Dr. Harmer answers your eye care questions:
Frequently Asked Questions by patients at an eye exam in Carteret NJ…
Q. Will a therapeutic scleral lens help me see better?
A. The primary goal of the scleral contact lens is to keep a film of tears on your eye overall corneal health by keeping it lubricated. For many, it has a healing effect on the cornea and increases vision. The scleral lens should increase quality of life for all patients by decreasing the often debilitating dry eye symptoms. Patient considering this treatment should be aware that glasses may still be needed to achieve optimal vision over scleral lenses.
Q. What is a therapeutic scleral lens?
A. Therapeutic scleral lenses are another mechanical treatment for dry eye. The scleral contact lens utilizes advances in high oxygen permeable contact lens materials. The scleral lens is a large diameter rigid contact lens that rests on the white part of the eye (the sclera) and vaults over the cornea. This vaulting creates a large tear reservoir filled with a sterile saline solution, which lubricates your eye throughout the day. This treatment can be very rewarding for severe dry eye patients who have not responded to other therapies. It has also been successful in those who have become hypersensitive (allergic) to medical therapy over long periods.
Q. How does the LipiFlow device work?
A. The LipiFlow device attaches to the eyelid for the 12-minute treatment session, and the system is designed so there is no transfer of heat or pressure from the eyelids to the eyeball itself. Recent studies have demonstrated that the process significantly reduces the signs and symptoms of meibomian gland dysfunction.
Q. Can you describe the patient experience when using the TearLab?
A. This is a very easy test for the patient. A tiny amount of tears is collected right above the lower lid of each eye. It only takes a couple of seconds and there is very little, if any, sensation.
Q. How Is meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) Detected?
A. The symptoms of MGD — red eyes, a gritty feeling, itchy eyes, and blurred vision — are nearly the same as those of dry eye syndrome. Only your eye doctor can tell for sure if you have MGD by performing specific tests in the office. Please make an appointment as soon as possible if you are suffering from any of the above symptoms.
Q. What is Lotemax and why do you prescribe it with Restasis?
A. Lotemax is a topical steroid eye drop. Like Restasis, Lotemax decreases inflammation in the lacrimal glands and other ocular tissues. Unlike Restasis, Lotemax is a fast-acting. Lotemax combined with Restasis has been shown to work faster than the two medications independently. Since Lotemax is a steroid and must be monitored if taken long term, it is typically discontinued after the patient starts showing therapeutic progress from Restasis.
Q. I spend all day in a heated office and my eyes feel dry and gritty. What can I do?
A. You need to be evaluated to see what the cause is for the dryness and gritty feeling . Your tear quality needs to be determined, because if your tear quality is below normal, you will feel uncomfortable with any extended use of your eyes such as reading or using your computer. After we evaluate the cause of your condition we can then prescribe the best treatment option which can include over the counter eye drops, prescription eye drops such as Restasis, punctal occlusion and Lipiflow. Call our optometrist near Rahway, NJ to schedule an appointment.
Q. I regularly use over the counter eye drops when my eyes feel irritated. Is this good for my eyes?
A. No, it’s not helping your eyes or vision. If you feel that you need eye drops, there must be something medically wrong with your eyes. You should schedule a consultation with our eye doctor near Rahway, NJ so we can have your eyes checked to understand the cause of the discomfort in your eyes and recommend a suitable course of treatment for your condition which may or may not include eye drops.
Q. At what age should I bring my child in for an eye exam?
A. I usually recommend that children come in when they reach kindergarten- 1st grade age, unless developmental issues are noticed earlier on. These could include bumping into doorways, a lack of recognition of commonly used objects, and not behaving similarly to other children in the same age group. The infant See program enables you to bring your child in for a free screening to see if this is vision related.
Q. Why has macula testing changed?
A. Our level of knowledge about macdegen has changed dramatically over the past 5 -10 years. We now know that earlier identification and diagnosis can alter the end result of the disease. And we have learned, that the aearlier in one’s life that attentin is given to the macula, the better for the patient’s eye health and vision.
Q. Should I be concerned about blue light from spending time at my computer?
A. Blue light which is emitted from computer screens, TV screens, tablets, smart phones, and other electronic devices leads to eye irrtitation which almost feels like dry eye and eye strain. Over-exposure to blue light causes this problem to develop. Ultimately continued exposure could potentially lead to problems with macular degeneration. One of the best ways to protect your eyes from blue light is a glare coating called Recharge, that will diminish the effect of blue light and make your time at the computer screen more comfortable and less harmful to your health.