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Dr. Toby Mandelman, Optometrist
School screenings are great for picking up common eye problems such as near-sightedness, but many children have more complex vision problems that can contribute to learning difficulties. It's wise to get a doctor's exam to detect these more complicated conditions, such as poor binocular vision or focusing fatigue.
Presbyopia is the natural aging of the eye lens and occurs in everyone. As we approach our late thirties and early forties, our eye lens does not change its focus as easily as it did in our youth. Early signs are eyestrain or eye fatigue at the end of the day. Once we've reached our late forties and early fifties, we start losing our ability to see clearly up close, and we may need the help of eyeglasses or contact lenses.
The good news is that with today's technology, we can correct these conditions better than ever before. There have been huge advances in both surgical procedures and refractive devices within the last 10 years. Today's spectacle and contact lenses offer computer-generated aspheric lenses to give us high-definition vision.
In fact, doctors now have multifocal contact lenses for presbyopic patients, which provide more natural vision than even multifocal glasses. Multifocal contacts are more natural -- you can see with both eyes in distance, intermediate, and near.
Multifocal contact lenses work very differently than multifocal glasses. With multifocal glasses, the top part has the distance optics and the bottom has the near optics, so if you want to see a label on the top shelf at the grocery store, you have to tilt your head back to get into the near optics of the lens. Multifocal contact lens works much differently. The center of the lens has aspheric optics that gradually changes from near to intermediate to distance. Your brain pays attention to the optics it wants, so you can see distance, near, and everywhere in between -- just like being 30 again.
Secondly, eat a healthy diet. Certain nutrients are particularly important for maintaining good retinal health and function. Antioxidants have been documented as critical for retinal health.
Lastly, don't smoke. Smoke not only irritates the eye, but one of the side effects of smoking is that it affects the blood vessels in the eye, reeking havoc on its physiology. Many people believe that carrots are good for the eyes, but spinach trumps carrots as being the best, so add dark leafy greens to your diet for the best eye health.