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Eye Health - FAQ

YOUR TOP TEN EYE HEALTH QUESTIONS, ANSWERED

Look to our eye health FAQ below for facts related to your most important vision-related queries.

How often do I need an eye exam?

Annual eye exams are recommended for adults 18 to 60+, unless your eye health dictates further examination and care. Adults who wear contact lenses are required to have an annual exam to receive a current contact lens prescription.

Do I still need an eye exam if I have 20/20 vision?

You bet. Your eyes can change from year to year plus eye exams catch early signs of diseases such as glaucoma or diabetes.

What can I expect at a typical eye exam?

During your exam, an optometrist will test your vision, check your eye health, and look for signs of general health problems (vision issues can be an indicator of other health concerns such as diabetes). In addition, your doctor may also put you through a few tests that are designed to catch eye conditions and diseases early, such as cataracts and glaucoma. You will also have time to discuss your prescription with your optometrist and ask any questions you may have about eye health and vision correction solutions.

What causes dry eyes?

Dry eyes are caused by a lack of adequate tears-a blend of water, mucus, and fatty oils—in the eyes. Tears help keep the surface of your eyes smooth, your vision clear, and ward off infection. Decreased tear production can be an issue if you are older than 50, have had laser eye surgery such as LASIK, are a post-menopausal woman, or have a medical condition such as diabetes, arthritis, lupus, or thyroid disorders. Some medications can also cause dry eyes, as does extensive work outdoors or indoors on a computer.

Why is ultraviolet (UV) protection important?

Extended, unprotected exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays can cause serious eye damage, including macular degeneration, cataracts, and photokeratitis, which can cause temporary vision loss. Protect your eyes from harm with sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays. Because of their full range of coverage, wraparound sunglasses provide the most protection.

What do I do if I scratch my eye?

If you've gotten poked in the eye or rubbed your when a foreign object was in it, you've possibly ended up with a corneal abrasion. It's important to see your doctor as soon as possible. While many eye scratches will heal on their own, some may be more susceptible to infection and require prescription medication. If you believe you may have lacerated your cornea, seek emergency medical attention as quickly as possible.

Can I sleep in my contact lenses? 

While some contact lenses are designed for wearing through the night while sleeping, not all are. Ask your eye doctor how you can use your current contact lenses—or request a prescription for contact lenses designed to be worn while sleeping.

What is presbyopia?

Stretching your arms to read that menu? If you're over 40, it's likely that you've entered presbyopia, which is your eyes' loss of focusing ability that occurs naturally with age. This is a normal change that affects everyone as they age. Discuss vision solutions-from reading glasses to progressive lenses and multifocal contacts—with your eye doctor.

What is glaucoma?

A condition caused by the pressure of fluid inside the eye, glaucoma can damage your optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain. It can lead to partial vision loss or blindness. The risk of developing glaucoma increases for those who are over 40, are very short-sighted, are of African or Caribbean descent, or who have a family history of glaucoma.

What are cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens, which sits behind the iris and pupil. When this lens becomes increasingly opaque, this condition can lead to partial vision loss of blindness—cataracts are the most common cause of blindness in people over 40 worldwide today.

What is macular degeneration?

The leading cause of severe vision loss in people over the age of 60, this condition occurs when the macula—the small central portion of the retina—deteriorates. Early signs of macular degeneration include shadowy areas in central vision or distorted vision.