PULSE CHECK: The 20/20 on healthy eyes with Dr. Laura Evans

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Dr. Laura Evans of Leet Eyecare (Adam Vogler)

Dr. Laura Evans shares how to prevent eye strain, and new technology to address problems:

Job title: Optometrist/owner of Leet EyeCare in Cape Girardeau

Hometown: Kelso, Mo.

City of residence: Kelso, Mo.

Family: Husband Barry Evans and two children: Taylor, age 10, and Tyson, age 8

Favorite activities outside of work: Running with girlfriends, reading, spending time with the kids doing outdoor activities.

What are the most common concerns of women who come to your office?

Many of the women who come to my office would like to see well at all distances without their glasses.

Many of us work in front of a computer all day, every day. How does that affect our eyes?

Consistent computer use can cause eye strain, tiredness, discomfort and increased redness of the eyes. Some patients have difficulty refocusing to a distant task, such as driving, after working on the computer all day.

What are some ways to lessen the strain on our eyes throughout the day?

First and foremost is the proper vision correction, whether it is with glasses or contacts. Then, make sure that you are producing the proper quality of tears -- computer usage tends to dry the eyes out. Women are particularly susceptible to dry eyes. I also recommend proper lighting with limited glare from any light source on your computer screen.

For those of us who already have poor vision, how can we keep it from getting worse?

A patient's prescription is derived from their genetics and environment. Genetics we can't change, and it is normal for our prescription to change as we age, especially our reading prescription. As far as environment goes, our eyes are designed for 20 feet and beyond, not to stay continually focused at 16 to 20 inches like we do all day on computers and smartphones. Giving your eyes a break from your computer is the best advice I can give.

What are some of the new options out there for glasses and contacts? Are we doomed to carry "readers" for the rest of our lives?

There is some new technology available in both glasses and contacts for patients who use readers. Computer glasses are progressive (no-line) multifocals that are designed specifically for computer use. The biggest difference from a traditional progressive is that they have a large computer viewing area, unlike traditional progressives, where the corridor is narrow.

In contacts, soft lens multifocal contacts have been around for years, which have traditionally not worked well for this particular subset of patients. Now, we have Duette Multifocal contact lenses, a new hybrid lens. The gas permeable multifocal lens in the center offers crisp, clear distance as well as near vision, and the soft skirt lends to all-day comfort. This is the most exciting technology I have seen in multifocal contact lenses in my 13 years of practice, and my patients are loving it.

What is your best overall health advice for women?

Women today have a lot on their plates -- most are juggling a career and family life. They are trying to keep the house clean and organized and they shuttle their kids to their various activities, all while having a wholesome supper on the table in the evening. My best overall health advice for women is to make time for themselves. Use that time to exercise, read, spend time with girlfriends or pray. Activities like these will improve your physical, spiritual and mental health.