Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  What is Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)?

Computer Vision Syndrome, commonly referred to as CVS, is a condition in which over exposure to computer monitors or "video display terminals (VDT's)" causes a number of symptoms.  Over 15 millions people reported having symptoms last year.  The condition is generally not permanent and usually disappears when not using a display screen.  Recommended treatment is the use of computer lenses.  Computer lenses are lenses specifically designed to use while working on the computer; and the prescription is typically different from that used for distance or reading along.  Tints can be applied to these lenses to help reduce eyestrain.  The tint color used on the lenses is determined by the screen color.

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Q.  What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the normal fluid pressure inside the eye slowly rises, leading to vision loss - or even blindness.  This increase in pressure causes the optic nerve fibers, that take the light signals to the brain, to be crushed and subsequently die.  Once dead they can never regenerate. 

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Q.  What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

There are no symptoms to warn of glaucoma's attack.  The only way to ensure that the disease does not lead to blindness is to detect it - and treat it - in its early stages. 

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Q.  What is presbyopia?

Presbyopia is the progressive inability to see clearly while reading, or performing other up close activities.  It occurs because the focusing muscles in the eye lose their ability to make the adjustment for things up close.  It typically sets in at about 40 and worsens over the course of about 15 years.  At about 55 or 60 all focusing ability is typically lost.  This is when multifocal and reading glasses become necessary to see up close.

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Q.  Would I know if my child has a vision problem?

No.  Most vision impairments are not easily detected by parents, teachers or even some eye doctors.  Many parents believe that their child "will out grow it."  However, this is not the case with vision problems.  Some examples of undetected problems are:  

  • Visual acuity.  It is impossible to know how another person sees, because we can't see the world through their eyes.
  • The turning or straying of the eye(s), either because it is not obvious or it is inconsistent.  Some eye turns come and go, or not easily noticed by the untrained observer.  Yet this impacts a child's ability to learn.
  • Focusing skills are not obvious either.  Just because a child can focus at a target for a few seconds does not mean that they can maintain it for longer duration as is needed when reading.  A child can struggle for years in school if undiagnosed.
  • Tracking skills are not obvious either.  It is not uncommon for a child with tracking problems to be labeled as "lazy" or "not trying hard enough".  Tracking skills do not disappear as a child "becomes more mature", "learns to better manage their time", etc.

School screenings are very poor at picking up many of these types of vision losses.  That's why it is so important for children to have annual eye exams with a Developmental Optometrist.

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Q.  I have red eyes. Should I be concerned?

Yes.  Red eyes can be caused by many things, such as:

  • Bacteria
  • Virus
  • Allergies
  • Trauma
  • Fungal Infection 
  • Autoimmune Reaction
  • Hemorrhage
  • Systemic Disease
  • or one of many other possibilities

Many of these symptoms have the same initial complaints, but the severity and treatment vary greatly.  Some are very minor, some are sight or even lift threatening. 

It is always recommended that you see an eye doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Using over the counter (OTC) medications of any type is not recommended, unless an eye care professional has advised you to do so.  It is important to be aware of the chemical composition, and potential reaction(s), of any eye drop before using the drops.  Using the wrong eye drop has the potential to make the condition worsen. 

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Q.  What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which people lose the ability to utilize sugar that is in the blood.  There are two types.  Type I begins early in life (birth to 30) and these people are typically dependent on insulin injections for control.  Type II usually begins after 30 and can be controlled with diet in the beginning.

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Q.  How does diabetes cause blindness?

Diabetes can cause the blood vessels in the eye to break and bleed into the eye.  This bleeding causes the retina to die.  Diabetics are also at higher risk for other eye diseases like glaucoma and cataracts.

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Q.  Can I use allergy drops or other eye drops while wearing soft contact lenses?

Most eye drops, either over the counter (OTC) or prescription, cannot be put in the eye while wearing soft contact lenses.  Medications, chemicals and preservatives can be absorbed into the lens and can become harmful to the eye when present for extended periods of time.

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Q.  Can I sleep in my contact lenses?

Contact lenses are approved by the FDA.  The approval process includes in-depth studies; and wearing schedules are determined based on the results of these studies.

Contact lenses are manufactured using a variety of materials.  The various materials degenerate at different rates, have varying oxygen permeability properties, etc..  That's why some lenses are approved to be worn overnight, others one day, and others for one week, one month, three months, and so forth.

The majority of lenses are designed to be removed each day, and should be taken out before you sleep or nap.

Over wearing or sleeping in contact lenses increases the incidence of eye infection, corneal abrasion, corneal ulcers and a variety of other conditions associated with contact lens wear. 

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Q.  Can I use saline to clean my contact lenses?

NO.  Saline is nothing more than salt water.  Bacteria, viruses and fungi live very well in saline.  Also, saline has no detergents to clean the lens, no enzymes to remove protein and no disinfectants to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi.  All multi-purpose contact lens solutions have detergents and disinfectants; and most have enzymes.

ALWAYS  use the solution recommended for your particular contact lens type to avoid damage to the contact lens. 

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Q.  Are children affected by Computer Vision Syndrome?

Parents should be mindful that there are unique aspects of how children use computers that may make them even more susceptible than adults to certain problems.  For example:

  • Children have a limited degree of self-awareness and may participate in prolonged activity without taking time for a significant break.
  • Children are very adaptable and may work in unfavorable conditions.
  • Children may use computers with less than optimum lighting.

Computer Vision Syndrome is a condition that affects users of all types of video display terminals.  Including:  Video games, PDAs, cell phones, and computer monitors.

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Q.  How can parents help prevent or reduce symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome?

 Parents can help prevent or reduce the symptoms and effects of CVS by:

  • Having the child's vision checked by a Developmental Optometrist
  • Strictly enforcing the amount of time that children may continuously use the computer. Just remember the 20/20 rule:  A break every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.
  • Checking the height and overall setup of the computer.
  • Checking the lighting for glare on the computer screen.
  • Reducing the amount of lighting in the room to match the computer screen.
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Q.  What is Custom LASIK?

It is a newer technology that utilizes a computerized Wavefront Analyzer. Wavefront technology is commonly referred to as CustomVue LASIK eye surgery. The Wavefront Analyzer digitally maps the cornea and enables the surgeon to customize your ophthalmology treatment to account for the unique imperfections in your corneas. This results in patients seeing clearer and sharper than ever before.

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Q.  What is a Wavefront Analyzer?

This computerized instrument makes a 3-dimensional map of your eye.  A perfect eye has no imperfections.  However, most people's corneas have variances - even between the right eye and the left eye.  The Wavefront instrument produces an accurate map in such detail that even slight variations are detected.

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Q.  What's the difference between CustomVue and Conventional LASIK?

CustomVue LASIK utilizes computerized Wavefront technology to create detailed 3-dimensional images of the cornea.  These images reveal imperfections in the cornea.  CustomVue LASIK utilizes the data gathered from the Wavefront instrument to perform custom LASIK - which is more precise than Conventional LASIK.  Conventional LASIK does not utilize computerized Wavefront technology and is often referred to as "generic" LASIK versus "custom" LASIK.

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Q.  Does Custom LASIK cost more than Conventional LASIK?

Yes, there is typically an increased cost with newer technology.  Custom LASIK is designed to reduce higher order aberrations; whereas Conventional LASIK increases higher order aberrations.  Higher order aberrations affect how well you see.  Custom LASIK is performed using some of the most advanced technology available in the laser vision correction field.  The procedure combines the precision of a computerized laser with the skill and knowledge of the surgeon. 

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Q.  I don't wear glasses or contacts. Should I have an eye exam anyway?

An annual eye exam can also reveal if you are developing high blood pressure or high cholesterol, along with other medical conditions that affect millions of Americans. If you have conditions that are considered risk factors you may need to visit us more frequently to detect any complications.

This is true for individuals who have had refractive surgery, such as laser vision correction. LASIK corrects vision, but does not prevent eye disease nor prevent future changes in prescription.

Risk factors for adults:
• Individuals diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension
• Family history of diabetes or hypertension
• Family history of glaucoma or cataracts
• Individuals who have a visually demanding occupation
• Individuals taking medications that may have ocular side-effects
• Individuals who have other health concerns or conditions

Important facts:
• Anyone who views a computer screen for more than 3 hours a day is at risk for developing Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)
• According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NOISH), carpal tunnel is actually uncommon. Whereas eyestrain and Computer Vision Syndrome effects  over 10 million Americans and is more common
• People age 40 and older are at greater risk for glaucoma, cataracts, and other sight-threatening diseases
• Individuals with type II diabetes are 82% more likely to develop glaucoma
• One-third of Americans with diabetes don’t know it
• Prescription medications and over the counter supplements can cause ocular side effects

 Eye Examinations are Important for Children too

Children with uncorrected vision conditions or eye health problems face many barriers in life…academically…socially…and athletically. Proper eye care can break down these barriers and help enable your children to reach their highest potential.

Risk factors include:
• Infants born prematurely or with low birth weight
• Infants whose mother had rubella, sexually transmitted disease (STD) or AIDS-related infection during pregnancy
• Family history of amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (when the eyes are not aligned in the same direction), or eye disease such as glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration
• Family history of genetically influenced conditions: Nearsightedness, farsightedness, color vision deficiency (commonly called color blindness) or retinitis pigmentosa ( a progressive decline of the retina)
• Individuals impacted by environmental influences. Researchers have found that students who spend a lot of time reading, using the computer, or playing video games show a more rapid progression of nearsightedness than do others.

Important facts:
• Nearly 80% of what a child perceives, comprehends and remembers depends on the efficiency of the visual system
• Vision is a complex process involving over 20 visual abilities and more than 65% of all of the pathways to the brain
• 11.3% of children who passed a vision screening at school or the pediatrician’s office were found to have a vision problem in need of correction
• 20% of U.S. children are two or more grade levels behind in reading due to difficulty in eye control and visual coordination
• 1 in 4 of school-age children have an undiagnosed vision problem that interferes with learning
• The rate may be as high at 60% for children with learning problems

The diagnosis and treatment of ocular conditions in infants and children requires a specialized, dedicated approach. Our team of experts provides the unique care children need. In addition to primary comprehensive eye care, we also offer specialized testing and treatment for developmental delays and visually related learning difficulties.

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Q.  When should a child have his/her first eye exam?

You may be surprised to learn that a child should have his/her first examination at 6 months of age.  Our doctors participate in the American Optometric Association's InfantSee program.  This means that the doctors at Artisan Optics provide free examinations to children before their first birthday.

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Q.  How often should children have eye examinations?

Children should be examined at 6 months of age, again at 3 years of age, and then at 5 years of age and each year thereafter.  If a child has risk factors, the eye doctor will recommend an individualized examination and follow-up schedule.

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Q.  Pediatric eye exams vs vision screenings - What's the difference?

Many parents are under the impression that the vision screening their children receive from the school nurse or at the pediatrician's office is sifficient.  There are no set standards or criteria for passing a vision screening; and a vision screening can give a parent a false sense of security.

According to a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, vision screenings were attempted on fewer than 60% of the three-year old children in pediatricians' offices.  They found that in general, the younger the child, the less likely it was that a vision screening was attempted.  An attempt was defined as 10 or more seconds spent trying to get the child to cooperate with a vision screening.

The purpose of a vision screening is to diagnose "gross abnormalities" in distance vision.  Vision screenings are a limited process and cannot be used to diagnose an eye or vision problem, but rather to indicate a potential need for further evaluation.  Additionally, screenings do not typically include any sort of test for near vision; which is the vision used when drawing, coloring, putting puzzles together and in the classroom.

Just as children should visit the pediatrician and the dentist, they should also see a licensed eye care provider for a Learning Related Vision Examination.  A pediatric Learning Related Vision Examination differs from a typical eye exam because it includes testing and evaluation of visual skills in addition to visual acuity.

Pediatric Learning Related Eye Examinations are performed by a Developmental Optometrist and include the following:

  • Acuity - Distance Vision:  visual acuity (sharpness, clearness) at 20 foot distance.
  • Acuity - Near Vision: visual acuity for short distance (specifically, reading distance).
  • Focusing Skills:  the ability of the eyes to maintain clear vision at varying distances.
  • Eye Tracking and Fixation Skills:  the ability of the eyes to look at and accurately follow an object; this includes the ability to move the eyes across a sheet of paper while reading.
  • Binocular Vision or Fusion:  the ability to use both eyes together at the same time.
  • Stereopis: binocular (two-eyed) depth perception.
  • Convergence and Eye Teaming Skills: the ability of the eyes to aim, move and work as a coordinated team.
  • Color Vision:  the ability to differentiate colors.
  • Reversal Frequency: confusing letters or words (b,d; p,q; saw, was; etc).
  • Evaluation of age-appropriate vision skills.
  • Visual Memory:  the ability to store and retrieve visual information.
  • Visual Form Discrimination:  the ability to determine if two shapes, colors, sizes, position, or distances are the same or different.
  • Visual Motor Integration: the ability to combine visual input with other sensory input (hand and body movements, balance, hearing, etc); the ability to transform images from a vertical to a horizontal plane (such as from the blackboard to the desk surface).

Remember, an eye exam that tests distance vision only is NOT an adequate evaluation of a child's visual development.  The visual skills listed above contribute significantly to a child's success with reading and academic achievement.

Since 1991, Dr. Johnson and our team of trained specialists have been providing accurate, professional diagnoses and state-of-the-art treatment you can count on.  Our expertise, experience and results speak for themselves.  We look forward to being of service to you and your family.


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Q.  How do I choose an eye doctor?
Selecting an eye doctor for your family is an important decision. Special consideration should be given if you have children in the family, if family members frequently use the computer, or if there’s someone in your family who is becoming presbyopic.
For some vision problems, eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery is not the best answer. When basic visual skills including eye focusing, eye coordination, eye movements, and visual perception are problematic it best to choose a Developmental Optometrist.
Developmental vision examinations go beyond eye health and visual acuity. A variety of visual abilities are evaluated, such as: Visual-spatial orientation skills, visual analysis skills (including auditory-visual integration, visual discrimination, visual figure-ground perception, visual closure, visual memory, and visualization), visual motor integration skills, and visual-verbal integration skills.
Not all optometrists provide in-depth testing for developmental and functional vision problems and the relevant treatment. Developmental Optometrists emphasize an expanded functional and behavioral approach to patient evaluations. Their approach to vision care is directed at correcting existing vision problems and enhancing visual abilities to allow individuals to see clearly and comfortably. 
The optometrists at Artisan Optics have completed advanced training in developmental vision and are Developmental Optometrists.
Since 1991 our team of trained specialists have been providing accurate, professional diagnoses and state-of-the-art treatment you can count on. Our expertise, experience and results speak for themselves. We look forward to being of service to you and your family.
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Q.  What should be done in an eye emergency?

Seek medical attention immediately following an injury. Do not postpone medical care, even if the eye feels “fine”.

First aid for eye emergencies:

Chemicals in the eye

  • Immediately flush the eye with water for at least 15 minutes. Place the eye under a faucet or shower, use a garden hose, or pour water into the eye from a clean container.
  • If you are wearing contact lenses, do not wait to remove the contact lenses. Begin flushing the eye immediately. This may wash the lens out of the eye.
  • Do not try to neutralize the chemical with other substances.
  • Do not bandage the eye.
  • Seek immediate medical attention after flushing, even if the eye feels better or “fine”.

Particles in the eye

  • Do not rub the eye.
  • Try to let your tears wash the speck out or irrigate (flush) the eye with an artificial tear solution.
  • Try lifting the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower eyelid to remove the particle
  • If the particle does not wash out, keep the eye closed, bandage it lightly and seek immediate medical care.

Blows to the eye

  • Gently apply a cold compress without putting pressure on the eye. Crushed ice in a plastic bag can be placed gently on the injured eye to reduce pain and swelling.
  • In cases of severe pain or reduced vision, seek immediate medical care.

Cuts and punctures to the eye or eyelid

  • Do not wash out the eye.
  • Do not attempt to remove an object that is stuck in the eye.
  • Cover the eye with a rigid shield, like the bottom half of a paper cup.
  • Seek immediate medical care.
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Q.  Is financing available for LASIK?

Yes. At Artisan Optics we offer a variety of financing plans available with Care Credit to offset LASIK costs. Some plans are 0% interest for up to two years, while other plans allow payments to be made over 36, 48 or 60 months. Applying is easy and approval takes only a few minutes.

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Q.  How do I know if I'm a candidate for LASIK?

The only way to know if you are a candidate for LASIK is to visit Artisan Optics for a free LASIK screening.  At the LASIK screening several tests will be completed to determine your candidacy.  These tests, along with your medical history and evaluation of your current medications, and a pre-operative examination with one of our doctors are the only way to know if you are a LASIK candidate.

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Q.  What is the recovery time after LASIK?

The eye is one of the fastest healing organs in the body.  The majority of patients are cleared by our doctor to drive the day after their procedure.  Most people return to work within one to two days. 

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Q.  After LASIK, how long do I wait to resume my normal activities?

For most patients, normal day to day activities may resume within a day or two.  This includes activities such as driving, running, hunting, cycling, or using the computer.  It is recommended that activities such as using a hot tub, swimming in the ocean or lakes not be resumed for at least 3 months.  We will review a more detailed list of activities with you at the time of your pre-operative examination. 

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Q.  Are cheap sunglasses as good as more expensive ones?

While price is not the only determining factor, all sun lenses are definitely not created equal.  Just like you buy sun block to protect your skin, you also need to select sun lenses that provide 100 percent protection from UVA and UVB rays.  Unlike tinted lenses, quality polarized lenses virtually elinmate glare and improve contrast sensitivity.

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Artisan Optics - Uptown Boise
7960 W Rifleman St #150
Boise, ID 83704

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