Dr. Yee answers your questions about eyecare:
Q:I suddenly see random wavy lines, zig zagging, and/or blotches of missing vision in my vision that last for no more than 30 minutes, should I be concerned?
A. You may have just experienced an ophthalmic migraine or a migraine with aura. Usually these are harmless and indicates some sort of stress. However, it is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning we need to always make sure that isn’t any other ocular concern within the eye itself that may be causing your symptoms. It is a good idea to make an appointment within a few days to have your vision and eye health examined. Emergency minor evaluations are usually MSP covered.
Q: Whenever I close my eyes, I see flashes of light in my vision, should I be concerned?
A. Flashes of light in your vision could be a very dangerous sign! Something is tugging at your retina and eliciting these flashes of light. Sometimes it could be the vitreous humor pulling at the retina in aging vitreous degeneration, but sometimes it could mean a dangerous retinal tear or detachment. Detachments need to be treated within 24 hours for the best prognosis in preventing permanent vision loss. Emergency minor evaluations are usually MSP covered.
Q: Are sunglasses just for fashion or do they actually protect your eyes?
A. UV exposure increases the likelihood of cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium or pinguecula (which are like calluses on the eye). UV exposure can also cause cancer of the eyelid and eye.
Q: What is the difference between polarized and non-polarized sunglasses?
A. A polarized lens eliminates annoying and dangerous glare. Any light that bounces off horizontal surfaces such as the road, water, etc can bounce into the eye which you perceive as glare. A polarized lens will only allow vertical light into your eyes, therefore, allowing clearer vision. A non-polarized lens will reduce the amount of light entering your eyes, but has little or no effect on reflected glare. At our office, we carry both types of sunglass lenses and can show you the difference in both using our polarized lens demonstrator.
Q: What is an eye emergency, and what should I do if I have one?
A. Very often we have patients who come in with red eyes, irritations, or foreign bodies that got into their eye, but many times our other patients don’t know where to go or who to see about these concerns and end up at the family doctor’s office or the emergency room where they are waiting hours to see a doctor. Here, we want to educate you more about what to do in ocular emergencies such as those mentioned above. If you let us know you need an emergency appointment, we will fit you into our schedule likely on the same day.
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. We would suggest you come in for an emergency appointment so that our eye doctor can make sure what the problem really is and treat if necessary. Emergency minor evaluations are usually MSP covered.
Q. I was cleaning in the shed or grinding some metal and I felt something fly into my eye and now it is irritated and watery, what should I do?
A. Flush your eye with water immediately, then give us a call to make an emergency eye appointment. Our eye doctors are specially trained to look in your eye for any foreign bodies that might be trapped in the fornices of the eyelids. We will also look for any scratches on the surface of the cornea after the foreign body is removed and monitor or treat if necessary. You want to have any foreign bodies removed as soon as possible so that the epithelium does not grow over it. Emergency minor evaluations are usually MSP covered.
Q. My eye is suddenly red & irritated/painful, what should I do?
A. 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). 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. 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. Emergency minor evaluations are usually MSP covered.
Q. I am seeing some black/grey dots and/or strings in my vision that float around when I move my eyes, should I be concerned?
A. Most of these dots and threads are called floaters and are generally harmless. However, if you had a recent eye injury or an impact to the eye, see a new onset of them, see a lot of them, or accompanied by flashes of light, make an emergency eye appointment with our eye doctor so that we can make sure there aren’t any concern your retina. Floaters are generally harmless unless they are accompanied by retinal holes, tears, or detachments, in which case you could potentially have permanent vision loss. Emergency minor evaluations are usually MSP covered.