We 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What are Scleral Contact Lenses?
A: Scleral lenses are custom made lenses that rest on the sclera, or white part, of your eye. The size of the lens offers great vision that isn't possible with any other vision solution. These lenses provide a solution for those patients who can't wear other types of contact lenses due to dry eyes, complications from LASIK surgery, kerataconus, and other eye issues.
Q: Why can I no longer focus on objects up close?
A: Vision changes occur naturally as you age. When you reach your 40’s, focusing at close range becomes difficult. This is a natural part of the aging process caused by a gradual hardening of the eye’s crystalline lens, reducing its ability to change shape and focus at near. This condition is called Presbyopia.
Q: What exactly is astigmatism?
A: Astigmatism is usually caused by an irregularly shaped cornea, the front surface of the eye. Instead of being a perfect sphere, like a ball bearing or a marble, it can become a little more like a football, being more curved in one direction than the other. This brings light into focus at more than one point on the retina at the back of the eye, resulting in blurry or distorted vision.
Q: At what age should I bring my child in for her first eye exam? And how much does it cost?
A: The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends that the first eye exam be done at the age of 6 months, then next around the age of 3, and then yearly thereafter. Your Optometrist may recommend more frequent eye exams if he or she has something they want to monitor more closely. As for the cost; luckily, in Alberta (and many other Provinces in Canada), ALL children’s eye exams are covered by Alberta Health Care up until the child’s 19th birthday. It’s not just “once per year” either; a child can come in as often as necessary and Alberta Health Care will cover it.
Q: Why should I take an image of my retina during my eye exam?
A: 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 may be 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 exactly is macular degeneration?
A: Macular degeneration is a condition in which the eye's macula breaks down, causing a gradual or sudden loss of central vision. There are two forms called wet and dry. Patients need a detailed retinal eye exam to determine if they have this condition.
Q: Who's at the most risk for macular degeneration?
A: If you're over age 65, a smoker, african american, have vascular health problems, or have a family member with macular degeneration, you have an increased risk for macular degeneration. You're also at risk if you take these drugs: Aralen (chloroquine) or phenothiazine derivatives [Thorazine (chlorpromazine), Mellaril (thioridazine), Prolixin (fluphenazine), Trilafon (perphenazine) and Stelazine (trifluoperazine)].
Q: I woke up with a red eye, but it’s not painful. Should I wait a few days or have it seen right away?
A: It is always a good idea to come to see our eye doctor to make sure if it is something threatening to your vision, but most often red eyes that aren’t painful could be due to subconjunctival hemorrhages or viral infections. Subconjunctival hemorrhages look like small pools of blood on the whites of the eyes which are harmless if only confined to the outside of the eye; however, could be vision threatening if also on the inside of the eye. We would suggest you come in for an emergency appointment so that our eye doctor can make sure what the problem really is and treat if necessary.
Q: My eye is suddenly red and irritated/painful, what should I do?
A: Whenever you get a red eye, it is very important to make an emergency eye appointment immediately with our eye doctor to see what the cause is. Some red eyes will go away with rest, but some are vision threatening and could cause blindness within 24 hours (ie. If the cause was a microorganism from contact lens wear). If you wear contact lenses, remove them immediately and do not wear until the redness subsides. Our doctor uses a high magnification slit lamp to examine your eyes to determine the exact cause of the problem and will treat accordingly. A family doctor usually does not have the necessary equipment and will treat based on your symptoms only. If your eyes need antibiotic eye drops, our eye doctor can prescribe the proper ones for your condition.
Q: What are some of the learning difficulties a child may encounter if they have vision issues?
A: Children may have difficulty reading if their near vision is blurry or the words jump around the page. Older children may have difficulty copying from the board at the front of the class or may struggle with math homework that has multiple questions on the page.
Q: How can a child's learning in school be affected by their vision?
A: A child's ability to learn is strongly dependent on having a normal visual system. Visual acuity (being able to see the letters on the chart with the big E) is only one aspect of about 17 visual skills that are required for reading and learning. Vision therapy is a treatment program that can remediate mal-developed visual skills and certain vision disorders, helping children reach their maximum learning and reading potential.
Q: What happens if I wear my contacts longer than recommended?
A: The longer a contact lens is worn, the less oxygen the eye receives. The cornea needs to receive oxygen directly from the air, and contact lenses inhibit this process to some extent. 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 over-wear, 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.
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.