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11121 Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN 37934
Phone: (865) 966-0100View Map

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  • Monday:  7:30 - 4:30
  • Tuesday:  7:30 - 4:30
  • Wednesday:  7:30 - 4:30
  • Thursday:  9:00 - 6:00
  • Friday:  7:30 - 1:00

*Closed Saturdays and Sundays

Most people have heard of astigmatism and many have even been told that they have astigmatism.  If you are at all confused or unsure of what astigmatism is and what is means to your vision, you may want to read this.

The official definition of astigmatism is:  a defect in the eye or in a lens caused by a deviation from spherical curvature, which results in distorted images, as light rays are prevented from meeting at a common focus.

Ok, so how does astigmatism affect your vision and what can you do about it?  Astigmatism not only can blur your vision, it also distorts your vision.  If it is mild, astigmatism can cause a slight blurring of your vision causing the need to squint to clear up the images you are viewing.  If it is moderate or severe, astigmatism can significantly blur your vision and cause eyestrain and headaches if left uncorrected.

How should astigmatism be treated?  The common treatment for astigmatism is glasses or contact lenses.  LASIK can also be used to correct astigmatism.  Depending on the severity of the astigmatism, your options may be limited.  The good news is that with modern technology, we have excellent options to provide you with clear, comfortable vision, regardless of the severity of your astigmatism.

The first step to take to understanding your vision is to see your eye doctor.  After thoroughly examining your eyes, your eye doctor will be able to determine if you have astigmatism, the severity, the type (corneal or lenticular),and the treatment options which will be best for your individual needs.  If it is determined that you have severe astigmatism, your treatment options will be limited and it is imperative that you find an eye doctor who is skilled in fitting specialty contact lenses.  If contact lenses do not interest you, then make sure you choose the best lenses for your eyeglasses.  Your licensed optician will help you choose the best lenses for astigmatism.  There are many lens options available to you and it is important to understand your options.  If you choose solely based on price, you will most likely be disappointed.

Astigmatism is only one type of refractive error that can blur our vision.  The more commonly known conditions are myopia (near-sightedness) and hyperopia (far-sightedness).  Astigmatism can exist alone, or can be combined with myopia or hyperopia.  The more complex the refractive error, the more important it is to choose the right treatment options.  Our vision can be very complex and it is important to rely on eye care professionals to provide you with the best options.  

Bottom line:  Annual eye exams are not only important for eye health, they are also important to provide you with the best options for vision correction.  When choosing an eye doctor, do your homework and make sure you are choosing an eye doctor who will provide you with the best treatment options.  We rely on our vision every day.  Make sure your vision is the best it can possibly be.

Have you ever been told that you have keratoconus?  Keratoconus is a condition that affects the front surface of the eye called the cornea.  Many people who have keratoconus do not even know it.  In its beginning stages, keratoconus is very difficult to detect.  Your eye doctor can detect keratoconus in its early stages using a corneal mapping device called corneal topography.  Keratoconus usually presents in early adulthood and can progress as one ages.  It is important to detect keratoconus in its early stages and to see an eye doctor that is very familiar with the disease and treatment for it.

There are many types of contact lenses designed for keratoconic corneas.  In most cases of keratoconus, eyeglasses provide less than optimal clarity due to the warping effect of the cone.  By using specially designed contact lenses, visual acuity can be improved above and beyond what eyeglasses can provide.  Traditional soft contact lenses also fall short in acuity because they take the shape of the cornea and do not address the conical shape of the cornea.

A new procedure that has recently been approved by the FDA is called corneal cross-linking.  This procedure is used to slow down the progression of keratoconus in young adults.  Even after cross-linking, the keratoconus must still be addressed with specialty contact lenses to provide optimal vision.  Cross-linking does not reverse the effects of keratoconus, but rather slows down or halts the progression of the disease.

Keratoconus can be hereditary so it is important to stress the importance of regular eye examinations for family members of people with keratoconus.  If keratoconus is diagnosed early, the prognosis is much better.  It is important to find an eye doctor who is experienced in fitting specialty lenses.  Keratoconus contact lenses can be rather expensive.  Some vision plans provide very good benefits for "medically necessary" contact lenses.  

We are now into February and I would assume most of us are looking forward to the warmer days of spring.  Although sunglasses should be worn year-round, many people associate sunglasses with warm, sunny days.  Now is a good time to consider upgrading your sunglasses.  If you already enjoy wearing high quality polarized sunglasses, then you are in the minority.  Unfortunately, high quality sunglasses usually make people think "expensive".  It is true that high quality sunglasses have a higher price tag, but this is one area that you truly get what you pay for.

We wear sunglasses for fashion, visual comfort and clarity, and for protection from harmful sunlight.  If your sunglasses don't provide all of those things, then you need to find some that do.  The higher the quality of sunglasses, usually the higher the price tag.  That doesn't always hold true in reverse.  There are plenty of high priced sunglasses that are not necessarily the highest quality.  The main thing that seperates the quality of the sunglasses in the high price category is the lens.  If the lenses don't protect your eyes properly, including UV and blue light, and provide high quality optics, then you should look for some that do.

We have many options in sunwear and you should rely on your eye care professionals to find the right sunglasses for you.  Fortunately, if you rely on prescription eyeglasses to see, the higher quality sunglasses also come in prescription.  These lenses are made with the same technology that the non-prescription lenses are made.  Keeping your eyewear properly adjusted will ensure that your sunglasses remain as comfortable and the optics are a clear as possible.

Your eyes are precious.  Don't skimp on quality to save a buck.  Your eyes will thank you for it!

The answer to the above question is....it depends.  You most likely have been told that sleeping in your contact lenses is not a good idea and could cause some major problems.  That can be true, but it is not necessarily always true.  With the new materials that modern contact lenses are usually made from, silicone hydrogel, the problem is not hypoxia (lack of oxygen permeation).  One could argue that the eye gets nearly as much oxygen with most "extended wear" lenses as is does without a lens on the eye.  The problem lies in the cleanliness of the lens and surface deposits.  As a contact lens sits on the surface of the eye, it is exposed to atmospheric debris, tears, and other foreign substances.  Over the course of the day, these foreign elements will adhere to the surface of the lens.  If the lens is not removed routinely and cleaned and disinfected, irritation can occur and lead to serious complications.  Eye infections, especially the kind that affect the cornea, can lead to permanent damage to the eyes and vision.

eye-infection-1.jpg                 download.jpg

Infection from contact lens abuse                   Healthy contact lens wear

  If cleaning your contact lenses seems like too much work, you may want to consider daily disposable contact lenses that are worn once and thrown away.

There is, however, a type of contact lens that is actually prescribed to be worn overnight, on purpose!  The difference in these contact lenses is that they reshape the cornea in order to change the refractive error.  This only works with those individuals that are near-sighted and may have mild to moderate astigmatism.  CRT lenses (corneal refractive therapy) are worn overnight and removed in the morning.  After removal, the lenses are cleaned and disinfected during the daytime.

So, now you see why the answer is a little more complicated than you may have thought.  It is important to discuss your individual needs with your eye doctor and make sure that you are compliant with the wear schedule that your eye doctor prescribes.  Contact lenses come in many forms and can seem pretty complicated.  It is the job of your eye doctor to take care of your eyes and prescribe the healthiest option for your needs.  It is your job to comply.  Remember, if you really want to wear contact lenses, you most likely can.  Schedule an appointment with your eye doctor in order take advantage of the many healthy contact lens options that you have.

Brent B. Fry, O.D.

 

With all of the options that are available for eye care services and products, how can you decide what is best for you and your family?  Getting accurate information can sometimes be difficult due to all of the advertising that is all over the television and internet.  To keep it simple, remember, you usually get what you pay for.  If you see 2 pair of glasses for $69 and a free eye exam, do you really think that those glasses and that eye exam are what is best for you and your family?  We encourage people to schedule an eye exam in our office and let us inform you about all of the new and exciting innovations in eye care and products available today.  Do you really think that the "buy one get one" places are the best place to go for something as important as your eyes and your vision?  You use your eyes for everything and you should value your eyes and take care of them the best you can.  So when you are considering eye care options, shouldn't you consider more than just price?

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Office News

May 10, 2017
Most people have heard of astigmatism and many have even been told that they have astigmatism.  If you are at all confused or unsure of what astigmatism is and what is means to your vision, you m...

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