Dr Gallo & Associates provides their patients with a list of frequently asked questions from other patients and visitors of our website. If you do not see the answer to a question or concern you may have, please feel free to contact us anytime.

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What is an optometrist?

An optometrist (OD) has a doctrine degree in optometry and is licensed to practice optometry. An optometrist has had at least 6 years of education and training beyond high school and is qualified to determine the need for glasses and contact lenses; prescribe optical correction; and screen for eye conditions.

Optometrists are health care practitioners who diagnose, treat, manage and prevent diseases and disorders of the eye and visual system and related structures. Optometrists prescribe and/or provide eyeglasses and contact lenses, low vision aids and vision therapy.

The practice of optometry includes the examination of the internal and external structures of the eye in order to diagnose vision conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia; diagnose eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts and retinal disorders and to detect signs of other diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. Also, optometrists do testing to determine the patient’s ability to focus and co-ordinate the eyes, and to judge depth and see colours accurately.

If I don’t have any problems, should I have my eyes examined?

There is much more to a professional examination by an optometrist than simply testing your sight. A thorough eye examination can detect many ocular and systemic diseases and disorders long before there are any obvious symptoms. For instance, the eye disease glaucoma usually does not cause any noticeable symptoms until very late in the disease process. The only way to detect glaucoma early is to have your intraocular pressure tested by your optometrist.

Will I have drops put in my eyes when I have them examined?

The purpose of dilating drops is to provide the best possible view of the retina when investigating the health of the eye. It may not be necessary for every patient at every visit to be dilated but it is best to assume you will be dilated and bring your sunglasses with you for your visit. Most people can drive without much difficulty after dilation but some prefer to bring a driver with them.

If I keep wearing glasses will my eyes get worse?

No, your eyes will not get “worse” from wearing glasses. This is one of the biggest eye myths today. When most patients talk about their eyes getting “worse”, they usually are referring to their glasses prescription increasing. Remember, just because your prescription changed and you wear glasses does not mean the glasses caused the change in prescription.

To date, every well-designed scientific study has failed to prove that wearing your glasses increases your prescription. Instead, several studies convincingly indicate that increases in prescription have a genetic basis. It’s also possible that extended reading causes myopia progression. However, this does not warrant nearsighted patients to reduce near work. If your prescription does increase, you should think of your eyes as “different” instead of “worse”.

When should I have my child in to have their vision tested?

It has been determined that over 80% of learning is directly related to eyesight. An undiagnosed vision disorder can result in learning problems that may be devastating to a child’s early development. It is possible to determine almost everything about a child’s vision from the age of 6 months on. It is highly recommended by the Ontario Association of Optometrists that all children have their first examination before 3 years of age and then regularly as advised by their eye care provider.

What is visual acuity?

Acuity is the measure of the eye’s ability to distinguish the smallest identifiable letter or symbol, its details and shape, usually at a distance of 20 feet. This measurement is usually given in a fraction. The top number refers to the testing distance measured in feet and the bottom number is the distance from which a normal eye should see the letter or shape. So, perfect vision is 20/20. If your vision is 20/60, that means what you can see at a distance of 20 feet, someone with perfect vision can see at a distance of 60 feet.

What is visual impairment?

If neither of your eyes can see better than 20/60 without improvement from glasses or contacts, you may be defined as visually impaired. In addition, poor night vision, limited side vision, double vision and loss of vision in one eye may also determine visual impairment. You are legally blind when the best corrected central acuity is less than 20/200 (perfect visual acuity is 20/20) in your better eye, or your side vision is narrowed to 20 degrees or less in your better eye. Even if you are legally blind, you may still have some useful vision. If you are legally blind, you may qualify for certain government benefits.

Will working at a computer screen hurt my eyes?

No, there is no evidence that working at a computer damages the eyes. However, long hours of work can be fatiguing to the eyes, neck and back. Monitor glare from various light sources can also be a problem. It is often helpful to take periodic breaks, looking off in the distance and adjusting your work station (angle of the monitor, height of the chair, changing the lighting, etc.).

Is pink-eye contagious?

Yes, viral conjunctivitis (pink-eye) is very common and is extremely contagious. Avoid touching eyes with your hands, wash hands frequently, do not share towels, and avoid work, school or daycare activities for a least 5 days or as long as discharge is present.

Are sunglasses good for my eyes?

There is a benefit to wearing UV protective lenses–wearing them may protect against cataract formation. Clear lenses with UV protection may offer greater protection than dark lenses, because they allow the eyes to be exposed to more light. This causes a greater constriction of the pupil which lets less light enter the eyes.

What is covered by OHIP?

Presently patients under the age of 20 and over the age of 65 are covered yearly for a routine eye examination. Patients 20 to 65 years of age are covered once every two years for a complete eye examination. Most of the medically necessary visits that do not involve any refractive aspects are often covered. The reality of this situation is that less and less is being covered and in the future most aspects of eyecare will not be covered.

How often do I need to get my prescription changed?

There is no predetermined schedule for changing glasses or contacts. It is necessary to change your prescription only when it no longer provides adequate correction.  However, it is still a good idea to have regular eye examinations.

How can I tell if I have glaucoma?

The most common types of glaucoma do not have any noticeable symptoms until the disease reaches advanced stages.  By the time you notice symptoms, part of your vision may be gone forever. Our eyes are filled with a fluid. When our body makes too much of this fluid or drainage is blocked, pressure builds inside the eye and can damage internal parts. This is called glaucoma. By measuring your eye’s pressure, examining your optic nerve during an internal eye health examination and performing other tests, your optometrist can diagnose glaucoma signs far earlier than you can. Everyone over 35 or anyone with a family history of glaucoma should have these tests annually as part of a thorough eye examination. Glaucoma can usually be controlled or stopped with drug or surgical treatment but any vision destroyed by it can not be restored. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment are important.

Is a cataract a growth over the eye?

No. Behind the pupil of your eye is a clear lens. When that lens becomes cloudy, it is called a cataract. Cataracts are usually caused by age. But some are present at birth, inherited or caused by injury, disease or exposure to toxic materials or radiation. A cataract usually starts small. Your optometrist can diagnose it during a thorough eye examination and monitor it. If it does progress, change in your eyeglasses may be necessary. Cataracts can blur your vision; cause double vision; or, oddly, suddenly improve your vison for reading. If a cataract interferes with your daily activities, it can be removed surgically. Good vision can be restored with lens implants, contact lenses, glasses or a combination of these.

Who can I contact by phone or email if further questions come up?

Please email us at faq@dranitagallo.com or call us at 905-832-8862. You can also fax us your questions at 905-832-7151.

Can sitting too close to the TV harm my eyes?

No. Many people believe that sitting too close to the TV could damage your eyes and you should sit back at a length equal to twice the width of the TV screen. However, research has shown that even if you sit less than a few feet away from the TV for a prolonged period of time, no permanent damage will result. The only effects that excessive TV watching may have on your eyes is mild eyestrain or fatigue, which is temporary and will disappear after a good night’s rest.

Will carrots help me maintain good vision?

While scientists will neither confirm or deny this ‘old wives tale’ about carrots, they will admit that eating a carrot a day, or some other food very rich in beta carotene (usually green leafy vegetables or yellow vegetables) will reduce the chances of developing the most common of all eye diseases, macular degeneration. One study shows that the nutrient reduces the chances of getting the disease by 40%.

How long does an eye examination take?

It depends on who the patient is. A young, healthy person with no apparent problems will take about 20 minutes. Someone older, perhaps with a problem such as diabetes, glaucoma, high blood pressure, or other ailments can take much longer. That is when the optometrist will determine what clinical tests are needed to provide the correct information for new glasses or contact lenses. If necessary, they may refer the patient for a medical opinion.

Am I likely to inherit glaucoma if it runs in the family?

If there is glaucoma in the family, you may be more at risk of developing it. Glaucoma can be treated effectively if it is diagnosed in time, so be sure to have a regular eye examination.

Is it true that wearing glasses will make me dependent on them?

No. When people wear the proper glasses they realize they can see more clearly and comfortably. What they may have considered normal and acceptable before is now inferior by comparison.

Does it make a difference with my vision if I am diabetic?

Yes, diabetes can cause severe problems with your sight. It is very important that your eyes are checked every year, preferably with drops to dilate the pupil, so that the retina (back of the eye) can be examined thoroughly.

When driving at dusk the road signs are difficult to read. Do I need glasses?

Even if you are only slightly short-sighted, your distance vision can be affected by poor light conditions. So you may well need glasses just for driving. We can examine your eyes and let you know if spectacles are necessary. Lenses with anti-reflection coatings may also help you when driving at night becuase they reduce glare from oncoming headlights.

Why do I sometimes see spots floating in front of my eyes?

Most people notice these ‘floaters’ from time to time, particuarly in bright conditions or a light background. They are usually caused by minute debris floating inside your eyes and are quite normal. But if you notice a marked increase in the number of floaters or see flashing lights in your field of vision, you should consult us immediately.

What does it mean when my optometrist says I have 20/20 vision?

20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity measured at a distance of 20 feet. For example, if you have 20/40 vision, you would have to stand 20 feet away to see an object that an individual with 20/20 vision could see at 40 feet away. However, 20/20 does not mean perfect vision, it only indicates the sharpness or clarity of vision at a distance. There are other conditions which can affect your eyesight, such as glaucoma or cataracts. A comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist can diagnose those problems.