Eye Exams: What to Expect

Yearly comprehensive eye exams are crucial to detecting changes in your vision and risk of eye-related diseases. We recommend adults have a comprehensive eye exam every year, and children should have an eye exam as early as six months before they start school, and then every 1-2 years. We often get questions about what to expect from your eye exam, so we’ve created an overview of the parts of a typical eye exam.

Eye Exams: What to Expect

Eye exams are quick and painless! 

Who gives an eye exam? An optometrist will perform your eye exam. Optometrists are eye doctors who prescribe glasses, contacts, vision therapy, and medication to treat eye diseases.

Choosing eyewear? Following your exam, one of our staff opticians will help you select a pair of eyewear. An optician will ask you about your lifestyle to determine which eyewear is best for you as well as fit, adjust, and repair your eyeglasses.

What to expect during your appointment?

Your eye exam may take an hour or more based on the tests your eye doctor determines are needed to evaluate your eye health. Your eye exam may consist of the following tests.

Pre-Exam Tests

Before your exam, a technician will often perform a few basic tests, including:

  • During a color sensitivity test, we will ask you to look at colored circles or shape and simply read the letter or number you see within it.
  • For a peripheral vision test, we will place an object in your peripheral vision and ask that without moving your eyes if you can see the item displayed.
  • The glaucoma (or “air puff” test) is commonly the most uncomfortable testing during your exam. For this test, the technician will puff a small bit of air into your eye to measure your eye pressure. There is no direct contact between the technician or machine and your eye and should only result in some watery eyes following.

Your Eye Exam

To prepare for your exam, bring your most recent pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Remember also to bring a list of questions or concerns you may have about your eyesight to discuss with your eye doctor.

Pupillary Reaction

Using a light, the doctor checks your pupils’ responsiveness. Your pupils’ response to light is a natural function of the eye and is critical to your vision. While using the light, the doctor will also look at the surface of your eye for signs of dry eye, corneal scratches and bacterial debris.

Slit Lamp Test

A slit light test is when your doctor shines a vertical bar of light into your eye to magnify its surface and inspect for abnormalities. This test allows the doctor to check your cornea, iris, and lens. During this test, you may be asked to blink or look in a specific director to allow your doctor to view your eye’s surface.

Visual Acuity and Refraction

The most well-known part of the eye exam is the visual acuity test. Your doctor will ask you to read an eye chart filled with numbers and letters with one or both eyes. Your ability to clearly read and identify the numbers and letters helps the doctor further determine your vision prescription needs. To hone in on your exact prescription, your doctor will place a large lens refractor in front of you and ask you a series of questions about which lenses make your vision better or worse.

Pupil Dilation

We recommend getting a dilated eye exam every year! By dilating your eyes, your doctor can more clearly examine your retina and optic nerve. To dilate your eyes, your doctor will place a few eye drops in your eyes to cause your pupils to enlarge. After a dilated exam, your eyes may be sensitive to light for up to an hour after the test. If you need a pair of temporary sunglasses, ask us, and we may be able to provide you one for comfort while driving home.

What to do after the exam?

Shop our selection of eyewear to find the perfect pair for your lifestyle. An optician for our team will be available to walk you through this process. Finally, schedule your follow-up appointment for the next year!

Eye Exams: What to Expect

Yearly comprehensive eye exams are crucial to detecting changes in your vision and risk of eye-related diseases. We recommend adults have a comprehensive eye exam every year, and children should have an eye exam as early as six months before they start school, and then every 1-2 years. We often get questions about what to expect from your eye exam, so we’ve created an overview of the parts of a typical eye exam.

Eye Exams: What to Expect

Eye exams are quick and painless! 

Who gives an eye exam? An optometrist will perform your eye exam. Optometrists are eye doctors who prescribe glasses, contacts, vision therapy, and medication to treat eye diseases.

Choosing eyewear? Following your exam, one of our staff opticians will help you select a pair of eyewear. An optician will ask you about your lifestyle to determine which eyewear is best for you as well as fit, adjust, and repair your eyeglasses.

What to expect during your appointment?

Your eye exam may take an hour or more based on the tests your eye doctor determines are needed to evaluate your eye health. Your eye exam may consist of the following tests.

Pre-Exam Tests

Before your exam, a technician will often perform a few basic tests, including:

  • During a color sensitivity test, we will ask you to look at colored circles or shape and simply read the letter or number you see within it.
  • For a peripheral vision test, we will place an object in your peripheral vision and ask that without moving your eyes if you can see the item displayed.
  • The glaucoma (or “air puff” test) is commonly the most uncomfortable testing during your exam. For this test, the technician will puff a small bit of air into your eye to measure your eye pressure. There is no direct contact between the technician or machine and your eye and should only result in some watery eyes following.

Your Eye Exam

To prepare for your exam, bring your most recent pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Remember also to bring a list of questions or concerns you may have about your eyesight to discuss with your eye doctor.

Pupillary Reaction

Using a light, the doctor checks your pupils’ responsiveness. Your pupils’ response to light is a natural function of the eye and is critical to your vision. While using the light, the doctor will also look at the surface of your eye for signs of dry eye, corneal scratches and bacterial debris.

Slit Lamp Test

A slit light test is when your doctor shines a vertical bar of light into your eye to magnify its surface and inspect for abnormalities. This test allows the doctor to check your cornea, iris, and lens. During this test, you may be asked to blink or look in a specific director to allow your doctor to view your eye’s surface.

Visual Acuity and Refraction

The most well-known part of the eye exam is the visual acuity test. Your doctor will ask you to read an eye chart filled with numbers and letters with one or both eyes. Your ability to clearly read and identify the numbers and letters helps the doctor further determine your vision prescription needs. To hone in on your exact prescription, your doctor will place a large lens refractor in front of you and ask you a series of questions about which lenses make your vision better or worse.

Pupil Dilation

We recommend getting a dilated eye exam every year! By dilating your eyes, your doctor can more clearly examine your retina and optic nerve. To dilate your eyes, your doctor will place a few eye drops in your eyes to cause your pupils to enlarge. After a dilated exam, your eyes may be sensitive to light for up to an hour after the test. If you need a pair of temporary sunglasses, ask us, and we may be able to provide you one for comfort while driving home.

What to do after the exam?

Shop our selection of eyewear to find the perfect pair for your lifestyle. An optician for our team will be available to walk you through this process. Finally, schedule your follow-up appointment for the next year!

Bifocal vs Progressive Lenses

For individuals that need vision correction both near and far, progressive or bifocal lenses are a must-have! As your eyes age and your vision changes, age-related farsightedness or presbyopia may start to affect your vision.

What are Bifocal or Progressive Lenses?

Progressive and bifocal lenses transition from near to far distance prescription within one lens! For that reason, these lenses provide you a single lens to fit all your prescription needs. 

Progressive vs Bifocal Lenses

Both progressive and bifocal lenses are used as a vision solution for presbyopia and provide comfortable vision for individuals with multiple prescriptions. Progressive lenses seamlessly transition between near and far prescriptions within the lens. In contrast, a distinct line separates near and far vision in bifocal lenses. Consider your lifestyle and your personal preference when choosing which type of lens is the best fit.

Bifocal Lenses

Bifocal lenses provide a clear distinction between near and far vision prescription within the lens. While many people may immediately choose a progressive lens, a bifocal may be a better fit for your lifestyle and vision needs. Some individuals find the strong distinction between Rx’s of a bifocal lens more comfortable for their vision. 

  • Two vision zones (one for near vision and one for distance)
  • Has a distinct line separating the powers
  • May cause difficulty reading computer screen and cause a greater risk for computer vision syndrome

Progressive Lenses

Progressive lenses provide a transition from near, intermediate, and far vision prescription. As compared to bifocal lenses, progressives provide a wider zone of clear vision to make activities like computer use and reading easier for the wearer. Early progressive lens designs had a soft blur during movement. However, with technological advancements, today’s progressive lenses have reduced this blur to provide better vision for active wearers.

  • Seamless progression between all distances of vision (near, intermediate, and far)
  • No distinction between different powers within the lens
  • Most popular lens for anyone with presbyopia who wears eyeglasses
  • Expanded intermediate zone for better computer vision

We understand the need for comfortable eyewear adequate for your lifestyle. Unsure about if you would benefit from bifocal or progressive lenses more, ask us! We are here to determine what eyewear fits your lifestyle. Progressive and bifocal lenses could be the solution you have been searching for! Contact our office today!

6 Common Eye Symptoms and What to Do

Suffering from eye discomfort or blurry vision can be scary, especially if it comes on suddenly or is a result of a dramatic event. Below are some of the common eye-related disorders. However, remember that common doesn’t mean it should be ignored. If you are experiencing any of these systems or if you have questions about your eye health, call us to schedule an appointment with one of our caring eye care professionals. 

Symptom One: Red Eyes

Many things can cause red or bloodshot eyes, including allergies, pink eye, or eye trauma. Our eye care professionals can help determine the cause of your redness and develop a treatment plan for you! Be sure to mention your red-eye symptoms when scheduling your appointment! 

Symptom Two: Itchy Eyes

Itchy eyes are one of the most common eye symptoms that people experience. Again, there are many potential causes that could lead to itchy eyes, including allergies, contact lens usage, and prolonged use of digital devices. Even though it may provide temporary relief, you should never rub your eyes as it can add allergens or bacteria into your eye, compounding the issue. 

Symptom Three: Puffy Eyes

Swelling around the eyes is due to excessive fluids in the skin tissue, but there are a variety of reasons for that extra fluid to be present. Allergies, Dehydration, overconsumption of salt, lack of sleep, stress, and crying can all lead to eyes appearing puffy. 

Symptom Four: Burning Sensation in Eyes

If certain products, makeup, facial cleaners, or shampoo, come in contact with our eyes, we may experience a burning sensation in our eyes. If the burning sensation is a continued problem, identify your surroundings and the products you are using and try to reduce your exposure. If reducing your exposure isn’t an option, or if you are still suffering, call our office to schedule an appointment.

Symptom Five: Spots in Vision

Although this sounds scary, it isn’t necessarily a reason to worry. Spots or floaters are caused by protein and tissue in the gel-like matter in your eyes, and it is normal to occasionally see spots in your vision. This will even become increasingly common with age. If you are experiencing more spots or floaters than normal, call our practice to schedule an appointment, and be sure to mention your vision changes! 

Symptom Six: Painful Eyes

Call our office immediately if you have a foreign body enter your eye or if you are experiencing prolonged eye pain. While waiting for your appointment, remain calm, avoid rubbing your eye, and do not try to remove the object yourself. When speaking with our team, we may ask you to describe your symptoms in detail to help us pinpoint the cause. 

Our team of trained professionals is here to answer all of your eye-related questions! Schedule an appointment with us today, even if your eye health feels like it is in perfect condition!

Dry Eye: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

What Is Dry Eye?

A continued lack of lubrication and moisture within the eye causes symptoms categorized as dry eye syndrome. The lack of tears and moisture to keep the surface of the eye lubricated, as well as wash away debris and dust, can cause eye discomfort and affect your vision.

Symptoms 

  • Burning 
  • Itchy 
  • Aching 
  • Heavy 
  • Fatigued 
  • Sore 
  • Dryness 
  • Red eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurry vision

Causes

Symptoms like dry, itchy eyes occur when there is an issue with a component of your tears. The three components that make up your tears are oil, water, and mucin. Issues with these components like tear instability, tear film evaporation, or insufficient tear production, can be the cause of your symptoms. To help detect the cause of your dry eyes, schedule an exam today! 

There are certain factors that can increase your risk for symptoms. These factors include:

  • Screen use: Humans blink less often when working on screens like computers or phones, causing a higher level of tear evaporation.
  • Smoking: Smoking can cause your eyes to dry over time and puts you at a higher risk for other eye-related diseases. 
  • Aging: The natural aging of your eye can cause your eyes to become dryer and is common in individuals over 50. 
  • Health conditions & Medications: Certain diseases and medicines can lead to the development of dry eyes. 

Dry Eye Treatment 

The only way to fully diagnose chronic dry eye syndrome and determine its cause is through a comprehensive eye exam. If you are showing symptoms, schedule an appointment with our office! During your appointment, we will review your symptoms and discuss treatment options for relief!

 

Treatment options may include:

  • Adding of tears through lubricating eye drops.
  • Increasing the time your tears stay in your eye by blocking your tear ducts. 
  • Determining and removing the reason for your symptoms if caused by a medication or environmental reason. 
  • Introduction of practices to reduce symptoms and prevent further symptoms like remembering to blink during long screen use. 

5 Reasons You Need Another Pair of Eyewear

From playing with the kids to working on the computer and playing golf with friends, our lives take us many different directions every day. However, is your eyewear ready for your multiple hobbies and the activities in between? Our busy lives show us that having multiple pairs of eyewear handy is a necessity. Here are a few reasons why we recommend having another pair of eyewear at the ready!

1) Accidents Happen

We’ve all been there! Looking for your missing glasses when you need them most or hearing a crunch when sitting on the couch for a relaxing movie night? An additional pair of eyewear can’t guarantee your current eyewear will be safe,  but it will significantly reduce the chances of having to go without. Contact lens wearer? Backup glasses are the perfect solution for a lost contact lens without a replacement. An additional pair of eyewear can hold you over until your new contact lenses come in!

2) Screen Time

Your eyes are exposed to harmful blue light through all digital devices, including your phone, TV, and tablet. This increased exposure to screens and blue light can cause eye strain and fatigue. If you are suffering from fatigue or headaches, computer eyewear is the perfect addition to your eyewear collection. Try wearing a pair of blue light blocking eyewear during extended screen use to alleviate your symptoms.

3) Work & Sports

From safety-approved eyewear for your workday to a pair of colored lenses to improve your game in the evening, we have you covered! No matter what space your lifestyle puts you in, get a pair of eyewear that fits each need. For example, a pair of polarized lenses may be a great addition to your eyewear lineup if you work outdoors at a construction site or love spending your weekends fishing. Polarized lenses remove glare off water or cement so you can see your best throughout your day.  If you are an avid golfer, try a pair of eyewear with colored lenses to increase contrast on the green and see your game soar! 

4) Contact Lens Wearers

Protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays every season is key to reducing your risk for other eye-related diseases. However, not all contact lenses protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun. That is why we say a pair of plano sunwear that blocks 100% of UV rays is a must-have for all contact lens users. 

5) Style

Eyewear is more than just a medical necessity. It’s a fashion accessory! A date night with your partner calls for a different pair of eyewear than when working at your computer throughout the day. Try a pair of funky frames to showcase your personality and grab a more neutral pair for professional situations. 

Ready to shop for your second pair of eyewear? We are excited to help! Schedule an appointment today, and we will help you find the best frames and lenses for your lifestyle!

Cleaning Your Glasses 101

Your glasses are one of the essential things you wear every day! Your eyewear helps you navigate the world around you, learn new things, and give you the ability to make memories with friends and family. Are you taking the best care of them? One of the best ways to keep you seeing your best is by regularly cleaning your lenses. And you may do it already, but are you doing it right? Here are our recommended steps for cleaning your glasses and common do’s and don’t of lens care. 

Cleaning Your Glasses

Using soap to clean your lenses.

With a clean hand, place a drop of cleaning soap on your fingertip. We recommend avoiding hand soaps that contain lotion or fragrance to prevent smudges on the lens. 

  • Do not use any household cleaners like window cleaning spray or alcohol to clean your lenses. These products may cause damage to the coating on your frames or lenses.
  • Do not use hand soap or baby wipes to clean your lenses. These products commonly have moisturizing properties that can lead to a hazy residue after cleaning.

Washing & Rinsing

Under room temperature water, gently rub your entire frame and lenses with your fingers. We do not recommend using hot water as it could damage coatings on your eyewear. Rinse your eyewear to remove all soap residue.

Drying or wiping your lenses clean.

Using a microfiber cleaning cloth, dry your glasses. If you notice that your lens cleaning cloth is dirty, clean with your standard laundry load. However, be sure NOT to use fabric softener as this adds residue to your material that could cause smudges on your eyewear. 

  • Don’t use toilet paper, your shirt, or other cloth to clean your glasses. Most fabric cloths, especially with dry lenses, can scratch, smear, or leave lint on your lenses. 
  • Don’t try to buff out any scratches. If your lenses have been scratched, contact us, and we will let you know what we can do to help!

Have questions about how to best care for your eyewear, let us know. We are here to help! We are also always happy to fully clean and disinfect your eyewear during your next appointment. Schedule your next exam today by giving our office a call.

Floaters or Spots: Should I be worried?

Have you noticed tiny shadows cast upon objects? Small spots, lines, or other shapes caused by floaters in your eye aren’t a big deal most of the time. Read more below to find out when you should contact your doctor about spots in your vision!

Floaters or Spots, are they normal?

As you age, the gel-like consistency in your eye begins to dissolve, creating floaters in the watery center of your eye. While you cannot see the particle floating in your eye, a shadow of these particles reflects off the objects. Floaters or spots are normal, and typically, treatment is not necessary.

Flashes of light

When light enters your eye, it sends a message to the retina. The retina then produces an electrical impulse to your brain. The brain then interprets this impulse as an image.

If the retina is tugged or torn, it’s common to see flickers of light. Depending on the retinal tissue’s severity, the flashes or flickers of light can be temporary or continue indefinitely. If you see flashes or flickering light in your vision, call our office immediately!

Shower of floaters

Seeing a few new floaters is not an emergency. However, if you suddenly see a shower of floaters or spots, this may cause concern. The sudden appearance of flashes of light could mean that damage is occurring to your retina. If any of these symptoms suddenly appear, call our office immediately to discuss them with your eye doctor.

Dark shadows in peripheral vision

If your floaters or spots become darkened peripheral vision or larger areas start to darken and stay in your peripheral vision, call our office to schedule an appointment immediately. Loss of sight in your peripheral vision could be the sign of a more severe vision problem.

It is our goal to keep your eyes healthy throughout your life. If you notice trouble seeing or are experiencing pain with your vision, schedule an appointment. While you can’t prevent some eye diseases, there are some general tips to protect your vision and maintain eye health.

  • Receive a comprehensive eye exam
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Drink more water
  • Wear protective eyewear
  • Rest your eyes

FAQ: Cataracts

Think you may be at risk for developing cataracts? Here is an overview of the most frequently asked questions about cataracts, including potential cataract treatment and congenital cataracts. Give our office a call and schedule an appointment to have your questions answered!

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens and are the most common cause of vision loss in the world. According to Prevent Blindness America, more than 22 million Americans have cataracts.

Who gets cataracts?

Cataracts begin to form in those over the age of 40. However, it is typically after age 60 that cataracts cause problems with vision.

Are there any signs or symptoms?

Cataracts start small and have little effect on your vision at first. However, you may notice symptoms once the cataract is well developed.

Potential symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Cloudy or foggy vision
  • Light from the sun or a lamp feels too bright or glaring
  • Oncoming headlights while driving cause more glare
  • Colors appear dimmed or faded

What causes cataracts?

As we age the natural protein in our eyes can clump together and cover a small area of the lens. Over time this may grow larger and cloud more of the lens. This cloud is what we refer to as a cataract.

Can I prevent cataracts?

It is not believed that there is anything you can do to prevent cataracts. However, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cataracts. Nutrients such as vitamin E and vitamin C are believed to reduce your risk. Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet can help. Additionally, wearing sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays can reduce cataract risk.

What increases my risk for cataracts?

  • UV radiation
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Family history
  • Significant alcohol consumption
  • Certain medications

Is there cataract treatment?

The treatment for cataracts will vary for each person. When symptoms begin to appear patients may use new stronger prescription glasses. Cataract surgery will become an option if the cataract progresses far enough to impair your vision. Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States and is successful in restoring vision.

What are congenital cataracts?

Congenital cataracts occur in newborn babies because the eye’s natural lens is cloudy instead of clear. Often this results in vision problems for the child. However, this occurs in only 0.4% of all births and is relatively uncommon.

To discuss your risk for developing cataracts schedule an appointment today! The best way to prevent vision loss is by having regular eye exams.

 

Eye Allergies in Every Season

Eye allergies are caused by the same substances that give you a runny nose and sneezing. Individuals with seasonal allergies typically experience various reactions to their allergens such as sneezing, itchy eyes, or a headache. Symptoms of eye allergies include itching, redness, burning, and clear watery discharge. Additionally, you may notice dark circles under the eyes and puffy eyelids. It is essential to manage your allergies to prevent these allergy symptoms and other eye infections related to seasonal allergies.

Winter Allergies

Indoor allergens are the most common cause of eye allergies during the winter months. Spending more time inside with the house closed up tends to worsen these allergens. We recommend using mite-proof bedding to limit exposure to dust mites. Frequently wash bedding, blankets, and furniture to decrease allergy symptoms from both dust mites and pet dander. Additionally, using a dehumidifier is the best way to control mold in your home mainly focused on basements and bathrooms.

  • Dust Mites
  • Mold
  • Pet Dander

Spring Allergies

Spring can be a dreaded season for seasonal allergy sufferers. Pollen is the primary cause of reaction during the spring months. With the trees, flowers, and plants coming into bloom their pollen can severely irritate your eyes. Wearing glasses or sunglasses outdoors can help to prevent pollen from entering your eyes.

  • Tree Pollen
  • Flower Pollen

Summer Allergies

During the summer months, grass pollen and mold spores are the most common allergens. On high pollen count days, we recommend staying indoors as much as possible. To limit your exposure to allergens we recommend keeping your windows closed and using air conditioning in your car and home. Avoid using fans, as they can draw pollen and mold into the house.

  • Grass Pollen
  • Molds Spores

Fall Allergies

As fall comes around, seasonal allergies come back on the horizon. Check the pollen count and avoid spending time outside during peak pollen times. Mold spores begin to grow on damp leaves in the fall. While it can be challenging to prevent seasonal allergens completely, we recommend limiting your exposure as much as possible. Additionally, replacing the carpet in your home with hardwood, tile, or linoleum helps to keep pet dander and pollen from settling in your home.

  • Ragweed
  • Mold Spores
  • Pet Dander

Don’t let eye allergies stop you from living your life. We can help you manage your eye allergies and control your symptoms. Give our office a call or request an appointment to discuss your allergies with your eye doctor!