Vision Screening Vs. Vision Exam

The department of motor vehicles, the school nurse and the pediatrician use vision screening to identify vision problems. Screening usually involves standing a given distance from a lettered chart, covering one eye and reading down the chart to the smallest letter possible.


A vision screening is intended to help identify children with eye or vision problems that threaten sight or impair their ability to develop and learn normally. However, vision screenings are a limited process and cannot be used to diagnose an eye or vision problem, but rather to indicate a potential need for further evaluation.

Screenings are typically designed to detect problems with distance vision, and that is important for children socially and physically, but myopia represents the least risk for reading and learning. A myopic child is more likely to notice that the board is blurry and move to the front of the classroom. Hyperopia on the other hand, makes it more difficult to see things close up and astigmatism effects vision at all distances. Children with uncorrected hyperopia and astigmatism will have more difficulty reading and writing and may not even be aware that the difficulty is due to his or her vision. These are the children that may complain of headaches, avoid reading and school related tasks.
A vision screening test identifies some vision problems, but can miss disorders that have a profound effect on a child’s ability to succeed in school.

During a comprehensive eye examination an optometrist can identify, diagnose and prescribe treatment.


Laser Vision Correction

Clear View

Laser vision correction has been performed for more than twenty years. Procedures and lasers have improved to allow better results and correction for higher refractive errors. Wavefront technology was introduced fifteen years ago. The result was less glare and distortion after the procedure.
Laser vision correction works by removing corneal tissue to correct refractive error. For example, someone who is nearsighted or myopic typically has a longer eye and/or steeper cornea. The laser removes tissue to flatten the cornea and focus light accurately on the retina. In someone with astigmatism the tissue is removed to create corneal symmetry that will eliminate blur.
LASIK (laser in-situ keratomileusis) is the most common refractive laser procedure. It combines the accuracy of the Excimer laser with the quick-healing characteristics of Lamellar Keratoplasty. Lamellar keratoplasty is a procedure where a hinged flap of the cornea is created. The excimer laser is used to treat the underlying cornea. The hinged flap is set back in place where it securely bonds without stitches.
Who is a candidate for LASIK?
A good candidate for LASIK has a stable prescription, realistic expectations and thick enough corneas. The decision to have laser vision correction is important. Outcomes are very good, but complications do occur and 20/20 vision isn’t a guarantee. Ask about laser vision correction at your next visit with us.


Are Rigid Gas Permeable Contacts Old-Fashioned?

There are many contact lens choices. At Westside Optometry we will prescribe the best lens for you, your eyes and your lifestyle.

RGP, Soft, Hybrid, Scleral

RGP, Soft, Hybrid, Scleral

The majority of contact lenses prescribed are soft lenses. Within this large category of lens are daily disposables, weekly and monthly replacement. Functional options include multifocals for presbyopia, torics for astigmatism and spherical lenses for hyperopia and myopia.
What happens if there is “a lot” of astigmatism, or astigmatism AND presbyopia or high myopia or high hyperopia? And what if the cornea has been altered by disease or refractive surgery?
Soft contact lenses can’t correct many of these conditions. That’s why there are other contact lens options. Gas Permeable (GP) contact lenses correct astigmatism, have stable crisp optics and are individually designed and manufactured. GP lenses provide more oxygen to the cornea than soft lenses. They last longer and are more durable providing a cost effective solution. Gas Permeables are available in high powers, multi-focals and special designs for irregular corneas.
Hybrids are a blend of soft and gas permeable lens designs. The center of the hybrid lens is gas permeable material and the perimeter is a silicone hydrogel material. This provides crisp optics of the GP and the comfort of a soft lens. The hybrid lenses are available in multifocals and special designs for post-LASIK and irregular corneas.

The majority of contact lens wearers use a soft contact lens, but gas permeable contacts  have many benefits and applications. Gas permeable contact lenses are not old-fashioned,  they have stood the test of time.


Synergeyes Hybrid Contacts

duette contact lens

A hybrid contact lens has a gas permeable center that provides crisp clear vision and a soft silicone hydrogel skirt for excellent centration and comfort. The lenses are available in many prescriptions including multifocals.

Care and handling is unique for a hybrid lens. When we dispense a lens at Westside Optometry, our contact lens technician will instruct on application, removal and care of the lenses. A special applicator is often used for easier insertion.

For more information about the Synergeyes products visit their website.


What do you need to know about Contact Lenses?

Dirty Contact Lens

The tiny disc of plastic on your eye is one of the most amazing and complex scientific advances in vision correction. Whether you’re nearsighted or farsighted, if you have astigmatism or presbyopia, contact lenses can bring everything into focus for you.

Drs. Griffith and Staton will select the best lens material and design for your prescription and the best care products for your lenses.


contact lensesDO… wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry them with a lint free towel before handling your lenses.

DON’T… use hand soaps that contain lotions or oils. Those ingredients can transfer to your lenses and leave a filmy residue.

DO… replace your lenses as prescribed. Lenses that are past their prime won’t give you the best vision and can compromise the health of your eyes.

DON’T… add new solution to used solution in your lens case.


What’s in those Bottles?

If you scan the eye care aisle at your local retail pharmacy or big box store, you’ll see a row filled with contact lens products. This can be confusing, so here’s a quick look at the main categories and what these products do:

MULTI-PURPOSE SOLUTIONS…These solutions contain everything you need for daily lens care – cleaning, rinsing, disinfection and storage – but each brand has a unique formulation. They’re not all the same. Some multi-purpose solutions include extra ingredients, such as wetting and condition agents, which are designed specifically to help keep lenses comfortable, so you can wear them all day.

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE SYSTEMS… Not only is hydrogen peroxide a great disinfectant, but contact lens care systems that use it have no added preservatives, which is ideal for people who have sensitive eyes and allergies.

SALINE SOLUTIONS… The most important fact you need to know about saline solution is that it will not clean or disinfect your contact lenses. Saline solution is basically sterilized salt water, and it’s mainly used for rinsing contact lenses. Never store your lenses in saline.

GENERICS… Even though store-brand contact lens solutions look almost the same as the name-brand product, some ingredients may differ just enough to cause a sensitivity reaction. And the ingredients in a store-brand product can differ from retailer to retailer – even though the packaging is similar – depending on which manufacturer is supplying the product.


Today’s contact lenses are designed to give you comfortable, sharp vision all day. You should forget you’re even wearing them. If your eyes look red or feel dry or irritated, or if your lenses are so uncomfortable that you need to remove them before the end of the day, it’s time to call us. Your lenses may not be the problem. The culprit could be your solution. Changing solutions is a remedy, but switching to a daily use lens will eliminate contact lens solution altogether.


Choosing the Best Lens for your Glasses

The lenses you choose for your eyeglasses – even more than the frames – often will determine how happy you are with your eyewear.
When buying eyeglasses, the frame you choose is important to both your appearance and your comfort when wearing glasses. But the eyeglass lenses you choose influence four factors: appearance, comfort, vision and safety.
A common mistake people make when buying eyeglasses is not spending enough time considering their choices of lens materials , designs and coatings.


Lens Materials

Eyeglass lens thickness is determined in part by the size and style of the frame you choose. For thinner lenses, choose smaller, round or oval frames; plastic frames hide edge thickness better.
Glass Lenses. Originally, all the eyeglass lenses were made of glass. Although glass lenses offer exceptional optics, they are heavy and can break, potentially causing serious harm to the eye or even loss of an eye. For these reasons, glass lenses are not used for eyeglasses very often.

Plastic Lenses. The first plastic eyeglass lenses were made of a plastic polymer called CR-39. Because it is half the weight of glass, has good optics and is inexpensive, it remains a popular choice for lens material.

Polycarbonate Lenses were introduced in the 1970s for safety glasses. Originally developed for helmet visors for the Air Force it offers a lighter and significantly more impact-resistant option. It is preferred for children’s eyewear, safety glasses and sports eyewear.

Trivex is a newer lightweight eyeglass material with similar impact-resistant properties as polycarbonate. It has better clarity than the polycarbonate, but isn’t quite as thin.

High-Index Plastic Lenses are indicated for thinner, lighter eyeglasses. High-index materials also provide UV protection.

Lens Treatments

For more comfortable and better looking glasses, the following lens treatments are available.

Anti-Reflective Coating (ARC) makes all eyeglass lenses look and perform better.  AR vs no ARARC eliminates reflections in lenses that reduce contrast and clarity, especially at night. The coating makes the lenses look invisible and increase the transmission of light. This is especially important in high index lenses, because of the higher index of refraction that causes more light to be reflected.

Adaptive Lenses or Transitions change color depending on the ambient ultraviolet light levels.

Digital Lenses reduce aberrations and improve clarity. This is most important in higher prescriptions and progressive lenses.

The next time you are selecting glasses, take advantage of the Westside Optometry team to design the optimum pair for you.


Types of Contact Lenses

RGP, Soft, Hybrid, Scleral

RGP, Soft, Hybrid, Scleral

At Westside Optometry we fit not only common soft contact lenses, but specialty lenses as well. In the class of soft contact lenses we are successful with daily use, 2 week and monthly replacement modalities. Within each replacement schedule are options such as designs for astigmatism and presbyopia and different  materials. Soft contacts work well for most people, but some people are very successful in rigid gas permeables (RGP).
RGPs are excellent for achieving crisp clear and stable vision. This is especially true of higher powers and astigmatic corneas. RGPs are custom designed so I can select material, color, size and power. They last on average, 2 years.
A few years ago we added the hybrid lenses to our repertoire. Hybrid lenses blend the crisp vision of RGPs and the comfort of soft lenses. They can correct most refractive errors, myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia. A Hybrid contact lens will last 6 months with proper care. CL profile
Newest to our arsenal of contact lenses are the scleral lenses. This is a very large, gas permeable lens that doesn’t touch the cornea. The lens rests on the sclera allowing correction for irregular corneas such as keratoconus and post-surgical eyes. Scleral lenses are also used as a treatment for extreme dry eyes.

Contact lenses are not a one size fits all, nor a one kind fits all. Different eyes require different lenses and different lenses require different care. When fitting the best contact lens for you, we also determine the best contact lens care regime to enhance your contact lens success.

Make an appointment for an eye examination online.


Myopia Prevention

It might not be possible to prevent nearsightedness (myopia) completely, but researchers are making interesting discoveries about controlling myopia in children.
One intriguing finding is that kids who spend more time outdoors appear to have less risk of becoming nearsighted. Researchers in the U.K. found that for each additional hour children Myopiaspent outdoors per week. the risk of myopia fell by about 2 percent.
Though the cause for this finding is not fully understood, some scientists believe exposure to sunlight increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the eyes, which may prevent elongation of the eyeball.
So if you want to minimize the chances of your child developing myopia, the best advice to give them might be, “go out and play.”

Stepping away from video games and other screens can reduce visual stress which is thought to contribute to nearsightedness also. Click here to read about myopic stress.


What is Your Vision?

SNELLENWhen patients come to see me, I need to have a way to compare how they see in relation to someone with “normal” vision. I also need to have a consistent measurement for year to year comparison. So, like most eye doctors, I use a number system called Snellen visual acuity. This measure of the clarity of vision uses black letters on a white background. This is the part of the eye examination, when I ask you to read the letters on the chart. The letters are called optotypes and they have a very specific design that takes into account the size of the lines and the space between them While there are other types of visual acuity measurements, Snellen acuity is the most common. One of the circumstances when I will use other types of tests is when I’m examining my younger patients. Then I might use shapes or broken wheel charts.Children's Acuity

The measure most people want to achieve with the Snellen visual acuity is 20/20 vision. This is considered normal. But what does 20/20 mean? Take for example a person with 20/40 vision. A person with 20/40 vision is at a disadvantage compared to a person with normal, 20/20 vision. In fact, a person with 20/40 vision would have to stand 20 feet away from something that a person with normal vision can stand 40 feet away from and still see clearly.

A number of factors like eye disease, the eye’s length and curvature, and the quality of connection between the eye and the process centers in the brain come together to determine visual acuity. Some factors, like nearsightedness, come with easy solutions like glasses or contact lenses. Others conditions like macular degeneration, are much more complex and simple solutions like glasses only offer minimal improvement.



Not seeing clearly in the distance is usually caused by myopia or nearsightedness. Nearly 30% of Americans are myopic. Children with one myopic parent have a 2X greater risk of developing myopia whereas those with two myopic parents have an 8X greater risk. Physical length of the eye seems to be the biggest factor. In addition to heredity, visual stress is thought to be a contributing factor to myopia.Visual stress is caused by too much close work. Even though the tendency to develop myopia may be inherited, its actual development may be affected by how a person uses his eyes. Individuals who spend considerable time reading, working at a computer or doing other intense close visual tasks increase their visual stress and possibly the incidence of myopia.

A common symptom of nearsightedness is difficulty seeing things far away like a movie or street signs. Generally, myopia first occurs in school-age children. Because the eye continues to grow during childhood, myopia progresses until about age 20.

Correction Options for Myopia

Not quite myopia:

  • Some people experience blurred distance vision only at night. This “night myopia” may be due to the low level of light making it difficult for the eyes to focus properly or the increased pupil size during dark conditions, allowing more peripheral,unfocused light rays to enter the eye.
  • People who do an excessive amount of near vision work may experience a false or “pseudo” myopia. The blurred distance vision is caused by over use of the eyes’ focusing mechanism. After long periods of near work, the eyes are unable to relax and refocus to see clearly in the distance. The symptoms are usually temporary and clear distance vision may return after resting the eyes.
  • Symptoms of nearsightedness may also be a sign of variations in blood sugar levels in persons with diabetes or an early indication of a developing cataract.

If you are experiencing blurry vision at any distance give Westside Optometry a call.