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Q: Why should I have an eye examination every year?

A: Remember, a comprehensive eye examination is an essential step in the early diagnosis and treatment of eye disease. An eye examination will diagnose vision conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. It will also diagnose eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts and retinal disorders.

Q: What is glaucoma?

A: Glaucoma is the potentially blinding eye disease which consists of optic nerve deterioration resulting from intolerably high eye pressure and/or low circulation & nourishment. Diagnosis includes measurement of subtle to severe peripheral vision loss and optic nerve inspection. Important risk factors include family history, age, race and systemic health.

Q: What is the difference between an optometrist, ophthalmologist and an optician?

A: Optometrists generally serve as primary care physicians who examine, diagnose, treat, and manage conditions that relate to the visual system. This would include being able to identify general health conditions that affect the eye, such as diabetes and hypertension. Patients with complicated eye diseases are referred to ophthalmologists, neurologists, internists or whichever combination of care is appropriate.

The ophthalmologist is the physician specializing in the medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases.

Opticians are trained professionals who analyze and interpret eye prescriptions. They determine the lenses that best meet a person’s needs and oversee ordering and verification of eye-related products from start to finish. An Optician fits, replaces, adjusts, repairs and reproduces previously ordered eyeglasses and frames.

Q: What is nearsightedness? (Myopia)

A: If you are nearsighted, what you see at far distances is blurry. Near vision is often good. This condition usually begins between ages 6 to 21 and may gradually worsen.

Q: What is farsightedness? (Hyperopia)

A: If you are farsighted, what you see at close distances is blurry. Far distance vision is often very good. This condition causes your eyes to be overworked for reading and other close work. Usual symptoms are headaches and eyestrain.

Q: What is Astigmatism?

A: Astigmatism is very common and is caused by the eye not focusing light the same vertically (top to bottom) as it does horizontally (side to side). Astigmatism usually occurs in conjunction with myopia or hyperopia. Symptoms include headaches, eye strain and squinting.

Q: What is Presbyopia?

A: A reduction of focusing ability for anything closer than an arm’s length causing blurring and eyestrain. This usually begins in the early 40’s and worsens with age.

Q: What is Amblyopia?

A: Often called “lazy eye”, is a condition where one eye loses or never developed its ability to see details. This eye is not able to see 20/20 even with the best corrective lenses. This condition can only be diagnosed by a complete eye examination. Vision therapy is sometimes needed along with glasses. Many cases cannot be helped if they are detected too late.