Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an ‘optometrist’ and an ‘ophthalmologist'?
An optometrist has been trained in eye health issues and typically centers more on detecting eye health problems, prescribing and fitting glasses and contact lenses and treating minor eye ailments. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who has specialized in treating eye disease via medical and surgical means.

Is glaucoma caused by high eye pressure and is that related to blood pressure?
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve. The nerve deteriorates or begins to die and this results is visual field defects (side vision loss). (ie. By lowering the eye pressure). But glaucoma can strike at ANY eye pressure, even pressures that are in the low range of normal.

Are cataracts and glaucoma ‘genetic’ or ‘inherited’?
Like most diseases there is a component that is inherited from our parents. But we all have a unique set of genes or DNA that can be very different for our parents and siblings. Thus, most diseases do not obey strict inheritance patterns. Environmental influences that are likely as important or more important than heredity. So don’t think just because your family has a good health history that you are free and clear. The opposite is also true, and just because your parents had bad eyes in no way means you will be like them.

Does it hurt my eyes to use store bought "Over the counter” reading glasses?
NO. While they may not work as well as proper prescribed one, last as long , or be as comfortable they will not damage your eyes. Eye strain or headaches could be caused by the use of these types of glasses in some cases.

How long should I wait before changing my glasses after cataract surgery?
A minimum of 3-4 weeks to allow good healing and ideally 6 weeks.

I was told my eyes are ‘dry’ but they are always watering, how can this be?
Dry eye is better known as ‘Tear Film Dysfunction’ or ‘Ocular Surface Disease.’ It is a disease with many causes but the common denominator is a poor protective layer or tear film of the eye. This leads to pain, scratchy feelings, itching of the eyelids, poor vision, photophobia and other problems. When the surface is poor the eye is irritated and responds by secreting large amounts of tears from the lacrimal gland. These are not GOOD tears and are meant to ‘flush’ toxins from the eye such as when you peel onions. So ‘watery’ eyes are often seen in this condition.

What is the difference between wet and dry macular degeneration?
These are not 2 distinct entities but rather a spectrum of severity. In the dry form, the retina slowly accumulates cellular debris under the surface which results in slow loss of vision. If this process progresses to the point where the retina is so weak and think that blood vessels invade the area and leak or bleed, wet ARMD is the result. This most often results in dramatic decreases in vision and while we have treatment options now to try and save some central vision, preventing the wet form is the best ‘remedy.’

What can I do to try and keep my eyes healthy?
The most important factor is keeping your body healthy. After all, the eyes are part of it. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercise program, NOT smoking, wearing sunglasses when outside, eating well and taking anti-oxidant containing vitamins, and watching for and treating high blood pressure and diabetes are the most important factors you can control to maintain healthy eyes.