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What is the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist?
An optometrist is a primary eye care provider specialized in examining, diagnosing, treating and managing eye problems. Optometrists address vision conditions with prescription glasses and contact lenses. They can prescribe ophthalmic medications and participate in the pre- and post-surgical care for patients undergoing eye surgery. Optometrists provide over two-thirds of the primary eye care received in the United States.

An ophthalmologist (D.O or MD) is an eye doctor who specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of eye conditions

What is included in an eye exam?
A complete eye exam is more than a vision test. Your eye examination includes computerized state of the art instrumentation for testing, so the doctor has the best information to evaluate the health of your eyes. The exam includes testing for glaucoma, cataracts, peripheral vision and all other eye diseases. In addition to a complete eye health evaluation your exam will determine what prescription is needed for the best possible sight.

What is nearsightedness?
Nearsightedness means that you can see clearly up close, but not at a distance. It is also called myopia.

What is farsightedness?
Farsightedness is the opposite of nearsightedness. You can see more clearly at a distance than up close. It is also called hyperopia.

What are cataracts?
Cataracts are the cloudiness of the crystalline lens of the eye. A clouded lens interferes with light reaching the retina, causing blurred vision.

What is astigmatism?
Astigmatisim is a visual defect caused by an eye surface that is irregularly shaped. People with astigmatism see less clearly at any distance.

What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease of increased eye pressure which causes nerve damage and can result in blindness. It is often treatable by eye drops or surgery if detected early enough. See the video explanation in Eyemaginations on Glaucoma.

Why can’t I use my glasses prescription to get contact lenses?
There are a number of reasons why the glasses prescription cannot be used for contact lenses. Contact lenses classified by the FDA as a medical device and are therefore regulated differently than glasses. Because you are actually putting a contact lens on the surface of the eye, there are risks for infections, ulcers, and other complications that are not present with glasses.When contact lenses are fitted to the eye, much more is taken into account than just the numbers from the glasses prescription. The curvature of the cornea (the clear tissue at the front of the eye that the contact lens sits on) is one important measurement that is taken. The diameter of the contact lens with respect to the diameter of the cornea is looked at as well. Position of the eyelids can affect contact lens choice. Additionally, health of the surface of the eye and the surrounding lids is taken into account.People often notice that the contact lens prescription differs from the glasses prescription in the numbers. This is because glasses sit about 12 mm from the eye, and contact lenses sit right on the eye. In order to account for this distance between the glasses and the eye, a mathematical calculation is made to determine the appropriate contact lens power.

How often should I have my eyes examined?
People will often associate an eye exam with how well they are seeing or when they need to replace their current eyeglasses or contacts. Even though it is important to see well, changes can occur which go undetected and unnoticed by patients because these changes do not adversely affect vision in their early stages. Do not rely on changes in your vision or on the need for new eyeglasses to remind you of your next exam. Follow the advice of experts and have your eyes examined yearly. Those with a family history of eye disease, diabetic patients, taking medications that may have side effects on the eye and anyone whose overall health is poor may need their eyes examined more often.

At what age should I start to get my child’s eyes examined?
Dr. Beyer encourage parents to include a trip to the optometrist on the list of well-baby check-ups. Assessments at ten to twelve months of age can determine healthy development of vision. Early detection of eye conditions is the best way to ensure a baby has healthy vision for successful development-now and in the future. Dr. Beyer also suggest that a child be seen sometime near the age of three and also at the time of starting school.