Q: Why do my eyes water all the time? What can I do to make it stop?
A: Although it seems counterintuitive, watering is a sign of dry eye disease. When the eyes are dry, a signal is sent to the brain to trigger tearing. To stop the eyes from tearing we need to treat the dryness. There are many lifestyle factors that contribute to dry eye disease. For example, while watching television, using a computer, or reading we become so fixated that we do not blink as often as we should. Another example is spending time near a fan or in front of an air vent; this too can cause our tear film to dry up quickly. While there are several more reasons for dry eye disease to occur, the good news is that it can be treated. There are several drops, medications, and home remedies that can be used, and your optometrist can determine the treatment plan that is right for your type of dry eye disease.
Q: How does high blood pressure affect vision?
A: High blood pressure alone does not usually affect vision directly, however hypertension is a known risk factor in the onset and/or progression of other eye disease, such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration, as well as blocked veins and arteries in the retina or nerves of the eye that can severely affect vision. In malignant hypertension, very high blood pressure can damage organs, and may cause swelling of the macula and acute loss of vision.
Q: Do I need an optometrist or an ophthalmologist?
A: Both are eye doctors that diagnose and treat many of the same eye conditions. The American Optometric Association defines Doctors of Optometry (optometrists) as: primary health care professionals who examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as diagnose related systemic conditions. They can prescribe glasses, contact lenses, low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy and medications as well as perform certain procedures. The main difference between the two, is that ophthalmologists perform surgery, where an optometrist would not. Optometrists, however, would handle the pre-and post-operative care of these surgical patients; collecting accurate data, educating the patient, and ensuring proper healing after the procedure. In addition to specializing in eye examinations, and glasses and contact lens related services, an optometrist can treat most eye conditions like glaucoma, eye infections, allergic eye conditions, dry eyes, etc., including the use of topical or oral medications, if needed. A third “O” that often is overlooked is the optician. An optician is not a doctor, and they cannot examine your eye under their own license. However, a highly trained optician plays an indispensable role in the most successful eye doctor’s offices. An optician most often handles the optical, contact lens, and glasses side of things. Based on their vast knowledge of lenses, lens technology and frames, they manufacture eyeglasses, as well as assist in the selection of eyewear based on the requirements of each individual patient.