Choosing the Right Eye Doctor

As is true with any health care, it’s important to find a doctor who is qualified to treat you. With eye care, you may be able to get an eye exam from a large number of practitioners. If you need to confirm a diagnosis, treat an eye disease, or have other unique needs like a pediatric or geriatric specialty, you will have to spend more time choosing the right eye doctor. No matter what your current vision situation is, it’s crucial to choose the right eye doctor for you and your family.

What is an Optometrist, Ophthalmologist, or Optician?
Many people use the term “eye doctor” to refer to the qualified individual who administers your eye exam and writes you a prescription for lenses to correct your refractive error. We know just how many distinctions there are between eye care professionals, however!

Most people who want to see an eye doctor will seek an ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist holds a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree and can examine eyes for vision or health ailments, visual acuity or refractive errors, and can prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses. Some ophthalmologists also provide additional services, like vision therapy and care plans for people with low vision.

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor or osteopathic doctor who specializes in the eye. They can also perform eye exams, but they are more often used to diagnose and treat eye diseases, prescribe medications, and perform eye surgery. They are able to write prescriptions for eyeglasses and contacts, too.

Another term that people sometimes hear and may not know what the occupation entails is “optician.” An optician is not a doctor. These professionals are qualified to use prescriptions written by an eye doctor to help fit you for eyewear and explain use, care, and features of your glasses or contacts.

What kind of doctor should I see?
This depends on your vision and eye health. If you have not had problems with your eyes beyond typical blurriness at certain distances, and if you’re not concerned about risks of eye disease or more serious symptoms, generally you are fine to see an ophthalmologist. If you aren’t sure and you see an ophthalmologist, he or she will let you know if you need to seek treatment from an ophthalmologist.

How do I pick a good eye doctor?
This is up to you! Some people like to look at social media pages to see what is the personality of the practice. You may seek reviews from others online, or ask friends for suggestions. Others go based on convenience factors like when the office is open, how easily you can schedule an appointment, and proximity to your home or office. Some factors may require a visit. If you’re planning on getting new eyeglasses, most offices allow you to walk in any time that they are open to browse their selection of frames, and even to speak with an optician about specialty products and upgrades. This also gives you an idea of their customer service, friendliness, and general feel of the office.

Once you decide, you’re ready to make an appointment and get busy seeing your best!

Reduce Exposure to Blue Light, Inside and Out

Risks of blue light exposure have become a topic of discussion in recent years. More eyecare professionals and scientists are studying the effects of blue light to assess the effects of relying on blue light for so much of our lighting.

It’s hard to say for sure how much added blue light exposure may lead to additional cases of degenerative eye health problems like macular degeneration. Plus, there is some evidence that overexposure to high-energy blue light can cause side effects such as sleep disturbances, eye strain, and headaches. With this in mind, how can you reduce your exposure, inside and out?

Inside
• Lower the brightness of your electronic screens, especially at night, but make sure you are not straining to see the words if you’re reading.
• Take frequent breaks while working at a computer. Regardless of blue light exposure, Computer Vision Syndrome is another problem you may face, and taking breaks to relax your eyes will help.
• Stop using your devices at least a couple hours before bed. Unplug and read a book instead, which will give your eyes something easy to focus on and help you wind down for good sleep.
• Adjust your distance. Viewing a bright screen up close is fatiguing. Make sure to set your computer monitor and television at a comfortable distance, and don’t hold handheld devices too close to your eyes. You can adjust text size if reading a device at arm’s length is difficult.
• Opt for non-glare lenses. Non-glare or anti-reflective treatments on your lenses will help reduce bright lights affecting your eyes.

Outside
• Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses that are an appropriate darkness and block 99-100% of UVA-UVB rays are the best protection for your eyes.
• Consider polarized lenses, too. Polarization cuts harsh glares that bounce off of water and other surfaces.
• Don’t forget a hat! In especially bright outdoor settings a hat will help block bright light from above, even if your eyes are protected from the front.

Ask us about what blue light-blocking options are available for your eyewear. We can help with your everyday lenses, reading glasses, and especially with sunglasses!

Reduce Exposure to Blue Light, Inside and Out

Risks of blue light exposure have become a topic of discussion in recent years. More eyecare professionals and scientists are studying the effects of blue light to assess the effects of relying on blue light for so much of our lighting.

It’s hard to say for sure how much added blue light exposure may lead to additional cases of degenerative eye health problems like macular degeneration. Plus, there is some evidence that overexposure to high-energy blue light can cause side effects such as sleep disturbances, eye strain, and headaches. With this in mind, how can you reduce your exposure, inside and out?

Inside
• Lower the brightness of your electronic screens, especially at night, but make sure you are not straining to see the words if you’re reading.
• Take frequent breaks while working at a computer. Regardless of blue light exposure, Computer Vision Syndrome is another problem you may face, and taking breaks to relax your eyes will help.
• Stop using your devices at least a couple hours before bed. Unplug and read a book instead, which will give your eyes something easy to focus on and help you wind down for good sleep.
• Adjust your distance. Viewing a bright screen up close is fatiguing. Make sure to set your computer monitor and television at a comfortable distance, and don’t hold handheld devices too close to your eyes. You can adjust text size if reading a device at arm’s length is difficult.
• Opt for non-glare lenses. Non-glare or anti-reflective treatments on your lenses will help reduce bright lights affecting your eyes.

Outside
• Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses that are an appropriate darkness and block 99-100% of UVA-UVB rays are the best protection for your eyes.
• Consider polarized lenses, too. Polarization cuts harsh glares that bounce off of water and other surfaces.
• Don’t forget a hat! In especially bright outdoor settings a hat will help block bright light from above, even if your eyes are protected from the front.

Ask us about what blue light-blocking options are available for your eyewear. We can help with your everyday lenses, reading glasses, and especially with sunglasses!

What’s in a Prescription?

It seems like contact lenses and glasses would use the same prescription. After all, the idea is that your eyes don’t see quite right, so you use a lens to change the view, and then you see clearly, right? Well, the two prescriptions are quite different. Few patients check the numbers or notice any change during the exam process, but the prescriptions are not the same because of where the lens sits in relation to your eye.

The lens of your glasses rests about twelve millimeters from your eye. Contact lenses, on the other hand, are placed directly on the surface of your eye. Why would this make your prescription different? Well, think about holding a magnifying glass out in your hand. When you hold it far away and look through, the view you see is much different than if you try to hold the magnifying lens up close to your eye. The same principle is in play when you consider glasses in contrast to contact lenses.

If you’re still imagining the magnifying glass held out in your hand, think about how grass would look if you’re sitting on the ground and have the magnifying glass down near the grass. You’d be able to see the blades clearly, right? If you held the magnifying glass up close to your eye, the refraction would be so strong that you wouldn’t be able to see anything other than a blur. The power of the glass would need to be reduced for you to see clearly. This is the reason why your contact lens prescription is weaker than your glasses, but you get the same crisp, clear vision with each. Neat, right?

Not all contact lens prescription powers are drastically less than the glasses prescription for the same person, but usually the power used for contact lenses is reduced. In addition to the powers being different, your eye care professional will need some additional measurements to fit you for contact lenses because there are specifications needed to fit contact lenses appropriately that aren’t needed for glasses.

Some things that need to be measured to receive an accurate contact lens prescription are the size of the cornea, the curve and overall size of the lens, and the suggested brand of lenses that will work best for you. Eye care professionals usually have an idea of which contact lenses work best with different eye conditions, so they will suggest a particular toric lens for your astigmatism, or a type of disposal lens based on your needs, for example.

Some aspects of the lens prescriptions are included for both kinds of eyewear. The lens power is included in both prescriptions. Lens power is the measurement used to correct your “refractive error,” or the nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism that you have. It wouldn’t be identical because of the magnifying glass analogy, but it is included in both prescriptions. They’re also laid out per eye—right vs. left—because very few people have the same prescription in both eyes, so they are measured individually regardless of what type of eyewear you’re getting. More technical aspects of your prescription (the power and axis determined to correct astigmatism, for instance) may also be included in both the contact lens and glasses versions of your prescription.

Hopefully that makes the difference between your contact lens and glasses prescriptions clearer. Talk to your eye care professional if you have any questions about your prescription or are curious about getting contact lenses or glasses.