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EyeCare Update:  Corneal topography

DP EyeCare Update: Corneal topography

Q: I have heard that many kids get more nearsighted as they grow, but my 17 year old seems to have more astigmatism every year. Is this common and what causes this?

A: You are correct in that far too many children are becoming very nearsighted at a faster rate than ever before. Fortunately, new techniques in “myopia control” can slow or stop that progression. The same cannot be said about astigmatism.

First, astigmatism is simply one of the top three types of blurry vision, and generally is caused by the shape of the eye. Specifically the front layer, called the cornea is not round like a basketball, but rather shaped like the side of a football. That “bent” surface bends the light entering the eye causing a type of blurred vision.

My concern for your son would hinge upon knowing the shape of his corneas. Measuring and mapping the corneal shape is called “corneal topography”, or CT. In our practice we use CT imaging for every contact lens wearer to be sure the eye surface is not swelling and the health is normal. We also use CT for any young patient with progressive astigmatism to diagnose the cause of this uncommon development.

I said “young” patient, because diseases of the cornea that can cause vision distortion generally begin early in life…..teenage years, in particular. So, anyone under 30 with progressive or rapid changing astigmatism should first have CT imaging done. Frankly, we worry most about corneal dystrophies like keratoconus. This usually begins early in life ( almost never over age 50 ) and makes our cornea become thinner and more pointed, or “cone-shaped”. Accurate diagnosis is so essential, because early intervention can virtually stop the progression and protect clear sight. Untreated keratoconus can cause irreversible vision distortion, with only very difficult surgery options and more tenuous outcomes.

Today, if caught early, medication treatments and special “scleral” contact lenses can stop progression and keep clear sight for your whole life……without any surgery. Because this is a “young person’s disease”, we often encounter skepticism from parents about CT imaging for something as common as astigmatism. Keratoconus is certainly not well known in the general public, and poorly understood. The new treatments are proving to be not perfect , but very good…..and in my opinion, far better than any corneal surgeries.

Be sure your eye doctor is using CT imaging for your son, and not just prescribing stronger glasses every year. Not every practice has the technology to perform CT imaging, so you may need a referral. Nonetheless, step one is to rule out any corneal dystrophy that could be driving this progressive vision change for your son.

COVID-19 Vaccines

Q: I think I had a mild case of Coronavirus back in the spring, so since I am immune now, why get should I get the vaccine now?

A: I am not a virologist, but the experts tell us that “natural immunity” from actually having the virus is pretty good….but likely not as good as the vaccine. It’s a long story, but this is an entirely new kind of vaccine. All our previous vaccines have used a weakened form of the actual virus to trigger our immune system to produce antibodies to fight the infection. It appears that antibodies are not the best way to fight this virus in the long run, so our body uses a different method called “ T cell immunity”. This type is longer lasting than antibodies, and much harder to measure in people. Other viral studies found T cell immunity still present six years after the vaccination! But so far, we do not really know how long this protection will last.

This Covid-19 vaccine has proven in the excellent studies so far to prevent any symptomatic disease in about 95% of the people. It has been able to prevent serious, hospitalization type, disease in 100% of the people being vaccinated. This is a terrific development, because previous virus research had laid groundwork and the financial barriers were erased….allowing record speed for quality vaccine development.

People are asking if getting the vaccine prevents you from transmitting the virus to others. The answer is we really do not know yet. One small study found no measurable virus in the noses of people after the first shot in 2/3 of the people. This is not conclusive, but hints at protection. The experts tell us that the best way to be sure you are carrying Covid to others is to still wear your mask.

We all need to continue to mask up to protect others. Until we have about 70% of the population vaccinated, this virus may continue to infect and kill the most vulnerable of our family and friends. So again, it appears that even if you had a real case of Covid earlier you should get the highly effective vaccine as soon as you can. Caution: If you have ever had a serious reaction to any vaccine, you should ask your physician before being vaccinated for Covid. By “serious” we do not mean a sore arm, or slightly elevated temperature for a day, or even feeling tired for a day. Those would be normal reactions to the types of vaccines we have used up until now. The most dangerous reaction for any vaccine is having trouble breathing in that first hour after the shot. While treatable if done quickly, this “ anaphylaxis” response can be life threatening, so waiting 15-30 minutes after your shot is the standard precaution for any and every vaccine.

As a side note, it turns out that the CDC has found 86 times LESS regular flu this year so far, compared to last year! Again, we cannot say for sure it is just the masks, but likely that is the extra protection we are getting by masking up. Be safe, be smart, be healthy!

The Importance of Eye Exams for Contact Lenses

Are you planning on wearing contact lenses for the first time? Do you need a new contact lens prescription? Are your current contacts not as comfortable as you wish they were? Your eye doctor will perform a contact lens eye exam to ensure that your vision with contacts is clear, comfortable, and safe, providing you with the right lenses for you.

What is a contact lens exam?

If you wear or want to wear contact lenses, you’ll need an eye exam for contact lenses, in addition to your regular comprehensive eye exam. Special tests are performed during a contact lens exam to evaluate your eyes and vision with contacts.

Local Contact lens supplier near you in Morgantown, West Virginia

Are eyeglass prescriptions the same as contact lens prescriptions?

No, a prescription for glasses cannot be used for contact lenses. An eyeglass prescription is for lenses that are positioned approximately 12 millimeters from your eyes, whereas a contact lens prescription is measured for lenses that sit directly on the surface of your eye.

The prescription for contact lenses also includes the brand, lens diameter and curvature, which are not part of an eyeglass prescription.

Morgantown Eye Associates Eye Clinic and Eye exam, contact lenses in Morgantown, West Virginia

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Our Morgantown eye doctor has prepared the following answers to your questions about eye disease.

Contact lenses fitting: One size does not fit all

One contact lens size doesn’t fit all eyes. If a contact lens is too flat or too steep for your corneal shape, you may experience discomfort or even eye damage. Your eye doctor will take certain measurements to determine the best contact lens design and fit for your eyes.

Corneal curvature

This measures the curvature of your eye’s clear front surface (cornea) so the eye doctor can select the optimal curve and diameter for your contact lenses. If your eye’s surface is somewhat irregular because of astigmatism or other conditions, you may require a special lens.

Local Eye exam, contact lenses in Morgantown, West Virginia

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Pupil and iris size

The size of your pupil and iris (the colored part of your eye) is also important in determining the best contact lens design.

Tear film evaluation

This test evaluates the quality of your tears, to determine whether they will be able to keep contact lenses and your cornea sufficiently hydrated throughout the day. If you have dry eye disease, standard contact lenses may not be right for you.

Trial lenses

Following the eye exam, you will be provided with trial lenses to verify that the chosen contact lenses offer clear and comfortable vision. This will allow the eye doctor to make any fine adjustments to the prescription.”

Contact Lens Eye Exam Near You

Wearing the correct contact lenses for your eyes allows you to enjoy all of the benefits of wearing contacts, while keeping your eyes healthy and comfortable.

If you’re already a contact lens wearer, visit your eye doctor at least once a year to make sure the lenses are still providing you with optimum vision and comfort.

Contact Morgantown Eye Associates in Morgantown to book your contact lens eye exam today!

Call Morgantown Eye Associates on 304-381-5353 to schedule an eye exam with our Morgantown optometrist.

Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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6 Crazy Holiday Eye Injuries to Avoid

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Cataract Awareness and Prevention

“Pink Eye” What’s The Best Treatment?

Q: I have heard many suggestions about the proper thing to do when you or your child develops “pink eye”. How contagious is it really, and what should we do?

A: This is such a misunderstood condition that even the name “pink eye” is confusing to most people. As eye physicians, we actually consider “pink eye” to be a virus-induced infection of the eye. Generally, viral infections of the eye are fairly common, and far outnumber eye infections caused by any bacteria. This is very much like the common cold, or the flu, and why antibiotics actually do no good to cure such problems.

As we all by now, viruses can be very contagious! Eye viruses are transmitted by touch…not through the air. Commonly others catch the viral infection by shaking hands with a patient who recently rubbed their eye, or by sharing a hand towel at home. Fortunately, we do have a simple and painless in-office test that can tell us if a particular patient’s “pink eye” is the highly contagious type, or less so. With a tiny sample of your tears, we can identify this in 10 minutes.

Treatments are also much better now. You have likely heard all sorts of remedies, but we now have two new techniques to cure viral “pink eye” quickly. This is critical especially because untreated viral eye infections, can take two weeks to run their natural course….and can leave permanent scarring in the cornea. Correct treatment can clear the eye/s in a day or two and allow the patient to return to work or school safely.

Both treatments are still a considered “off label”….meaning we utilize medications that were first intended for another disease or a different problem. In the office we can eradicate the active virus on the eye and under the lids with a strong ophthalmic antiseptic solution. This method typically allows the patient to return to normal activities in two days, instead of two weeks! The other technique is prescribing a medication first indicated for the herpes virus, but it turns out that it is also highly effective on these very contagious “pink eye” infections. Our experience has been that our patients using this eye drop medicine are clear and comfortable in 3-4 days.

In conclusion, we advise people that if you have a red or pink eye, you could try a topical eye lubricant or eye rinse the first day. But if the appearance is still there, or worsened, on day two you need to see your eye doctor. And I do mean your eye doctor….where we have the eye microscopes to examine your eyes accurately, and where we keep the topical eye antiseptics for treatment. A special warning: if you have any change in your vision in the affected eye/s or any real pain in the eye/s, call your eye doctor immediately. In those cases, delay can result in vision loss or permanent scarring of the cornea.

New To Contact Lenses? Here Are Our Top 5 Tips!

For an estimated 56 million North Americans, contact lenses are the preferred form of vision correction. So if you’ve just started wearing contact lenses — you’re in good company.

Advice About Contact Lenses from Morgantown Eye Doctor: Dr. Thomas A. Stout Here are 5 tips to quickly help you adjust to wearing and caring for your new lenses so you can enjoy the many benefits they offer.

Local Contact lens supplier near you in Morgantown, West Virginia

Learn How to Tell if Your Contact Lens Is Inside Out

This is a common mistake many beginners make when inserting soft contacts. Place the lens on your index fingertip and look carefully at its shape. The edge of the lens should be pointing upwards, like the rim of a teacup. If the edge is flared outward like a blooming flower, the lens is inside out.

Some contact lenses have tiny laser markings of numbers or letters. If the numbers/letters read correctly when you hold the lens on your fingertip, they are properly oriented and the lens is ready to be inserted.

Never Use a Substitute for Contact Lens Solution

Your eye doctor will recommend the appropriate contact lens solution to suit your eyes and lenses. Some people have sensitivities and not all lens solutions are the same.

Even if you run out of contact lens solution, don’t be tempted to rinse your lenses with water, and never use saliva to moisten or clean them.

Using substances other than the recommended contact lens solution to rinse or rewet your contacts can introduce harmful microbes to the eye and cause a serious infection. That’s why it’s best to remove your contacts before showering, swimming, or any other time they might get wet.

Morgantown Eye Associates Eye Clinic and Contact Lenses, Eye Care and Eye Doctors in Morgantown, West Virginia

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Our Morgantown eye doctor has prepared the following answers to your questions about eye disease.

If Your Contact Lenses Feel Uncomfortable, Take Them Out!

Some newcomers mistakenly think that if their contacts feel uncomfortable or gritty, they simply need to “get used to them.” Contact lenses are supposed to be comfortable, so if you are experiencing discomfort there may be something wrong.

With clean fingers, remove your contacts and rinse them, inside and out, with the solution or rewetting drops as recommended by your eye doctor. Dust or dirt could have gotten stuck between the lens and your eye, causing irritation. Flushing the lenses with contact lens solution will help remove the irritant.

If your eyes still feel irritated, don’t place the contact lenses back in your eyes. Instead, wait until they are no longer red or irritated, and try inserting them again. If the problem persists, contact your eye doctor.

Wear Contact Lens-Friendly Makeup

Wearing makeup around the eyes can be a source of irritation and infection whether you wear contact lenses or not. Here’s what we recommend when it comes to eye makeup and contact lenses:

  • Choose hypoallergenic makeup.
  • If using a cream-based product around your eyes, choose a water-based formula instead of an oil-based one.
  • Keep your eye closed during application to avoid makeup particles entering your eye.
  • Don’t apply eyeliner or eyeshadow to the inner rims of your eyelids.
  • Replace eye makeup at least once every 3 months to minimize the growth and spread of bacteria.
  • Never share eye makeup with friends or family.
  • Remove your contact lenses before removing your makeup.

Local Contact Lenses, Eye Care and Eye Doctors in Morgantown, West Virginia

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Stick to the Hygiene Guidelines

We can’t emphasize this enough — always thoroughly wash and dry your hands before handling your contact lenses.

Try to avoid washing your hands with oily or heavily scented hand soaps, as they tend to cling to the surface of the lens and could irritate the eye. Additionally, if you touch moisturizers or lotions before handling your contact lenses you run the risk of some residual product adhering to the lens and clouding your vision.

After washing your hands, dry them using a lint-free towel. It’s harder to grasp contact lenses with wet hands, and — as mentioned above — lenses shouldn’t come into contact with tap water.

Bonus Tip: Get an Eye Exam

While all this advice can be very helpful, it doesn’t replace an in-person exam with your eye doctor. Your eye doctor will advise you when to return for your next contact lens consultation. Following this schedule is the best way to ensure you can enjoy the freedom of contact lens wear.

If you are new to contact lenses (or not!) and have any questions or concerns about your eyes or vision, call 304-381-5353. Morgantown Eye Associates will be happy to schedule you for a contact lens exam and fitting.

With the help of Dr. Thomas A. Stout, you’ll be an expert in contact lens wear and care in no time!

Call Morgantown Eye Associates on 304-381-5353 to schedule an eye exam with our Morgantown optometrist.

Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

FOLLOW US


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How Can My Child’s Myopia Be Corrected?

At Morgantown Eye Associates, we help children like yours achieve clear and comfortable vision, so they can succeed at the important things in life.

Methods of Myopia Correction

Contact Lenses

Contacts can be a great choice, especially for physically active children or teens who don’t want to worry about breaking or misplacing their eyeglasses. In some cases of very high myopia, contact lenses can offer clearer vision than glasses.

Corrective contact lenses are usually placed in the eyes upon waking and removed at night before bedtime. There are several types, including: soft contacts, daily disposables, extended wear, and rigid gas permeable (hard) lenses. Navigating through the differences between them can be daunting. Fortunately, if you’re located in Morgantown our eye doctor will be happy to guide you. Speak with Dr. Thomas A. Stout to determine whether your child is ready for contact lenses.

Prescription Glasses

Glasses are a popular choice among our younger patients. Choosing from an array of styles makes the process fun and exciting! Allowing the children to be active participants in selecting their eyewear increases the likelihood that they’ll actually wear them. There are strong, flexible and resilient frames which look great and are comfortable too.

The optician can customize the lenses with additions and upgrades like impact-resistant or shatter-proof materials, scratch-resistant and anti-reflective coatings, UV filters, and transition lenses that darken in the sun. For those requiring vision correction for distance and near, we also offer bifocal or multifocal lens prescriptions.

Morgantown Eye Associates Eye Clinic and Myopia, Nearsightedness and Children in Morgantown, West Virginia

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Our Morgantown eye doctor has prepared the following answers to your questions about eye disease.

We Can Help Correct Your Child’s Myopia

If you’re located near Morgantown, West Virginia, an eye exam with our optometrist can determine your child’s exact prescription, and give you the opportunity to receive answers to any questions you may have about your child’s eye health and vision. Progressive myopia, where a growing child’s prescription continues to worsen, is why it’s important for myopic children to undergo eye exams at least once a year.

Local Myopia, Nearsightedness, and Children in Morgantown, West Virginia

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At Morgantown Eye Associates, our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to recommend the most suitable method of correcting your child’s myopia to meet his or her individual needs. Thanks to the wide range options available, your child will walk away with eyewear that will not only enhance his or her style but will also be a boost of confidence.

Let us help your child see the world in a whole new light. To schedule your child’s annual eye exam or if you have any further questions, contact Morgantown Eye Associates at 304-381-5353 today.

Call Morgantown Eye Associates on 304-381-5353 to schedule an eye exam with our Morgantown optometrist.

Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

FOLLOW US