Optical Myths: Let’s Discuss… (Vol. 1)

So, we’ve all heard or said something about eyewear that may not be quite so accurate and we may not know exactly where it came from. There are things that seem to just “Stick” in our memory without any real knowledge of whether or not it’s true; but it SOUNDS plausible.

In this post, we’ll explore a few of these items and give some insight on the truth behind some of the “Optical Myths”.

So, let’s uncover some optical items that are widely spoken about but may not be completely accurate;

“Wearing my prescription eyeglasses are making my vision worse”

“This is one of the most common myths we encounter. As we age, our vision normally changes as our natural lens inside our eye changes and your vision can get worse on its own. Glasses are not contributing to any degeneration of your eyesight. Glasses refract your vision by simply adjusting the direction of light onto your retina. Your vision may appear “worse” after wearing the glasses, but that’s only because your perception is changing now that you are getting used to seeing things more clearly.” – Dr. Dana Gampel, O.D.

“The medicine in my lenses aren’t strong enough”

“Glasses don’t actually have “medicine” in them. The lenses inside your spectacles are shaped in a way that bends light entering your eye to focus it directly on your retina. This is how it creates a clear image for your brain to process.” -Dr. Dana Gampel, O.D.

As well as prescription glasses not having “medicine” in them, it’s important to note that the discomfort or ineffectiveness you may be experiencing with your eyewear may simply be the need for a new prescription. Consult your local Optometrist or a trusted Licensed Optician to schedule a comprehensive eye exam at your earliest convenience.

“Why can’t I just get over-the-counter distance glasses?”

“Over the Counter distance glasses may not correct your vision to the extent needed. These glasses will not correct for myopia and do not include any correction for astigmatism. Also, these glasses cannot accommodate for those who have a different prescription for each eye.” -Dr. Dana Gampel, O.D.

Over the Counter glasses are basically used for those that need reading glasses, helping them read or see smaller items up close. There are a few common names for over-the-counter glasses, such as “cheater readers”, “readers”, and “magnifiers” just to name a few.

As always, “To look and see your best, a Licensed Optician is your Vision Expert”. Contact your Eye Doctor or a trusted Licensed Optician for more information about eye exams and overall eye health.

Lenses: Blue Light Filtering

So… Blue Light Filtering Lenses… What are they? How do they protect you? Do you “need” them? Do they even work?!

Let’s chat about what “Blue Light” is, first and foremost. Without getting too wrapped up in the science of Blue Light technology, Blue Light is a High-Energy Visible (HEV) Light with one of the shortest visible wavelengths viewable by the eye. The wavelength of Blue Light is between 380nm to ~500nm.

With that being said, Blue Light is not your enemy. Let’s think of it as a “Double Edged Sword”. While Blue Light coming from it’s most natural source (The Sun) is good for you, our many other artificial sources (Cell Phones, Tablets, Fluorescent Lighting, etc.) introduce an inundation of Blue Light to our eyes, more than we are equipped to handle. Exposure to too much Blue Light over a prolonged period of time can potentially lead to Macular Degeneration, Eye Fatigue and Decreased REM sleep, to name a few.

There are two main lens technologies that address our Blue Light Dilemma:

  • Indoor Blue Light Filtering
  • Outdoor Blue Light Filtering

Indoor Blue Light Filtering

Indoor Blue Light Filtering Lenses are simply lenses that are suitable for use when the wearer is not outdoors… as the name states. These lenses can be, but not limited to, Light Responsive (Photochromic)[I/O] Lenses, a Clear Blue Light Filtering Lens, and amber Blue Light Filtering Lens and Special Coatings that Filter/Block Blue Light.

All of these options would be suitable for indoor use and would not impede on the clarity of your vision indoors.

Outdoor Blue Light Filtering

The outdoor Blue Light Filtering options are basically all of the lenses that help protect your eyes from the sun and any outdoor HEV sources. These lenses can be, but aren’t limited to, Polarized Sun Lenses, Light Responsive Lenses (I/O) and Mirror/Flash Mirror Lenses to name a few.

The absolute best protection for your eyes outdoors is with a pair of Polarized Sunglasses. Polarization is not just the best Blue Light Filtering lens option for outdoor use, it also blocks out the “Blinding Glare” from the sun and reflective surfaces while keeping your eyes relaxed and protected. *Please don’t wear sunglasses at night while driving. Wearing sunglasses while driving at night can hinder your vision and prove to be quite hazardous.

So, do you NEED Blue Light Filtering Lenses (Indoors)?

The short answer is “No”, you don’t NEED the lenses, HOWEVER, the long answer would include all the benefits you’d be taking advantage of if you do use them. “You only get one set of eyes” a mentor of mine used to say. Why not take precautionary steps to keep them in great shape? The usage of Blue Light Filtering (indoor) Lenses would only benefit the user, with no discernible drawbacks.

Do you NEED Blue Light Filtering Lenses (Outdoor)?

The short answer is “Absolutely”, without a doubt. Polarized Sun Lenses are the best protection for your eyes while you’re outdoors, whether that be on the Water, Snow, Fields or any outdoor environment, Polarized Protection is always the best option for outdoor wear. Each Polarized lens color option has it’s benefits when worn. Consult your local Optical Shop or a trusted Licensed Optician to help you determine which Polarized lens option is best for your needs. “To look and see your best, a Licensed Optician is your vision expert”.

Glasses: How to read your Eyeglass (Spectacle) Prescription

*Sample Prescription*

So, you’ve got a new prescription for glasses and you’re not quite sure what it all means. Maybe you’d like to order glasses online or you just want to be informed on what your prescription is actually saying about your vision.

Eye Doctor’s prescriptions can look very different depending on the office you visit. Although the physical prescription may look a bit different, generally it will have all the items necessary to produce you a pair of glasses with your prescribed prescription.

Let’s dig into how to read your Spectacle Prescription and what everything on it means.

(Above is a sample eyeglass prescription. Each section is lettered to help you identify what each section is for)

Let’s dig in:

A: This is where the distinction between eyes are. “O.D.” relates to your Right Eye and “O.S.” relates to your Left Eye. The “O.D.” and “O.S.” are both acronyms, meaning “Oculus Dextrus” and “Oculus Sinister” in Latin.

B: This is where the “Sphere Power” of your prescription is placed. These figures generally go from “+/- 0.00 or PLANO” and usually increase by “+/- 0.25” increments.

C: This is the cylindrical portion of your prescription. Not everyone will have figures in this section. This is where your doctor will document the Astigmatism portion of your prescription, if you indeed have astigmatism.

D: This portion is your optical axis. The figures in this area go from 1-Degree up to 180-Degrees. The only time you will see any figures in this are is if you have a Cylindrical Power (Astigmatism). The axis, simply put, references the light passing through your eye at a certain angle. If there are no Cylinder Power values on your prescription for a certain eye, there should be no Axis values.

E: “ADD” or “ADD Power” is for patients that need a bit more assistance seeing up close. The “ADD Power” is exactly as it sounds; its additional strength ADDED to your prescription to help you see up close. This section will not have values for every patient, just those that require that additional help. The “ADD Power” will usually be in decimal form, ranging from +0.75 and usually up to as much as +4.00 and generally increases in 0.25 increments. If a patient does require an ADD Power above a +4.00 or below +0.75, your Licensed Optician can make the necessary arrangements to get any specialty lenses ordered for you.

F: The “Prism” on a prescription is for patients that require a specific type of vision correction. Usually, when Prism is prescribed, the doctor it trying to correct an ocular anomaly. Prism can be prescribed for many reason, but some common reasons are to correct double vision, to help visually balance the appearance of your eyes (for patients with ocular imbalances), for vision therapy and many other optical anomalies. A Prism tests will usually be performed by your doctor during your eye exam. Not everyone requires Prism in their prescription, so you likely wont see any figures in this field of your prescription. If you do require Prism, partner with your Eye Doctor and your Licensed Optician to ensure the correct prism is ordered for you as well as ensuring the aesthetic look of your eyewear will be appealing.

G: The “P.D.” or “Pupillary Distance” references the distance from the center of one pupil to the center of the other, in millimeters. When taken correctly, this measurement will aid in getting the Optical Center (the pin-point of your prescription) centered over your pupil so you can see the sharpest. Many times, the doctor will not have this measurement included in the prescription and you may have to get an optical professional to measure this for you. The “P.D.” isn’t generally something the doctor looks for during an Eye Exam, mainly because the distance between your eyes don’t really change what your prescription will be. The Pupillary Distance is generally taken by the Optician or Optical Staff during a transaction for glasses. The PD is a measurement necessary for the processing of prescription eyewear. If your doctor supplies the Pupillary Distance as a part of your prescription, keep it handy. If it is not supplied on your prescription, your Licensed Optician or Optical Expert can take this measurement for you as you place your order.

There are many ways to get a Pupillary Distance (Virtual, Digital, Predictive, etc.), but the most accurate will always be one taken by an Optical Professional.

H: In this section, this is where the doctor will usually make any additional recommendations for your prescription or vision needs. Sometimes, instead of “Notes”, this section may say “Recommendations” or something that will allow the doctor give additional information. This is where the doctor can communicate with the Optical Expert on what additional items are recommended for the patient’s vision care needs. Some items may be optional and others may be a vision necessity. Consult your Eye Doctor and your Licensed Optician to determine which items are a necessity and which are an option.