Find answers to the most popular eye care questions here
and contact us if you have additional questions.
What is the difference between an Ophthalmologist, Optometrist and Optician?
The Ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the treatment of eye diseases. He is trained to provide medical, surgical and/or optical treatment. The Optometrist is trained to examine your eyes, fit and supply glasses and contact lenses. They also recognize signs of eye diseases and will refer patients to the Ophthalmologist. The Optician is trained to fit and supply glasses prescribed by the Ophthalmologist or Optometrist.
Is it true that wearing glasses all the time will make my eyes lazy and I will become dependent on them?
No. When people wear the proper glasses they realize they can see more clearly and comfortably. What they may have considered normal and acceptable before is now inferior by comparison.
If there is a history of Glaucoma in my family am I likely to inherit it?
You may be more at risk of developing it. Glaucoma can be treated effectively if diagnosed in time, so be sure to have regular eye examinations.
Can I use paper tissues to clean my glasses?
No. Dry tissues will scratch your plastic lenses. It is better to use soapy water and a soft cloth.
I am a diabetic. Does that make a difference?
Yes. Diabetes can cause severe problems with your sight and it is very important that your eyes be checked every year so that the retina (back of the eye) can be examined thoroughly.
How old does a child have to be before he/she can have an eye examination?
Any age. Early eye examinations are necessary to ensure that your child has good vision and to detect any problems that may exist, especially if you suspect something is wrong or if there is a family history of eye problems.
What is involved in an eye examination?
It is important that your eye care professional knows why you are having your eyes examined. It may be just your routine checkup or you may have a specific reason. If you are experiencing problems with your eyes or vision we will need to know what symptoms you have, how long you have had them, and whether any changes happened suddenly, or slowly over a period of time.
More than just identifying whether your eyesight needs correcting, the eye examination can reveal a number of other underlying health problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Your medical history is an important factor in assessing the health of your eyes.
Your eyes will be examined both internally and externally. The interior will be examined using an instrument that shines light through the pupil, allowing a detailed examination of the internal structures.
Other tests frequently carried out include those for glaucoma or cataracts.
Measurements will be taken of your vision and you will be asked to express an opinion on the effect that lenses have on the quality and clarity of your vision. Don't worry; the answers to the questions are helpful but only a small part of the factors used to determine your prescription.
Your eye movements and co-ordination are checked to ensure that both eyes are working together effectively and that undue stress is not being placed on them.
Additional information will help us to make an accurate assessment of the requirements for your individual lifestyle including your occupation, whether you play any sports or have any hobbies.
Our recommendations will be explained to you, but remember if you don't understand anything or you require more information please ask; we will be happy to help. If glasses are prescribed for you, we will assist with your frame selection. We know that fashion and image are important factors but also you should choose a frame that is compatible with the lenses you need as well as suitable material. Don't be afraid to experiment and try on as many frames as you wish.
The lens selection will be based on our advice for your particular requirements. They can be made thinner and lighter (high index), anti-reflective, tinted and transitions to change in sunlight.
Your budget is also taken into account and we accept most health insurance cards, although they do have limitations and you are almost always required to make a co-payment.
When you collect your glasses, they will be checked for the correct fit and adjusted if necessary to ensure your comfort and clear vision. If you have any problems, please come in as soon as possible and we will be happy to assist you in whatever way possible.
What is Presbyopia?
This is the technical term for the loss of some elasticity of the lens inside the eye so that it cannot be as easily changed in shape to focus on near objects. It is part of the natural aging process and affects everyone in time, usually close to the age of 40. It varies from person to person and may seem to develop suddenly or take place over a period of time. Its signs and symptoms include a tendency to hold reading material at arms length, blurred vision and headaches when attempting to do close work.
It is corrected by the use of lenses. There are reading lenses that are designed specifically for near vision only and objects will be blurred in the distance. Bifocal lenses have a portion at the bottom for reading and the top section is for distance vision. Progressive lenses have no line and allow clear continuous vision at all distances. The power gradually changes and accurate fitting of these lenses is critical, also a careful explanation of how to use the lenses by moving the head towards the item being viewed.
Periodic changes are necessary in your prescription and an eye examination also allows for the early detection of certain diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, side effects of diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Night driving becomes more difficult as we get older because the changes in the crystalline lens reduce the amount of light entering the eye and can cause decreased contrast, glare or scattering of light from headlights. Slow down! Never wear dark tinted lenses at night.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in Jamaica. It is an eye disease in which the internal pressure of the eyes rises to the point that the optic nerve becomes damaged. There are two principal types: acute and chronic. The acute type strikes suddenly, inflicting cloudy vision, sometimes with severe pain in and around the eyes.
The chronic type, which is much more common, develops gradually and painlessly; there are no warning signs. It can gradually destroy your vision without you knowing it.
The person is only vaguely disturbed by the symptoms, which come and go; as a result, he postpones visiting his doctor. When it becomes advanced it may be accompanied by blurred vision, loss of side vision and coloured rings around lights.
If glaucoma is discovered early, medical treatment can halt its progress. However, sight destroyed by glaucoma cannot be restored. For each month that a glaucoma patient postpones treatment, he may lose a small but priceless percentage of his sight - which he can never reclaim.
The best defense against glaucoma is an eye examination at least once every two years. In treating glaucoma, the aim is to reduce the pressure within the eyeball. To do this, either an operation, drugs or both may be used. If drugs are prescribed they must be used regularly for the rest of the patient's life.
The three main points to remember are:
- Glaucoma strikes after age 35 in most cases
- It's difficult to detect in the early stages
- Can usually be controlled if caught early
What are Cataracts?
Cataract is a cloudiness, which develops, in the clear substance of the lens inside the eye. It can either be a slight haze or dense spots. They can and do occur at any age and can even be present at birth. However, they most often occur with the normal aging process and beyond age 60. Older eyes have some cataract though many are slight.
No pills, eye drops, injection or other method will prevent or dissolve cataracts. Cataracts can be seen with an ophthalmoscope in routine examinations by an eye care professional.
Surgery is the only treatment and is needed when the vision is blurry that it interferes with what a person must see for work or recreation. A cataract does not have to be 'ripe' for surgery.
The surgery is very straightforward and is usually performed under a local anesthetic with no hospital stay required. The lens is removed and an intra-ocular lens is implanted in its place. This means that the big thick glasses worn by some patients years ago are no longer necessary and regular fashionable lenses and frames can now be used.
Can computer usage affect my vision?
Computer operators, by the visually demanding nature of their work, are more prone than average to symptoms of eyestrain.
These can be brought about by a number of factors other than errors of sight and muscle imbalances such as poor posture, extra stress, incorrect use of the equipment or because insufficient attention has been given to the work station and surroundings.
The operator is made more aware of existing visual deficiencies, which previous work may not have revealed and small errors may need to be corrected.
Complaints registered from users of computers include:
- Eye problems - tiredness, irritation, tension, heaviness, aches, and discomfort especially in bright light, burning, redness, dryness, blurring, colour variation, and doubling
- Physical - neck, back, wrist pains, headaches, nausea, dizziness, allergies, and fatigue
- Psychological - stress, nervousness, interpersonal problems, pressure, isolation, boredom (simple and monotonous tasks, lack of motivation and interest)
- Environmental - lighting (screen reflections and glare), noise, atmospheric and thermal conditions in the office and effects from other people and their equipment. People differ in what makes them comfortable so compromise is necessary.
What are some specific problems with using a computer?
There are many problems associated with using a computer. These include:
- Physical Posture - The computer promotes static muscles loading, i.e. the muscles are constantly contracted, and affecting blood and nerve supply to the area, e.g. eyes, wrists/arms, shoulders/back, and lower back
- Less chance for change of posture and physical movement (no longer going to different parts of the workplace), when more steps of the job can be performed on the computer. The operator gets no rest from staring at the terminal
- Words are harder to read because of constant movement, flickering, and blurring compared to the printed page. Staring takes place - computer operators blink 6-8 times/min compared to 22 times/min in normal conversation, leading to dry eyes
- A person's normal distance glasses prescription is often incorrect for the screen distance, especially over the age of 40. A special pair of glasses may be required solely for computer work
- Lighting requirements - Less background lighting is required (paper needs a bright reflective source, but the monitor is a light source itself) and glare can be a problem because of the upright posture - overhead light sources and window light can shine directly into the operator's eyes.
What can I do to improve my vision when using the computer?
People need variety, rest breaks, changes in tasks performed and to see what is going on around them. Muscles need variation, including eye muscles. Take frequent visual rest periods, for a few seconds at a time, by focusing on a distant object, sometimes stimulating the peripheral vision by becoming aware of objects in the field of vision. Occasionally, cover the eyes with the palms of the hands and have total blackness for a while.
Ideally spend 5-10 minutes per hour or whenever fatigue becomes apparent, away from the machine, but do not spend it reading or in other close visual activity. Combine relaxation with activity at these times. Vary visual tasks throughout the day.
Take deep breaths regularly. When looking attentively at something, we tend to hold our breath or breathe less deeply. This reduces the quality of the circulation.
Boredom lowers the general body and mental vitally - change the types of work from time to time. Data entry tasks elicit the most complaints (repetitive, boring, and away from people).
Don't work with strain or tension and ensure good posture and avoid staring (keep blinking). By doing these, you should aim for visual balance between being aware of the periphery of one's vision (but not distracted by it) and able to concentrate on central vision (but not excess or fatigue will ensue).
When going for an eye examination, make sure you know the exact distance between your eyes and the keyboard, and your eyes and the screen.
How do you test children for glasses?
It is not necessary for a child to be able to read in order to have a full eye examination. Early detection of an eye defect is a positive step in helping to overcome a problem that could cause further difficulty with reading and seeing the blackboard.
The eyes are not fully developed at birth and during the first few months vision and coordination are developing. An eye examination will check for equal focusing ability and the full and equal activity of the six muscles around the eye. Imbalance in these muscles or in the focusing may be caused by inherited or congenital factors and could result in a 'lazy' eye. This may appear straight so it is difficult to detect except by a professional eye examination. The child may appear to see well but one eye may be worse than the other.
A squint is the name for an eye that turns (cast) and children will not 'grow out of it’. If left untreated, the vision in the affected eye will deteriorate and become very poor.
If there is a family history of poor vision, there is a greater chance of your child's vision being defective. It is your responsibility as a parent to take your child for an eye examination as early as possible and then at regular intervals. If your child requires glasses remember that just as they outgrow their clothes and shoes, their eyes are changing too and eye examinations should become a part of the 'Back to School' ritual.
Your child has the right to grow up with two good eyes!
SECTIONSWhat is the difference between an Ophthalmologist, Optometrist and Optician?
Is it true that wearing glasses all the time will make my eyes lazy and I will become dependent on them?
If there is a history of Glaucoma in my family am I likely to inherit it?>
Are paper tissues alright for cleaning my glasses?>
I am a diabetic. Does that make a difference?>
How old does a child have to be before he/she can have an eye examination?>
What is involved in an eye examination?>
What is Presbyopia?>
What is Glaucoma?>
What are Cataracts?>
Can computer usage affect my vision?>
What are some specific problems with using a computer?>
What can I do to improve my vision when using the computer?>
How do you test children for glasses?>