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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How often should I have my eyes examined?

A. Ocular disease increases in incidence every decade after age 21. Since early stages of ocular disease can be present without symptoms, early treatment is clearly more effective, and annual eye examinations are advised. This recommendation is underscored when there is a family history of eye disease.

Q. When should my child's eyes be examined?

A. The American Optometric Association's recommendation is at age 6 months, 3 years, 5 years and annually thereafter through adulthood. Although eye problems in the preschool population are infrequent, when present, they must be detected early to maximize treatment success and prevent secondary complications.

Q. How can my child's eyes be examined when they do not know their letters?

A. Black and white striped gratings of varied widths used with a "Preferential Looking" technique, and simplified picture charts can reliably measure visual activity from age 3 months through kindergarten. Computers, microscopes, eye drops and other age appropriate tests assist us in determining your child's focusing error, muscle coordination, eye movement (tracking) accuracy, peripheral vision, color vision, and the health of the eye with excellent reliability.

Q. Can my child have 20/20 "eyesight" and still have a "vision" problem?

A. 20/20 "eyesight" only means your child can see a letter approximately 3/8" high when standing at a distance of 20 feet from an eye chart. "Eyesight" is only one component of "vision." Ocular muscle problems, eye movement accuracy (tracking), focusing weakness when reading, color vision, eye-hand coordination deficits, developmental delays in vision perception, and serious diseases of the eye can be present even with 20/20 "eyesight." Therefore, do not feel your child has normal "vision" unless all the components of vision are carefully examined.

Q. Can a vision problem affect my child's learning ability?

A. Reading and learning are primarily a visual act, and as such, vision problems can contribute to reading and learning disabilities. Although most children with learning problems have 20/20 eyesight and healthy eyes, there is a higher prevalence of ocular muscle problems, focusing weakness, eye movement (tracking) deficits and developmental delays in vision perception. Therefore, when there is trouble in school, the cause may be poor vision even if 20/20 exists. Early detection of vision problems will maximize the child's learning potential. Have your child's eyes comprehensively examined in the pre-school and school age years!

Q. Are the vision screenings provided at school or the Pediatrician's office enough?

A. These screening tests are limited to determining the presence or absence of 20/20 eyesight, and are not a substitute for a comprehensive examination. Ocular muscle problems, focusing weakness when reading, eye movement (tracking) accuracy, color vision, eye-hand coordination defects, developmental delays in vision perception and serious diseases of the eye can be present even with 20/20 eyesight. Therefore, when visual acuity (eyesight) is the only test performed, numerous children with other vision problems will go undetected. There is more to good vision than merely having 20/20 eyesight!

Q. What is Amblyopia (lazy eye) and how is it treated?

A. Amblyopia occurs in 2-5% of the preschool population and is defined as decreased visual acuity (eyesight) in one eye that cannot be fully corrected with eyeglasses or surgery. The most common causes are a crossed eye, or one eye that is considerably more farsighted, nearsighted or astigmatic relative to the other. These conditions produce a greater reliance on one eye, as the turned or blurry eye becomes lazy from disuse. Treatment is highly successful and consists of glasses, patching one eye and exercises. The earlier Amblyopia is detected the more effective is the treatment.

Q. Can my child's lazy eye (Amblyopia) be treated beyond age 6?

A. Specific types of Amblyopia can be treated with glasses, contact lenses, patching, and exercises. The results, however, take longer, and the end result may be significant improvement, but not to the 20/20 level. Early detection always maximizes the success rate, again stressing the value of eye examinations at age 6 months, 3 years, and 5 years of age.

Q. Can my child's eye turn be treated without surgery?

A. While surgery clearly has its place in the more severe eye turns, early treatment with conventional eyeglasses, bifocals, special lenses called prisms and vision therapy (eye exercises) can be effectively used for many esotropias (crossed eye) and for the majority of exotropias (wall eye).

Q. Can a multiply-handicapped, mentally deficient or "special needs" child-adult be examined?

A. The examination is geared to the patient's developmental not chronological age. Time and patience are necessary components when examining a child with "special needs." For those who have not acquired automatic letter recognition, visual acuity is effectively measured with picture charts, striped black and white gratings or size graded balls. Computers, microscopes, eye drops and other developmentally appropriate tests assist us in determining the child's focusing error, muscle coordination, eye movement (tracking) accuracy, color vision, peripheral vision, visual perception development and the health of the eyes with excellent reliability. The information obtained is extremely valuable in increasing the patient's developmental, educational and vocational potential.

Q. Can a legally blind child or adult be helped to better utilize their remaining vision?

A. Legal blindness refers to distance not near (reading) visual acuity. The majority of the legally blind population can read standard size print and computer monitors with the help of specialized optical, electronic and computerized low vision devices. In addition, distance vision can be significantly enhanced with telescopic devices. Many adults with lesser forms of visual impairment can continue to drive according to state law, if they fall within the outlined parameters.

Q. Can my medical condition adversely affect my eyes?

A. Diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease, high cholesterol, carotid artery disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, tumors, Parkinson disease, thyroid disease, arthritis, skin cancer, Lymes disease, herpes simplex, anemia, vitamin deficiencies and drug-alcohol abuse are examples of diseases which can seriously affect the eyes. Eye examinations are, therefore, an important component of your disease management.

Q. Can my medications adversely affect my eyes?

A. Cortisone, arthritic medications, blood thinners, cholesterol lowering drugs, heart medications, blood pressure medications, cancer drugs, anti-depressants, tranquilizers, anti-histamines, decongestants, stomach medications, hormone supplements and oral contraceptives are a partial list which can produce ocular complications ranging from dry eye to cataracts, glaucoma, retinal, optic nerve disease and blindness. Although these complications are infrequent, eye examinations are an important component of your disease and medication management.

Q. How are eye diseases treated?

A. Treatment can include topical agents (eye drops), oral agents (pills), photocoagulation (lasers) or surgery. The Optometrist is not a surgeon. However, they are certified and well trained in the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of ocular disease. If surgery becomes necessary, the doctor will refer you to a highly trained eye surgical specialist for treatment of cataracts, retinal, optic nerve, corneal or eyelid diseases.

Q. How is "dry eye" treated?

A. Dry eye can produce symptoms of blur, dryness, red eye, burning, tearing, foreign body sensation, eye pain, eye rubbing, excessive blinking and contact lens intolerance ranging from mild to severe. The first line of treatment is topical agents (eye drops) and eliminating environmental medical or medication causes when possible. If these efforts are unsuccessful, silicone punctum plugs can be non-invasively and painlessly placed at the opening of the tear drainage canal to restore ocular comfort with excellent results. A new topical medication for dry eye has recently been approved to increase tear production. Additionally, nutritional supplements have been found effective. Your eye doctor will help you determine the treatment plan that is right for you.

Q. What are the complications of an improperly fit contact lens?

A. Corneal scratches, inflammation, infections,scarring, discomfort, pain and decreased vision can result from poorly fit contact lens, improper disinfection procedure and/or lack of the follow up care. These complications can produce permanent damage to the eye and inability to wear contact lenses. The Optometrist is highly trained in fitting contact lenses which maximizes long term contact lens success and safety. Don't be misled by one hour service and "bargain" prices.

Q. Can I wear contact lenses if I have astigmatism?

A. Visual Science and technology has progressed so that soft contact lenses are the first choice for correction of astigmatism, offering a greater than 95% success rate. In rare cases, a soft-hard contact lens combination or a rigid (hard) gas permeable lens is used to achieve success.

Q. Are bifocal contact lenses available?

A. Bifocal contact lenses are now successfully utilized in the 40+ age group to afford clear and comfortable vision during distance viewing, computers and reading. While not fully perfected, they are successful in approximately 70% of the cases. If bifocal contact lenses are unsuccessful, glasses can be worn over standard contact lenses when reading or a procedure called "monovision" can be used in selected patients.

Q. Is refractive laser surgery routinely recommended for correction of myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism?

A. In the hands of a good surgeon the results are impressive. However, a patient must be an appropriate candidate for the procedure. Our office co-manages our refractive surgery patients with corneal specialist Dr. Jodi Abrahamson at TLC in White Plains. Patients are seen in our office for pre-operative and post-operative care.

Q. Do we provide glasses in our office?

A. Yes. A wide variety of frames ranging from economical to designer frames are available. In addition, the latest in lens technologies are available such as thin, light-weight plastic and polycarbonate lenses, invisible bifocals (progressive lenses), night driving and anti-glare coatings, UV blockers, polarized lenses, and plastic lenses which automatically change to sunglasses (Transitions).

Q. Is "invisible" ultraviolet light damaging to my eyes?

A. Numerous studies have shown that excessive exposure to UV light can cause premature cataracts, corneal, retinal disease and eyelid cancers. This is especially true in blue-eyed patients. A clear UV blocker can be applied to your lenses or sunglasses to reduce this risk. A specialized meter is used to ensure sufficient protection. This UV meter is generally not available in sunglass stores or vision centers.

Q. Should children have special lenses put in their glasses?

A. A special plastic lens material called Polycarbonate is recommended for all children by the National Society to Prevent Blindness. Polycarbonate lenses are the strongest and safest lens material available, thereby decreasing the risk of serious eye damage should an accident occur.

Q. What are the benefits of purchasing glasses in our office?

A. Unlike vision centers, your Doctors take the necessary measurements and check the accuracy of your RX after lab fabrication. The frames are fully guaranteed against defects for one year. The cost is generally less expensive for the same materials and brand names compared to vision centers. These conclusions are not only ours, but was also verified on two separate occasions by Consumers Digest.