Q&A on Eye Care With Dr. James Vann
Dr. James Vann answers questions on complete eye exams, contact lenses, glasses, glaucoma testing, and pre- and post-operative care. Located at 614 Market St , Fulton , MO,. Dr. Vann is a full-service family eye and vision care provider and will take both eye emergencies as well as scheduled appointments.
Q. What constitutes ocular emergencies and how we deal with that at Visionarts Eyecare Center?
A. If you’re struck in the eye with a bat or someone hit you with a fist or there’s an accident and you take a blunt trauma to the eye or the head, that could be very serious.
The first thing we worry about is damage to the sinus cavity with that type of injury. We need to assess whether or not there is bleeding in or around the eye. We have to worry about separation of the tissue and then ultimately even if you recover on your own, we still have to worry a lot about the swelling and how the eye recovers from such trauma.
It’s very important in that situation that you have an eye doctor look at the eye that’s been traumatically struck, so we can evaluate really what is going on and if it does need to be any special types of treatment.
Q: How do allergies directly affect the eyes?
A: Chronic allergies may lead to permanent damage to the tissue of your eye and eyelids. If left untreated, it may even cause scarring of the conjunctiva, the membrane covering the inner eyelid that extends to the whites of the eyes. Ocular allergies can make contact lens wear almost impossible and are among the many causes of contact lens drop-out. Most common allergy medications will tend to dry out the eyes, and relying on nasal sprays containing corticosteroids can increase the pressure inside your eyes, causing other complications such as glaucoma.
Q: How will I know if my child's amblyopia is getting better? Is it too late to help if the problem is detected after age 6?
A: Lazy eye will not go away on its own. We have what is called electrodiagnostic testing which can determine the effectiveness of amblyopia treatment without relying on the response of the child to "tell" us how well they are seeing. Oftentimes, parents worry that the eye exam is not accurate if their child is not old enough to read the chart or is uncooperative due to anxiety surrounding an eye exam. This test is non-invasive and fast (30 minutes) and can be done right here in our office for patients of all ages, starting in infancy. We can track over time how the therapy is working and the prognosis of their vision.
Q: My child saw 20/20 at their school physical. That's perfect vision for back to school, right?
A: Maybe! 20/20 only tells us what size letter can be seen 20 feet away. People with significant farsightedness or eye muscle imbalances may see "20/20", but experience enough visual strain to make reading difficult. Eighty percent of learning is visual so include a thorough eye exam in your child's Back-to-School list.
Q: Why is my child having trouble reading and concentrating on schoolwork?
A: Your child may have an underlying refractive issue, such as farsightedness, nearsightedness or an astigmatism that maybe be causing blurred vision, making it hard for your child to concentrate and focus. There may also binocularity issues, which is how well the two eyes work together, or focusing issues that can affect a child's schoolwork. When working with your child, we will evaluate the visual system including binocular and accommodative systems to determine if his/her vision may be interfering with academic success.
Q: One of the greatest tasks of a school-aged child is learning to read and in older children, the amount of reading required. What should parents be on the lookout for concerning their child’s reading and potential vision problems?
A: We often discuss vision problems as they relate to sitting in a classroom, but what about the playground or vision acuity’s effect on socialization and play?
Q: We have many choices today to correct our vision. What do you recommend as the earliest age for contact lenses?
A: This is very patient-specific and task-specific. Once the parent and child agree on the goals, and if the child is responsible enough for contacts, we can begin assess each situation individually. For example, disposable contacts may be used specifically for a sport, as needed.
Q: I woke up with a red eye, but it’s not painful. Should I wait a few days or have it seen right away?
A: It is always a good idea to come to see our eye doctor to make sure if it is something threatening to your vision, but most often red eyes that aren’t painful could be due to subconjunctival hemorrhages or viral infections. Subconjunctival hemorrhages look like small pools of blood on the whites of the eyes which are harmless if only confined to the outside of the eye; however, could be vision threatening if also on the inside of the eye. Call for an emergency appointment so that our eye doctor can determine what the problem really is and treat if necessary.
Q: My eye is suddenly red and irritated/painful, what should I do?
A: Whenever you get a red eye, it is very important to make an emergency eye appointment immediately with our eye doctor to see what the cause is. Some red eyes will go away with rest, but some are vision threatening and could cause blindness within 24 hours (ie. If the cause was a microorganism from contact lens wear). If you wear contact lenses, remove them immediately and do not wear until the redness subsides. Our doctor uses a high magnification slit lamp to examine your eyes to determine the exact cause of the problem and will treat accordingly. A family doctor usually does not have the necessary equipment and will treat based on your symptoms only. If your eyes need antibiotic eye drops, our eye doctor can prescribe the proper ones for your condition.