Optometry in Focus: Dry Eye

Happy Saturday ... Monday ...Tuesday, y’all! So, full disclaimer - I wrote this post on Saturday, only to be too tired to post it after a long day of traveling. When I finally looked at my blog on Sunday (since some of the content of my post felt familiar), I realized that I had already posted something dry eye related several months ago, in the form of a discussion on Computer Vision Syndrome. Oops! But, who wants to let an hour or so of blogging go to waste? Certainly not I! Besides, considering the prevalence of dry eye in society, what harm will another post do? Okay… now back to the post! Today’s blogging challenge? Coming up with a topic that I don’t need wifi to complete.  #inflightprobs Thinking of flying though, I guess there’s no better time than now to discuss a common flight (and winter) problem:  dry eye. So, before we can really jump into what dry eye is, let’s go over a quick ocular anatomy review! Anatomy   First things first: the cornea .     The cornea is the clear,

Hannah Vollmer, OD: Life Update 2021

Happy 2021, y'all! Wow. It's been a really long time since I've posted in this blog - sorry about that!  It would seem that life has gotten a bit away from me. With the new year, however, I figure it's the perfect time to get back to publishing Hannah's hot takes on all things optometry.  (This phraseology stolen from one of most faithful readers, and up-and-coming OD, JH.  Thank you!)   But first, let's do a quick(ish) life update!   Okay, so, the last time I wrote anything about my actual life, I was living in Texas, had just finished residency, and was beginning the lovely process of job searching.   *News Flash*   I don't live in Texas anymore!   At this point, I have moved back to the Midwest, to work as a mobile optometrist at long-term care facilities and nursing homes.   What does this look like?   My average day goes something like this:   I leave between 6:30a and 7:45a to travel to my facility for the day.  My longest drive days are ~2 hours, and

Contact Lenses: Presbyopia and Contacts

Happy Thursday, y’all! After a couple of weeks off, thanks to harvest, this cool rainy day provides the perfect opportunity to hit the blog again.  Today’s topic? Presbyopia and contact lenses! As a quick refresher, presbyopia is the lovely condition that usually begins to rear its ugly head in people over the age of 40, in which the eye is no longer able to adjust focus from distance to near, making near tasks, such as reading and computer work, more difficult. In my full discussion on presbyopia, I provided several spectacle options - reading glasses, bifocals/trifocals, and progressives - but what about those people who prefer to wear contacts? Are they out of luck? Thankfully, no! There are lots of options for presbyopic contact lens wearers.  Let’s check them out! Monovision Monovision is probably one of the oldest methods for providing near and distance correction without the use of spectacles.  In this, one eye is adjusted for near, while the other (the dominant eye) remains cor

Optometry in Focus: Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Happy Monday, y’all! With school back in session and cooler weather on its way, I suppose it’s time for a discussion on conjunctivitis, colloquially known as pink eye. But first, let’s start with a quick ocular anatomy review. Anatomy Despite how tempting it would be to just post a picture with fancy labels and the like, I think this section will work the best if you stop what you’re doing for a moment and find a way to look at your eye - a mirror would probably be the easiest. What do you see? If you’re like most people, you’ll notice the colored part, or the iris, first.  If you get really close to the mirror or change the lighting, you should be able to see a change in the size of the dark hole in the center of the iris. This is your pupil, which varies in size to adjust the amount of light coming into your eyes. Above the iris and the pupil is the cornea.  This clear structure is difficult to truly see in the mirror, but if you wear contacts, this is what the contact drapes over. I

Contact Lenses: Ortho-K (Corneal Reshaping)

Happy Monday, y'all! In today's post, I'm taking a break from the world of neuro to answer a reader question. JM writes: Do they still do corneal molding?  I did that for a while and loved it! I wore contact lenses at night, took them off in the morning, and could see without anything!  After a while, I didn't even have to wear them for several nights at a time and could still see!  Freedom!! First off, thank you so much for your question, JM!  And, believe it or not, yes we  still use corneal reshaping (or ortho-keratology) in practice! Keep reading to learn more! Ortho-Keratology (Ortho-K) What is Ortho-K? As JM described in her question, Ortho-K is a process by which the cornea is molded by wearing specialty hard contact lenses over night to correct (myopic/near-sighted) refractive error. How It Works This process that was first introduced in the 1960s uses a gas permeable lens design that sits directly on the cornea, rather than slightly vaulting over it, to create

(Neuro)Optometry in Focus: Cranial Nerve Basics IV-VI

Hello, and welcome to part 2 of my Cranial Nerve Series! In the previous post, I introduced cranial nerves and discussed the basics of CN I-III .  Ready for IV-VI? Let's get started! CN IV: Trochlear Cranial nerve IV, or the trochlear nerve, is solely responsible for controlling movement of the superior oblique muscle, which functions to help rotate the eye in an inwards motion (intorsion).  As such, CN IV is a general somatic efferent nerve.     Like the oculomotor nerve, the trochlear nucleus originates in the midbrain.  However, instead of immediately going forward towards the eyes, the trochlear nerve crosses to the opposite side, and then passes dorsally (posteriorly or to the back) out of the midbrain, and then proceeds to wrap towards the eyes.  This pathway will prove very important in my CN IV palsies post! CN V: Trigeminal While CN IV was short, sweet, and to the point, the trigeminal nerve is anything but!  Trigeminal by definition means threefold, which speaks to the th

(Neuro)Optometry in Focus: Cranial Nerve Basics I-III

Howdy, y'all! Since it's been a while since I wrote any neuro-related posts, I figure it's as good of time as any to begin a discussion on cranial nerves.  Let's get started!   What are cranial nerves? Cranial nerves are simply the 12 pairs of nerves that originate in the brain , and then travel to various parts of the body.  Typically, these 12 nerves are referred to by roman numerals. Before we dive further into each of the 12 cranial nerves, it's nice to have some understanding of, well, nerves.  So here it goes: Nerves can be classified in several different ways, but the most common are: Size Conduction speed Function Origin For right now, I primarily want to focus on function. One major functional distinction is sensory versus motor . Sensory nerves carry information regarding your senses to the brain. Since they are going to the brain, they are considered afferent .  Motor nerves carry information from the brain to the body to create movement. Since they are