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Dr. Pat Nguyen, O.D.

Family Eye Care and Contact Lenses

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 




What is Myopia (nearsightedness)?

  • If you can see objects nearby with no problem, but reading road signs or making out the writing on the board at school is more difficult, you may be near or shortsighted (myopic).

  • Myopia is not a disease.  It simply refers to a variation in the shape of your eyeball.  The degree of variation determines whether or not you will need corrective eyewear.

  • In normal vision, our ability to "see" starts when light enters the eye through the front surface of the eye (also called the cornea).  The shape of the cornea, lens and eyeball help bend (refract) light rays in such a manner that light is focused precisely onto a point on the back surface of the eye, which contains the actual receptors and nerve connecting to your brain allowing you to see.  This back surface of the eye is called the retina.

  • If you are nearsighted or myopic, light is focused  at a point in front of the retina as opposed to directly on it.  As the light will only be focused in that one place, distant objects will appear blurred. 



Myopia can be corrected by a lens which pre-diverges the light,
causing it focus directly on the retina.

 

 
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What is Hyperopia (farsightedness)?

  • If you can see objects at a distance clearly but have trouble focusing well on objects close
  • up, you may be farsighted (hyperopic). 
  • Hyperopia causes the eyes to exert extra effort to see close up.
  • After viewing nearby objects for an extended period, you may experience blurred vision, headaches and eyestrain.   Children who are farsighted may find reading difficult.
  • Hyperopia is not a disease.  It simply means that you have a variation in the shape of your eyeball.  The degree of variation will determine whether or not you will need corrective lenses.
  • In normal vision, our ability to "see" starts when light enters the eye through the front surface of the eye (also called the cornea).  The shape of the cornea, lens and eyeball help bend (refract) light rays in such a manner that light is focused precisely onto a point on the back  surface of the eye, which contains the actual receptors and nerve connecting to your brain allowing you to see.  This back surface of the eye is called the retina.

  • In farsightedness or hyperopia, light focuses at a point behind the retina.  As a result since this light is not focused when it hits the retina, near objects appear to be blurred.

        


Hyperopia can be corrected by a lens which pre-converges the light,

causing it to focus directly on the retina.


 
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What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is usually caused by the front surface of the eye (cornea) having a shape that resembles a football rather than the normal case, a basketball.  This surface irregularity causes a point of light entering the eye to bend unevenly, creating 2 points of focus on the retina rather than a single point, forming a distorted image. People with astigmatism generally have blurred or distorted vision when looking far and near.


Astigmatism is not a disease and can be corrected by a lens which focuses at 2 different points.

To help determine whether you may have astigmatism, try the astigmatism test.

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What is Presbyopia?

Regardless of eye condition in your youth, your eyes will most likely begin to change as you reach your mid-40s and beyond.  You will find yourself holding the newspaper a little farther away in order to focus better on the words. 

 

This common age-related condition is called presbyopia and is brought on by the changing shape and flexibility of your eye's crystalline lens.  As you get older, the lens inside your eye loses its flexibility.  This flexibility is required by your eye to focus in on near objects especially reading materials (a process called accommodation).  As a result, light is still not bent enough to focus properly.  Note that this difficulty to focus can still occur even for a nearsighted or farsighted person whose vision has been corrected by glasses or contact lenses.

 

Presbyopia is not a disease.  It is a normal age-related change of our eyes which cannot be prevented.  These changes start at an early age but the symptoms do not show until approximately 40 to 45 years of age. 

 

The eyes continue to change the older you get and corrective glasses or contact lenses are inevitable.

 

    
Similar to hyperopia, presbyopia is corrected by lenses which converge light.


 To help determine whether you may have presbyopia, try the near vision test.

 
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At what age should I bring my child in for an eye exam?

You should have your child’s eyes examined by age one.  This is critical in detecting congenital eye diseases that could affect your child’s vision for life, if left untreated.  Factors that can put your child at risk for eye diseases include premature infants, low birth weight, and a family history of eye disorders.  Additionally, your child should have another exam prior to entering school or by age five.  A child's ability to learn is significantly influenced by his or her ability to see and read properly.

 

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Can I wear contact lenses if I have astigmatism?

Yes.  Many brands of contact lenses are now available and specially designed for people with astigmatism.  These lenses are made to fit the unique shape of an astigmatic eye.  In addition, color contact lenses for astigmatism are now available.

 

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What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD)?

Macular degeneration is a condition that causes a slow, progressive loss of central vision, color vision, and difficulty reading  and recognizing faces.  Initially there may be distortion or blind spots in vision near the sharpest point of vision, the central part.  More advanced cases may present as a total obscuration of central vision.  Peripheral vision is usually not affected.  While both eyes can be affected by ARMD, what occurs in one eye does not cause or affect what happens in the other.  ARMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over 65 years of age. 

An Amsler grid is a useful tool to self-monitor your vision for early detection of visual abnormalities which may be indicative of ARMD.  Click on the following link to print or save a copy of the Amsler grid.

 
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Am I a good candidate for LASIK?

LASIK is the most commonly performed refractive surgery procedure. You may hear people calling it "LASIX," but the name is actually short for "laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis."  Why is it so popular?  LASIK has advantages over other procedures, including a relative lack of pain afterward and the fact that good vision is usually achieved almost immediately, or at least by the very next day.

The ideal candidate for LASIK is over 18 years of age and has a healthy outer surface of the eye (cornea).  People with certain medical conditions or women who are pregnant may not be good candidates for LASIK.  Candidates must not have had a significant increase in their prescription in the last 12 months.  Your Eye Care Professional would examine your eyes and medical status to determine if you are a suitable candidate.

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Why do my eyes water when they feel dry and scratchy?

Your eyes’ comfort and health is affected largely by your tears.  Every time you blink, tears form a coating that protects and nourishes your eyes’ surface.  When tear production is reduced or your tears evaporate too quickly, the tear producing glands sometimes react to the dry, scratchy feeling by watering more than ever.  These “reflex tears”, however, do not relieve the dryness as they lack a natural component that is essential to lubricate your eyes properly.  If this is happening to you, your Eye Care Professional can give you a comprehensive exam and treatment options.
 
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