Eye Health

Can You See LASIK in Your Future?

LASIK Surgery Web ChatLaser vision correction was first performed in the 1980s and since then, the demand for such procedures has resulted in rapid advancement of the technology. For many people who previously were not a good candidate for laser vision correction, LASIK is now an option. Because LASIK is changing so quickly, our vision team fields lots of questions from people interested in LASIK, but who are not sure if it’s the right option for them, or what the procedure involves.

To help get you up to speed on LASIK surgery, the changes that have been made in the laser vision correction world, and what you can expect if you do choose LASIK, board-certified Emory Vision LASIK surgeon, Dr. Randleman, is hosting a 1 hour free web chat on Wednesday, October 12, 2011.

If you have questions such as…

  • Is LASIK surgery safe?
  • Is LASIK right for everyone? Is it right for me?
  • How long does LASIK surgery take?
  • What happens during the LASIK procedure?
  • Is LASIK painful?

…whether or not you prove to be an ideal candidate for LASIK, you are an ideal candidate for Dr. Randleman’s chat. All that’s required to participate is that you fill out our form so we can send you a link to enter the chat. You can ask as many or as few questions as you’d like during the chat, and in fact, if you’d rather just observe and read on as Dr. Randleman fields questions on LASIK, you’re more than welcome to.

We hope to see you for Dr. Randleman’s LASIK online chat on Wednesday, October 12. If you can’t make it but want more information on LASIK, you can either check out our LASIK resources online, or you can call the Emory Vision offices at 404-778-2733.

Are 3-D Movies Bad for Your Eyes?

Are 3-D movies bad for your eyesWith more and more movies coming out in 3-D, a lot of our patients are asking us whether watching 3-D is bad for their eyes. Many parents are also concerned for their children’s developing eyesight. If big action 3-D movies are your thing, we’ve got good news for you. According to our eye experts, there is no medical evidence to support the idea that watching 3-D movies or playing 3-D games will harm your children’s eyesight or your own.

In fact, according to Susan Primo, O.D., M.P.H., of the Emory Eye Center, 3-D technology can actually help detect underlying visual problems in both children and adults that might otherwise go undiagnosed. This is because people who have visual problems may experience significant discomfort while watching a 3-D movie.

3-D films work by altering our binocular vision, or how both our eyes work together to see. If your eyes are irritated or tired after a 3-D movie, this is most likely a reaction to adjusting the way you see, much as you would with a new pair of glasses or contact lenses. Tired or irritated eyes usually are not an indication of a real problem.

However, factors that create poor binocular vision, such as a lazy eye, can be aggravated by 3-D. If watching a 3-D movie makes you dizzy or nauseated or gives you a headache, you should probably have your vision checked. Vision problems caused by weak eye muscles or poor eye coordination often can be corrected or improved with vision therapy.

If your child complains of serious discomfort when watching 3-D movies, go ahead and make an appointment with an eye care provider. Children, in particular, don’t always know when their vision isn’t what it should be, and the same problems that make 3-D viewing challenging can also cause your child to have difficulty in school or at sports. It’s good to catch the problem early, as younger eye muscles are easier to train through therapy.

Do 3-D movies bother your eyes? Do you think you may have an underlying visual problem? We’d like to hear about your experience. Please take a moment to give us feedback in the comments section below.

Why Do You Need a Yearly Eye Exam?

Yearly Eye ExamI’m often asked why it’s important to have an annual eye exam. If you wear glasses or contacts, you know that your vision can change over the course of a year. Even if that change isn’t obvious to you, an updated prescription can make a real difference in your quality of life at work and at home. Everyday activities like reading and working on the computer are a lot more comfortable when you have the right eyewear.

Many times, patients come to us for their first exam in their early 40s, when they start experiencing presbyopia, or the inability to focus close up (i.e., when reading). However, even if you’re not experiencing any noticeable change in your vision, periodic comprehensive eye exams are important, because they allow for the early detection of eye diseases and other eye problems—some of which have no obvious symptoms. Earlier detection allows for earlier treatment and a better visual outcome for most.

At the Emory Eye Center, our comprehensive eye exam includes screening for signs of eye and medical problems such as:

  • GlaucomaGlaucoma is an eye disease typically caused by an increase in pressure in the eye that can’t be felt. Over time, if not treated, glaucoma damages the optic nerve and can lead to blindness. In general, there are no early warning signs, and early detection is the key to preserving vision. Often, the patients we diagnose with glaucoma haven’t had an eye exam in 5 to 10 years.
  • Cataracts - A cataract is a change in the lens inside the eye as a result of aging. Over time, this leads to hazy vision. Cataracts can be treated with surgery.
  • Macular degeneration - Macular degeneration affects your central vision and can occur as a result of aging. Depending on the type of macular degeneration, you may experience drastic changes within a year’s time. A comprehensive annual exam can help us detect the early signs of macular degeneration and treat it, if necessary.
  • Hypertension - Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a systemic issue that can affect the eye in a number of ways. We can detect signs of hypertension in the back of the eye during a comprehensive eye exam.
  • Diabetes - Diabetes is another systemic issue that can affect the eyes and lead to blindness. People with diabetes need to have an annual eye exam to check for diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the eye’s retina, which may be symptomless until the damage is severe. An eye exam also can help detect the early signs of diabetes, allowing earlier preventive treatment.

An annual eye exam provides a baseline against which to measure future vision changes and the progression of eye disease or other medical problems. One hour once a year can make a significant difference in your vision, your health, and your quality of life.

When’s the last time you had a comprehensive eye exam? Please take a moment to give us feedback in the comments section below. If you’re interested in making your eye exam appointment with Emory, visit our Eye Center Patient Services page.

About Ann Van Wie, OD

Ann Van Wie, OD, is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Georgia Optometric Association. Dr. Van Wie started practicing at Emory in 2000 and is an instructor of ophthalmology.