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Home » Resources » Patient FAQs

Patient FAQs

Q&A with Dr. Gentile

Dr. Gentile Answers Your Eyecare Questions

Q: Can I borrow and use someone else's glasses?
A: Most glasses are specifically customized for a particular patient. If you are wearing someone's glasses, it could improve your vision some, but it will not give you the crisp clear vision that a personalized pair of glasses does.

Q: I see fine. Why do I need to see an Eye Doctor?
A: Regular eye exams are the only way to catch “silent” diseases such as diabetes, glaucoma and other conditions in their early stages, when they’re more easily managed or treated. Many conditions can be discovered in a carefully planned eye exam. Those who consider mass-produced, over the counter reading glasses are truly doing themselves a disservice, both financially and medically. One-size-fits-all reading glasses not only do not work well for most people who have a different prescription in each eye, and/or astigmatism, or whose lens and frame parameters are not measured correctly, they bypass the opportunity to have their eyes checked for early detection of many manageable diseases or conditions. For those insisting on selecting glasses not measured specifically for their eyes, headache and eye fatigue are common symptoms.

Q: At what age do you recommend children start with contact lenses?
A: As an optometrist, I believe that contact lenses can be worn at any age. But contacts are a privilege and not a right. There is a financial responsibility associated with contact lens wear, as well as the need for overall accountability to avoid eye health issues. Therefore, for young people I recommend that we wait to try contacts until both the patient and parent are on board. In my experience, if the patient is not wanting contact lenses he/she will not take care of them appropriately and/or will not be successful at handling the lenses. On the flip side, the parent(s) need to agree to assuming the financial responsibility of fit, follow up, and materials; also, they must agree that their child is mature enough to take care of the contacts on his/her own.

Q: What can I do to prevent dry eyes?
A: Dry eyes are caused by many factors. If you know you have dry eyes, try to pay attention to what makes them feel better or worse. For example, do not blow your hair dryer directly towards your eyes. Add moisture to the air with a humidifier. Use eye protection outdoors like wrap around sunglasses or other protective eyewear. Be mindful of changes in your environment (traveling). Position your computer screen below eye level. Stop smoking and avoid smoky areas. Supplement with lubricating eye drops and Omega 3 (orally).

Q: At what age should I bring my child in for her first eye exam? And how much does it cost?
A: The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends that the first eye exam be done at the age of 6 months, then next around the age of 3, and then yearly thereafter. Your Optometrist may recommend more frequent eye exams if he or she has something they want to monitor more closely. As for the cost; luckily, in Alberta (and many other Provinces in Canada), ALL children’s eye exams are covered by Alberta Health Care up until the child’s 19th birthday. It’s not just “once per year” either; a child can come in as often as necessary and Alberta Health Care will cover it.

Q: Who can wear contact lenses and at what age can you start?
A: Most vision problems are amenable to contact lens correction and there's no set age limit, whenever mom says it's okay. Typically 12 or 13 is when children start using contact lenses. Daily or 1-Day contact lenses are easier for children because of zero maintenance and a safer option for younger wearers.