Alcon or Refresh Optive Advanced by Allergan, as both are designed to help with this issue. If that doesn't help, I suggest you consult with an eye care provider who is expert in managing dry eye to get to the bottom of this.
Q: When should kids have their eyes examined?
Q: Why is my vision going bad since I turned 50?
Q: Can I wear contacts when I'm swimming?
Dr. Law: We usually tell our patients that their contact lenses should never be in contact with regular water, tap or pool water because it can cause an increase risk of bacterial infections. The contact lenses act as magnets and can hold bacteria found in water that can cause harm to the eyes. However, we understand that sometimes when swimming, it is hard to see without your contacts and glasses aren’t an option. For these reasons, I generally recommend daily contact lenses whenever possible when swimming along with waterproof goggles. If daily disposable lenses aren’t an option, I recommend using your contact lenses along with waterproof goggles and when you are done that evening, to REMOVE THE LENSES and THOROUGHLY CLEAN them with the proper disinfection systems. Whatever you do, DO NOT SWIM IN YOUR CONTACT LENSES AND THEN PROCEED TO SLEEP IN THEM. This is a recipe for disaster and can cause significant damage to your eyes.
Q: Can kids wear contact lenses?
Q: What are cataracts and how can they be treated?
Dr. Law: Cataracts are changes that occur in the the lens within the eye that can affect your vision. When we are young, the lens inside your eye is clear, with time however, our lens inside becomes more cloudy or yellow and can cause a decrease in our vision and significant issues with glare. Although there are different reasons for why cataracts can form, the most common reason is related to UV exposure. Therefore, we always recommend UV protection to all of our patients, particularly to our younger patients who can be more susceptible to UV damage because the lens is clear. Currently, there is no medication that you can take to manage or cure cataracts, although currently there are studies investigating certain vitamins and supplements that can aid in the prevention of cataracts. Cataracts can be removed and replaced with an “IOL” or intraocular lens implants by a cataract surgeon. Different types of intraocular lens implants are currently available to help with both distance and near vision. If you are having any vision or glare issues and you suspect it may be related to cataracts, feel free to schedule an appointment so that we may discuss your treatment options with you.
Q: Why should I take an image of my retina during my eye exam?
Dr. Law: A picture can say a 1000 words, and this saying holds true with the eye. There are many components of the eye, but one of the most important parts of the eye is the retina,which is located in the back of the eye behind the pupil and lens inside. The retina is responsible for converting light energy into chemical signals that are then transferred via the optic nerve to the brain, where that information is processed, resulting in our vision. There are no pain receptors within the retina, and so you will never feel any issues in the retina that maybe life threatening, such as melanomas, and sight threatening, such as glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy. Changes within the retina can cause vision loss, therefore it is important for us to get imaging in the back of the eye so that we can check for any retinal disease, such as Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma, and so that we can establish a normal baseline so that we can monitor any changes more accurately. Dilations are also necessary for us to evaluate the back of the eye as well as imaging to ensure we have a complete overall sense of the eye.
Q: What can I do to prevent dry eyes?
Dr. Law: If you are having trouble driving at night, you should schedule an eye exam so that we can check your eye health and vision. We can check to see if you need any updates on your current glasses or contact lenses to ensure that you are seeing well at night. We will also need to check out your eye health which may include a dilation to rule out any eye issues such as cataracts that may be causing some glare issues especially with oncoming headlights. There are certain coatings such as an anti-reflective coating that you can place on your eyeglasses that may allow more light to enter the eye and help improve night vision as well.