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Childhood Myopia Is in Crisis Mode on a Global Scale

When it comes to the prevalence of myopia (nearsightedness), the statistics are staggering. By 2050, nearly half of the world’s population—about 5 billion people—will be myopic. Below are a few useful tips to help you prevent your child from being part of that statistic.

What Is Myopia?

Myopia occurs when the eye elongates, causing light rays to focus in front of the light-sensitive retina rather than directly on it, while looking at something far away. So, people with nearsightedness perceive distant objects as blurred while close-up objects can remain clear. 

Myopia tends to develop during childhood, when the eyeballs rapidly grow (along with the rest of the body), mainly between the ages of 8-18. It can worsen slowly or quickly, but it is not simply an inconvenience. People with progressive myopia are more likely to develop serious eye diseases like cataracts, retinal detachment, macular degeneration and glaucoma later in life—conditions which may lead to permanent loss of vision and even blindness.

How To Know Whether Your Child Is Myopic

Below are some telltale signs to watch for: 

  • Blurred distance vision – Objects in the distance are blurred; kids may complain that they can’t see the board
  • Headaches – When myopia isn’t corrected, it can cause eye strain and headaches.
  • Head tilting or squinting – If your child squints or tilts his or her head while watching TV, for example, it may be a symptom of myopia. 
  • Looking at objects too closely – If you notice your child moving closer to the TV or squinting as they try to see the writing on the board, it may indicate myopia.

What Parents Can Do to Slow Their Child’s Myopia Progression 

  • Encourage your child to go outdoors for at least 90 minutes a day, preferably in the sunshine. Studies show that playing outdoors reduces the risk of developing myopia and slows its progression. 
  • Limit the amount of time your child spends staring at a screen, reading and doing close work such as homework. 
  • When your child uses a digital screen, make sure that it isn’t too close to the face.
  • Teach the 20-20-20 rule: During screen time, take a break every 20 minutes to look at an object across the room or out the window about 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.

How We Can Help

Certain eye doctors offer treatment methods known as myopia control or myopia management. These include orthokeratology, bifocal or multifocal contact lenses, and eye drops like low dose atropine. Regular eyeglasses and contact lenses don’t prevent its progression but do correct myopia so the child can see and function normally.

If your child shows signs of myopia, schedule an eye exam with Next Level Eye Care in Jessup as soon as possible.

Q&A

How is myopia diagnosed?

Your child’s eye doctor will perform a thorough pediatric eye exam to diagnose myopia, which often includes a visual acuity test, where the eye doctor will use an eye chart made up of letters of varied sizes. If the test results indicate myopia, then the optometrist may shine a light into their eyes and evaluate the reflection off the retina to determine the degree of refractive error for their prescription.

Can myopia lead to blindness?

High myopia may increase your child’s risk of developing more serious eye conditions later in life, such as cataracts, retinal detachment and glaucoma. Left untreated, high myopia complications can sometimes lead to blindness—which is why routine eye exams are critical.

Why Are Dilated Eye Exams So Important?

Having your eyes dilated during an eye exam may seem like a nuisance. But when you consider the benefits of a dilated eye exam, the temporary blurred vision and sensitivity to light that typically follow are definitely worth it.  

What Are Dilated Eye Exams? 

At some point during a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist will shine a bright light into your eyes to examine the back of your eye, called the retina. The problem is that bright light causes the size of the pupil’s opening to shrink, which makes it hard for the optometrist to see a large portion of the retina. 

That’s why eye doctors apply special eye drops in each eye to keep the pupils open. A dilated pupil allows for a much more accurate assessment of your eye’s structures, including the focusing lens, blood vessels and tissues at the back of the eye called the retina, as well as the optic nerve and macula. 

Dilating the eyes makes it easier for your optometrist to detect the following conditions and diseases: 

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma 
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Macular degeneration
  • Retinal tumor 
  • Retinal detachment or retinal tears
  • Eye floaters

It’s important to note that many of these conditions can develop without noticeable symptoms, until they cause vision loss at which point treatment may be more challenging, making dilated eye exams all the more crucial. 

The Dilation Process

First, your eye doctor will apply eye drops to each eye to trigger dilation of the pupil. Your eyes should be fully dilated about 10-20 minutes later. 

Your eyes will remain dilated for 4-6 hours, and during this time you may be sensitive to light. That’s because the larger pupil allows more light than usual to enter the eye. Many patients find it more comfortable to wear sunglasses until their eyes return to normal. 

Reading and using a computer may be difficult with dilated eyes, and your vision may be blurred. Some patients report feeling a tightening sensation in their eyelids, or headaches. 

Dilated eye exams are a crucial part of keeping your eyes healthy. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call Next Level Eye Care in Jessup today!

Q&A

#1: At what age should one have a dilated eye exam? 

You should have your dilated eye exam no matter your age. Most eye doctors will dilate a new patient at their first exam regardless of age to get a baseline of their retinal health.

#2: Will I be able to return to work after a dilated eye exam? 

Everyone reacts differently, so it’s hard to tell. If your job requires you to focus on small print or detail, it may be challenging. Typing and writing may also be difficult with dilated pupils. To be on the safe side, book your appointment at the end of your work day, clear your schedule after your eye exam and only plan to do activities which aren’t visually demanding. 

Contact Lenses Wear & Care Do’s and Don’ts

Contact Lenses & Eye Care in [tokes name='location']

Contact Lenses & Eye Care

Here’s a shocking statistic: According to the CDC, more than 99% of the people who wear contact lenses in the U.S. engage in at least one risky or unsanitary behavior with their lenses!

Contact lenses are a safe and convenient way to correct your vision — as long as they are worn and cared for properly. Engaging in risky behavior when it comes to your lenses can put you at risk of developing eye infections or cause eye damage.

So, if you wear contact lenses, continue reading to learn the correct contact lens protocol. To ask any questions about your contact lenses or schedule a contact lens consultation, call Next Level Eye Care in Jessup today.

The Do’s of Contact Lens Wear and Care

  • We can’t stress this enough: Do wash your hands! Before touching your eyes or handling your lenses, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. After rinsing, dry your hands on a paper towel or clean lint-free cloth.
  • Do disinfect your lenses when you remove them from your eyes, using only solutions recommended by your eye doctor.
  • Do remove your contact lenses before sleeping, swimming, and showering. Contact lenses and water do not mix due to the risk of infection.
  • Do clean your contact lens case weekly with warm soapy water and replace it every 3 months.
  • Do carry a pair of glasses with you in case you need to remove your contact lenses.

The Don’ts of Contact Lens Wear and Care

  • Don’t overwear your lenses. Replace them as often as your doctor recommends. So, replace your monthlies every month, your weeklies every week, and discard daily lenses before bedtime.
  • Don’t rub your eyes while wearing contact lenses.
  • Don’t use tap water or saliva (ever!) to rinse or rewet your contact lenses.
  • Don’t allow makeup to get into your eyes when wearing contact lenses.
  • Don’t share your contact lenses with anyone — seriously, don’t.
  • Don’t wear your contact lenses if your eyes feel irritated or appear red. Give them a chance to de-stress before inserting them back into your eyes.
  • Don’t skip your annual eye exam. Your eyes will thank you.

Frequently Asked Questions – Contact Lenses

 

Q: What are the latest trends in contact lenses?

  • A: Many contact lens manufacturers are now producing “daily” disposable contact lenses. These are lenses that are inserted in the morning and thrown away at night. This style of contact lens wear is both convenient and healthy. With these lenses, patients buy fewer solutions and don’t have to keep up with how old their lenses are and when to change them. Daily disposables are also beneficial in causing less allergy and dryness while reducing the risks of infection. Daily lenses are now offered in all types of prescriptions from distance vision to astigmatism and multifocal/bifocal prescriptions.

Q: Is wearing contacts better for sports activity?

  • A: Yes, wearing contacts provide a wider field of view thus preventing avoidable injuries. Prescription sports goggles work well but when you’re actively sweating your goggles will fog up and start to move around a lot. I recommend contacts a lot for my active patients.

Contact Lenses – Prescription Eyeglasses – Computer Glasses – Eye Exams


Whether you wear contact lenses or not, regular eye exams can help detect eye disease early and give you a chance to discuss all of your eye-related concerns with your eye doctor. To schedule your annual eye exam, call Next Level Eye Care in Jessup today!

What Are The Top Benefits To Wearing Computer Glasses?

Computer Glasses and Eye Exams in Jessup

Computer Glasses & Eye Exams

What Are Computer Glasses and Do They Make a Difference?

Many people spend most of their waking hours staring at screens, exposing them to the potentially harmful effects of blue light. In fact, if you’re reading this on one of your screens, you’re exposing your eyes to blue light at this very moment.

All this screen time comes at a price: It can cause headaches, eyestrain, insomnia, and possibly eye disease. Blue light glasses (also known as computer glasses) have been touted to combat these problems head-on. But do they really make a difference to those who spend many hours a day staring at screens?

What Is Blue Light?

Blue light is a color in the light spectrum visible to human eyes — though it doesn’t actually appear blue to the naked eye.

It’s a short wavelength that produces high amounts of energy (from 400 to 500 nanometers) and is often referred to as high-energy visible light (HEV). In fact, any source of visible light emits blue light, whether it’s an artificial source like a digital screen or a light bulb, or a natural one, like the sun.

How Does Blue Light Affect Your Eyes?

It Obstructs the Wake/Sleep Cycle

Prior to the invention of artificial light, the sun regulated our sleep schedules. After sundown, the darkness signals to our bodies that it’s time to produce melatonin, the hormone responsible for enabling us to sleep.

Nowadays, we’re exposed to blue light throughout the day and late into the night. While exposure to any light in the evening hours delays the production of melatonin, blue light waves can be particularly problematic as they radically disrupt these signals, causing less melatonin to be generated.

This essentially throws off our natural body clocks, since the brain associates blue light with daytime, making it harder to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning.

It May Increase the Risk of Macular Degeneration

A 2018 study by the University of Alcalá suggests that a high level of blue light exposure may increase one’s risk of macular degeneration later in life, which can lead to permanent vision loss.

This is because blue light penetrates right through the cornea to the retina, damaging light-sensitive cells in the retina.

It Can Potentially Cause Eye Strain

Blue light scatters more easily than other visible light. This unfocused light reduces contrast and can contribute to digital eye strain, characterized by headaches, neck pain, and blurred vision.

That’s where computer glasses come in.

Research has indicated that lenses that filter out blue light significantly increase contrast. Computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses may improve comfort levels when viewing digital devices for prolonged periods of time.

Are There Benefits to Wearing Computer Glasses?

As mentioned above, computer glasses reduce blue light exposure from computer screens and other digital devices. But are they worth getting?

According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, blue light can cause retinal damage “at greater intensities,” but the amount of light emitted by screens is quite low. Whether there is a cumulative effect requires further research.

Getting Computer Glasses

If you decide to get blue-light blocking lenses, you can find stylish options with or without a prescription. So if you’re farsighted and wear progressive lenses or bifocals, you can get single-lens computer glasses to match your prescription.

You may want to consider getting photochromic lenses, as they provide protection from both UV and blue light, whether indoors or out in the sun. These lenses seamlessly and automatically darken when exposed to UV rays outdoors, and become clear again when indoors.

Next Level Eye Care in Jessup offers a variety of computer glasses and lenses. Contact us today to discuss the optimal lens features for your lifestyle and get fitted for your perfect pair.

Computer Glasses & Digital Eye Strain | Next Level Eye Care

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Stephanie Hanson

 

Q: What Are Computer Glasses and Do They Make a Difference?

  • A: Many people spend most of their waking hours staring at screens, exposing them to the potentially harmful effects of blue light. In fact, if you’re reading this on one of your screens, you’re exposing your eyes to blue light at this very moment.All this screen time comes at a price: It can cause headaches, eyestrain, insomnia, and possibly eye disease. Blue light glasses (also known as computer glasses) have been touted to combat these problems head-on. But do they really make a difference to those who spend many hours a day staring at screens?

Q: What Is Blue Light?

  • A: Blue light is a color in the light spectrum visible to human eyes — though it doesn’t actually appear blue to the naked eye.It’s a short wavelength that produces high amounts of energy (from 400 to 500 nanometers) and is often referred to as high-energy visible light (HEV). In fact, any source of visible light emits blue light, whether it’s an artificial source like a digital screen or a light bulb, or a natural one, like the sun.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Cranston, RI. Visit Bing for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


3 Reasons to Avoid Buying Cheap Glasses

Prescription Eyeglasses at Next Level Eye Care

Best Prescription Eyeglasses at Next Level Eye Care

Tempting as it may be to buy your prescription eyeglasses on the cheap, doing so can waste your money and endanger your eye health in the long run.

Here are 3 reasons to avoid buying cheap eyeglasses:

Poor Vision Correction

If your prescription is complicated, online retailers may not be able to produce the lenses needed to match your prescription. And prescription glasses that don’t match your vision requirements can cause more harm than good. It can lead to headaches, eye strain, and subpar vision, making everyday tasks like reading, working on a computer, and driving difficult.

Incorrect Fit

Purchasing eyewear from online retailers is often problematic as you aren’t being fitted by an actual person, and online face shape guides and measurements are notoriously inaccurate. In contrast, eye doctors and their qualified staff work face-to-face to take exact measurements to ensure that your glasses fit you perfectly, offering optimal comfort and clarity in your daily life. Moreover, any adjustments you may require can be done directly at the eye doctor’s office.

Poor UV Protection

When purchasing sunglasses, it’s important not to settle on a cheaper pair. While cheaper sunglasses may look and feel like luxury quality sunglasses, they don’t always offer the same level of protection. Protecting your eyes from UV rays is critical to protecting you from sight-robbing diseases, such as macular degeneration.

People commonly (and mistakenly) believe that the darker the lenses, the higher the level of protection from UV rays. Sunglasses labeled “polarized” and “100% UV protected” may still allow blue light and other harmful violet light to penetrate through the lenses. This is why it’s important to speak with your eye doctor to learn more about which lenses offer the best protection for your lifestyle needs.

So schedule an eye exam with Dr. Alizzi Stanchel at Next Level Eye Care today and find the perfect pair for you!

Frequently Asked Questions About Prescription Eyeglasses

Q: How can I get rid of reflections on my glasses?

A: If you’re experiencing annoying reflections on your lenses, have your optician replace the lenses with ones that include an anti-reflective coating (AR coating). Though this will come at an extra cost, the AR coating will help you see more clearly, let others see your eyes better, and eliminate annoying glare spots on your lenses.

Q: Why do my eyeglasses cause pain behind my ears?

A: If the arms of the frame are bent too tightly around the ears, you will experience aches behind the ears. Ask your optician to loosen the arms and adjust them as needed for maximum comfort.

Q: Are There Benefits to Wearing Computer Glasses?

A: Computer glasses reduce blue light exposure from computer screens and other digital devices.
If you decide to get blue-light blocking lenses, you can find stylish options with or without a prescription. So if you’re farsighted and wear progressive lenses or bifocals, you can get single-lens computer glasses to match your prescription.

Q: Why should I see an eye doctor when I can easily pick up an inexpensive pair of eyeglasses at the store?

A: You should visit your eye doctor for several reasons. Routine eye exams are the only way to detect underlying diseases (i.e. glaucoma) in their early stages. When caught early, they can be more effectively treated before permanent vision loss occurs. Furthermore, the one-size-fits-all reading glasses that you find at a regular store don’t correct astigmatism or are custom prescriptions made for your vision needs.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Jessup, Maryland. Visit Next Level Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.



The Importance of Eye Exams for Contact Lenses

Are you planning on wearing contact lenses for the first time? Do you need a new contact lens prescription? Are your current contacts not as comfortable as you wish they were? Your eye doctor will perform a contact lens eye exam to ensure that your vision with contacts is clear, comfortable, and safe, providing you with the right lenses for you. 

What is a contact lens exam?

If you wear or want to wear contact lenses, you’ll need an eye exam for contact lenses, in addition to your regular comprehensive eye exam. Special tests are performed during a contact lens exam to evaluate your eyes and vision with contacts. 

Are eyeglass prescriptions the same as contact lens prescriptions?

No, a prescription for glasses cannot be used for contact lenses. An eyeglass prescription is for lenses that are positioned approximately 12 millimeters from your eyes, whereas a contact lens prescription is measured for lenses that sit directly on the surface of your eye.

The prescription for contact lenses also includes the brand, lens diameter and curvature, which are not part of an eyeglass prescription.

Contact lenses fitting: One size does not fit all

One contact lens size doesn’t fit all eyes. If a contact lens is too flat or too steep for your corneal shape, you may experience discomfort or even eye damage. Your eye doctor will take certain measurements to determine the best contact lens design and fit for your eyes. 

Corneal curvature

This measures the curvature of your eye’s clear front surface (cornea) so the eye doctor can select the optimal curve and diameter for your contact lenses. If your eye’s surface is somewhat irregular because of astigmatism or other conditions, you may require a special lens. 

Pupil and iris size

The size of your pupil and iris (the colored part of your eye) is also important in determining the best contact lens design.

Tear film evaluation

This test evaluates the quality of your tears, to determine whether they will be able to keep contact lenses and your cornea sufficiently hydrated throughout the day. If you have dry eye disease, standard contact lenses may not be right for you. 

Trial lenses

Following the eye exam, you will be provided with trial lenses to verify that the chosen contact lenses offer clear and comfortable vision. This will allow the eye doctor to make any fine adjustments to the prescription.

Contact Lens Eye Exam Near You

Wearing the correct contact lenses for your eyes allows you to enjoy all of the benefits of wearing contacts, while keeping your eyes healthy and comfortable. 

If you’re already a contact lens wearer, visit your eye doctor at least once a year to make sure the lenses are still providing you with optimum vision and comfort.

Contact Next Level Eye Care in Jessup to book your contact lens eye exam today!