Fredericksburg Parent

August 2018

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14 Fredericksburg Parent and Family •August 2018 ask the expert a sk t h e e x p e rt Q: What three facts about eye care do you wish people knew? 1. A comprehensive eye exam is only performed by an eye care professional. Screenings at the pediatrician's or at the school nurse's office only test if a person can see a distance chart. Screenings do not tell you if a person needs glasses for reading up close, how the eyes team together or eye health. 2. Just because a person can see well does not necessarily mean the eye is healthy. Many eye diseases in their early stages, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal tears and bleeding in the back of the eye, do not have symptoms of pain or decreased vision. A comprehensive eye exam with a retinal health check is crucial. Comprehensive eye exams can aid in the detection of other medi- cal issues hence why the eye is the window to the soul. 3. Approximately 75% of learning-related issues are secondary to some type of vision or visual processing problem. Most of these issues can be remediated so long as they are identified at the proper age and treated. Q: How often should children and adults have their eyes checked? The American Optometric Association recom- mends all patients have their first eye exam between the ages of 6 months and 1 year old, and then at 3, 5, and yearly after. My office par- ticipates in a program called InfantSEE. An infant between ages 6 months and 1 year old can obtain a comprehensive ocular and visual examination free of charge. Q: Does staring at a screen really affect your eyes? If so, how? Digital eye strain can occur from prolonged use of computers, tablets and cell phones. Blink rates decrease, and incomplete blinks increase while on digital devices which causes an increase in dryness and discomfort. Also, because there is not a change in focus from distance to near, the muscles and lens within the eyes do not flex as much and can cause focusing issues, blurriness and headaches. Finally, the lens within the eye blocks the majority of UV rays and some short- wavelength harmful blue light. Harmful blue light is emitted from these digital devices which increases the damage to the retina and increase macular degeneration. I always suggest the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 min- utes of digital device use focus on an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. INTERVIEWED BY BRENDA SAPANGHILA Q: What makes Premier Eyecare stand out? Premier Eyecare has been serving the Rappahannock region for over 70 years. We are a full scope practice with five doctors and 20 staff members offering primary eye care, ocular disease management and treatment, specialty contact lenses and vision ther- apy. We have state-of-the-art technology including equipment that can help detect poten- tial macular degeneration up to three years earlier. Our vision therapy clinic treats patients of all types and ages. We offer therapy for patients who have decreased vision, lazy eye, learning-related visual issues, traumatic brain injuries such as strokes and concussions, and sensory processing disorders as ADD/ADHD, Down Syndrome and autism. This month, we're excited to have Dr. Angela Tsai, O.D., F.V.A.O., from Premier Eyecare as our expert! We covered tons of eye care during our conversation. She broke down misinformation on conjuncti- vitis, a best practices timeline for getting your family's vision checked, shared her three eye care facts she wishes everyone knew and more!

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