Ask An Optometrist to Improve Your Eye-Q

If you have had a question about vision or eyesight but keep forgetting to ask while at your annual comprehensive eye exam, we may have a few answers for you! Below we have answered a few common questions or even misconceptions that we hear. 

Q: Will reading in the dark damage my eyes? 

A: Reading in the dark will not physically cause harm to the eyes. It might be harder to see clearly, and you may experience more fatigue reading in the dark, but it’s not causing any long-term damage. Because it can impact your comfort, turning on a light might be a good solution!  

Q: Can you tell if I have diabetes just by looking at my eyes? 

A: While we can’t formally diagnose diabetes just from what is seen during an eye exam (bloodwork is required for that), your optometrist can see signs of the disease when diabetes is present. In these cases, we may see specific types of bleeding, changes to the blood vessels or fluid in the retina. During your comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist can see signs of many different systemic conditions in the eyes including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and anemia. 

Q: Will eating carrots improve my vision? 

A: Unfortunately, no matter how many carrots you eat, they will not improve your eyesight or change your prescription. Carrots are a great source of vitamins which are very important to keeping the different structures of your eye healthy long term. They contain beta-carotene which our body converts into Vitamin A. A few other veggies that contain vitamins important for our eye health are spinach, kale, collards, turnip greens, corn, peas, and broccoli. In addition to nutrition, don’t forget to wear sunglasses with both polarization and UV protection as well. 

Q: Am I a LASIK candidate? 

A: Many criterion are considered before undergoing LASIK surgery to correct vision. These include age, stability of prescription, amount of prescription, and any eye conditions that could put you at risk of a poor outcome. These factors are best discussed with your optometrist. Many LASIK surgery centers offer free consultations to answer these question but will also need information from your most recent comprehensive eye exam. There are additional measurements that are taken at these consultations to verify that your cornea can safely undergo the procedure. Speak with your optometrist to learn more about your next step in determining if you are a good candidate.  

Q: If I wear my glasses, will my eyes become weaker? 

A: No! The research shows that full correction does not cause a worsening of your prescription. Sometimes what people notice is that the poor vision they have just been dealing with looks particularly bad when compared directly with how clear it can be through their new glasses. The brain doesn’t like blur but will tolerate it if it hasn’t seen any better. Actually, wearing the appropriate correction can help alleviate underlying eye strain, headache and fatigue induced by trying to compensate for an underperforming visual system. 

Q: Do cataracts run in the family? 

A: Typically, cataracts are a normal age-related change. Every person on the planet will have cataract changes eventually, usually becoming visually significant in our 60s or 70s – although this may happen earlier or later in life as well. Very early cataract formation can run in the family due to underlying genetic conditions. That is why early eye exams at ages 1, 3 and 5, are so important. Some medications and systemic diseases can also induce early cataract formation. It is also why your eye doctor always takes a thorough systemic history and wants to know all the medications and supplements you are taking.

Q: Do blue light glasses work? 

A: Blue light filters on glasses block blue wavelengths of light which are emitted from devices. The reality is that the amount of blue light you are exposed to from device screens will not physically harm your retina. However, blue light does impact your circadian rhythm and an excess during the day can disrupt your ability to get restful sleep, which can make you feel more fatigued than normal. Rather than simply buying a pair of blue light glasses over the counter, if you are experiencing eye strain or fatigue from computer work, please visit your optometrist! You are likely experiencing symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) and there are many things in addition to blue light filters that can be done to help your eyes stay healthy and comfortable. 

Q: Does smoking marijuana really treat glaucoma? 

A: There is a very small intraocular pressure lowering effect from smoking marijuana. It is not sufficient to treat glaucoma! We use eye drops and/or surgeries when appropriate to lower the intraocular pressure safely and in a consistent, reliable way. 

When in doubt, schedule an appointment with your optometrist to discuss any concerns about your vision or eye health. We love to answer your questions! Comprehensive eye exams are also important to detect any eye health and vision concerns before they become a problem. If you don’t have an optometrist, find one here!

4 Steps to Improve Independence When Living With Visual Impairment

Visual impairment (low vision) may be defined as insufficient vision to do the things a person wants and needs to do.  The loss of vision cannot be corrected by regular glasses, medical treatment, or surgery and can be congenital or the result of disease, and injury. 

Common eye diseases that cause low vision may include macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and inherited retinal disease.  These conditions can cause a permanent loss of central (detailed) vision, as well as a loss of peripheral (side) vision.  People may have difficulty reading the newspaper, paying bills (even with reading glasses), recognizing faces, crossing streets, and seeing small print on their television.

Low vision care (also referred to as Vision Rehabilitation) helps people with low vision function as fully and independently as possible by providing devices, information, and technology. 

Step 1: Get an Eye Exam With an Eye Care Professional

A thorough eye examination is imperative to diagnose the reason for your decrease in vision.  The eye doctor will ensure you:

  • are evaluated for ocular and systemic disease
  • receive proper medical treatment for your eye disease
  • have the best eye glass prescription possible

Due to the underlying eye disease, new glasses cannot restore vision to a level that allows you see detail (small & fine print, faces, etc.) like you did before.  Your eye care professional may refer you to an optometrist specializing in low vision care.  You can also request a referral for low vision rehabilitation, if you are having difficulty performing your daily activities.

Step 2: Discuss With Your Eye Doctor the Need for a Low Vision Evaluation

A low vision exam with an optometrist specializing in low vision care, takes about one to two hours and is different than a typical eye exam. The low vision evaluation will focus on how you function with your remaining vision and find strategies to maximize your remaining vision.

Use the time during your low vision exam to discuss and understand your vision goals and challenges.  For example, improving facial recognition, writing, reading, color identification, and more.  Bring any current glasses, magnifiers, or other low vision devices you use, whether they are helpful or not.

Step 3: Discuss How to Make Reading Easier

A conversation about how to make reading with low vision easier can produce great results. Your low vision specialist can make suggestions on how to improve reading for your specific needs and uses. For instance, a student might require a way to read notes on a whiteboard while in class and you can troubleshoot the challenges around this together.

Basic Modifications for Reading:

  • Increase lighting.
  • Use of increased magnification such as stronger reading glasses, hand-held and stand magnifiers, hand-held and spectacle mounted telescopes, and electronic video magnifiers.
  • Use of auditory and large print accessibility features on your smartphone, tablet and desk-top computers.
  • Use of audiobooks through the National Library of Congress Talking Book program.

Step 4: Discuss How to Improve Quality of Life at Home/Work

Your eye doctor may refer you to a:

  • Certified Vision Rehabilitation Teacher
  • Occupational Therapist who specializes in working with the visually impaired
  • Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist

These professionals work with you in your home, community, and workplace to ensure safety and independence.

Obtaining additional strategies and modifications are critical for maintaining independence. Adjustments and organizational practices can make a huge difference. The following techniques are commonly offered, but this is also your chance to troubleshoot any current issues arising at home or work:

  • Improve over-head and task lighting. Consistent lighting at home can reduce the risk of falls and disorganization.
  • Use contrasting colors to help identity steps, railings, knobs, switches, and anything else that is difficult to detect visually.
  • Remove hazards like rugs, cords, bulky furniture, or anything that could cause a fall or injury.
  • Use large print labels and tactile dots to help identify objects, numbers on the oven or microwave, telephone, remote control, and computer keyboard.
  • Create an organizational system to keep track of personal items.
  • Label medications or use a color code system for identifying prescription and over the counter medications.
  • Troubleshoot any challenges that prevent access to a healthy diet high in nutrient dense foods like leafy greens, berries, fish, nuts, and more.

Colorado Resources and Support Services Specific to Blindness/Visual Impairment

National Resources

Scholarship Information

Colorado Low Vision Specialists


Kara Hanson, OD, FAAO


UCH-Sue Anschutz Rodgers Eye Center 1675 Aurora Ct
Aurora, CO 80045


David Lewerenz, OD, FAAO

Clinical Diplomate in Low Vision,

American Academy of Optometry


UCH-Sue Anschutz Rodgers Eye Center 1675 Aurora Ct
Aurora, CO 80045


Dr. David Simpson


UCH-Sue Anschutz Rodgers Eye Center 1675 Aurora Ct
Aurora, CO 80045


Shannon Kessler, OD, FAAO


VA Eastern CO Healthcare System
14400 E Jewell Ave
Denver, CO 80012


Brian Meier, OD


49 W. Mill Street
Bayfield, CO 81122


George Hertneky, OD


212 Cameron St
Brush, CO 80723


Eddy Najjar, OD


7500 South University Blvd., Unit 104
Centennial, CO 80122


Craig Eckroth, OD


450 Pershing St., Suite 100
Craig, CO  81625

Colorado Springs

Dr. Gregg Pusateri


5614 N Union Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Colorado Springs

Margaret “Molly” Dixon, OD, FAAO


320 E. Fontanero, #201
Colorado Springs, CO  80907

Fort Collins

Deanna Alexander, OD, FAAO


702 W Drake Rd, Bldg B
Ft. Collins, CO 80526

Glenwood Springs

Jennifer Zwelling, OD, FAAO


Valley Vision  904 Pitkin Ave, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601


Dale Lervick, OD, FAAO


7586 W Jewell Ave # 104
Lakewood, CO 80232


Kirk Matoba, OD


200 N. Union Blvd
Lakewood, CO 80228


Neuro-Sight Vision Care – Drs. Jarvis, Politzer, and Chonka


333 S Allison Pkwy # 120, Lakewood, CO 802226


Meredith Schneider, OD


Denver Vision Inc1535 S Kipling Pkwy Unit CLakewood, CO 80232-6258


Dr. Alex Zemke


2290 Kipling St Unit 1
Lakewood, CO 80215

Steamboat Springs

Craig Eckroth, OD


365 Anglers Dr Suite A
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487

Optometrists Speak Out About Dangerous Driving in Colorado

Colorado optometrists are seeing a problem rising on the roads that impacts more than just eye health. Fatal car accidents across Colorado have increased over the course of the pandemic even though less miles were driven. In the first half of 2021, total Colorado traffic fatalities were up 15% with drivers under the age of 34 experiencing the largest increase in traffic fatalities.1 With driving being 90 percent visual, unaddressed vision challenges increase the risk of car accidents at any age and being involved in a car accident can put your eyes at risk of injury.

We know that car accidents cause an estimated 9,280 to 11,600 eye injuries annually.2 Colorado optometrists are speaking out about the statewide safety issue while urging drivers to modify risky behavior for increased safety on the roads.

“Reducing car accidents and fatalities across Colorado is a combination of safer decision making and proper eye health. Risky driving puts your eye health, vision, and life at risk. We are asking two things of Coloradans to help make roads safer; get an annual eye exam and make safer decisions on the road,” says Dr. Jean DeMoss, Board President at the Colorado Optometric Association.

Common eye symptoms and injuries from a car accident include; black eye, blurred vision, curtain-like shadow falling over visual field, detached retina, eyelid cuts, hyphema, increased floaters, scratched cornea, reduced peripheral vision, and more. Eye injuries from car accidents can be painful and can threaten vision. In addition, whiplash and concussions can cause visual system issues that impact one’s quality of life and livelihood. Take precautions today to reduce your risk of a car accident.

Six Ways to Increase Safe Driving

  1. Get a Comprehensive Eye Exam – Make sure your eyesight and eye health are up to the task by getting an eye exam with your local optometrist. New legislation in Colorado requires that ages 21-79 attest to having an eye exam in the last year before renewing a driver’s license. Coloradans who are 80 years or older must have an eye doctor provide a signed DR 2498 confirming that the individual has had an eye exam in the last six months and the results of that exam.
  2. Reduce Distractions – With over 90 percent of Colorado drivers disclosing that they drive distracted, CDOT reports that on average 42 car accidents occur each day in the state due to distracted driving.3 Anything that takes your focus away from the road is a distraction including texting, eating, reading, navigating a smart phone or gps system, talking to passengers, caring after passengers/pets, and watching videos. Put your phone down and keep your eyes on the road!
  3. Use a Seatbelt for Every Trip – Seatbelt use reduces the risk of eye injuries in a car accident.4 The CDC reports that seatbelt use reduces serious injury and fatalities in a car accident by 50%, but still 1 in 7 adults do not buckle up.5 Make sure that everyone in the vehicle is using a seatbelt or a car seat/booster seat for younger passengers. Motorcyclists should wear a helmet to reduce the risk of brain injury and death in the case of an accident.
  4. Reduce Speeding – Of fatal accidents in Colorado, 35 percent in 2017 were speeding related.6 Speeding puts you and other drivers at risk. The rise in fatal accidents can partially be linked to simply driving too fast. Remember to stay within the posted speed limits. It’s better to be late than in an accident.
  5. Sober Driving – Driving under the influence increases your risk of a car accident or arrest. Roughly, 33% of U.S. car accident fatalities involve drunk drivers.6 Don’t forget that cannabis and some prescription medications count as impaired driving.
  6. Adhere to Traffic Signals – The AAA Foundation reports that 28% of car accident fatalities that occur at a traffic signal are due to running a red light.7 It’s simple to reduce your risk. Just stop.



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