Nearsightedness or “myopia”
When you can see at near or close distances but have difficulty seeing faraway or in the distance. Nearsightedness occurs when the light entering the eye focuses in front of the retina. Concave lenses are prescribed to focus the light precisely on the retina.
Farsightedness or “hyperopia”
When you can see better far away but have difficulty seeing up close. Farsightedness occurs when the light entering the eye focuses behind the retina. Convex lenses are prescribed to focus the light on the retina.
The light is skewed off the center of the retina and causes blurred vision at both distance and near.
The Vision problem of the Middle-Aged
A vision condition called presbyopia may well precede thickening waistlines and gray hairs as the first sign of middle age! Despite it’s strange-sounding name, presbyopia is an age-related vision problem that affects everyone after age 40 and brings about the need for reading glasses, bifocals or trifocals. Because it is a progressive condition, it calls for a thorough eye examination every year or two after age 40.
Telltale signs are a tendency to hold reading material at arm’s length; difficulty reading in dimly lit environments; tired eyes or headaches after concentrating on reading, a computer screen or other close work; and blurred vision at the normal reading distance.
Presbyopia actually begins at age 10 and only becomes noticeable after age 40. It occurs because the eye’s lens, which is responsible for focusing, loses it’s flexibility or “bendability” as it grows older. By age 70, it will not bend at all. See Correcting Presbyopia.
Correcting Myopia, Hyperopia, and Astigmatism
Depending on the degree or severity of your prescription, you have three basic options to correct your vision:
Glasses – Prescription glasses today are much lighter and comfortable than ever before no matter what your prescription is. With options like Transitions (where your lenses change in different lighting conditions) and Crizal (super-durable anti-reflective lenses), glasses have taken on a whole new look and function for patients. Our doctor and consultants will let you know which lenses are best for your lifestyle and visual needs.
Contact Lenses – With significant advances in contact lens design, there aren’t too many prescriptions that can’t be corrected with contacts…even high amounts of astigmatism! Contact lenses enhance your overall vision by increasing your peripheral vision and field of view. If you’re active, or just plain sick of “something on your face”, Dr. Colby can let you know what options you have with contact lenses.
Lasik – With continued expansion of treatment parameters, LASIK surgery is a viable option for virtually every prescription. EyeWest Vision Clinic offers complementary LASIK consultations approximately every 6-8 weeks to let you know if you are a good candidate for this procedure. Call our office to ask about our upcoming dates.
Your family eye doctor can readily solve these problems with prescription glasses or contact lenses. And there are a lot of great lens choices today! They include:
- Reading Glasses – have one prescription for close work throughout the lens; a choice for those with good distance vision or who wear contact lenses for distance seeing. Look up from reading or close work while wearing these glasses, however, and the world’s a blur. Half-lenses (we’re talking bottom half) suit some patients.
- Multifocals – contain two (bifocal) or three (trifocal) prescriptions in one lens. Lots of lens designs are possible to meet varied needs. An example is the wide-band trifocal for computer users.
- Progressive Addition Lenses (PALs) – gradually change in power from top to bottom; offer versatility with no telltale bifocal / trifocal lines or disconcerting jumps between lens powers.
- Bifocal Contact Lenses – contain two prescriptions in one lens. Some have the distance prescription on top and the near one on the bottom. Others have the near prescription completely around the edge of the lens and the distance portion in the center. They are available in both soft and rigid gas permeable (hard) lenses.
- Monovision – a contact lens focused for near vision is worn on the non-dominant eye. If a distance vision prescription is also needed, it’s worn on the dominant eye. Sounds strange, but it works for lots of people.
A comprehensive eye exam with your family eye doctor is the first step in determining which of these solutions best meets your visual needs.