Monthly Archives: July 2008

Optometrist, Ophthalmologist, Optician … What is the Difference?

Many people often ask – What is the difference between an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist??

… OR …

What is the difference between and Optometrist and an Optician??

Well, HERE is the answer for you:

Optometrists are Doctors of Optometry.  They act as Primary Care Doctors for your eyes. They are experts in vision care, eye health and eye function. They prescribe glasses and contacts and can diagnose and treat eye diseases (like pink eye, glaucoma, eye allergies, eye ulcers, styes, eye inflammation etc.) with various forms of medication.  They are also trained to remove certain types of foreign bodies in the eye.  They usually have 4 years of college education, 4 years of Post-Graduate Doctorate work in Optometry School and some Optometrists elect to do a 1 year Post-Doctorate Residency.

Ophthalmologists are medical Doctors of Ophthalmology that deal primarily with the diseases of the eyes, which they are able to treat with medicine and surgery.  Most ophthalmologists act more as Seondary Care providers for your eyes – since most are eye surgeons.  They can also prescribe glasses and contacts – but, you’ll find that most ophthalmologists concentrate their practices primarily around eye surgery and treating various eye disease.  They usually have 4 years of college and 4 years of medical school and then they complete a Post-Doctorate 3 year Residency in Opthalmology to learn about the eye, eye disease and various ophthalmic surgical techniques.

Opticians are experts in optics, optical lenses and frames.  Opticians fill the prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses that have been prescribed by Optometrist and Ophthalmogists.  They fit, sell, dispense and repair eyeglasses.  In some states they can also fit contact lenses.  Their education requires a high school diploma and 2 year Opticianary program (or a 3-5 year Opticianary apprenticeship).

Click on the above video from the American Optometric Association to learn more about the profession of  Optometry.






Online Amsler Grid Test for Macular Degeneration and Other Macular Disorders

The Amsler Grid test is a simple screening test used to assess the area in the back of the eye that is responsible for your most detailed vision (used for reading, seeing facial details etc).  This area is called the Macula and it is located in the center part of the retina (the nerve lining inside the eye – used for sight).

If there are any diseases or degenerations (like Macular Degeneration) that are affecting the Macula – then the Amsler grid test will usually provide early detection that there may be a problem going on.


Position yourself at about 14-16 inches (about 40 cm) away from the grid.

If you have glasses that you use to read with – make sure you are looking thru the reading part of your glasses

Cover the left eye and use only your right eye to see the grid.

Stare at the white dot in the center of the grid with your uncovered eye.  Keep your eye focused on the dot.  Don’t move your eyes around to see any other part of the grid except for the white dot.  Use your side vision (peripheral vision) to see all the other parts of the grid.  “Glue” your sight to that white dot – don’t move your eye around at all.

While staring at the white dot:

  • Can you see all 4 corners of the grid?
  • Can you see all 4 sides of the grid?
  • Are any of the lines WAVY or MISSING or DISTORTED?   (All lines should look perfectly straight, all intersections should form right angles and all the squares should be the same size.)
  • Are ther any holes or “missing areas” in  the grid?

Then cover the right eye and repeat the steps with using the left eye to see the grid.

If you answered “YES” to any of the above questions then you need to see your eye doctor immediately. The eye doctor will examine the back of your eye and your macula VERY closely to determine if there are any medical issues causing these changes on the Amsler Grid test.

If you have been told that you have macular degeneration or any other macular disorder, you should be doing the Amsler Grid test at home DAILY.

The Amsler Grid is a great way to monitor your macular health but you should always have yearly eye examinations with dilation when dictated by your doctor.






Video: Contact Lens Tips for Insertion, Removal and Cleaning

This is a good video from Optifree that gives instructions on Contact Lens insertion, removal, proper cleaning and other instructions and tips for successful contact lens wear.

ALWAYS wash, rinse and dry your hands thoroughly each time you handle your contact lenses. This will help eliminate germs (bacteria, viruses, fungus etc) that can cause eye infections and vision loss.

Clean, Rinse and Disinfect your contact lenses after wearing them. Make sure that you DO rub your contact lenses (even if the solution says “No Rub”) – this will help in loosening any deposits, films or debris on your lenses.   Saline solutions are used to RINSE contact lenses (NOT to clean or store contacts) – use multipurpose solutions for cleaning and storing contacts.

Remove your lenses IMMEDIATELY if they become uncomfortable or your eyes become red and/or light sensitive. Discomfort and irritation can be an early warning sign of a problem.  If discomfort continues AFTER you remove your contact lenses – IMMEDIATELY contact your eye doctor.


Do NOT sleep in your contact lenses. People who sleep in their contact lenses have a higher risk of eye infections and ulcerations.

DISCARD your contact lenses as directed by your eye doctor (daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly etc). Wearing a contact lens longer than the approved wear time can cause infections and corneal distortions (the front of the eye can become warped with contact lens overwear).

Do NOT swim, shower or bathe in your contacts.  Tap water and pools can have organisms in them that can cause infections an even PERMENANT vision loss.

Have YEARLY Contact Lens Eye Examinations. Your eye doctor can re-evaluate and re-fit (if needed) your contact lenses for you every 12 months.  Sometimes contact lenses feel comfortable even if they are causing problems.  Your eye doctor will evaluate if the prescription needs to be changed to get you the most precise vision and they will also evaluate if the contact lens that you are wearing is causing problems that you may be unaware of.

CLICK HERE for more information about Contact Lenses from Visionary Eyecare’s website.





Video – Sunglasses are like Sunscreen for your Eyes: Protection from Aging Changes and Some Forms of Eye Cancer




The sun can cause aging changes to your skin… and also to your EYES.

Macular Degeneration and Cataracts are aging changes that can be brought on earlier in your life by exposure to the sun its ultraviolet (UV) radiation.  Wearing sunglasses with good UV protection can be like wearing sunscreen for your eyes.

There are many different types of eye cancer that can affect any part of the eye.  A patient can get cancer on the Eyelids, the Conjunctiva (the “skin” over the white of your eye), the Iris (the colored part of your eye), the Optic Nerve (the nerve from the eye back to the brain), the Retina (the nerve layer inside your eye – responsible for your vision), the Choroid (the blood vessels beneath the retina) and more.

The types of cancers that usually affect the skin (aka on the eyelids….basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma etc.. ) can be the same types of cancers that particularly thrive in sunlight and UV exposure – just like any other type of skin cancer.

EVERYONE (including children) should be wearing sunglasses with UV protection any time they are outdoors. People who are particularly vulnerable are those with with blue eyes, light complexions, work outdoors, have had any PREVIOUS skin cancer or who are taking any medications that make them more light sensitive.

Routine yearly eye examinations are the KEY to early detection and treatment for any types of eye cancer and any other type of eye disease

Click on the FOX News link to see an informative Video about Eye Cancer and Protection Against Aging Changes with regular wear of good UV protection sunwear.  It tells a story of a man who found a weird eyelid freckle…






Diabetic Eye Examination and Diabetic Retinopathy

Informative Video from the Joslin Diabetes Center

Diabetes is the #1 Cause of Preventable Blindness in the U.S. Most of the time there are NO symptoms of diabetic eye problems.  You can have diabetic retinopathy and not even know it.  Many patients can still have fairly good vision even with advanced stages of diabetic eye disease (diabetic retinopathy).   

Diabetic retinopathy is a term used for pathology (bleeding, fluid build up and/or abnormal blood vessel growth) in the nerve lining of the inside of the eye that we use for our vision – called the Retina.

This kind of diabetic pathology is caused when elevated blood glucose (blood sugar) damages the blood vessels in the retina – causing bleeding and fluid build up in and around the retina.  Blood sugar is monitored via blood glucose testing and Glycosylated Hemoglobin (HbA1c) testing (which tells the primary care doctor the average blood glucose in someone’s blood for the past few months – not just the glucose reading on the day of the testing).

Therefore, it is essential for diabetics to have a comprehensive eye examination at least every 12 months – even if their blood sugar is under control. A comprehensive examination should include a dilated eye exam with retinal imaging (digital retinal photography) to document the presence or absence of any diabetic retinopathy.  Retinal photography is essential to pick up and document any subtle diabetic changes in the retina from year to year.

The sooner any diabetic eye problems are diagnosed and treated, the lower the risk of visual loss and/or blindness from diabetic related complications.

So, if you are diabetic or know anyone who is diabetic – a yearly dilated diabetic eye exam is essential for prevention of vision loss from diabetes.






Children’s School Problems May Be Caused by Undetected Vision Problems

Click on the above “Fuzzi” banner to see a Video for you

and your child to view together…

Often children can not express to adults that they may be having problems with their vision. They may not even realize that their vision is blurry or “Fuzzy”.  They may be falling behind or having trouble in school…for an “unknown” reason.  That “unknown” reason may be due to possible vision problems – even if they are able to PASS the Vision Screening at school or at the Pediatrician’s office.

Click on the “Fuzzi is having trouble at School” banner above and you can watch the video with your child.   It may open up a discussion between you and your child about his or her vision.  If your child can identify with the problems that “Fuzzi” is having at school – then its time for your child to have a comprehensive eye examination.






Get YOUR Vision and Eye Health Questions Answered!!

Lots of Our Patients Often Have the


What is Astigmatism??

Why do I now have problems reading up close when I turned 40??

What are those black floating spots in my vision??

What is a Cataract??

I need bifocals….can I wear contact lenses??

What is Glaucoma??

How often should I get my eye exam if I feel my vision has not changed??

What is a Retinal Detachment??

What is Myopia (Nearsightedness)??

What is Macular Degeneration??

My child passed the Pediatrician and/or School Vision Screening – does he/she still need an eye examination if he/she is not complaining of vision problems??

I have astigmatism….can I wear contact lenses??

What is Farsightedness (Hyperopia)??

Well, here is YOUR chance to get all of YOUR questions answered by Dr Bearden and the Visionary Eyecare Doctors – Right HERE on Our BLOG!!

Just leave a comment (Below this post – click on “Comments”) with your burning Vision and Eye Health question(s) and we will write future posts based on the questions that you ask….

Check back often to see if your question has been answered…..OR……… subscribe to our blog  via email (or RSS feed) and get all updates of new BLOG posts sent to you automatically.

CLICK HERE to subscribe to our Blog Via Email.

Its THAT easy!

You are also welcome to visit our Vision Library on our Visionary Eyecare Website for LOTS of Vision and Eye Health Educational Information!!

CLICK HERE to go to our Vision Library….