Saturday, August 31, 2013

How do I know which contact lens modality is best for me?

Patients use contact lenses for many different reasons. Some don’t like the look or weight of glasses on their face, others only wear them to play sports and finally some like the vision they experience with their contact lenses. Whether you are an occasional or frequent contact lens user, knowing what options are available can allow you a safer and more effective wear.  

Soft contact lenses are disposable, and can be separated into dailies, bi-weeklies, and monthlies. Dailies are designed to be used once within a 14-16 hour wear period. Since they are one time use, no cleaning case or cleaning system is needed; reducing risk of infections and increasing overall comfort of wear. This option is great for occasional contact lens wearers who wear glasses most of the week and don’t want to deal with the hassle of cleaning/caring for contact lenses. Often these wearers will simply order a small supply of lenses to last them throughout the year, cost effective with ease of use.  

Weekly or monthly contact lenses can be used for a more extended period of time, the same pair being recycled for reuse the following day until replacement is indicated. Once the pair is opened the 2-week or monthly lifespan begins. These lenses must be cleaned and disinfected every night (do not sleep in your contact lenses is Eyed LA’s golden rule) to reduce the risk of infection and to maximize the performance of the lens.  They must be discarded after their lifespan to decrease risk to the eye (some risk are long term that may lead to decrease vision and in some cases blindness).  Patients wanting to wear lenses daily and with better cost effectiveness will usually request these modalities.  The cost of a year supply of these lenses will vary from company to company, however they are usually more cost effective when directly compare to a year supply of dailies.

Effective communication of the intended usage and how the contact lens feels will help the optometrist determine which contact lens brand and modality are best. Once chosen, the contact lens prescription will be good for a year. Annual contact lens fittings are required by law in all 50 states to ensure patients are wearing the most healthy, comfortable and clear contact lens on the market.  Make sure to schedule your appointment and keep your eye care professional informed of your needs.  

"See and Be Seen" @ Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I can’t see with my new glasses! Why does it take longer to adjust to my new glasses than some of my friends?

Your stylish Tom Ford glasses have finally arrived and to your surprise your expected perfect vision for distance seems blurry, why? Your optometrist encourages you to give them a couple days and sure enough your eyes eventually adjust. Why is it that hyperopes (problems with near and/or distance) sometimes take a while to adjust to glasses, while myopes (problems with distance only) seem to gain X-ray vision the instant a new Rx is given?

In the eye there is an optic lens within the eye about 5 millimeters behind the surface of the eye that helps to focus near and distant objects; doing so by flexing and relaxing.  In a patient with perfect vision, the lens is relaxed for distance and flexed for near (this ability reduces itself as we get older; hence the reason most people need glasses after a certain age).  In a myope the lens performs similarly, relaxed for distance and flexed for near. In a hyperopic patient the optic lens needs to be flexed for distance and even more for near; most of the day it's working. Therefore hyperopes in need of glasses are constantly straining their eyes and complain of red-ness, fatigue and occasional blur.  Glasses are prescribed in order to reduce all those physical symptoms along with making images more clear.

Just like athlete’s muscles can become tense after over use, a hyperopic eye will become difficult to relax after years of use.  The eye becomes accustomed to constantly flexing its optic lens and requires time to learn how to relax. This is why hyperopes vision may be distorted when trying on new glasses however as days pass it eventually gets clear.  Eyed LA always recommends 3-5 days of constant wear to allow your eyes to accommodate; however if headaches or blur continues return to your optometrist.  All we ask is for our patients to have patience with their own bodies; the results will surprise you.  So relax optic lens and take those gorgeous new Tom Ford frames out on the town.   

"See and Be Seen" @ Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I'm getting older and my vision is changing, what are my options?

Hyperopes (near vision issues) have had to troubleshoot their prescriptions according to their reading distance since their first eye exams. Myopes (distance vision issues), on the other hand can wear their glasses all day long for all activities. However as we all get older, every single person will eventually need help focusing on objects whether near or far. Understanding your options can be quite challenging when patients are use to doing something one way for most of their lives.  Are bifocals or progressives right for you? Should you ask for one pair of glasses for distance and another for near?  Who can keep track of so many glasses and focusing needs all at once?  I know I can’t!

Let’s start by clearing things up by understanding the different ranges optometrist use to determine the best prescription to suit patient needs.  Our distance prescriptions are used for looking at objects beyond 30 inches, distance doesn’t imply from here to China!  Objects 16 inches or closer to your face are deemed a near prescription.  However everyone has a different reading range according to body type, habits or physical limitations.  Your optometrist should ask what your normal near distance is; along with knowing the type of computer device you use.  Desktops and laptops require different distances and might require different prescription.  

Prescribing glasses is very much a dynamic process between the doctor and patient, as your optometrist will recommend lenses tailored to your personal needs. A student that is on the computer 8 hours a day may require different glasses than someone only needing help occasionally to read an iPad. A patient who doesn’t need any help in the intermediate range may prefer bifocals (top of the lens is distance; bottom of the lens is for near).  Where a progressive design contains a gradient of prescriptions to give distance, intermediate and near all in one lens.  As you can imagine those take more practice and time to get use to, however once the body understands the purpose they serve the optimal purpose of mimicking the perfect vision we had as children. Allowing the patient more control on focusing on different objects at different distances.  This design has become the most popular in the last few decades due to visual needs at an intermediate level, aka COMPUTERS.  This is why it is important to describe your lifestyle as much as possible! A good eye care professional will ask the right questions to create the best prescription for you.  Communication, as with everything in life, will get you to where you need to be.  

"See and Be Seen" @ Eyed LA in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Why do I need an eye exam every year as a diabetic?

Patients with diabetes unfortunately have the highest risk factors for visual complications compared to other patients being treated for different systemic diseases.  The longer amount of time a patient is diabetic the higher the risk for retinal complications that can lead to serious vision lost.  For this specific reason, we highly recommend preventative care by visiting your eye care professional once a year for a comprehensive eye exam including dilation.  An optometrist or ophthalmologist can conduct this routine check up for you, only if surgery is warranted will an optometrist have to refer to a retinal specialist.  

The warning signs will always be there.  Diabetic patients will sometimes experience fluctuations in their vision after a meal or feel as if their glasses no longer help their vision.  These visual swings are very much connected to the diet and medication of the patient, a visit with an eye care professional is suggested at this point.  

During the routine eye exam the doctor will dilate the patient's pupil to better view the entire retinal tissue to check for any abnormalities caused by diabetes.  Diabetes can cause blood vessels to break down and lead to bleeding of that vessel; affecting the nutrient levels the tissue is expecting but not receiving.   Nerves that are starving for nutrition can't survive very long, leading to vision loss in the area where leaking is occurring.  If the leakage is minor, the optometrist will alert the patient and patient's physician of the findings.  Dietary and medicinal adjustment may help to control the sugars levels so the bleeding may stop.  When the leakage is more prominent, a retinal specialist may be needed to treat the actual retinal tissue with lasers to help assist the closing of those leaks.  These procedures are very delicate and require a good understanding by the patient of the expectation of the vision post-treatment.  Sadly some vision loss can become permanent even with surgical intervention.  Hence the reason these routine check ups are so incredibly important.  Preventative care is the best care we can hope to provide for our patients.  

"See and Be Seen" @ Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles