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Home » Our Eye Care Clinic » Patient FAQ’s

Patient FAQ’s

female thinking black and whiteWe want to make sure that you receive all of the information that you need to make educated decisions about your eye health.

Our eye doctors are always available to answer your questions. Please feel free to send us your eye care questions to seth.bachelier@gmail.com

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Q: Why can’t I see up close anymore?

Dr. Bachelier: The term for losing near vision as we age is called presbyopia. When we are young, our focusing system is typically really, really strong and our eye muscles can alter the shape of our natural lens inside the eye, allowing us to see well up close. But, the natural lens hardens and the muscles tend of weaken over time which makes focusing to read much more difficult. This process happens to EVERYONE with no exceptions! It generally begins around age 45 and continues until age 60 or 65 when the process is complete. The one caveat is for some nearsighted people, who can occasionally (with the EXACT amount of nearsightedness) see to read by just lifting their glasses up. But even that can be short lived. Treating presbyopia is fairly simple with bifocal glasses, no-line bifocals or progressives, and even with multifocal contact lenses. There are certainly a number of options to help with near vision for almost every lifestyle imaginable.

Q: What is LASIK?

Dr. Bachelier: LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted in situ Keratomileusis. It is a surgical procedure in which a laser is applied to the front surface of the eye, the cornea. LASIK is intended to remove any irregularities in the cornea thereby producing quality vision without the use of corrective lenses. During the procedure, a flap is made on the outer layer of the cornea, and the laser is applied to the middle layers before the flap is put back in place. New advances in laser technology have made the procedure much safer and more successful in recent years. LASIK can treat high levels of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. And, while not everyone is a candidate, there are other similar procedures available for laser vision correction. Please inquire with any staff or doctor at Midwest Eye Associates if you have any questions or to find out if you are a good candidate.

Q:  What is astigmatism?

Dr. Bachelier: Astigmatism is a condition where the front surface of the eye, the cornea, is not perfectly shaped. Instead of looking like a ping pong ball, the cornea more closely resembles a football shape. This means the cornea distorts or bends light abnormally when it enters the eye. This makes images blurry. And unlike nearsightedness and farsightedness, astigmatism affects light at ALL distances. People with uncorrected astigmatism often report halos around lights, difficulty driving at night and shadowing around objects. Astigmatism is easily correctable with glasses and contact lenses. It is not a preventable condition and it is not associated with any other eye diseases.

Q:  When should a child get his/her first eye examination?

Dr. Bachelier: I recommend a child’s first vision exam around 1 year of age. Missouri has a program called InfantSee, a public health initiative designed to encourage eye health and awareness. It is a one-time comprehensive eye exam at absolutely no charge for anyone less than 1 year of age. Without any communication from the child, an optometrist can adequately assess the eye muscles and alignment, refractive state of the eye (near or farsightedness) and the health of the eye. These factors combined can indicate if good eye health and quality vision will develop throughout childhood. If a child has no apparent visual problems and there are no other abnormalities, kids should return for eye exams at age 3 and then CERTAINLY again before they start kindergarten. The age 5 or 6 eye exam is critical because children learn visually more so than through the other senses, making good vision a necessity when learning to read and starting school.

Q:  Why do I need to take a picture of the back of my eye?

Dr. Bachelier: There are two good reasons to take a picture of the back of the eye. First, it's a good idea to have a still image of the back of the eye, so that we can track any changes over time which could affect your vision and overall health. Secondly, assuming everything is healthy in the back of the eye taking a photo, in most case will avoid needing to dilate the eye. In a photo of the back of the eye, we can view the optic nerve, the macula, and blood vessels, which provide us with a better understanding of the health of the back of the eye, because good vision doesn't always mean that your eyes are healthy.

Q. Will wearing (or not wearing) corrective lenses change my eyesight?

Dr. Bachelier: NO! For those who need corrective lenses of any kind to see better, the choice to wear or not wear them will NOT alter your vision in the long term. As kids grow, their eyesight changes naturally and that process is different for everyone. Wearing correction will not cause children or adults to become more near or far sighted and will not bring about any added change in prescription. For adults, wearing "cheaters" for reading and computer work also does NOT make you more reliant on them. Any changes in up close vision are caused by the natural lens inside your eye becoming immobile and unable to change shape, making focusing difficult. However, near vision can be altered slightly by certain medications at any age.

Q. What is astigmatism?

Dr. Bachelier: Astigmatism is a condition where the front surface of the eye, the cornea, is not perfectly shaped. Instead of looking like a ping pong ball, the cornea more closely resembles a football shape. This means the cornea distorts or bends light abnormally when it enters the eye. This makes images blurry. And unlike nearsightedness and farsightedness, astigmatism affects light at ALL distances. People with uncorrected astigmatism often report halos around lights, difficulty driving at night and shadowing around objects. Astigmatism is easily correctable with glasses and contact lenses. It is not a preventable condition and it is not associated with any other eye diseases.

Q. What is macular degeneration?

Dr. Bachelier: Macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects a small part of the back of the eye called the macula. The macula is the area where light rays come to a focus. It is responsible for our finely-detailed central vision and is very important for most visual tasks. There are two kinds of AMD, dry and wet. The dry form does not involve bleeding in the back of the eye while the wet form of AMD includes bleeding and is typically more severe. During an eye exam your eye doctor looks for drusen, which are deposits that build up behind the eye. These are the precursor to macular degeneration. If you have drusen, it is not a guarantee you will develop the disease. But, you should be watched closely for the changes in your condition. Macular degeneration is a hereditary condition, so those with parents who have AMD are at a greater risk of acquiring it. Smoking and UV radiation are also risk factors for AMD. To protect your maculas wear sunglasses when outdoors, quit smoking, and eat green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach. New glasses and changes in prescription usually offer very little benefit to those with AMD. However, cheaters with large magnification can help with reading and near tasks to a small extent. Anybody concerned about AMD should consult their eye doctor and have yearly dilated eye exams.

Q. Why are my eyes red?

Dr. Bachelier: RSZred eye midwestWhether red eyes are a regular occurrence or an isolated issue, it is important to understand that red eyes are an inflammatory problem. Inflammation involves redness, swelling, warmth and in some cases pain and discomfort. The majority of red eyes are caused by a combination of allergies and/or dryness. If your eyes itch, it is likely allergies. That is really the ONLY symptom of allergies. Dryness is a little more complex. Dry eyes cause burning, stinging, excess tearing, a foreign body sensation, discomfort during blinking and in some cases there can be blurry vision. While allergies and dryness are common and fairly easy to manage, eyes that get red very quickly could indicate a more serious issue. Eyes that get very red within 24 hours could be a sign of infection or an abrasion. Light sensitivity and (moderate to severe) pain often located on or behind the eye are signs that the surface of the eye is compromised. While these conditions are more rare, they require quick attention because infections on the front surface of the eye can become a major issue in a short period of time. Regardless if you know what the reason for your redness is, I ALWAYS recommend consulting your eye doctor to confirm what the problem is because there are a lot of possibilities that have a wide range of consequences.

What are some of the learning difficulties a child may encounter if they have vision issues?

Dr. Bachelier: When children don't see well, reading comprehension is the most common issue. That is, they read a passage and then fail to answer questions related to the material. This skill is also critical for learning. If a child can't see or has to strain while focusing, they often forget what they just read. Some kids also have problems tracking, or following moving targets with their eyes. These kids commonly skip lines or repeat lines when reading, which destroys comprehension. I often recommend using straight edges or bookmarks when reading so kids can keep their place, and retain information they are reading.

Why is it important for a child to get his/her eyes evaluated before school starts?

Dr. Bachelier: Vision is essential to development and learning. When kids start reading and doing math, it's critical to be able to see what they are doing. When they can't see, they stop paying attention, and often fall behind. The dangers is kids don't always know they are not seeing well, and most kids are smart enough to "pass" with poor vision. But, as school moves forward, when a vision deficit presents itself, the child is already far behind, making it hard to catch up. Another good reason to get an eye exam before school starts is if the child does need visual correction, they have time to adapt to the new prescription and get used to have glasses on their face.

What happens if I wear my contacts longer than recommended?

Dr. Bachelier: The longer a contact is worn, the less oxygen the eye receives. The cornea needs to receive oxygen directly from the air, and contact lenses inhibit this process. If your eyes don't get enough oxygen, you can have symptoms including eye pain, blurred vision, red eyes, light sensitivity, tearing and irritated eyes. If you experience any of these symptoms from contact lens overwear, make sure to see your eye doctor. You may need to be treated for any damage to your eye, and you may need to take a break from wearing your lenses.