Upper West Side

125 West 79 Street
New York, NY 10024
(646) 784 0002

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FAQS (Frequently Asked Questions)

The following are a few common questions we receive from patients. If you have any questions that are not addressed on this page, please contact one of our offices.

I am 46 and I can't read up close. What's wrong?
The human lens cannot bend and focus as easily after age 40. This is called presbyopia and most people are affected. Reading glasses would be the usual answer. If you have cataracts that need to be removed anyway, there is the opportunity to replace the cloudy lens with a premium lens that will give you both far and near vision.

What is glaucoma?
Simply, glaucoma is optic nerve damage that is related to high pressures in the eye. But glaucoma probably represents a few different diseases and many factors come into play: age, race, family history, cornea thickness, optic nerve structure, as well as pressures in the eye. We treat with eye drops first, then lasers, as well as surgery. Most importantly we follow your eye exam over months and years to ensure there is no worsening.

What is a cataract?
A cataract is the clouding of the human lens that comes with age. It can be accelerated by sunlight, trauma, inflammation, steroid use, drugs. There is excellent surgical treatment and many options for lens replacement today.

How can diabetes affect my eyesight?
Diabetes can change the focusing power in the human lens and affect your prescription in your glasses or contact lenses. This could fluctuate quite a bit. More seriously, the retina (back of the eye) can bleed or leak fluid causing serious loss of vision. Medical lasers and injections can address these issues. Most importantly, you should keep your sugar levels and blood pressure controlled in consultation with your internist.

How can contact lenses affect my cornea?
As ophthalmologists we see many complications of contact lens overuse from dry eyes and blood vessels growing into the cornea, to serious vision threatening infections and ulcers. We treat with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drops. Mostly, resting from contact lenses and using your glasses can give the corneas a much needed rest. To be free from contact lenses and glasses there are many excellent refractive Laser options including the well known LASIK and PRK.

How can I fix my dry eyes?
We have many lubricating drops and gels. We can also put punctal plugs to retard the drainage of tears so that more of your tears are preserved on the eye surface. Plugs are made of silicon and they are reversible. For most people, they do not feel the plugs. The plugs typically stay in for years.

My eyes are itchy. What can I use?
There are many anti-inflammatory drops we can use as well as artificial tears. You need to see an MD to make sure you don't have a serious conjunctivitis.

My eyes are not straight and sometimes I see double. What is this condition?
Strabismus refers to the misalignment of the two eyes. This could be a muscle/pulley problem that is amenable to glasses or surgery. But this could be something more serious such as a neurological problem or a stroke. A full MD evaluation is necessary.

My pupils are not equal. Is this serious?
This could be just physiological or a contamination by a pupil affecting drug. But this could also be a serious neurological problem and you need to be seen by an ophthalmologist quickly.

Headaches. Could this be a brain tumor?
Headaches are rather non-specific. As ophthalmologists we can evaluate your eyes, your visual field (peripheral and central vision), your pupils. There are many things we can understand in the office before actually sending you for an MRI or CT scan.

My friend is on Latisse and raves about her new eye lashes. Is this for me?
Latisse is actually an old drug repackaged (Lumigan). We have extensive experience with this drug for glaucoma use and it is generally very safe. Some people will have deepening of the iris color (blue eyes may turn darker). But this is usually not an issue for brown eyed patients. Everyone needs a baseline exam before Latisse is prescribed.

Could Botox help my wrinkles?
Botulinum Toxin is a well know drug in medicine. We use it medically for eyelid and facial spasm as well as eye muscle problems. We also use it for aesthetic purposes such as wrinkles, crows feet, and lines around the eyes and face. The beneficial effects of the drug can last months.

My aunt has Macular Degeneration and I am scared. How can I help myself?
Macular degeneration can be as mild as nothing or as devastating as total blindness. The dry kind is usually less serious. Avoid direct sunlight with a wide brimmed hat and UV blocking sunglasses. The wet type can now be treated with injections into the eye with remarkable results. There are some vitamin preparations that can retard the pace of the disease and this must be used under the supervision of an eye MD.

I lost my vision for a few minutes in one eye. Is this cause for worry?
Amaurosis Fugax describes the transient loss of vision which returns fully. This could be indication of blood clots in the carotid artery or clots from the heart or arrhythmias of the heart. This must be fully evaluated by your eye MD and internist together.

What types of insurance do you accept?
We welcome most major insurance carriers. Major insurances accepted include: Aetna, Americhoice, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Empire Plan, GHI, Great West, HIP, Magnacare, Medicare, Oxford, Tricare, Uniformed Services, United Healthcare, Vytra

Medical Disclaimer:
Please remember that medical information provided by Dr. Samuel Wong, in the absence of a visit with a health care professional, must be considered as an educational service only. Information sent through e-mail should not be relied upon as a medical consultation. This mechanism is not designed to replace a physician's independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient. We will do our best to provide you with information that will help you make your own health care decisions.

© Samuel Wong, MD 2010. All rights reserved.