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What is Myopia & Can it be Cured?

What is Myopia & Can it be Cured?

blurry landscape with hand holding vision correcting glasses

Can Your Distance Vision be Saved?

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is on the rise and it is the most common eye refractive error in both children and adults.

Myopia is regarded as a global epidemic. In fact, a recent study by the American Optometric Association concluded that more than 40% of Americans are myopic and that number is increasing – especially among school-aged children. It was reported that 1 in 4 parents have a child with myopia and approximately 75% of those children were diagnosed between the ages of 3 and 12.

These numbers are alarming; one study found that the prevalence of myopia has increased by 8% over the last 15 years. So with all the modern advancements in eye care, can myopia be cured? And if not cured, managed or treated successfully? Let’s uncover what can be done for myopic children and adults in order to restore distance vision.

Can Myopia be Cured?

As of 2020, there is no cure for myopia. However, some treatments and management strategies can help restore distance vision. The success of these strategies depends largely on whether the patient is an adult or a child.

Before we get into treatments, let’s discuss myopia in more detail so we understand how it starts and why it develops.

What is Myopia?

Myopia is a refractive error that allows individuals to see objects up close, while distant objects appear blurry and out of focus.

The reason for this focus error is the shape of the eye: as the eye develops and grows, it can become elongated or the surface of the eyeball may become curved. This causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina, instead of directly on its surface. [Text Wrapping Break]

eye structures showing normal vision verses myopia

Myopia Peaks At Adulthood

Although classified as a progressive condition, the growth stage of the eye is typically completed by early adulthood. This means the natural shape of the eye is established and should not become more curved or elongated over time. Whatever degree of myopia an individual has at early adulthood should stay relatively stable, and changes in distance vision generally do not continue to progress.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. Myopia can sometimes worsen in adulthood for many reasons, including:

  • Over-focus on close objects
  • Traumatic brain injury or eye trauma
  • Health conditions such as diabetes

    If this is the case, contact your optometrist. There are several specialized and custom treatments that can help patients in these unique situations.

    Myopia Management & Treatment

    Although there isn’t a cure for myopia, there are several management and control methods that are proving successful. These differ according to your age and the developmental stage of your eyes.

    Adult Myopia Control

    For adults whose eyes have fully matured, there are a few myopia control options available:

    Laser Eye Surgery

    For adults, myopia can be reversed with refractive surgery, also called laser eye surgery. A laser is used to reshape the corneal eye tissue and correct the refractive error.

    Laser eye surgery is not recommended for children. In fact, the FDA has not approved laser surgery for anyone under the age of 18.

    Prescription Lenses

    Wearing corrective glasses or contact lenses corrects myopia by changing where light hits the retina, turning previously blurry images into clear ones. Prescription lenses bend the light, allowing it to focus properly on the focal point of the retina.

    Myopia Control for Children

    Myopia in children works a little bit differently. Because the eye is in an active growth state, the progression of myopia may be slowed until a child’s eyes stop growing.

    If your child has myopia, and their eyes are changing rapidly, there are a few promising management strategies that may help.

    Atropine Eye Drops

    Atropine eye drops have been shown to significantly slow the progression of myopia in children. Two large trials in Asia found that atropine drops slowed children myopia progression by 50%-60%. However, because myopia is not curable, children who use atropine drops may still need to wear glasses or contact lenses.

    Multifocal Glasses & Contact Lenses

    A study conducted by the American Optometric Association’s Contact Lens and Cornea Section (CLCS) found that children who wore multifocal lenses saw their myopia progression slow by approximately 25%, and they had 31% less axial elongation (longer eye length) than children who wore single-vision lenses.


    Also known as ortho-k, orthokeratology uses specially designed gas permeable contact lenses to temporarily reshape the eyeball while you sleep. In the morning, the lenses are removed and you have clear vision without the use of contact lenses or glasses. Ortho-k has been shown to slow myopic progression in children by 36% – 56%.

    Natural Light & Outdoor Activity

    Although studies are ongoing, recent controlled trials show that children who spend more time outside (up to 14 hours a week or more) have less myopic shift and axial elongation than children who spend less time outside.

    Monitor Time on Devices

    Another ongoing field of study is the relation between near work activities and myopia progression. While not 100% conclusive, many preliminary studies show that near work activities, like using a phone or computer, are associated with myopia. For that reason, we recommend monitoring the time your child spends on a phone or other digital device.

    Why Vision Gets Worse With Age

    Why Vision Gets Worse With Age

    It is an inevitable fact that as we get older, the body ages. And unfortunately, this ageing does not exclude the eye and the entire vision system. The eye is a complicated organ with many structures within it. And when one of these structures is threatened by age, our vision becomes compromised.

    But is it inevitable that our vision will worsen with age? And what can we expect?

    In order to break this all down, let’s start with some basic eye anatomy.

    human eye anatomy

    The Lens – The Eye’s Focus Mechanism

    One of the eye’s most important parts is a structure called the lens. Much like an artificial lens in a pair of eyeglasses, the lens allows our eyes to focus and unfocus, enabling us to view objects at different distances quickly.

    Viewing distance objects requires the eye to relax the lens, decreasing lens convexity, or outward curvature. Viewing near objects requires an increase in convexity of the lens, creating more focus power. This provides us with magnification for close object viewing.

    In most cases, usually before the age of 10, the lens works as it should: the lens changes convexity quickly and our eyes can switch from near to far objects with no complications. However, around the time of middle school, the ability of the lens to change convexity when viewing distance objects to near objects slowly decreases. And as the lens ages, the ability of the lens to change convexity only gets worse.

    Presbyopia: Aging of the Lens

    When we reach the age of around 40, the lens has hardened due to age and can simply no longer focus on near objects as well. Until soon, most people who still can see clearly when viewing distant objects are not able to read print within arms reach. They must hold the newspaper or book further and further away to see clearly.

    This phenomenon is known as presbyopia, a universal condition affecting every person cross-culturally who lives past the age of 45. While there is no surgical treatment for the condition, there are options to help with presbyopia, such as bifocal eyeglasses, contact lenses, or laser vision correction modified for monovision.

    Cataracts: Clouding of the Lens

    A normal part of eye ageing, cataracts form when the proteins contained in the lens start to break down and clump together, causing cloudy spots throughout the line of vision. Although the amount and pattern of cloudiness in the lens, as well as the rate at which it develops, can vary, the result is blurry vision that cannot be corrected with contact lenses or eyeglasses. Cataracts are not painful and can be treated with non-invasive surgery.

    The Retina – The Light Communicator

    The retina is made up of nerve cells that receive focused light from the lens, then signals the brain to create images.

    With age, the retina wears down and degenerates, severely affecting vision. There are a number of serious eye diseases that are directly caused by the degeneration of the retina.

    Age-Related Macular Degeneration

    Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is a serious eye disease that occurs when the macula, the small central area of the retina, ages and breaks down. Responsible for fine vision and color detail, when the macula is compromised, the result is blind spots, distorted vision, and possible blindness.

    Diabetic retinopathy

    Diabetic retinopathy is a retinal disease that affects aged people who suffer from diabetes. In this case, the tiny blood vessels in the back of your eye deteriorate and leak fluid into and under the retina. New, replacement blood vessels start to grow, but they are misshapen and distorted and can lead to scarring and swelling of the retina. The result is blurry, distorted vision leading to blindness in some cases.

    The Optic Nerve – The Eye/Brain Connector

    Located at the back of the eye, the optic nerve carries impulses formed by the retina directly to the brain. A part of the central nervous system, the optic nerve is a major component of the visual system and damage will result in vision loss and blindness.


    Glaucoma is a serious, progressive disease that directly affects the optic nerve. There are 3 different types: open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma, and normal-tension glaucoma.

    In the case of open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma, the fluid that normally drains from the eye through a series of eye canals is blocked, causing a build-up of pressure, called intraocular pressure, or IOP. This pressure is placed directly on the optic nerve, leading to damage which results in irreversible vision loss. In normal-tension glaucoma, the eye’s drainage system is functioning as it should and the IOP is within the normal range. Inexplicably, the optic nerve continues to sustain damage.

    Optic Neuritis

    Optic neuritis is an inflammation of the optic nerve that causes damage and can result in vision loss, blurring, and pain. Usually manifesting in one eye, optic neuritis is often a precursor of multiple sclerosis, a disease that attacks the nerves of the body.

    woman eye exam


    It is inevitable that like the body, the eyes will age. And with age, the structures within the eye change and break down. With this comes a range of conditions and diseases to be aware of. Some, like glaucoma, come on suddenly and can result in irreparable vision loss. Others, like cataracts, are completely curable with simple surgery.

    Whatever the condition, it is of the utmost importance that you engage in annual eye exams. Our optometrists will carefully examine and track your eye health so these eye diseases do not sneak up and steal your sight.Page Break

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    Why Vision Gets Worse With Age | Shady Grove Eye Care

    Meta Description:

    Is it true that our vision will inevitably worsen with age? We break down if this is true and what eye diseases and conditions one can expect in your senior years.


    Common Eye Problems/Eye Health/Eye Care



    How to Safely Apply Eye Drops

    woman properly applying eye drops

    Years of experience with eye care gives us perspective on best practices in a variety of treatments. If the situation calls for it, we may prescribe eye drops as a remedy for very specific reasons. Eye drops may be needed to treat conditions like pink eye, dry eye, conjunctivitis, glaucoma, and many more.

    Applying eye drops is easy once you know the proper technique. It’s a solid trick to have up your sleeve, as some medicines don’t come in a more solid form. Gels and ointments aren’t as difficult to apply because they aren’t liquid.

    For best results, you must apply the eye drops properly. If you use eye drops and the solution isn’t appropriately distributed across the surface of the eye, you or your optometrist might find the eye drops less effective.

    Getting the Best Results from Eye Drops

    We follow a set of best practices so that your eye drops can work on your eyes with complete efficiency. That way, you can enjoy symptom relief and complete the course of treatment.

    Eye drops can contain different substances in the solution, some of which are organic, like steroids or antibiotics. They need to be applied in such a way that they’re completely absorbed.

    Checking the Expiry Date Is Important

    Some eye drops are prescription, and some are not, but all will have expiry dates. The eye drops that contain active organic compounds like steroids could have adverse effects if applied past expiry.

    While other types of eye drops won’t have active organic compounds the expiry date should be respected even so. The reason why is because the bottle has an expiry too. If liquids sit in a plastic container for too long, they can begin to absorb microscopic plastic particles into the solution, which could end up in your eyes.

    6 Steps for Applying Eye Drops


    As you’ll be applying the drops to your eyes, your optometrist recommends washing your hands first. Afterward, dry them thoroughly with a clean towel. If your eyes are producing a discharge or have a crust, clean your eyes gently with wet cotton balls. Your optometrist may also recommend lid hygiene wipes. Wipe your eyes from the inner part (nose side) going outward. Wipe the bottle with lukewarm water and soap suds, ensuring the cap is on tight beforehand. Rinse the bottle thoroughly to remove any suds.

    Read the Label

    Start by carefully reading the label on the bottle. Look for a description that indicates the drops are “for ophthalmic use.” Make sure the drops in hand are the medication your doctor prescribed since your last visit — and make sure they’re the ones that were prescribed to you! You wouldn’t want your roommate’s prescription instead of yours.

    Next, check the expiration date. If expired, call your optometrist and pick up a new bottle.

    Prepare the Bottle

    Once your hands and eyes are clean, and you’ve confirmed the prescription is yours and usable, gently shake the bottle. Then remove the cap and rest it on a piece of tissue paper. Avoid touching the tip of the bottle where the solution comes out. Touching the tip could line it with microbes, which will be present next time you use it.

    Tilt Your Head

    To make applying the eye drops easier, tilt your head upwards. Hold the bottle in your dominant hand. As you fix your eyes on a point at the ceiling, use your free hand to pull down your lower eyelid. Doing so creates a pocket where you can pour the drops.

    Apply Eye Drops as Instructed

    Place the hand holding the bottle above your eye. Gently squeeze the bottle according to the number of drops your optometrist prescribed during your eye exam. It might take some practice learning how much pressure to apply so you don’t overshoot.

    Allow the Eye Drops to Settle

    Close your eyes and blot the area with a tissue to pick up any excess solution. Press the inner part of your eye to ensure proper absorption of the eye drops. Do this for at least two minutes if you’ll be applying the same solution in the same eye. Replace the cap on the bottle, immediately.

    If you’ll be applying a different set of eye drops, wait five minutes before following the same procedure.

    Keep Using Eye Drops as Directed

    optometrist explaining directions to patient

    Most people will encounter a situation where they need eye drops at least once in their lives. Getting the application right can be a challenge because we have a natural reflex keeping us from allowing foreign objects or substances into our eyes.

    If you apply eye drops correctly and as directed, you’ll probably notice the difference. Following these steps are a surefire way to get past the psychological obstacle. With practice, you can enjoy the gradual relief that various eye drops provide. You’ve got this!

    Unclear about any point on how to effectively administer eye drops? Call us at (301) 859-4060 or complete our form. We serve areas throughout Washington, Alexandria, and Rockville.

    Everything You Need to Know about LASIK Eye Surgery

    close up of eye targeted by futuristic lights

    Glasses or contacts aren’t the first choice for everyone, and that’s understandable. If you want to have clearer vision without the need for corrective lenses, your eye doctor may suggest laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery.

    On the other hand, LASIK isn’t suitable for absolutely everyone. While it can help patients kick their dependency on glasses or contacts, some eye conditions can’t be fixed by surgically reshaping your cornea. We’ve put together a few points to consider if you’re wondering about LASIK.

    Which Refractive Errors Can be Helped by LASIK?

    This common type of refractive surgery eliminates the need for contact lenses or glasses. People with moderate degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism often qualify as candidates for this procedure. Doctors sometimes recommend this procedure for patients with presbyopia as well.

    How LASIK Works

    Laser eye surgery has been around since 1987, and LASIK has largely overtaken earlier surgeries. To illustrate the difference, not all laser eye surgery is LASIK, but all LASIK is laser eye surgery.

    The key breakthrough that made LASIK the preferred methodology lies in the energy produced. The laser uses hyper-focused ultraviolet light, which vaporizes targeted cells, but causes no damage to immediate areas. For this reason, it’s called a “cool laser.”

    Surgical incisions allow an eye surgeon to fold the top of the cornea back so that precisely mapped corneal tissue underneath the outer flap can be targeted. Then, they vaporize unnecessary tissue, so that when they fold the corneal flap back down — it conforms to a shape granting better focus.

    What to Expect from LASIK Surgery

    Better focus through a LASIK procedure only works on a case-by-case basis, however. For example, if your myopia is due to an elongated eyeball due to pressure stemming from glaucoma, reshaping the cornea won’t help. You’ll need the all-clear from your eye doctor to proceed with LASIK.

    Who Can’t Benefit from LASIK?

    While your eye doctor is the best person to make the call, some factors make laser eye surgeries inadvisable. If you fall into the following categories, you might not be a candidate for LASIK:

        Before Surgery

        Prior to LASIK, your eye doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam. The consultation includes checking vision, signs of infection, dry eyes, inflammation, high eye pressure, and large eye pupils. Pre-existing conditions like dry eye can sometimes worsen, so your eye doctor pays special attention to how LASIK might affect the health of your eyes.

        Doctors at Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care will also measure each cornea, taking note of their contour, shape, irregularities, and thickness. Part of this consultation determines how high your refractive error is and whether LASIK can correct your vision.

        During Surgery

        male eye doctor performing laser eye surgery with vanilla lighting in background

        After consulting with our eye doctors, we can refer you to an outpatient surgery center. Your eye surgeon uses a laser to reshape your cornea. LASIK procedure goes like this:

        1. You’ll get some local anesthetic eye drops.
        2. Your surgeon will fix your eyelids in place to keep you from blinking.
        3. They’ll also apply a suction ring on your eye to keep your eye from turning away. You’ll feel slight pressure from the ring.
        4. At this point, your vision will subside.
        5. Using either a device called a microkeratome or a laser, your surgeon makes a very thin flap in the cornea tissue. Lifting the layer formed by the flap back.
        6. You’re to stare at a target light so that your eyes will not move while a surgical laser does its work.
        7. The laser is a special instrument that has been programmed with measurements for your eye.
        8. The ophthalmologist then reshapes your cornea using the laser.
        9. While your ophthalmologist is using the laser, you will hear a clicking sound.
        10. After reshaping the cornea, your eye surgeon folds the flap back down into position and smoothes the edges.
        11. The flap attaches on its own in 2–3 minutes, where it will heal in place.

        After Surgery

        • You may be asked to wear a see-through shield over your eyes to protect your eyes better while they heal.
        • We don’t recommend doing anything besides relaxing or sleeping on the day of the surgery.
        • For a few hours after the surgery, you may feel itching or burning in your eyes. But many patients receive individual eye drops to reduce dryness and help their eye heal. It’s important to apply eye drops properly for best results.
        • After a few days, your eyes should feel healthy, and your vision will have improved.

        What Complications Can Arise from LASIK?

        While full recovery is likely (for an average 95% of patients in some 300 peer-reviewed studies), a handful of patients experience unpleasant complications from LASIK surgery. Most of these symptoms are temporary, but they can be alarming if you haven’t experienced them as side-effects of this kind of surgery.

        Temporary side-effects can include:

        • Hazy or blurry vision
        • Difficulty with night vision or driving at night
        • Scratchiness, dryness and other symptoms of dry eye
        • Glare, halos or starbursts around lights
        • Light sensitivity
        • Discomfort or pain
        • Small pink or red patches on the white of the eye

          While these side-effects might seem severe, the surgery has been streamlined over the years. Newer laser technology has improved patient recovery significantly. For the best chances at recovery, prepare for the surgery as best you can.

          How to Prepare for LASIK Surgery

          To prepare for your LASIK treatment, visit your eye doctor and prepare for the big day:

          • Arrange for a ride to and from the clinic. You might still feel the effects of the medicine given during the procedure. It might lead to temporary blurred vision, so make sure you have someone drive you home safely.
          • Skip the eye makeup.It’s advisable not to wear any eye makeup, lotions, or cream perfume the day before and on the day of surgery. We recommend that you clean your eyelashes daily (or more often) days before the treatment to minimize the risk of infection.
          • Stop wearing your contact lenses. Lose the contact lenses and switch to eyeglasses for at least a few weeks before LASIK surgery. Sometimes contact lenses can distort the shape of your cornea, affecting measurements and surgical outcomes.

          Your LASIK optometrist and your eye surgeon may have further instructions.

          Ask Your Eye Doctor About LASIK

          Only a professional eye doctor like those of Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care can recommend the right treatment for your vision problem. Depending on your eye condition, you may need LASIK, clear lens extraction, intrastromal corneal ring segments, or even new contact lenses.

          Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care can help you treat different vision problems using the latest technology. We’ll talk with you about the procedure, risks, and potential outcomes of LASIK or other types of procedures right for you.

          Call us at (301) 859-4060 to learn more about LASIK. If you’re coming from Washington, Alexandria, or Rockville, you can also schedule a visit through our contact form.


          Digital Eye Strain: Causes and Solutions

          Young woman frustrated due to digital eye strain caused by her working on computer for too long

          Digital Eye Strain: Causes and Solutions

          Many people experience tired and dry eyes after using the computer for long periods. This condition is known as digital eye strain; it can affect your ability to focus, cause headaches and other irritating symptoms. With changes to your computer habits, you can prevent further irritation.

          If you experience the effects of digital eye strain, your optometrist can recommend several solutions for your tired eyes. Continue reading to learn more about digital eye strain, including its causes and some potential solutions.

          What is Digital Eye Strain?

          According to research from The Vision Council, nearly 60% of Americans experience the symptoms of digital eye strain, including headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and sore neck and shoulders.

          The average American worker spends 7 hours a day on their computer. With people relying on technology more and more, it’s no surprise that many Americans experience these annoying symptoms. Digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome, is a common condition where your eyes become irritated from extended screen usage. It’s essentially tired eyes, also known as eye fatigue.

          Focusing on daily tasks can be difficult with irritated and tired eyes. While the symptoms of digital eye strain may be frustrating and uncomfortable, this condition doesn’t have any long-term side effects.

          Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

          There are several symptoms related to digital eye strain, including:

          • Headaches
          • Blurred vision
          • Dry eyes
          • Sore neck, shoulders, or back
          • Light sensitivity
          • Watery eyes
          • Difficulty concentrating

            You may feel one or a combination of these symptoms if you experience digital eye strain. This condition’s symptoms mainly happen because of computer usage, but many factors may contribute to digital eye strain.

            What Causes Digital Eye Strain?

            Some common causes of digital eye strain include:

            • Blinking less when using computers
            • Viewing digital screens from poor distances & angles
            • Using devices with glare or reflection
            • Using devices with poor contrast between text and background

              Several external causes can potentially lead to digital eye strain. These causes include poor posture, circulating air from fans or air conditioning, and the setup of your computer workstation.

              Computer use is usually the culprit for digital eye strain, but this condition’s cause is more complex. Symptoms develop because of the way you use your computer; rather than the computer itself.

              Computers make your eyes work harder. When working at a computer, your eyes must focus and refocus constantly.

              Your eyes complete different actions when using a digital device. They move back and forth to read, shift gaze to look at papers on your desk, and react to changing images on your screen.

              When combining these actions with the contrast, flicker, and glare of a screen, consistent computer work can lead to dry and irritated eyes.

              In some cases, someone may have an undiagnosed vision problem that can cause or worsen the symptoms of digital eye strain. Regardless of the cause of your eye strain, your optometrist can recommend several possible solutions to prevent future irritation.

              Man touching eye due to him suffering from digital eye strain caused by his computer

              Digital Eye Strain Solutions

              Resting your eyes when they’re tired or irritated can help, but the best solution for digital eye strain is prevention. This can mean making some changes to your computer habits.

              If you’re looking to prevent digital eye strain, try out some of the following preventative measures:

              Take Frequent Breaks

              It can be easy to continue reading or working on your computer for hours, but looking away can give your eyes a break. Try following the 20/20/20 rule; take a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look at something at least 20 feet away.

              Blink More

              It sounds like a simple solution, but remembering to blink can keep your eyes moisturized. People can blink up to 50% less when using digital devices.

              You can keep a visual reminder on your computer, like a sticky note reminding you to blink or use artificial tears to prevent your eyes from becoming dry.

              Sit Appropriately

              The way you sit can make a difference when using your devices. Ensure your chair’s height is correct, letting your feet rest on the floor comfortably. Adjust your computer screen slightly downward to reduce potential strain.

              When using your computer, try to sit at least an arm’s length (25 inches) away from the screen to prevent yourself from sitting too close.

              Account for Glare & Brightness

              Glare and brightness can make your eyes have to focus more to read off of your screens. You can reduce incoming glare by positioning your computer screen away from windows and overhead lighting.

              Anti-glare screen filters can help decrease the amount of light reflected from your devices.

              Adjust Your Devices

              Adjusting your devices can help protect your eyes from digital eye strain. You can do this by:

              • Raising the contrast on your screen
              • Making your text larger
              • Changing the brightness of your screen to match your surroundings
              • Raising your device’s refresh rate to cause less screen flickering

                These solutions can help prevent dry and irritated eyes. If you’re still experiencing discomfort despite changing your computer habits, contact your optometrist. They can diagnose any potential underlying problems after completing a comprehensive eye exam.

                Criteria Every LASIK Candidate Should Meet

                picture of laser eye surgery with saturation of red light in background

                Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care is proud to offer LASIK consultation as an effective vision correction option. This procedure is a lasting solution to refractive errors, reducing your reliance on prescription eyewear. To determine whether you are a candidate for LASIK, we will perform a comprehensive eye exam. But there are a handful of requirements for the best chances of a full recovery.

                Able to Manage Temporary Side Effects

                Although LASIK is considered a safe way to correct refractive errors, it does involve risks, just like any other surgery. While it’s a highly regulated procedure, with a great track record of successes (up to 95% successful on average in 300 peer-reviewed studies), your vision might seem a little strange afterward.

                Most of these symptoms are temporary, but you’ll have to set your expectations for the following:

                • Small pink or red patches on the white of the eye
                • Hazy or blurry vision
                • Difficulty with night vision or driving at night
                • Scratchiness, dryness, and other symptoms of dry eye
                • Discomfort
                • Glare, halos, or starbursts around lights
                • Light sensitivity

                  LASIK surgery has been streamlined over the years. And updated technology has improved patient recovery significantly.

                  Stable Eyesight

                  A key sign we look for in a laser eye surgery consultation is the level of your refractive error. LASIK seeks to remedy imperfections in your cornea, so you can focus light properly and overcome your refractive error permanently. But what if your refractive error changes for the worse? In that case, myopia control might be a much better fit.

                  If your prescription changes significantly every year or even less, it lacks the stable condition needed for successful LASIK surgery. We need to confirm that your visual acuity has remained the same for at least a year.

                  At Least 18 Years of Age

                  To be approved for LASIK, you must be at least 18 years old on the day of the surgery. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved LASIK for minors.

                  Good Overall Health

                  Having good overall health plays a major role in ensuring the success and effectiveness of laser eye surgery. It’s also a determining factor in your ability to recover quickly and heal completely.

                  Health Issues That Hurt Your Chances of Succeeding With LASIK

                  Due to the nature of LASIK, your eye will need a recovery period, and part of that process lies with your immune system. If you have diseases that affect your immune system, healing rate, or makes you more susceptible to infection, LASIK might not be worth the trouble. Prominent diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, HIV, and other autoimmune disorders.

                  Depression or chronic pain issues like migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia can also hurt your chances. With these issues, dry eye syndrome and postoperative seem to worsen.

                  What Can Disqualify You From LASIK?

                  If you have any active eye infections, corneal irregularities, or other uncontrolled eye conditions, we can treat them before re-evaluating you for LASIK. But some factors diminish the returns you can get from LASIK. Eye injuries, keratitis uveitis, herpes simplex affecting the eye area, and other eye infections can all disrupt the health of your eye and interfere with normal healing.

                  Even some genetic quirks out there can hurt your chances of full LASIK recovery. If you have large pupils that widen under low light, LASIK might lead to permanent complications. You might see lots of glare, halos, starbursts, and ghost images.

                  To succeed with LASIK you need to be free of several more conditions:

                  • Extreme myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism
                  • Severe dry eye
                  • Thin corneas
                  • Corneal abrasions or disease
                  • Keratoconus (cone-shaped cornea)
                  • Advanced glaucoma
                  • A cataract affecting vision
                  • A history of certain eye infections
                  • Diabetes that is not controlled well
                  • Pregnancy or nursing

                  high tech targeting system focusing on young womans eye

                      What Attitudes Do You Need Most When Trying to Get LASIK?


                      As with life, there aren’t that many guarantees. One thing our optometrists and ophthalmologists do with patients at a laser eye surgery consultation is to inform you of the risks. These risks remain low if you meet the above eligibility criteria. But they’re still there; LASIK is never without its risks.

                      You can trust us to give it to you straight about what risks of which complications exist—for you and only you. Possible complications include:

                      • Dry eye
                      • Glare
                      • Under Corrections
                      • Overcorrections
                      • Astigmatism
                      • Improper healing
                      • Vision changes
                      • Vision loss


                          Finding a good surgeon might take more than a quick search-engine query. But as optometrists with integrity and due diligence at our core, we refer our patients to laser eye surgeons close to home in Rockville, MD—those we trust and work with often. If you place your trust in us, we can share the burden on this part.

                          Tolerant of the Downsides

                          Decades after successful surgery you might need glasses again. We sometimes call these “cheaters” because they help you with close-up vision when presbyopia sets in.

                          Presbyopia is a common condition where your cornea thins as a part of natural aging. If you got LASIK to fix your nearsightedness and enjoyed 20/20 vision for decades, your prescription can still change. Everyone gets it eventually.


                          To maximize your chances of a successful surgery, we have a lot of instructions in the period before and after your procedure, like avoiding eye makeup and contact lenses. Much of the power of attaining a full recovery lies in your hands! And if you make yourself an asset for LASIK candidate criteria, you’re that much closer to it.

                          Getting a LASIK Referral is a Meaningful Conversation

                          Rest assured that your trusted optometrist will explain everything you need to know about the procedure. We’ll also answer any questions you have, so you can make an informed decision about whether to move forward with LASIK.

                          The most reliable way to find out if you are a good LASIK candidate is to have your eyes checked. Call us today at (301) 859-4060 or complete our form to request an appointment. We serve Washington, DC, Rockville, MD, and Alexandria, VA.

                          Cataracts 101: Cause, Symptoms and Suggested Management

                          Comparison of woman with cataract on the left and healthy eyes on the right

                          Cataracts 101: Cause, Symptoms and Suggested Management

                          Over 24 million Americans over age 40 have cataracts, a condition affecting your vision. As this issue progresses, you may need to visit your optometrist. Cataracts can make everyday tasks difficult.

                          What are cataracts? Consider this your guide to cataracts, including the causes, symptoms, and treatments available.

                          What is a Cataract?

                          A cataract is the clouding of the clear lens of your eye, making it more difficult to see. This condition can make you feel as if you’re staring through a foggy window. It’s common in older adults; over 50% of Americans age 80 and older have had cataracts.

                          Cataracts develop slowly, and you may not notice any differences in your vision at first. This condition can affect your ability to read, drive, or even see someone’s facial expressions.

                          What Causes Cataracts?

                          The usual causes of cataracts are aging or injury, causing changes to the tissue in the eye’s lens. There are other potential causes for cataracts, including:

                          • Other eye conditions
                          • Past eye surgery
                          • Diabetes
                          • Long-term steroid medications
                          • UV ray exposure
                          • Smoking
                          • Family history

                            Cataracts form when protein builds up in your eye’s lens. This build-up can create small, clouded areas in the lens. As a cataract progresses, this clouding grows, becoming larger and thicker with time.

                            A cataract blocks light when it enters the lens, preventing sharp images from reaching the retina, causing blurry vision. Cataracts commonly form in both eyes, but one may be more cloudy than the other.

                            There are several types of cataracts you can develop.

                            Types of Cataracts

                            Most cataracts are age-related, occurring because of natural changes as you get older. Other types of cataracts develop for different reasons.

                            Generally, there are 5 main types of cataracts:

                            • Age-related cataracts
                            • Traumatic cataracts
                            • Radiation cataracts
                            • Pediatric cataracts
                            • Secondary cataracts

                              Age-Related Cataracts

                              Age-related cataracts are the most common form of this condition. They naturally occur with age, clouding the lens of the eye and reducing vision.

                              Traumatic Cataracts

                              Eye injuries can damage your lens, causing a cataract to develop. It may form quickly or many years later.

                              Radiation Cataracts

                              Radiation can cause cataract development. While not all types of radiation will, UV rays from the sun and radiation treatment for cancer may lead to a cataract.

                              Pediatric Cataracts

                              Children can have cataracts from birth or develop them later in life. This type of cataract is rare and typically genetic. Other reasons a child may develop a cataract include eye injuries, radiation, steroid medications, or complications during pregnancy.

                              Secondary Cataracts

                              After receiving cataract surgery, some people may develop what is called secondary cataracts. It causes your vision to become cloudy again, but it isn’t technically a cataract. This condition occurs because of cloudiness on the outside of the lens, not the inside like with a cataract.

                              All forms of cataracts cloud your vision, making everyday tasks more difficult. No matter the cause of your cataract, many have the same symptoms.

                              Cataract Symptoms

                              Cataract symptoms may be hard to notice at first. You may only notice a small part of your eye’s lens is cloudy. Vision loss is usually mild at first, but symptoms can become more noticeable.

                              Common signs of cataracts include:

                              • Clouded, blurred, or dim vision
                              • Fading or yellowing of colors
                              • Double vision in one eye
                              • Worsening vision at night
                              • Frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription
                              • Sensitivity to light & glare
                              • Seeing halos around lights

                                If you experience any of these symptoms, especially sudden vision changes, visit your optometrist as soon as possible. Concerning symptoms includes flashes of light, double vision, and sudden eye pain or headaches. If cataracts are significantly affecting your vision, you likely need treatment.

                                Young woman undergoing cataract surgery

                                What is the Treatment for Cataracts?

                                The treatment for cataracts depends on the severity of your condition. For milder cases, using brighter lights at home, anti-glare sunglasses, and magnifying lenses for close work can help you see better. A new prescription for your glasses or contact lenses can sharpen your vision.

                                If you’re looking to get rid of your cataracts, surgery is the only way. Cataract surgery is safe, with 90% of patients obtaining better sight.

                                What Can I Expect After My Cataract Surgery?

                                While 90% of people who receive cataract surgery have improved sight, this doesn’t happen instantly. Your vision may be blurry while your eye recovers. Expect an 8-week recovery from this surgery, with your doctor providing you detailed care instructions and offering scheduled check-ups to monitor your healing progress.

                                What You Need to Know About Cataract Surgery

                                No matter how safe surgery is, there are always risks present. These possible risks include:

                                • Vision loss or double vision
                                • Swelling & infections
                                • Changes in eye pressure
                                • Retinal detachment
                                • Secondary cataracts

                                  Before surgery, your doctor will discuss all of the possible risks and complications with this surgery. Cataract surgery is quick and almost painless, lasting approximately one hour.

                                  You’ll be awake during this surgery, but you won’t see what your doctor is doing. They will remove your cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial one.

                                  Your doctor will:

                                  • Place numbing eye drops into your eye
                                  • Use small tools to cut into the eye, break apart the lens, & then remove it
                                  • Place a new artificial lens

                                  After surgery, you’ll wait in a recovery area before the medical team confirms you can go home. They’ll provide you with after-care instructions, discuss the healing process, and schedule check-up appointments to ensure your eye is healing properly.

                                  Post-Surgery Care

                                  Your doctor will explain how to protect the eyes you had surgery on. You’ll receive eye drops to support the healing process, and you may need a special eye shield for protection. Expect to avoid activities like bending over, lifting heavy objects, or touching your eyes for a few weeks.

                                  Your eyes may feel uncomfortable or sensitive to light, but this should stop after a few days. Make sure to call your doctor immediately if you experience:

                                  • Vision loss
                                  • Very red eyes
                                  • Flashes of light or floaters
                                  • Pain that persists through medication

                                    After around 8 weeks, your healing should be complete, and your vision improved. If you’re worried about the healing process, remember, your optometrist is here to help.

                                    Book Your Appointment

                                    Cataract surgery can help you regain the clear vision you’re missing. This condition may be a part of natural aging, but you don’t need to live with cloudy or blurry vision.

                                    If you’re experiencing symptoms of cataracts, contact your optometrist.

                                    Diabetic Eye Exams: Why They’re Important

                                    Older gentleman undergoing eye exam at eye clinic

                                    Diabetic Eye Exams: Why They’re Important

                                    Eye exams are important for your eye health, especially if you have diabetes. Several diabetes-related eye diseases can significantly impact your eye health and vision. If you have diabetes, why are regular eye exams so important?

                                    Continue reading to learn more about how diabetes can affect your eye health and why diabetic eye exams are important.

                                    How Can Diabetes Affect Your Eye Health & Vision?

                                    Diabetes can have a significant impact on your eye health. Blood vessels in the retina support your eyes, but they are sensitive to damage caused by high blood sugar.

                                    When your blood glucose levels are too high, your blood vessels can become damaged, leading to swelling and leaking fluid in the eye. Several diabetes-related eye diseases develop from issues with the blood vessels in your eyes.

                                    Blurred vision is common when your blood sugar levels become temporarily elevated, but this effect usually resolves itself with time. Besides your glucose levels affecting your vision, diabetes increases your risk of several eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma.

                                    Diabetic Retinopathy

                                    You’re at risk of diabetic retinopathy if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This conditions symptoms are difficult to notice because they may not appear until your vision is affected.

                                    There are two stages of diabetic retinopathy, nonproliferative and proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy occurs when tiny bulges protrude from blood vessel walls within your eye. These bulges may break and leak fluid and blood into the retina.

                                    When blood vessels become blocked, the disease has entered an advanced stage. This stage is known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy. These blocked blood vessels stop oxygen flow to the retina, causing new, abnormal vessels to develop as a replacement.

                                    Diabetic Macular Edema

                                    Diabetic macular edema develops from diabetic retinopathy. This condition occurs when leaking fluid causes the center of the retina (the macula) to swell, causing eventual vision loss. It’s one of the most common causes of vision loss for those with diabetic retinopathy.


                                    A cataract is the clouding of your eye’s lens. This condition is usually age-related, but someone with diabetes has an increased risk of developing cataracts.

                                    Having cataracts affects your ability to see clearly, with your vision feeling as if you’re looking through a foggy window. While the early stages of cataracts may not affect your vision, this condition progresses with time.

                                    Many people receive cataract surgery when vision is significantly affected.


                                    Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that cause damage to your optic nerve. Many forms of glaucoma raise the pressure inside your eye, damaging the optic nerve and leading to potential vision loss.

                                    Your risk of developing glaucoma is 40% higher if you have diabetes. This disease has little to no symptoms until your vision is affected, so early diagnosis is key to protecting your vision.

                                    Diabetes increases your risk of several eye conditions, many of which have limited warning signs. If you have diabetes, regular examinations are vital for your eye health.

                                    Man undergoing eye exam by his optometrist at eye doctor clinic

                                    The Importance of Diabetic Eye Exams

                                    While everyone needs eye exams, consistent examinations are crucial for someone with diabetes. Diabetes increases your risk of several eye diseases, and many of them may not show symptoms until vision loss occurs.

                                    Because these symptoms are hard to identify alone, you need an annual eye examination to determine if any issues are present. Without an annual exam, you may put yourself at risk of vision loss and other complications.

                                    The earlier your eye doctor finds a problem, the earlier they can begin to treat it. A diabetic eye exam slightly differs from a standard examination; there is a focus on your eye health.

                                    If you have diabetes, what can you expect during a diabetic eye exam?

                                    What to Expect During Your Exam

                                    A diabetic eye exam begins similarly to a standard eye exam. You’ll go through several preliminary tests, such as chart readings, cover tests, and a slit lamp exam to check your overall eyesight.

                                    After preliminary tests, your optometrist will complete a dilated eye examination. After dilating your eyes, your eye doctor will look at the structure of your eye, including the retina, optic nerve, and surrounding blood vessels.

                                    These tests can help your optometrist determine if you’re at risk of any diabetes-related eye diseases. If you have any relevant symptoms, you’ll receive a customized treatment plan to effectively manage or prevent an eye condition from worsening.

                                    Diabetes can seem tricky to manage, but your optometrist is here to help. An annual diabetic eye exam allows your eye doctor to diagnose any potential problems and offer recommendations to manage your diabetes effectively.

                                    Visit Your Optometrist Annually

                                    Visiting your eye doctor every year may feel tedious, but it’s the best way to help protect your vision. Diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma can all lead to vision loss, and you may not notice any symptoms.

                                    With an annual diabetic eye exam, you can help protect your eye health and vision from potential complications. If you need an eye exam, contact your optometrist today.

                                    Common Reasons for Dry Eye

                                    Woman taking off her glasses to rub her temples because of her dry eye symptoms

                                    Common Reasons for Dry Eye

                                    Dry eyes are more common than you think, and you can experience them for several reasons. Your optometrist can help you find long-term relief, but how do you know what is causing your dry eyes?

                                    An optometrist can diagnose the possible cause, but before you meet for your appointment, understand some of the common reasons for dry eye so you can identify possible reasons for your symptoms.

                                    What is Dry Eye?

                                    Dry eye disease is a common condition where there is an issue with your tear film, causing your eyes to be improperly lubricated.

                                    The tear film is made of three layers: oil, aqueous fluid, and mucin, and an issue can arise when one doesn’t function as it should. Tears are dragged across your eyes to help keep them moisturized and smooth, but when the tear film is affected, you experience several aggravating or painful symptoms. Decreased tear production or increased tear evaporation are the most common causes of dry eye.

                                    Dry eye causes

                                    Decreased tear production

                                    Tear production begins to decline as you age, and many adults 65 and older experience some symptoms of dry eye disease. This is not the only possible cause for inadequate tear production, as medications, medical conditions, and desensitized corneal nerves can contribute to dry eye as well.

                                    This cause of dry eye is not as common as tear evaporation, but it can result in similar discomfort and disruption of your quality of life.

                                    Increased tear evaporation

                                    Your dry eye symptoms may be caused by increased evaporation of tears, usually caused by poor tear quality. When your tears are dragged across your eye, the oily layer of the tear film prevents evaporation.

                                    This oil (or meibum) can become plugged, clogged, or be of poor quality, which can cause faster evaporation. When the glands releasing meibum become compromised, also known as meibomian gland dysfunction, this can lead to discomfort and inflammation.

                                    This meibum can be affected by several other factors such as infrequent blinking, environmental factors, and eye allergies. Common causes of excessive tear evaporation include:

                                      Knowing the main sources of dry eye disease is important, but you must understand the reasons for these causes as well. Understanding the reasons dry eye happens can help you have an idea of the cause of your symptoms before your appointment with your eye doctor.

                                      A young woman suffering from dry eyes after working on her laptop

                                      Common Reasons for Dry Eye

                                      While the symptoms of both causes of dry eye disease are similar, there are different reasons for why they occur. These reasons can include side effects from medications, medical conditions, allergies, and environmental factors.

                                      Reasons for decreased tear production


                                      Studies have shown an increasing prevalence of dry eye disease every five years after the age of 50, and dry eyes are a part of the aging process. Over time, we begin to develop fewer tears, which can lead to symptoms of dry eye.


                                      Certain medications have side effects possibly contributing to your dry eye symptoms. These medications can include antihistamines, decongestants, and antidepressants. Common medications for acne and contraceptives such as birth control pills may cause these symptoms as well.

                                      Medical conditions

                                      People who are affected by diabetes, thyroid problems, and rheumatoid arthritis may be more prone to developing dry eye. Medical conditions causing inflammation in the eyelids or surface of the eye may cause decreased tear production as well. Additionally, inward or outward-facing eyelids increase the risk of dry eye as well.

                                      Desensitized corneas

                                      Your corneal nerves can become desensitized by contact lens use, nerve damage, or laser eye surgery. Typically, symptoms caused by laser eye surgery are temporary.

                                      Reasons for increased tear evaporation

                                      Your tears can be affected for a variety of reasons and can vary from medical conditions to environmental factors. If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms, consider some of the potential reasons:

                                      Posterior blepharitis

                                      Posterior blepharitis affects the inner edge of your eyelid. It is an inflammation of the eyelids where scale-like dandruff develops around the eye. This condition commonly occurs when your eyelid glands produce improper amounts of meibum, which can create an environment suited for bacterial growth. It can also be caused by other skin conditions such as rosacea.

                                      Environmental & habitual factors

                                      Environmental and habitual factors may contribute to dry eye as well. This can include smoke, wind, and dry air which may cause your tears to evaporate. A pair of wraparound sunglasses can protect your eyes during windy weather.

                                      When you use the computer, you blink approximately 50% less than normal. When you blink your tears moisturize your eyes, so infrequently blinking while working on close-up tasks such as using the computer can cause dry eyes.

                                      Eyelid problems

                                      Conditions affecting your eyelids such as entropion and ectropion may contribute to dry eye disease. Entropion causes your eyelid to turn inwards and your eyelashes and skin to rub against your eye’s surface.

                                      Ectropion is the opposite of entropion, causing your eyelid to turn outwards. This condition is common in older adults and causes your lower lid to pull away, causing improper tear drainage.

                                      Eye allergies

                                      Allergens such as dander, dust, and pollen can irritate your eyes. Potential triggers for dry eye from allergies can include:

                                      • Pet dander
                                      • Pollen
                                      • Diesel exhaust
                                      • Dust mites
                                      • Mold
                                      • Perfume

                                        No matter the reason for your dry eyes, your optometrist can provide you with long-term relief through a variety of treatment options. If you suffer from dry eyes frequently, book an appointment with your optometrist.

                                        Find Long-Term Relief

                                        If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eye disease, your optometrist can provide you with a treatment plan suited for your unique needs. Contact your optometry office and find long-term relief for your dry eye symptoms.

                                        Are an Optometrist & an Eye Doctor the Same?

                                        optometrist at her eye clinic working on her laptop

                                        Are an Optometrist & an Eye Doctor the Same?

                                        Choosing the right eye doctor is imperative to receiving the right type of eye care for your needs. Different kinds of eye doctors specialize in different areas of treatment and assessment, so it is important to know the differences between them and which kind of eye doctor you should be seeking. For example, some eye doctors will be qualified to give routine eye exams but will not be able to perform laser eye surgery, while other doctors can do both.

                                        What is an Eye Doctor?

                                        An eye doctor is simply a doctor who is qualified in some way to provide services involving eye care and eye health. It is a general title that can apply to a variety of different types of eye doctors. The title of eye doctor encompasses the two main kinds of eye doctors: optometrists and ophthalmologists.

                                        What is an Optometrist?

                                        An optometrist is an eye doctor who has earned a Bachelor of Science and a Doctor of Optometry degree. They specialize in eye and vision care. Optometrists are typically the doctors who perform eye exams and disease management treatments at your local eye care offices. They also provide eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions.

                                        Optometrist looking at camera while her patient gets ready to have her eye exam.

                                        Differences Between Optometrists, Ophthalmologists, & Opticians


                                        As mentioned above, optometrists are eye doctors who specialize in eye and vision care. Some of the duties optometrists can perform include:

                                        • Providing an eye exam to examine, assess, measure, and diagnose disorders and diseases within the human eye and visual system. Some of the diseases an optometrist may diagnose are glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
                                        • Recognize and co-manage conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and brain tumors.
                                        • Most can prescribe medications, but this can vary by province.
                                        • Remove foreign bodies from the eye and prescribe treatments for infections.
                                        • Provide referrals to secondary specialists for treatment of systemic disease or eye surgery when necessary.
                                        • Co-manage pre and post-operative care for laser vision correction.
                                        • Co-manage ocular diseases with ophthalmologists.
                                        • Conduct research, and promote the education and advancement of visual sciences.


                                        These eye doctors are specialists and surgeons for eye diseases and can perform the same duties as optometrists. To become an ophthalmologist, you need to complete a 4-year medical doctorate after receiving a Bachelor of Science degree. Ophthalmologists are:

                                        • More comprehensively trained in the medical care and management of eye health problems.
                                        • Trained and licensed to perform eye and vision surgery
                                        • Specialized in the medical and surgical treatment of specific eye diseases, or specialized in specific parts of the eye.

                                        The biggest difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist is the qualification to perform eye surgeries.


                                        Opticians are not eye doctors. Opticians are trained through a college or university to fit vision aids, such as glasses and contact lenses, based on the prescription of a doctor of optometry or a physician. They do not have the qualifications to perform eye exams, surgeries, or write prescriptions.

                                        Which Eye Doctor Should You Choose?

                                        Depending on the severity of your eye care needs, you will need to see a different eye doctor. If you need a new prescription or think you are suffering from an eye disease, you should see an optometrist. If you need eye surgery, you will have to see an ophthalmologist.

                                        If you are getting fit for new glasses or contact lenses after you have received a prescription, you do not need to seek out an eye doctor and can visit an optician instead.

                                        Booking an Eye Examination, Fitting, or Surgery

                                        Learn more about the different kinds of eye doctors by booking an eye examination, a fitting for new frames, or a consultation for surgery.