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4 Myths in Eye Care

1.  Because the results are always the same, it doesn’t matter where I get my eyes examined.

FALSE, your best visual acuity is only going to be found at an office that places emphasis on providing the best.  Chain opticals may have some good doctors and some private offices may have mediocre ones, but one thing is universal: if the person making the decisions about office equipment, technology, scheduling times, preventative care, medical optometry, lab material/design/execution is not a trained doctor, you’re sure to get varying level of care and disparate quality in results.

2.  I should expect my prescription to change every year regardless of age and eye health.

FALSE, The changes in vision most experience is due to age related changes from age 6 months to 20 years and 40 to 65 years old.  After puberty and before presbyopia (bifocal/readers) most healthy adults do not experience significant changes in prescription.  The irony is that most times it is simple overuse of contact lenses and/or insistence that more myopic correction makes vision “sharper” despite no measurable improvement in visual acuity that results in the recommendations for new lenses.  Yes, this isn’t the typical message from an eye doctor, but this is the factual truth.  Improved distance vision can be demonstrated and in the absence of a measurable reduction in myopic prescription the decision to purchase new glasses should be made based on the difference demonstrated during the refraction.

3.  The reason to go for an annual eye exam is for a check of my vision.

NO, NOT REALLY. Everyone should have an annual eye exam for a check of eye health to complete the annual physical evaluation.  That’s why the AOA recommends an eye exam at age 6 months, 3 years, school age (5) and every year after that.  Vision changes may be an additional reason for the visit and sometimes bring people in before their annual check-up, but the principle reason should always be eye health and wellness.  This is the same reason why quality insurance will include an annual exam even though it might not contribute toward new lenses or frames each year.  For contact lens wearers, the annual exam is when the the doctor checks the contact lens fit.  A contact lens fitting is the annual evaluation of the lenses on the eyes, checking that the parameters of these medical devices are safe for use for another year.

4. Eye exercises can replace glasses or contacts.

TRICKY BUT PATENTLY FALSE.  There is nothing wrong with wholistic and natural treatments so long as they are based in science and produce the expected results.  A google search for eye exercises that make you see without glasses will produce dozens of results, and none actually make sense.  The optics of glasses and contacts are ruled by the physics of light the same way that weight and flight are ruled by the physics of gravity.  The anatomy of the human eye is extraordinary and for those who have studied its structure and physiology the idea that exercises would treat myopia, significant hyperopia, or astigmatism is absurd.  The irony that makes this tricky is that there are a small handful of conditions that can be improved with certain eye exercises, but they do not address ametropia (nearsightedness, significant farsightedness, and astigmatism).  At 4Sight iCare we specialize in vision training to improve coordination, tracking, depth perception, peripheral awareness, convergence, and focusing changes.  Focus training can improve distance and near vision for mild hyperopes, but this exception does not help the majority of the population and is not the best way to improve tracking, coordination, depth, and convergence.