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If you want to learn more about vision therapy, eye doctors, eye wear, contacts, optometry, eye glasses, lenses, frames, trends, you have come to the right place! We will periodically update our blog with new content to help educate those who may not be familiar with the world of optometry. If you have any questions, or have a specific topic you would like us to cover for our next blog, feel free to leave us a comment!

Ophthalmologist - is a medical doctor who specializes in the pathology of the eye. Their specialty includes treating the eye and performing surgeries to correct eye conditions. Ophthalmologists can also perform routine eye exams and prescribe glasses and contacts. Ophthalmologists are oftentimes involved in research regarding cures and causes of eye conditions. As an MD, they complete approximately 12-13 years of education, like any other MD. (American Academy of Ophthalmology aao.org)

Optometrist - is a doctor of optometry. They are the primary care professionals for your eyes. Optometrists focus on managing vision. They will diagnose vision problems, treat patients' visual needs using a wide range of practices from eyeglasses and contacts to vision therapy. Optometrists can also treat eye conditions and prescribe medications for the eye. They are not medical doctors. However, they are doctors of optometry. Optometrists will complete approximately 8 or more years of education focused on the health and treatment of the eye. (American Academy of Ophthalmology aao.org)

Optician - is the person who helps you pick out your glasses. Along with being your fashion consultant for eye wear, they can adjust your eyeglasses to give you that custom fit. Opticians also help you to select the right lenses for your needs and educate you on why these lenses are right for you. Some opticians can also manufacture your glasses. In some states, opticians can also assist the eye doctor by performing some simple tests prior to the eye exam, and they can also teach you how to insert and remove contact lenses properly for new contact lens wearers. Opticians are trained on the job and they can become certified by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO Certified). (American Academy of Ophthalmology aao.org)

When Should I See Each of them?

Optometrists are the primary eye care providers and they will refer you to see an ophthalmologist as needed. Ophthalmologists usually have sub-specialties and are referred to. You are always welcome to see an ophthalmologist. However, unless you have been referred to an ophthalmologist, it is recommended that you see an optometrist.

Think of it this way, you would not go to a cardiologist for your yearly physical. The same goes for eye doctors. You should see your optometrist every year for your routine eye exam and for emergent eye care, and they will refer you to an ophthalmologist as needed.

You will likely see an optician every time you visit the eye doctor. Whenever you pick out glasses and have them adjusted you will be working with and optician.

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You have just seen your eye doctor, you now have your prescription, you go to pick out a set of frames you like. After searching for just the right style, color and comfort, you find frames that you absolutely adore. They fit just within your budget. The optician fits them and you are ready to check out.

But wait! Now your optician starts asking about what kind of lenses you want for your new prescription glasses. Huh? Any good optician worth their salt will be able to explain the different kinds of lenses and what they do based on your personal preferences. But just for your own information so that you are not completely blindsided by completely new words and information, here is a list of common lens styles and add ons that your eye doctor or optician might bring up:

Glass vs polycarbonate - This has to do with the material in which your lens is made. Polycarbonate is a type of plastic, but is an impact resistant lens used in most safety glasses and 90% of glasses for kids. Although glass may be more scratch resistant, it is not used as much as polycarbonate lenses because it is noticeably heavier than polycarbonate lenses. Polycarbonate is the material used by the military in their eye wear because it is unmatched in its durability and weight.

Your eye doctor or optician is likely to suggest a glass lens for your eye glasses if you prioritize clarity and want something more scratch resistant.

Your eye doctor or optician is likely to suggest a polycarbonate lens for your eye glasses if you want something lighter, or if you tend to drop your eye glasses, as polycarbonate is more impact resistant. Your eye doctor or optician is very likely to suggest polycarbonate lenses for your kids.

Plastic or CR-39 - Plastic is one of the most inexpensive lenses on the market today. The plastic lens is actually named CR-39 which is an abbreviation for “Columbia Resin #39", which was the 39th formula of a thermosetting plastic developed by the Columbia Resins project in 1940. Plastic lenses are not as light or scratch resistant as polycarbonate, plastic lenses have one of the clearest optics, second only to glass.

Your eye doctor or optician is likely to suggest a plastic or CR-39 lens for your eye glasses if you prioritize clarity, but are concerned about the price of a glass lens.

Trivex - Trivex is a thin light weight lenses like polycarbonate, and are impact resistant lenses. The biggest difference is how they are made, which has big scary words like “urethane-based monomer,” “thermoplastic,” “cast molding process,” and “injection molding.” These are just fancy words for the way trivex and polycarbonate lenses are made. Trivex is made similarly to plastic lenses so they have the spectacular optical quality, but they have the scratch resistance and impact resistance much like polycarbonate lenses. Trivex is like the best of both worlds. The only real drawback is that it’s a little more limited in the strength of the lenses. That means if you have a stronger prescription this lens may not work for you but fear not, our amazing opticians can help you find the best lens for your eye wear.

Your eye doctor or optician is likely to suggest trivex for the clarity, unless your prescription requires a thicker lens. For those that are not already aware, the stronger prescription you have, the thicker your eye glass lens will be.

Mid-Index and High-Index - These lenses range from an index of 1.60 to 1.74. These numbers can be scary and confusing but really your optician will help you determine if you need these lenses and which one is best for you. These lenses can be used for any prescription but are most often used for medium strong to very strong prescriptions. These lenses will offer very clear optics almost as good as plastic, CR-39 lenses, and help people get the thinnest lenses for those stronger prescriptions so you don't have the “Coke-bottle” lens the people are so afraid of.

Your eye doctor or optician is likely to suggest getting a mid-index or high-index lens for those with a stronger prescription to help reduce the thickness of the lens.

Anti-reflective or non-Glare - This is the lens treatment that is done to the lens so you don’t see the glare on your lenses, or helps cut the glare from reflective surfaces. This helps to reduce eye strain and eye pain. Any good optician will do whatever it takes to get you into a pair of glasses that has anti-reflective on it because it makes a huge difference. Fun fact, if you use mid-index or high-index lenses you should always have anti-reflective lenses because those lenses are so compact that they let a lot more light into your eyes including the light that causes eye pain and eye strain.

Myths about Anti-reflective-

  • “Anti-reflective lenses scratch easier.” FALSE! Scratches will show up more on anti-reflective lense but they don’t scratch easier. With proper care your glasses shouldn't scratch, unless you are in a sand storm. But the scratch resistance of an anti-reflective lens is based on the lens material used before the anti-reflective is applied.

  • “The anti-reflective coating peels off so easily.” FALSE! Anti-reflective treatments do not peel off. The scratch coating is what peels off, and this happens in 1 of 2 ways:

  • The hard coating was defective. If this is the case, this will happen within a few months of the purchase of the glasses.

  • The lenses have very deep scratches that caused the lenses and the hard coat to separate from each other. With proper care this should not happen. Your optician can teach you how to care for your glasses properly.

  • “Anti-reflective lenses have the bright blue reflections on the lenses.” FALSE! That bright blue reflection is the blue light filter that protects your eyes from the harmful blue light that is emitted from all electronic devices. Real anti-reflective lenses will have a very faint purple or green reflection under direct light but it is not very noticeable.

Many eye doctors and opticians are likely to suggest getting an anti-reflective coating to all of their patients in order to reduce glare and strain in their eye glasses, which is better for your overall eye health.

Blue light - Blue light is a real thing and is both good and bad. Most people do not know this, but most of our blue light exposure comes from the sun. The sun gives us good natural blue light. The artificial blue light is the bad kind. This is the blue light we get from computers, televisions, and all mobile devices. Even if you have a blue light filter on your screen you are still being exposed to artificial blue light. Artificial blue light is one of the lights that cause eye pain and eye strain but most importantly, it stops the natural production of melatonin in your body so your body does not wind down naturally. People who suffer from insomnia oftentimes are exposed to too much blue light. Blue light glasses will help you filter that light out so your body can naturally produce melatonin.

Your eye doctor is likely to suggest a blue light filter in your eye glasses if you are experiencing a lot of eye strain and work on a computer all day.

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Updated: May 21, 2020

Looking for ways to help your child who struggles with reading? Vision therapy with a trained eye doctor is just one possible solution you may not have thought of.

Covid-19 has changed a lot about the world we live in. One of those things, for good or bad, is that schools have closed and parents have found themselves trying to help educate their children at home. You probably started without much knowledge on what to do to help guide your children with their online education and learning from home. You probably learned plenty of new systems, tips and tricks along the way to help your children (and maintain your own sanity). While some things have become easier, it is likely that some things are still a struggle, and you may find yourself stumbling along the way.

One of the fundamental building blocks to your child’s education is the ability to read. Did you know that your eye doctor may be able to help? Even children who have no problems seeing and may not even need glasses can still struggle with focusing on words on a page, or numbers in math. This has to do with ocular strength and muscles in the eyes. The proper eye care and vision therapy could help strengthen those muscles.

How do you know if it’s time to see an eye doctor? If your child struggles with reading, numbers, or looking at things up close, vision therapy could be right for them. A likely indicator your child may be struggling with their vision (if they are otherwise unable to vocalize it to you themselves) is that while they pick up on learning that is hands on, or abstract, giving them something to read or focus on in front of them causes frustration. This may be a sign that the ocular muscles in their eyes are not as strong as they could be and straining the eyes to focus at different depths could be frustrating. Your child will try to avoid this activity and move away from wanting to focus on the book in front of them. An eye doctor who specializes in vision therapy can help determine whether this may be the case and whether or not vision therapy could be a potential solution for your child.

Just like physical therapy strengthens parts of the body that have become weak, it is possible that your child’s ocular muscles could be weak, making reading difficult, even with perfect sight. The majority of eye doctors agree that children can start benefiting from vision therapy as early as age seven, but it is possible for some to benefit a little sooner depending on their individual circumstances. Vision therapy can still be beneficial to children up through high school.

By visiting your eye doctor, you can schedule a screening to evaluate whether or not your child could potentially benefit from vision therapy. If your child can benefit, your eye doctor will schedule routine vision therapy treatments (similar to physical therapy) for a designated period of time depending on the specific needs of your child.

Doctor Melton at Choice Eye Center is one of the few optometrists in Utah to also specialize in vision therapy. If you have any more questions about vision therapy or want to know more, visit our Vision Therapy page that has a list of frequently asked questions and answers. You can also call or email to schedule a consultation with our eye doctor, Dr. Melton, OD.

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Phone: 801-987-8698

E-mail: choiceeyecenter@gmail.com

Address: 12272 S 800 E, Ste A, Draper, UT 84020

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