Q: My eyes are always burning and tired, what is causing this and what can I do about it?
A: These are often signs of dry eye syndrome, a very common condition that affects many people over time. Women are generally more prone to developing these symptoms and aging is often a cause as well. Dryness of our eyes is often due to a decrease in the oil production in our eyelid glands which causes the surface of the eye to become irritated. Certain medications and health issues can also contribute to dryness. There is no true cure for dryness but many treatments are available such as the use of artificial tears, nutritional supplements incorporating Omega 3, prescription medications such as Restasis, and eyelid hygiene. No single treatment works for every individual so we customize treatments for each person and their specific condition.
Q: What about pre-schoolers? Are there signs parents should look for that would indicate a trip the optometrist is necessary?
If a pre-schooler is squinting to see or has an eye that is turning in or out, an appointment should be made. If there is a family history of eye problems an appointment should be made.
Q: Because many children may be too young to read, how is an eye exam conducted if they cannot read a Snelling Chart?
Children do not need to know their letters for an eye exam. We have eye charts with pictures that they recognize. We also have the ability to check for nearsightedness and farsightedness without the child having to read any letters. There are examination tools that exist just for this purpose. The exam is conducted in a non-threatening way for the child.
Q: One of the greatest tasks of a school-aged child is learning to read and in older children, the amount of reading required. What should parents be on the lookout for concerning their child’s reading and potential vision problems?
If a child is holding their reading material too close to the eyes that could be a sign of a problem. If a child closes one eye while reading that could also signal a problem. If a child gives up or does not enjoy reading that also could be a sign of an issue that can be addressed with an eye exam.
Q: Today it seems that many children are very quickly diagnosed as learning disabled or dyslexic. How does vision play into the problems and what are the differences?
The brain needs a clear image for learning to take place. An eye exam would be the first place to start when there is a concern about a learning disability or dyslexia. Once the need for eyeglasses is determined, then other decisions can be made regarding the need for an evaluation for learning disabilities.
Q: We have many choices today to correct our vision. What do you recommend as the earliest age for contact lenses?
It depends on the maturity of the child but I have had success with children as young as 9 years of age.