Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does the eye work?
A: When you take a picture with a camera, the lens in the front of the camera allows light to pass through and focus that light on the film that covers the back side of the camera. A picture is taken when the light hits the film. Our eyes work in a very similar way. The front of the eye (the cornea, pupil and lens) is clear, which allows light to pass through. The cornea and lens of the eye focuses the light on the back wall of the eye, the retina. Like the film, the retina is the “seeing” tissue of the eye, sending messages to the brain through the optic nerve, allowing us to see.
Q: What is legal blindness?
A: Perfect vision is 20/20. A person is legally blind when their better eye’s best corrected visual acuity is less than 20/200. A person can also be legally blind if their side vision in their better eye is narrowed to 20 degrees or less. Although someone may be legally blind, some vision still may be useful and helpful for everyday life. Legally blind people may qualify for certain government benefits.
Q: What is low vision?
A: Low vision is not blindness, but is a level of vision below normal (20/70 or worse) that cannot be corrected with conventional glasses. Low vision can interfere with a person’s performance of daily activities, including reading or driving.
Q: What is the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist?
A: Ophthalmologists provide comprehensive eye care, including medical, surgical and optical care. They must complete four years of premedical college, four years of medical school, one year of internship and three years of medical and surgical training in eye care. Optometrists are different from ophthalmologists. Optometrists are specifically educated in an accredited optometry college for four years, but they do not attend medical school. Optometrists may diagnose eye conditions; however, they are usually not licensed to perform surgical eye treatment procedures.
Q: When should my child’s eyes be examined?
A: The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that the first vision screening be conducted for a newborn prior to being discharged from the hospital. Visual function will be monitored by your child’s pediatrician during well-child exams (usually at two, four and six months of age). If there are any signs of an eye condition, your child may be referred to an ophthalmologist. Beginning at three years of age (and yearly after five years of age), amblyopia (poor vision in an otherwise normal appearing eye), refractive and alignment screenings should take place. If you notice any signs of decreased vision or misalignment of the eye, please contact your ophthalmologist for a complete eye examination.
Q: When should an adult’s eyes be examined?
A: We recommend adult examinations of the eyes be performed on a regular basis. Below is a chart with a recommended timeline of how often an adult should receive an eye examination.
Ages 20-39 – Every three to five years
Ages 40-65 – Every two to four years
Ages 65 and older – Every one to two years
Q: Is poor vision hereditary?
A: Yes, poor vision can be directly related to your family’s history of eye health. It is important to see an ophthalmologist at the first sign of poor vision.
Q: Will sitting too close to the television hurt my child’s eyes?
A: No, there is no evidence that television sets produce rays that are harmful to the eyes.
Q: Will working at a computer screen hurt my eyes?
A: No, there is no evidence that working at a computer can damage the eyes. However, low light, glare on the monitor, or staring at a computer screen too long can cause the eyes to become fatigued. It is recommended to take frequent breaks to allow your eyes to rest.
Q: Will reading in dim light hurt my eyes?
A: No, there is no evidence that low light can harm the eye.
Q: Can eyes be transplanted?
A: No. Presently, there is no medical way to transplant a whole eye.
Q: Will carrots help maintain good vision?
A: Research has shown that eating carrots will provide you with a small amount of vitamin A, which is beneficial for good vision. Vitamin A is also in other food items including milk, cheese, egg yolk and broccoli.