Visiting an optometrist for a yearly exam is vital to healthy eyes that last a lifetime. The overall goal of a visit is to make sure patients can see clearly by ensuring there refractive error is correct and their eyes are healthy. If a patient needs vision correction (refractive eye care), we define their individual needs. There is more than one way to see well.
Someone with Emmetropia wouldn’t need glasses to see long distances. Light rays are accurately focused on the retina in this normal refractive condition.
If a patient can’t see long distances, they may have Myopia, commonly described as being nearsighted. When this happens, the natural lens, cornea and/or shape of the eye cause light rays to focus in front of the retina. This patient will need to wear glasses for crisp distance vision, but most of the time will not need them for reading.
If they can see for miles and miles, these patients may not realize they need glasses until they are older. Hyperopia (farsighted vision) is caused when the natural lens, cornea and/or shape of the eye causes light rays to be focused behind the retina. Because of the eyes natural ability to focus, farsighted people may not need glasses until they are older. This patient needs glasses for reading. As a precaution, it is important to dilate children for their exams because they can “focus over” this type of prescription, making it difficult to find the correct prescription.
This is a little more difficult. The cornea is shaped more like a football having two curvatures instead of one like a basketball. This causes light rays to focus at different places in front of and/or behind the retina.
Sadly, not everything gets better with age. As eyes get older, the ciliary body becomes tired of focusing thousands of times a day and stop working. Changes in the lens and the little strings that support the lens (zonules) decrease the eyes ability to focus. An Emmetropic patient could still see great at a distance but will now need reading glasses. The Myopic patient will still need glasses for distance, but if they want to leave their glasses on for reading they will need bifocals. The Hyperopic patient that could focus over their prescription previously, will now need glasses to see near and far.
With more than one way to see clearly, patients can choose from a diverse collection of frames and lenses if they choose to wear glasses, or opt for contacts or surgical options. Today’s frames and lenses are not only stylish, but also made with nearer materials that can make even thicker prescriptions thin. Contact lenses sit directly on the cornea and can be a solution for almost all prescriptions. If a patient has a more permanent solution in mind, laser vision correction (LASIK) is an option. Other surgical (but reversible) options include Intacs Cornea Implants and implantable contact lenses.
The team at Antietam Eye can help determine the best solution for you. While we can’t predict your future, we can be part of your plan to see it as if it were crystal clear.
Healthy eyes that last a lifetime.