August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety month.  In September most children will be going back to school and everyone should have their eyes checked before.  Many learning problems come from problems with the eyes, and at a young age children may not know how to voice their discomfort.

Even though you may not think your child is having eye problems, it is always smart to take them to the eye doctor.  When your child is born their eyes are checked and this test can pick up on a range of eye problems that can hopefully be fixed immediately.  From ages zero – 2 your child’s wellness check up will include eye assessments mainly based on eye history.  From ages 3 – 10 vision exams are normally given to test acuity and ocular alignment.  Most Ophthalmologists will recommend that your child gets checked at 6 moths, 3 years and again at 5 years regardless of eye history and eye health.

During the school years a child should start having a yearly check up because eye problems can develop fast.  If a child cannot see properly they will not have the patience or attention span to sit through school.  This can develop many learning problems, as well as misdiagnosed learning problems, throughout the school years.

If you see your child doing any of the following signs you may want to take them to an eye doctor.

  • Frequent eye rubbing or blinking
  • Frequent headaches
  • Covering one eye
  • Short attention span
  • Avoiding reading assignments or holding reading materials close to the face
  • An eye turning in or out
  • Seeing double
  • Losing his or her place when reading
  • Difficulty with reading retention

Allergies can also show up in the eyes and you can ask your eye doctor about getting eye drops to relieve the itchiness, watery, and redness.

Children’s eyes are highly sensitive so remember to always wear sunglasses and eye protection.  Regular doctors visit could prevent your child from the stress of learning problems, get a check up today!

All About Contact Lenses

Contact lenses have been around for a bit, but newer technology has made them more comfortable and convenient to wear.  Most doctors will offer the option of wearing contact lenses if they have suggested your wear glasses all the time.  Wearing contact lenses is a personal decision.  It is a matter of what your life style can manage, for some the hassle of putting in the contact lenses and remembering the solution and changing them is too much, for others they don’t want to wear glasses all the time.

When contact lenses were first invented they were rather rough and rigid.  Czech chemist Otto Wichterle and his assistant invented the modern soft contact lens.  The modern contact lens is tinted slightly blue in order to make it easier to see in the solution.  Modern technology has even allowed for contacts to be colored for a specific eye color as well as have UV protection in them to protect the eye.

There are two types of major contact lenses – soft or rigid.  The soft contact lens is extremely thin and comfortable to wear, while the rigid contact lens is hard but gives crisper, clearer, vision and can correct most vision problems.  They also last considerably longer than the soft lens.

The next step is to decide how often you would like to change them and dispose of them.  There are four main categories – daily wear, flex wear, extended wear and continuous wear.  Daily wear are only worn during waking hours, flex wear can be slept in for a night or two (like a weekend), extended wear can be worn for a week, and continuous wear can be worn for a month.

You then have daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly disposable lenses.  How often you dispose of your lenses is a very personal choice.  It is a matter of what your eye is comfortable with.  Many people who have allergies find that disposing more often is helpful because the dust and dirt doesn’t collect as much.

There are many new technologies helping to create better contact lenses for specific problems.  For instance the Toric contact lens came out recently which helps with astigmatism by fitting your eye and giving more power in one direction.  Talk to your doctor about the best options for you.

Questions to ask the eye Doctor

When going to the doctor many people forget to ask simple questions and then forget to call to get answers.  Every doctor will tell you what he or she thinks you need to know, but there could be more information you may want.  Before going to any doctor make a list of questions you feel you may need answers to.  They can be broad such as what are the treatments?  What caused this to happen?  Or they can be specific?  Can you tell me exercises I can do to improve my vision?

I have compiled a list of questions that you should ask your eye doctor before leaving their office.  Most eye doctors will have some lenses for sale in their office, but if you plan on buying them outside the office then you will need a lot more information.

The first and most important question is how often should I have an eye exam?  This changes depending on your newest vision results.  Most doctors will say once a year but if you have a family history with eye problems then it could be more often.  Once they tell you it is recommended to put a reminder in your calendar to make an appointment a month in advance before your recommended next eye visit.

Next question to ask is what is my vision acuity?  Meaning what is the vision in each of your eyes.  You will definitely need to know this if you plan on buying eyeglasses outside of the office.  Along with this question you should ask if there are any other necessary precautions to take such as UV protection glasses or special night glasses.

Depending on the results of your eye exam ask what is the treatment for your results.  Even if you have 20/20 vision you can still do eye exercises to keep this acuity.  Most doctors have a print out of eye exercises that will help you maintain your vision acuity.

The last and most important question is which eye glasses/frames do you recommend.  Most doctors will not recommend a specific frame unless asked.  This is very important because some lenses don’t protect your eye as well and the shape can affect what you see.  Most of the time we go for the most fashionable frame, but it is important to make sure these will maximally improve your vision.

Remember that you can always call your eye doctors office because even if your doctor isn’t around a nurse will be happy to help!