My allergies are driving me crazy! What can I do?

It is always best to find out what you are allergic to and to remove the source of the allergy. However, this is not always possible, in which case symptomatic relief can be provided by cool compresses and rinsing your eyes with saline or artificial tears.  If your allergies are more severe, please stop by the office so a prescription can be written for the appropriate medicine to relieve your symptoms.  The Northwest most commonly experiences allergies to tree pollen, grasses and mold, but not ragweed like many areas of the USA.

My eyes always seem dry, should I be concerned?

Dry eye has several causes ranging from seasonal changes, hormone changes and contact lenses to more serious systemic conditions that can cause dry eye. It is always best to come in for a dry eye evaluation.   In mild cases, dry eye is commonly treated with supplements and eye drops but in more serious cases prescription medications may be required.

What is vision therapy?

Vision therapy — a type of physical therapy for the eyes and brain — is a highly effective non-surgical treatment for many common visual problems such as lazy eye, crossed eyes, double vision, convergence insufficiency and some reading and learning disabilities.

What kind of contact lenses are recommended for my child?

This depends on many factors including activity level, maturity level and spectacle prescription.  In general, children from ages 8-11 do well in single use lenses because they are easy and clean.  The more mature child with special prescription needs does well with gas permeable lenses.  Children ages 11 and above do well with single use lenses, one week daily wear lenses, one month daily wear lenses, and gas permeable lenses depending on the needs of the child.  The parent is always the best judge of a child’s maturity level and readiness for contact lenses.

When should my child have his/her first eye exam?

80% of what a child learns is through their vision.   It is important to have a comprehensive eye examination before preschool to insure that your child does not have any undetected eye health or vision issues that would impede his or her learning. It is also critical to have a thorough eye examination before the First Grade.

What are Optometrists, Ophthalmologist and Opticians?

An optometrist (OD) are your primary care Physicians for your eyes.  They performs comprehensive eye exams, prescribes eyeglasses and contact lenses for vision correction, and provides pre- and post-operative care for patients undergoing LASIK and other eye surgery performed by an ophthalmologist. Optometrists also are trained to diagnose and treat eye infections and other eye problems and diseases, including glaucoma. Some ODs also provide low vision services, vision therapy and other eye care services. Similar to medical physicians an optometrist must complete a four-year post-baccalaureate doctorate program in optometry and many ODs also complete one or two postgraduate residencies with advanced study in a specific area of eye care.

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) or osteopathic doctor (DO) who specializes in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists diagnose and treat disease, prescribe medication and perform eye surgery. An ophthalmologist must complete four years of medical school, one year of internship, and at least three years of residency (hospital-based training) in the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of eye disorders.

An optician is not an eye doctor and therefore cannot perform eye exams; diagnose or treat eye and vision problems; or write prescriptions for eyeglasses, contact lenses or medications. Opticians fit and sell eyeglasses that are prescribed by an optometrist; licensed opticians are certified by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE.)  While there is no education standard for opticians many opticians have associates degrees or higher.  ABO master opticians are highly skilled and credentialed opticians often with deep knowledge in lenses manufacturing.