We want to make sure that you receive all of the information that you need to make educated decisions about your eye health. Our optometrist, Dr. Yoongie Min, is always available to answer your questions. Please feel free to send us your eye care questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. I have eye allergies, are daily contact lenses better for me than monthlies?
A. The benefits of daily disposable contact lenses are comfort, convenience and eye health. Daily lenses only stay in your eye for one day, eliminating any buildup of bacteria on the lenses that could cause infections or allergic reactions. So for patients who suffer from allergies, I recommend using dailies over monthlies, even though the cost is a bit more. Dailies also tend to be more comfortable than monthlies, partially because there is no buildup on the lens. They are also more convenient, as you just throw away the lenses after the day, and use a brand new lens the next morning.
Q: When should my child have their first eye examination?
A: Our office actually participates in InfantSee, a free program that allows for screening of infants between 6 to 12 months of age. It is a way of checking for the risk of lazy eye and the internal health of the eye. Obviously at this age, children cannot read an eyechart, but we have methods that allow us to check for any prescription and health issues. After that, it is recommended that children have a comprehensive exam at around age 3. At this age, they are able to respond more interactively and we are able to make sure their vision is developing properly. We can also begin testing for any developmental delays that may be eye or vision related and that may hinder their learning abilities in the future.
Q: I keep hearing more and more about contact lenses that are thrown away every day. What is the advantage because it seems more expensive to me?
A: One day disposable contact lenses have several advantages over traditional lenses. They are the healthiest way to wear contact lenses because all lenses get dirty over time with a biofilm of protein and lipids that are part of our tears. These lens deposits are what cause eyelid irration, redness, and reduced wearing time. One day lenses greatly reduce the effect of deposits on contact lenses. The other advantage is the low maintenance required since you do not have to clean and soak your lenses overnight. This is especially helpful for children and teenagers who may not take care of their lenses well. Another advantage is that when you travel, you can just take some strips of contact lenses with you and do not have to carry solution or cases. One day disposables do cost more than traditional lenses, however the cost difference can sometimes be as little as $30.00 per month. In this day and age, that is the cost of a few cups of coffee at your favorite coffeehouse. In addition, one day lenses now have expanded their parameters so they are now available for astigmatism and multifocals as well. One day lenses are ideal for part time contact lens wearers who wear lenses occasionally. The percentage of one day disposable wearers is increasing rapidly in the United States and will likely become the predominate way that people wear contact lenses in the near future.
Q: I just turned 44 years old but I’m starting to notice that I can’t see up close like I used to. What is happening to me and can I cure this?
Dr. Min:This is a condition called presbyopia which means that the human lens within your eye is starting to lose its ability to focus on both distance and near objects as quickly. This happens to most individuals in their early to mid forties but can be earlier or later depending on genetics and other factors. It is generally treated by using reading glasses or multifocal glasses and there are also contact lens alternatives as well. Researchers are studying different implants and medications that my help treat this condition in the future, but as of now, there is no known cure.
Q: I’m having trouble reading with my contacts. What can I do to fix this?
Dr. Sims: There are several options that we have. Today, there are many great multi-focal contact lenses that provide excellent distance and near vision. We can also prescribe mono vision which enables one eye to see for distance and the other eye can see up close objects. We recommend these solutions for anyone who currently wears contacts or someone who is interested in trying contacts but wears multi-focal glasses.
Q. My mother has developed cataracts and has been told she needs surgery. What exactly are cataracts?
Dr. Min: Cataracts are a cloudiness that develops within the human lens of our eye over time. The primary cause is aging of the eye but there are many other factors that affect cataract development such as sun exposure, diabetes, smoking, diet, trauma, and medications. Cataracts usually develop after the age of 60 but can occur at any time, infants can even be born with congenital cataracts. Cataracts are treated surgically and in this day and age, the surgery is a fast, non-painful outpatient procedure.
Q. How do I know if I have dry eyes, or my eyes are just tired?
Dr. Min: The symptoms of dry eye syndrome can include tearing, burning, and a feeling of scratching in your eye, in addition to feeling that your eyes are dry. Dry eyes can be caused by some medications, certain disases, allergies, hormones and aging, as well as other factors. There are various treatments for dry eyes, depending on the severity, and of course the underlying cause. Dry eye syndrome can be very uncomfortable, however there are treatments available that provide symptom relief almost immediately.
Q. Are there any natural treatments available for dry eyes?
Dr. Min: Diet is very important for eye health in general. Make sure you eat plenty of vegetables, including green, red and orange, and fish, especially wild salmon. Most people do not get enough Omega 3 healthy oil in their diet, so we recommend taking an Omega 3 fish oil supplement. Omega 3 has been shown to relieve dry eye symptoms, and is also important for heart and general health.
Q. What eye drops do you recommend for dry eye syndrome?
A. There are 2 prescription eyedrops on the market right now, Restasis and Xiidra. Both eyedrops reduce inflammation. Restasis takes longer for patients to notice symptom abatement, when using Xiidra patients find relief faster. After a thorough eye exam, focusing on your dry eye symptoms, I will be able to make a determination about which eye drop would be best for your particular eye condition.