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FrequentlyAskedQuestions Common questions related to optometry

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Doctors of optometry are independent primary health care providers who specialize in the examination, diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as the diagnosis of related systemic conditions. Optometrists are trained to examine the internal and external structure of the eyes to detect disease like glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal diseases (including macular degeneration). Optometrists do not perform surgery but are trained to care for and manage most diseases and disorders of the eyes.

Optometrists are also trained to diagnose and treat vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. They may also test a person's ability to focus and coordinate the eyes and see depth and colors accurately. Optometrists are state licensed to examine the eyes to determine the presence of vision problems, prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses, low vision aids, and medications to treat eye diseases including dry eye.

Refractive surgery is a term for several procedures designed to treat "refractive errors" such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

LASIK (Laser in-situ keratomileusis) is a new laser refractive surgery using an excimer laser to correct low or high levels of nearsightedness and astigmatism.

Computers do not emit any radiation harmful to your eyes but because of the nature of computer work, it can cause much more additional eye strain and fatigue. A lot of people need glasses only for computer work.

Opticians fabricate lenses to make glasses and may or may not be licensed, depending on the state.

Optometrists have a doctorate degree and are licensed to fit contact lenses, determine prescriptions for eyeglasses and diagnose and treat most eye diseases.

Ophthalmologists also have a doctorate degree and can do all that an optometrist can do plus perform surgery.

The odds are yes! With all the vast improvements in contact lenses designs and materials in recent years, more than likely you can successfully wear contact lenses. There now are contact lenses to correct for astigmatism (toric), bifocal, daily and weekly disposable, planned replacement and many other gas permeable and soft contact lens designs.

CommonVisionProblems Browse our handy reference guide to some of the other most common problems affecting eyesight.

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Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) is the inability of one eye to see as clearly as the other which may be accompanied by strabismus (crossed eyes).

Astigmatism is an irregular curvature of the cornea (the front part of the eyeball) that causes both distance and near objects to be blurred.

Many people suffer from ocular surface disease (OSD) that can make their eyes red and uncomfortable. The most common form is dry eye. There are many causes of dry eye, but the end result is often dry, irritated and red eyes throughout the day.

There are many treatments that can help relieve the symptoms of dry eye and make patients more comfortable. The use of eyedrops such as artificial tears or the new more enhanced artificial tears can help immensely. There are many environmental factors that can be changed to help with a dry eye. Utilizing a humidifier at work or home, especially during the winter months can help. Reducing caffeine intake often helps dry eye symptoms. Increasing consumption of omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in fish oil or flaxseed oil may also be helpful.

Sometimes, insertion of punctal plugs in the lower eyelid puncta can relieve symptoms. A prescription eye drop called Restasis can eventually help the eyes produce more of their own tears and has been a helpful remedy for many people.

So if you suffer from dry eye, see your eye doctor to see if some relief may be in your future.

Floaters are small, semi-transparent cloudy particles that float within the vitreous, the clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the inner portion of your eye. Floaters are usually harmless. If you experience light flashes or an unusual increase in the number of floaters, you should have a comprehensive dilated eye examination.

Hyperopia (Farsightedness) is a natural weakness in the focusing system of the eye resulting in the inability to see close objects clearly or efficiently.

Myopia (Nearsightedness) is the inability to see clearly at distance.

Presbyopia is a natural loss of flexibility of the crystalline lens of the eye which results in the inability to see clearly up close.

DiseasesoftheEye Browse our handy reference guide to some of the diseases affecting eyesight.

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Blepharitis is a chronic or long term inflammation of the eyelids and eyelashes that can affect all ages. This can be caused by poor eyelid hygiene, bacterial infections or allergic reactions.

Cataracts is a natural hazing or loss of clarity of the crystalline lens of the eye, most commonly caused by aging.

With Diabetic Retinopathy there are changes in the blood vessels in the retina from diabetes which can result in loss of vision or blindness.

Dry Eye Syndrome is a term used to describe eyes that do not produce enough tears. The tears can be either poor quality or quantity. Dry eyes can be caused by numerous things including aging, environmental factors, certain medications, or general health concerns. Treatment includes eyedrops and ointments and punctal plugs (lacrimal occlusion).

Glaucoma is a sight-threatening disease usually characterized by an increase in intraocular pressure sufficient to cause degeneration of the optic disc and defects in the visual field.

With Macular Degeneration there are changes in the macula (center part of the retina or back of the eye) which can result in complete loss of central vision, most commonly caused by aging.

Pink Eye is the inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva (outer clear layer over the white of the eye) that can have many causes, such as bacteria, viruses, or allergies.

Styes are infections or abscesses of an eyelid gland near an eyelash root or follicle.