Saturday, October 23, 2010

Struggling in school? How to check for hidden vision disorders

Did you know that 80% of learning depends on vision? Make sure your child does not have a hidden vision disorder that may contribute to poor learning in school. They may not even know they have a problem because they think everyone else sees the blurriness that they see!

The American Public Health Association recommends eye exams at the ages of 6 months, 2 years, and 4 years. After age 5, they recommend exams at least every 1-2 years, depending on the needs of the individual.

Common vision disorders are:

Nearsightedness (Myopia): Objects at near are in focus, but objects at a distance are blurry.

Farsightedness (Hyperopia): Objects far away may be in focus, but objects up close may be blurry or require additional work in order to keep clear. Sometimes people with high amounts of farsightedness have blurry vision even at a distance.

Astigmatism: Objects such as letters are blurry, distorted, or may seem double. This may be noticeable both at distance and near.

Rare, but more serious conditions include:

Lazy eye (Amblyopia): Objects are out of focus usually only in one eye due to poor development of the visual system or a problem with the visual pathway. This may or may not be associated with an eye turn (strabismus).

Convergence insufficiency: The eyes have difficulty turning inwards while focusing to read. This may cause double vision or a decreased ability to concentrate while reading.

What to check for in children or adults:
  • Squinting
  • Holding a book very close to the eyes
  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Closing one eye
  • Headaches
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Tilting the head
  • Short attention span
  • Avoiding near work
A thorough exam is necessary to determine what treatments could help. Some conditions are simply treated with glasses, whereas other cases may require vision therapy or specialized treatment plans. The gift of clear vision enables a person to perform to their highest potential both at school and socially. During the critical period of development and as a child or teenager grows, it is even more important that they have regular eye examinations to make sure they are performing their best!

If you know of a child or teenager who is struggling in school or exhibiting any of the above symptoms, an eye exam may help. Appointments can be made at 272-0848, or online at www.RichmondOptometry.com. Check yearly, see clearly!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Can contact lenses be TOO comfortable?

The latest advances in technology have created contact lenses that are very breathable and even approved for overnight wear. I do not recommend overnight wear of soft contacts on a general basis. Recent studies have shown that sleeping in soft contact lenses can increase your risk of a bacterial infection by 8-10 times. However, some patients have accidently overworn their lenses without even knowing it!

Dr. Levy had an experience that he describes:

"A middle aged father came in for an exam complaining that his one eye had been blurry for a month. I took a look at him behind the biomicroscope, and asked him how long this badly coated and deposited contact lens had been on. "What are you talking about?" he asked; "I don't wear contacts!" "Sir," I replied, "I guarantee you that I am looking at a contact lens on your eye, and it is badly coated with deposits." "But I don't wear contacts," he protested; "I only borrowed a pair from my son for a race about a month ago." "And how long has that eye been blurry?" I asked. "About... a ... month..." came the sheepish reply. I just smiled, didn't say a word, and he took the dirty lens out."

A month? In someone else's dirty contacts? He was very fortunate that his 'tough' eyes did not experience more severe consequences, such as infection, blisters, or severe dryness.

We will take advantage of the excellent new comfortable contact lens technology, but we will use this responsibly to provide the best vision and eye health. Just remember to take your lenses out and clean them daily, and to NEVER borrow someone elses contacts!

Please don't let this happen to you!

Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) can arise from contact lens abuse, such as not taking them out daily, or not throwing them way at the recommended time period prescribed by the doctor. The overwear of contacts may cause a patient to develop small little 'blisters' underneath the eyelid, such as those shown in this picture. Think of how painful a blister on your foot can be - well a blister in your eye can be quite painful! Please wear your contacts safely and responsibly!