Dr. Lydia Lane Elected To The American Glaucoma Society

The physicians and staff of Little Rock Eye Clinic want ot congratulate Dr. Lydia Lane, on her recent election to the American Glaucoma Society.  She joins Dr. Charles Henry as one of the few Arkansans to be elected to the society. 

The American Glaucoma Society has multiple roles including research, education, clinical care, and patient advocacy.  For more information on AGS, go to www.americanglaucomasociety.net.

 

 

 

 

Is Your Child Ready For Contact Lenses?

By Dan Hennessey, O.D.

They are thin, clear and can balance perfectly on your fingertips. But for some parents, contact lenses are a heavy subject. The choice of letting a pre-teen or tween switch from glasses to contacts often comes down to one important factor: Are they ready?

There is no perfect age but a certain amount of maturity is needed when dealing with contact lenses. I have fitted contact lenses on children as young as eight, but the success rate rises dramatically at age 11 or 12. The child has to know how to care for the lenses themselves, without the assistance of a parent. The FDA recently reviewed medical records from 100 hospitals and found that 23 percent of contact lens injuries, such as infections and abrasions, involved children and teens. The findings support the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s long-standing position that “contact lenses are medical devices that require a prescription, proper fitting by an eye care professional and a commitment to proper care by the consumer. When children and teenagers use these devices, it is especially important that both children and caregivers understand the risks.”

Talking to your doctor about the best type of lens that will work both with your child’s vision correction needs and his or her habits is the first step.

To help decide if it’s time to visit the doctor we developed this quick quiz:

Kids and Contacts Quiz:

1. When it comes to hygiene rituals my child:

A. Brushes his/her teeth when I remind him/her

B. Is diligent about hygiene (and I’d hope to someday get my bathroom back)

C. What hygiene rituals?

2. My child wants contacts because he/she:

A. Has an older brother/sister who wears them

B. Needs a more practical solution on the soccer field

C. Wants to make his/her eyes look cool (see warning about colored lenses.)

3. My child often:

A. Swims

B. Talks about getting contacts

C. Has allergies, dry eye or suffers from frequent eye infections

4. My child has:

A. A habit of forgetting things like homework and appointments

B. Proven himself/herself to be responsible

C. Forgotten that they even wanted contacts

5. My child is good at:

A. Following my lead

B. Following directions on his/her own

C. Following the beat of a different drummer

If you picked mostly A: If you help your child FOCUS (i.e. helping him/her remember to take lenses out when swimming), contacts might be a good fit.

If you picked mostly B: It’s CLEAR, your child is ready for contacts.

If you picked mostly C: Your child might not be a good candidate for contacts.

Choosing contacts over glasses is a very personal choice. There is no right or wrong answer, only what works best for you and your child.

Contact Lens Terminology

  • Rigid Gas Permeable lenses (RGP): Durable lenses that typically provide excellent visual acuity but are often more difficult to adapt to.
  • Soft lenses (SCL): Lenses that provide very good comfort and vision and come in many versions.
  • Disposable lenses: SCL that are replaced on a scheduled basis – typically daily, bi-weekly or monthly. Today, virtually all SCL are disposable lenses.
  • Conventional lenses: Rarely used today, these are SCL that are replaced infrequently, about once a year. (A less healthy way to wear contact lenses)
  • Daily Wear lenses: Lenses (RGP and SCL) that are removed nightly, cleaned and disinfected.
  • Extended Wear lenses: Lenses (RGP and SCL) that are worn overnight for convenience. Removed at least weekly for cleaning and disinfection. Recommended less due to greater risk of complications and infections.
  • Toric lenses: RGP and SCL that correct astigmatism.
  • Bifocal and Multifocal lenses: RGP and SCL that correct presbyopia (the need for bifocals or reading glasses) in addition to any nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.

Warning About Cosmetic or Decorative Contact Lenses

Cosmetic or decorative contact lenses are colored contacts that change the appearance of your eye color, and in the case of circle lenses also make your iris appear bigger.

Decorative lenses are available by prescription and should only be worn after an eye exam and fitting by qualified eye care professional.

Over-the-counter decorative contacts, including circle lenses, are illegal and pose a serious danger to your eye heath. They can cause eye injury, eye infection and vision loss.

Children’s Headaches Rarely Indicate a Need for Eyeglasses

A new study provides the first clear evidence that vision or eye problems are rarely the cause of recurring headaches in children, even if the headaches usually strike while the child is doing schoolwork or other visual tasks.1 According to an AAO news release, many parents assume that frequent headaches mean their child needs glasses, so they ask their doctor to refer their child for an eye examination. This study was conducted by pediatric ophthalmologists who wanted to find reliable answers for parents, family doctors, and pediatricians facing this common health question.

 

In this retrospective study, which was conducted at the ophthalmology clinic of Albany Medical Center in New York, researchers reviewed the medical records of 158 children younger than 18 years who were seen at the clinic for frequent headaches from 2002 to 2011.  All of the children received complete eye examinations by the clinic’s ophthalmologists.    

 

No significant correlation was found between their frequent headaches and a need for vision correction, according to the news release. The researchers reached this conclusion by comparing the results of the clinic’s exams of the children with headaches to the records of their previous eye examinations and other relevant medical care. Ocular health and vision test results remained unchanged from earlier examinations for 75% of the children.  Also, children who already had eyeglasses were not found to need new prescriptions at the time they were seen at the clinic for headaches.  Although about 14% of the children reported that their headaches occurred while doing visual tasks like homework, and about 9% reported visual symptoms associated with their headaches, a need for vision correction did not appear to be the primary cause or a significant factor in any of these cases, according to the study.

 

The researchers considered it positive that most of the children’s headaches resolved over time.  Follow-up reports from parents showed that headaches improved in 76.4% of all study subjects, including those who did and those who did not receive new vision correction prescriptions. Children who received new prescriptions were not more likely than others to have their headaches improve. Assessing the causes of the headaches and addressing the children’s long-term outcomes were beyond the scope of this study.

 

“We hope our study will help reassure parents that in most cases, their children’s headaches are not related to vision or eye problems and that most headaches will clear up in time,” said Zachary Roth, MD, who led the research team. “The information should also be useful to family doctors and pediatricians in caring for children and parents who have this common health concern.”

 

About 30% of the children in the study had eye conditions that went beyond the need for vision correction, including strabismus, amblyopia, or other rarer, more serious conditions. Seventeen percent had a family history of migraine.  Because this was a retrospective study, the researchers were unable to connect these factors with headache causes.

 

  1. Roth Z. Headache and refractive errors in children.  Poster presented at:  The American Academy of Ophthalmology 2012 Joint Meeting & Subspecialty Day; November 12, 2012, Chicago, IL.

 

Article published in Advanced Ocular Care, November/December 2012 issue, Page 10.