FAQ [Frequently Asked Questions]
General Pediatric Industrial
Common Eye Problems

Are you an eye doctor?
How do I know if I need glasses?
What should I do if I think I might need glasses?
What is myopia?
What problems might a person who is shortsighted experience?

What is hyperopia?
What problems might a person with farsightedeness experience?

What is astigmatism?
What problems might a person with astigmatism experience?
What is presbyopia?

What problems might a person who has presbyopia experience?

Common Pediatric
Eye Problems

Does my toddler need glasses?
Why would a child need glasses?
How can a child be tested for glasses, especially in infancy or early childhood?
What are the different types of refractive errors (needs for glasses) that can affect children?

How will I ever get my child to wear glasses?
Does my child need bifocals?

Industrial Safety Glasses

Why do I need safety glasses?
What causes eye injuries?

How Can I Tell if I Need Safety Glasses?
What Makes Safety Glasses Different from Regular Ones?

Are you an eye doctor?

Maybe. Today's modern eye care is provided by three distinct, yet interdependent types of eye care professionals. They are:

Ophthalmologists-- Ophthalmologists are doctors (MD) who have completed a residency in ophthalmology and received board certification. Some ophthalmologists perform an additional fellowship in a specific subspecialty of ophthalmology. Ophthalmogists may perform surgery, and optometrists generally do not.

The word ophthalmology comes from the Greek roots "ophthalmos" meaning eye and "logos" meaning word; ophthalmology literally means "the science of eyes."

Optometrists-- Optometrists are primary care practitioners for vision and ocular health concerns. They are trained to diagnose, manage, and treat a multitude of visual and ocular health-related concerns, including, but not limited to, fitting and prescribing spectacles and contact lenses, treating minor ocular injuries, diagnosing and treating diseases such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. In some states in the United States, optometrists perform eye surgery including laser and other refractive surgery.

The word optometrist comes from the Greek roots, "optos," meaning seen or visible and "metria," meaning measurement. An optometrist literally means "one who measures vision."

Opticians-- An optician is to an ophthalmologist and optometrist as a pharmacist is to a physician. The optician dispenses or fills the lens prescription ordered by the eye doctor. In the U.S. many eye doctors do their own dispensing, and it is frequent for eye clinics to have an optician on their premises; or, conversely, for large optical chains to have optometrists in offices on their premises. [Back to Top]

How do I know if I need glasses?

This is a tough question! Glasses are used to correct vision problems. But vision problems can have symptoms that are wide ranging.
Everyone should have a comprehensive eye test performed on their eyes, and Optometrists from across the globe recommend everyone have an eye check at least every 2 years.

Symptoms to look for which may indicate shortsightedness include
· Difficulty seeing distant objects
· Squinting frequently
· Difficulty seeing writing on signs or television
· Difficulty with driving (particularly at night).

Symptoms to look for which may indicate farsightedness or presbyopia include
· Headache
· Eye strain
· Occasional difficulty reading
· Fatigue
· Dislike or avoidance of reading

· Dislike or avoidance of computer work
· Difficulty changing focus from near to far
· Watery, uncomfortable eyes
· Excessive blinking
· Squinting to read
· Inability to read small print
· Inability to work on a computer
· Distance vision may become blurred (even though this is a contradiction with the definition of longsightedness!)
Symptoms to look for which may indicate astigmatism include
· Difficulty seeing distant objects
· Difficulty seeing close objects
· Difficulty with computer screens
· Headaches
· Fatigue
· Inability to work on computer

· Dislike of reading
· Watery eyes
· Feelings of eyestrain

You must bear in mind that not all vision problems require glasses, and not all problems that require glasses are symptomatic. It is important to have your eyes checked regularly.
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What should I do if I think I might need glasses?
You should arrange for an eye examination with your local Optometrist. Eye examinations in this country are supported by the Medicare system for all Americans. Referrals are not required for an eye examination with an Optometrist. Your Optometrist will advise you on the condition of your eyesight, and will be able to recommend the best form of treatment if it is required.
[Back to Top]

What is myopia?
Read more: http://www.optometrist.com.au/shortsightedness.htm
Myopia, also known as short sightedness or near sightedness, is the condition in which distant objects appear blurry. A shortsighted person may have good vision at close range, but will usually experience difficulties seeing details or objects that are far away. [Back to Top]


What problems might a person who is shortsighted experience?

A person who has developed myopia may experience:
· Difficulty seeing distant objects
· Squinting frequently
· Difficulty seeing writing on signs or television
· Difficulty with driving (particularly at night) [Back to Top]

An example of normal vision vs. shortsightedness

What is hyperopia?
Read more: [http://www.optometrist.com.au/longsightedness.htm
Hyperopia, also known as long-sightedness or far-sightedness, is the condition in which close objects appear blurry. A longsighted person may have good distance vision but will have trouble with close objects. [Back to Top]

What problems might a person with farsightedeness experience?
The signs and symptoms of farsightedness can vary greatly between individuals, and often occur when a person is involved in a lot of close work (e.g. computers, reading, studying, etc.), or immediately after undertaking a lot of near work.
Low levels: generally the early signs and symptoms of long-sightedness are vague and occasional, and may involve any of
· Headache
· Eye strain
· Occasional difficulty reading
· Fatigue
· Dislike or avoidance of reading
· Dislike or avoidance of computer work
· Difficulty changing focus from near to far
· Watery, uncomfortable eyes
· Excessive blinking
· Squinting to read
Medium Levels: most of the signs and symptoms here are more pronounced, and tend to be constantly present:
· Headache
· Inability to read small print
· Inability to work on a computer
Higher Levels: constantly present
· Reading becomes impossible
· Distance vision may become blurred (even though this is a contradiction with the definition of longsightedness!). [Back to Top]

An example of normal vision vs. farsightedness

What is astigmatism?
Read more: http://www.optometrist.com.au/astigmatism.htm
Although the name sounds awful, astigmatism is a simple condition whereby the cornea (the clear front of the eye) is oval in shape, rather than round (i.e., like a football rather than a soccer ball). This causes objects at any distance to appear unclear, as light will not focus to a point onto the retina. People with myopia or hyperopia can also have astigmatism.

Above is a demonstration of how astigmatism affects the focusing of the eye. A person with no astigmatism will see all of the lines of the above picture in focus. A person with astigmatism will see one or more lines in focus, whilst others appear blurry.


In our example above, the horizontal lines are perfectly clear, and become progressively blurry as they reach vertical. You can check for astigmatism now by covering one eye, standing three metres from the screen, and checking to see if any of the lines on the first picture appear more blurry. Or, try an online eyetest here! [Back to Top]

An example of normal vision vs. astigmatism

What problems might a person with astigmatism experience?
Astigmatism, because of its irregular focusing, has a myriad of possible signs and symptoms. These include
· Difficulty seeing distant objects
· Difficulty seeing close objects
· Difficulty with computer screens
· Headaches
· Fatigue
· Ghosting (a faint overlapping second image)
· Lights tend to appear spread out [Back to Top]

What is presbyopia?
Read More: http://www.optometrist.com.au/presbyopia.htm
Presbyopia is a normal aging process of the eyes that causes close vision to become difficult. Its onset is usually between the ages of 40 and 50, and it affects the majority of people. People with presbyopia usually require reading glasses.

What problems might a person who has presbyopia experience?

A person who has developed presbyopia will have difficulty with reading and close tasks
. [Back to Top]

Does your toddler need glasses?

[http://toddlerstoday.com/resources/articles/eyeexam.htm]
There are certain warning signs that a parent or caregiver can look for. Dr. Michael Redmond, a pediatric opthalmologist, speaking on behalf of the American Academy of Opthalmology, notes that "most parents are quite observant as to whether or not their children seem to be seeing as they expect," but parents should ask themselves:

· Does your toddler have straight eyes and straight head position when looking at things?
· Is there uncontrolled eye jiggling?
· Does your toddler exhibit unusual light sensitivity?
· Are your toddler's pupils clear and not white?
· Do the eyes tear frequently?

If your toddler does have an eye condition and glasses are suggested to you by your opthalmologist, there are a number of things to consider that will probably ease the process for both you and your toddler. Dr. Redmond suggests glasses with cable temples – a flexible metal piece, which wraps around the back of the ear. This will help your toddler to keep them on. He also emphasizes that parents "be consistent with the requirement that the children wear their glasses," and to be generous with positive support. Wearing glasses will take some getting used to, and supportive and encouraging behavior on the part of the parents and older siblings is really important.

If the need for glasses is great enough, your toddler may make no argument about wearing them at all.[Back to Top]

Why would a child need glasses?

Children may need glasses for several reasons—some of which are different than for adults. Because a child’s vision system is growing and developing, especially during the first 5-6 years of life, glasses may play an important role in insuring normal vision development. The main reasons a child may need glasses are:

1) To provide better vision, so that a child may function better in his/her environment
2) To help straighten the eyes when they are crossed or misaligned (strabismus)
3) To help strengthen the vision of a weak eye (amblyopia or “lazy eye”). This may occur when there is a difference in prescription between the two eyes (anisometropia). For example, one eye may be normal, while the other eye may have a significant need for glasses caused by near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism.
4) To provide protection for one eye if the other eye has poor vision. [Back to Top]

How can a child be tested for glasses, especially in infancy or early childhood?

An ophthalmologist can detect the need for glasses through a complete eye exam. Typically, the pupils are dilated in order to relax the focusing muscles, so that an accurate measurement can be obtained. By using a special instrument, called a retinoscope, your eye doctor can arrive at an accurate prescription. The ophthalmologist will then advise parents whether there is a need for glasses, or whether the condition can be monitored.

What are the different types of refractive errors (need for glasses) that can affect children?

There are 4 basic types of refractive errors:
1) Myopia (near-sighted) – This is a condition where the distance vision is blurred, but a child can usually see well for reading or other near tasks. This occurs most often in school-age children, although occasionally younger children can be affected. The prescription for glasses will indicate a minus sign before the prescription (for example, -2.00). If the myopia is slight, allowing a child to sit a little closer to the front of the classroom may be an alternative.
2) Hyperopia (far-sighted) – Most children are far-sighted early in life (this is normal!) and need no treatment for this because they can use their own focusing muscles to provide clear vision for both distant and near vision. Glasses are rarely needed if the far-sightedness is less than +1.00 or even +2.00. When an excessive amount of far-sightedness is present, the focusing muscles may not be able to keep the vision clear. As a result of this, problems such as crossing of the eyes, blurred vision, or discomfort may develop. A prescription for hyperopia will be preceded by a plus sign (+3.00).
3) Astigmatism – Astigmatism is caused by a difference in the surface curve of the eye. Instead of being shaped like a perfect sphere (like a basketball), the eye is shaped with a greater curve in one axis (like a football). If your child has a significant astigmatism, fine details may look blurred or distorted. Glasses that are prescribed for astigmatism have greater strength in one direction of the lens than in the opposite direction. A prescription for astigmatism will have several numbers and will look something like this: -2.00 +2.50 X 90.
4) Anisometropia – Some children may have a different prescription in each eye. This can create a condition called amblyopia, where the vision in one eye does not develop normally. Glasses (and sometimes patching) are needed to insure that each eye can see clearly. [Back to Top]

How will I ever get my child to wear glasses?
That is a question most parents ask, especially when their child is an infant or toddler. The best answer is that most young children who really need glasses will wear their glasses without a problem (happily) because they do make a difference in their vision. Initially, some children may show some resistance to wearing their glasses, but it is necessary for parents to demonstrate a positive attitude. Toddlers often may wear the glasses only when they are in a good mood and reject them (and everything else) when they are not. Getting a good frame fit by an optician who is experienced in pediatric eyewear is also of great importance. The frame should be very comfortable with the eye centered in the middle of the lens. The frame should look like it fits the child now—not one that he/she will grow into in a year. Lenses made of a material called polycarbonate will provide the best protection for your child because this lens material is shatterproof. Many children’s frames have soft, comfort-cables that fit around the ears.
School age children and their parents can provide input into the decision regarding the need for glasses. Some children may have small refractive errors that do not require glasses, while others may voice concern about difficulties in the classroom. Most children who have difficulty with reading do not need glasses, but this can be determined in the complete eye exam. [Back to Top]

Does my child need bifocals?
Children rarely need bifocals. Occasionally, children who have crossed eyes (esotropia) may need to have bifocals to help control the crossing. Also, children who have had cataract surgery often need bifocals or reading glasses.
Will wearing glasses make my child’s eyes worse or more dependent on them?
No. In fact, the opposite may be true. If a child does not wear the glasses prescribed, normal vision development can be adversely affected. [Back to Top]

Why do I need safety glasses?
Each year in the United States, thousands of people are blinded from eye injuries in the workplace. With the proper use of protective eyewear, up to 90 percent of these injuries can be prevented. Find out more about common causes of eye injuries in the workplace and what you can do to prevent them. Also OSHA, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, mandates the use of safety glasses in certain types of workplaces where eye injury is foreseeable. [Back to Top]


What causes eye injuries?
Common causes of workplace eye injuries include:
· Impact. Flying particles or falling objects — such as plastic bits or metal flakes — hit your eye, resulting in a puncture, scratch or bruise.
· Dust. A dusty job task, such as sanding woodwork or buffing a floor, causes dust and grit to fly into your eye, resulting in irritation or scratches. Dust and grit may be especially hazardous to people who wear contact lenses.
· Chemicals. Direct contact of chemicals in your eye can result in serious damage, such as a burn to the surface of your eye. Liquid chemicals can splash into your eyes, but you can also become injured from harmful chemical vapors, mists or fumes.
· Heat. Being exposed to high temperatures, molten metal or hot sparks poses a potential burn hazard to your eyes.
· Optical radiation. Unprotected exposure to the intense light of a welding torch, a laser or any other such device can result in retinal burns, cataracts and permanent loss of vision. [Back to Top]

How Can I Tell if I Need Safety Glasses?
If you use lathes, saws, sanders and other power tools at home, you need protective eyewear. It should cover not only the front of your eyes, but also the sides and top, so small airborne particles can't get in.
Hardware stores sell shields that will usually fit over your glasses. But if you work with tools a lot, you'll avoid fogging problems and be more comfortable if you buy a specially fitted pair of safety glasses with polycarbonate lenses and frames from an eye care practitioner. In some cases, you may even want a full-face shield made of polycarbonate.

It's important that you wear eye protection any time you're exposed to a potentially hazardous situation. Different situations require different types of protective eyewear. The main types of protective eyewear are safety glasses, safety goggles and face shields.

· Safety glasses. Safety glasses may resemble regular eyeglasses, but the lenses are more durable and provide better protection against flying debris. If you have a vision problem, you can use specially made safety glasses that have corrective lenses.
· Safety goggles. Safety goggles fit snugly around your eyes and offer an extra level of protection beyond safety glasses. Safety goggles are available in several different styles — some are made of firm plastic, and others are made of flexible rubber. If you have a vision problem, you can wear your eyeglasses underneath some types of safety goggles. Other specially made safety goggles may have corrective lenses mounted behind the protective lenses.

What Makes Safety Glasses Different from Regular Ones?
To be rated as safety glasses, both frame and lenses must adhere to particular ANSI standards. The frames are sturdier than "dress frames," and the lenses must be able to pass a "drop ball" test. Just as the name implies, the test involves dropping a hard ball onto the lens from a certain height. If the lens cracks or shatters, it fails the test, possibly because it's too thin or the material is defective. Any eyecare practitioner who sells safety glasses should be familiar with these standards.

In fact, a new standard, ANSI Z87.1-2003, was passed recently, which describes requirements for two types of lenses: high impact and basic impact. Employers who require safety eyewear for employees should consult OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) to help determine which type of lens is more suitable at their job sites.

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