Common Questions Patients Ask About Their Eyes

Today we have more information than ever at our fingertips. Google can be our best friend answering burning questions about our health. Or, it can be our worst enemy leaving us with vague answers that indicate worst case scenarios. This is when physicians can provide context for patients.

When it comes to good eye health Dr. Waters says he is open to talking with patients about the research they have done on their own. “I welcome my patients to do their own research about their eye health,” Dr. Waters said. “I appreciate it when they bring in what they’ve found, so we can have a discussion about what’s best for them and relate it to what they are experiencing.”

In this article Dr. Waters answers some of the most googled questions – questions he and his staff are frequently asked.

  1. Will wearing reading glasses make my eyes worse?
    “This is a very common question. Once people reach the age of 40-50, they need reading glasses. This is part of the natural aging process where the lens of the eye starts to harden and can’t focus as well. Wearing reading glasses will not make the eyes worse, but patients find they do become dependent on glasses because they need them. The eyes will continue to need glasses until cataract surgery, when there are lens implant options that can give patients freedom from glasses again.”
  2. Do I have to wait to have cataract surgery until my cataracts are “ripe”?
    “For insurance to pay towards cataract surgery, there are a couple of requirements. The patient must have a complaint that cataracts are causing difficulty with daily activities and their vision test must meet the insurance company’s criteria. There is no requirement that the cataracts are “ripe” enough though. People today are having cataract surgery much younger than in the past, because there is no need to wait to enjoy many years of good vision. And, with newer lens implants, patients often don’t have to wear glasses afterwards.”
  3. Does using marijuana help treat glaucoma?
    “In the 1970’s it was first reported that smoking marijuana might lower eye pressure, a primary risk for glaucoma. However, a person would have to smoke 8-10 times a day every day to even start to see any benefits, because glaucoma needs pressure to be under control 24/7. The harm with this regimen far outweighs any benefits, since we have excellent treatment for glaucoma. And using CBD (cannabidiol) has actually been shown to raise eye pressure.”
  4. Will fish oil help my eyes?
    “As we age, we are at an increased risk of dry eyes. Omega 3 oils can help the eye glands produce the oily component of tears, which helps keep the surface of the eyes moist. Omega 3 oils can be found in supplements like Thera Tears Nutrition and in foods like, salmon, tuna, walnuts, flaxseed and spinach. However, if patients are taking a blood thinner, I recommend they talk to their primary care physician before taking Omega 3 supplements, as these might increase the risk of bleeding.”
  5. Can I drive if my eyes are dilated?
    “Everyone is different, but most people can drive home from their dilated eye exam. Dilation drops make the pupil larger so I can see into the back of the eye and get a clear view of the retina. With dilation the pupils are larger and more light can come into the eyes, which means patients need sunglasses to drive because it will seem very bright outside. Usually a person’s distance vision is still good, but near vision is blurry for several hours after dilation.”