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Patient FAQ’s

Do you have questions regarding your eye care, visiting your eye doctor, or eye health? Dr. Altig has the answers! Read on for our patients most commonly asked questions. If your question is not listed below, please contact our office today, and we will be happy to answer your questions personally.

Q: If I don’t like to wear sunglasses what can happen to my eyes?

Dr. Altig: The biggest problem you will have is the increased probability of cataract formation, which is caused by UV light. Basically, cataracts are unavoidable. If you live on planet Earth, you will get cataracts. What changes is at what point in your life you will have to deal with them, sooner or later? The more UV light someone is exposed to, the sooner surgery will be necessary. Therefore, someone who does not wear sunglasses will need to have cataract surgery much sooner than someone who does.

Q: How do polarized sunglasses work?

Dr. Altig: Most sunglasses just diminish the amount of light that gets into the eye. Out of 55%-90% of the light that comes into the eye, only 5% gets into the eye. However, we really don’t need that. What we really need is to knock out reflective light/glare, which is what Polarized sunglasses do.

The way that polarized sunglasses work is they allow maybe 65% dark reduction, so 35% of the light is still getting into your eye, but none of its glare. Therefore, more light is getting to your eyes without the glare, and your vision is sharper, clearer and crisper. It’s similar to the difference in seeing during the day vs. during the night.

Ski goggles are polarized because there is all that reflected light and glare from the snow coming back up at you, and the polarized lens eliminates that.

The same is true for fishermen, or anyone who participates in water sports. With a regular pair of sunglasses, you will only see the glare and reflection off the top of the water and not into the water. However, because the polarized lenses eliminate that, (depending on the water visibility) then you will be able to see 10-15 ft down into the water. Fishermen learned this a long time ago and all good fishermen wear only polarized sunglasses.

Q: What is Glaucoma?

Dr. Altig: Glaucoma is the fluid in your eye that keeps the eye in a ball shape. the body either starts to manufacture too much of the fluid, or the drainage mechanism for the fluid (since the body is constantly manufacturing this fluid and draining it) can get clogged up. This will cause an increase in pressure, this pressure then cuts off the blood supply to the nerves of the eye. Then the nerves atrophy and die from lack of blood supply. When the nerves die out, the person will slowly lose their vision and go blind.

Q: Is There Prevention for Glaucoma?

Dr. Altig: You may think, “What can I do to prevent myself from getting glaucoma?”

I am sorry to say, there is no prevention for glaucoma. Regular and thorough comprehensive eye exams are essential in detection of the early stages of glaucoma. Every female over 30 years old should have yearly eye exams, and every male over 40 years old should have yearly eye exams. In every comprehensive eye exam, we do, we check for glaucoma. Vision insurance always covers the screening for glaucoma, but if glaucoma is detected, the treatment will then be covered by medical insurance, not the vision insurance.

Q: What Are My Treatment Options for Glaucoma?

Dr. Altig: There are several treatments available for glaucoma today. The vast majority of the treatments are eye drops. They will help to decrease the fluid manufactured by the eye, so the pressure in the eye does not rise. Some drops are used to increase the drainage in the eye, if the drainage mechanism of the eye is the cause of the glaucoma. If the drops are not effective, there are also ways of surgically increasing the drainage of the eye.

If the drops done work enough, pills may be given along with the eye drops. They also help to lessen the overproduction of fluid, taken usually two to four times a day. If you are prescribed pills, make sure to inform all of your doctors so if they need to prescribe medications to you, it will not cause any harmful interactions.

Laser surgery is also an option, as an intermediate step, however results from the laser surgery are variable. Your eye doctor will discuss with you to see which treatment options are best for your type of glaucoma.