4 Things Never to Say to Your Eye Doctor (and the ONE thing they really want to hear)

As eye doctors our goal is to help you, our patients, maintain healthy vision throughout your entire lives. We know you want the same, right?

Below are a few well-meaning comments that can stand in the way of your life-long visual health:

#1. "I change my contacts on schedule" (if you really don't)

or "I wear my contacts until they tear/my eyes hurt"

What your eye doctor wants you to know:

Look, we understand. We really do. Contacts are expensive. Life gets busy. Changing contacts on schedule is not always a priority for you.

But here's why it should be: Contact lenses are similar to other prescription medications in that they have to go through strict and rigorous testing by the FDA. They are prescribed to be worn for a certain period of time for a specific reason. And that reason is because "stretching" them (wearing them longer than prescribed) can lead to an increase in nasty eye infections, which can be vision-threatening. If you want to see an icky example of this, look here.

We want you to know that it is okay to tell us (honestly) how you are currently wearing your contacts. We promise not to yell. Or scream. Or make you feel guilty. We are happy to work with you to determine the type of contacts that will work best for you and your lifestyle. We just don't want to see you coming in with a preventable eye infection.

#2. "I can see just fine, I don't need an eye exam"

What your doctor wants you to know:

Annual vision exams are important. Most of us go to the dentist at least once a year. Many of us see our primary care doctor or women's health doctor at least once a year. The same should go for the eye doctor.

Think about how often you use your eyes.

Now imagine life without your vision.

We promise we will not make you get new glasses every single year, if you don't need them. But we do want you to come in for an exam every year so that we can check the health of your eyes. Remember, our goal here is a lifetime of good vision.

#3. "I don't need new frames" (when the frames are 2+ years old)

What your doctor wants you to know:

We all have that one pair of frames that we just love. They fit like a glove and they look great. Why risk getting a new pair?

Just like anything else, frames wear out over time. Older frames are more likely to bend out of shape, scratch, break, etc. They are more difficult for your optician to adjust. Your vision may not be as clear because they don't maintain their alignment on your face.

Most of the time it is actually less expensive to purchase a complete pair of glasses than to just order new lenses (yes, I know this makes no sense but that's how it works because of packaged-pricing).

So, if you love your old frames, keep them...as a BACK-UP pair to your brand-spanking-new ones.

#4. "I think I will order my glasses online"

What your doctor wants you to know:

We see where you are coming from. Saving money is fun. Online retailers are promising you the same quality for less money. Why wouldn't you buy your glasses online?

Here's why:

Quality, Accuracy, and Fit matter.

  • Quality - As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Glasses purchased online may be made of lower quality materials. This can impact both the safety of the lenses (impact-resistance), and the quality of your vision when looking through the lenses.

  • Accuracy - Especially for higher prescriptions, children's glasses, or bifocal lenses, accuracy is extremely important. One recent study conducted by the American Optometric Association found that of 200 glasses ordered online, 44.8% had prescription errors that fell outside of the acceptable margin of tolerance.

  • Fit - Ill-fitting glasses can be uncomfortable and unattractive. Poor fit can also affect your vision, especially with higher prescriptions or bifocal lenses. Sure, many online retailers offer free returns, or allow you to "try before you buy" - but why bother with the hassle when you have the option to try frames on in-person, with a skilled optician available to assist you? It's like having a free personal shopper at your disposal!

Some people who might be better suited to purchasing online eyewear include:

  • people with very low prescriptions (less than 2 Diopters in either direction, with no cyl power)

  • habitual contact lens wearers who only wear their glasses for a few minutes each day

If you do choose to purchase eyewear online, just be aware of the issues mentioned above.

AND NOW...The one thing EVERY eye doctor loves to hear:

And I hope to see YOU in 2017

at Twenty Twenty Family Vision Center :)

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