We do well to remember the value our eyes bring, as they say. So when you search for an optician in Alameda County, whether you are looking in Oakland, Berkeley, San Leandro, Fremont, or Hayward, you want to find the best practitioner you can. Opticians help patients see clearly by fitting them with eyeglasses or contact lenses, based on the prescription from an eye doctor. Some opticians actually grind the lenses to prescription, but many will work with the patient to get the appropriate measurements, then send all the information to a laboratory.
Opticians, sometimes called dispensing opticians in Alameda County, may work in the eye doctor’s practice, or they may work independently or in a local optical center. It can be a bit confusing to know which optician you want to see. Take a few minutes and use the articles below to help you understand what to look for in an optician.
First, let’s look at a few terms so that we are all speaking the same language. An optician is a person who fits you with eyeglasses or contact lenses. They may advise on the fit of frame, the type of lens used, or help you learn about contact lenses. They can only fill a prescription, they can never provide a prescription. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) who has completed training including a residency. An ophthalmologist can prescribe lenses to correct vision and can perform eye surgeries. An optometrist is not an MD, but is allowed to treat certain eye conditions such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. The optometrist’s training is less extensive than that of the ophthalmologist; for example, there is no residency period. As a consequence, the optometrist treats a limited number of conditions. The conditions he or she may treat are based on the state in which they practice.
What Can an Alameda County Optician Help Me With?
While it’s true that your optician does not prescribe corrective lenses, your local optician in Alameda County, whether in Berkeley, San Leandro, Fremont, Oakland, Hayward, or the smaller areas of Ashland, Emeryville, or Sunol, can help find glasses that fit your face and features or can help train you to put in, take out, and care for contact lenses. The optician provides services that are not available in an online store, providing advice about frame size, frame fit, and frame suitability for your prescription. The optician can also help you learn how to put in contact lenses and take them out. The optician can help you learn about the maintenance schedule for your contact lenses. You may have disposables that must be replaced daily, monthly, or at some other interval. Or you may have contact lenses that last for a year and need proper removal and cleaning.
Framing Your Face in Alameda County
When it comes to choosing eyeglasses, you have many options, whether you are looking in Ashland, Dublin, Emeryville, Newark, Pleasanton, or Sunol. Your optician should be able to help you decide what suits your face, your price range, any allergies you may have, and what you will be using the glasses for ” whether for work, inside use, or for sports or other activities where durability is key.
Most often, you look for frames that suit your face and features. Frames come in many materials, ranging from plastics and metals to some more esoteric designs in bamboo, or other woods or unusual materials. Your trained optician should be able to describe the various benefits of the frames. For example, some patients need materials that will not cause allergies, while others are looking for super light or super durable frames. Titanium and beta-titanium are popular for frames because of the material’s strength, durability, light weight, and ability to resist corrosion. There are some titanium-based alloys that are sold as particularly flexible, since the metal will spring back into shape after being twisted or bent. Ask your optician about the costs of the frame. Titanium alloy frames often cost less than all-titanium frames. These are just some of the options you can choose for metallic frames.
There are similar varieties in plastic frames. Many plastic frames are made of cellulose acetate, also called zyl. Modern nylons are also very popular for plastic frames. Hypoallergenic plastics are available. Plastics have the ability to take on many colors, making them a good choice for many fashionable looks. Nylon-based plastics are often used for wraparound styles or for sports frames. Your optician should be able to advise you on which materials to use. For example, while plastic-based frames are often less expensive than metal frames, plastics tend to break more easily. They can become slightly weaker over time as they get older and if they are exposed to sunlight. They have the potential, like all plastic, to burn, but they are not easy to set on fire.
Your optician should be able to advise you on glasses for children. Sometimes very young children need eyeglasses with special temples that help the glasses stay on the head. Durability and a light weight can also be important considerations for children, along with spectacles that are hypoallergenic.
Getting the Right Measurements For New Glasses in Alameda County
The optician’s most important role is to fit the glasses correctly. Your spectacles have several key measurements. The most important is the PD, the pupil distance or pupillary distance. The optician will use a special ruler to measure the distance between your pupils. This measurement is key because the center of the lens should be centered over your pupils; if it is not centered correctly, unintended prisms may be introduced that can harm your vision. Having an accurate PD is especially important with higher prescriptions. The optician should also work with you to fit the frames over the bridge of the nose. There may be pads at the bridge that can be adjusted for fit. The glasses should not squeeze the bridge of your nose, nor should they slide down it. The temple is the piece of the frame that passes along the side of the head and curves over the ear. It should be long enough to rest on the ear without pressing on the ear. The frame itself should be wide enough “slightly wider than your face” so that the temples don’t press into your head.
Once you and your optician are satisfied with the fit, your optician should have you test the glasses by doing things like bending over to pick something up, shaking your head, and performing other typical motions that will test how the frames work on your face.
Through a Lens Clearly in Alameda County
When it comes to the lenses and lens coatings in your frames, your optician, whether you are being fitted in Berkeley, Oakland, Fremont, San Leandro, Hayward, Emeryville, or Dublin, Emeryville, or Newark, must work with the prescription your eye care provider has made. However, opticians can sometimes make recommendations that enhance your prescription. A heavy, thick plastic or glass lens sometimes will not fit in the frames you like. Your optician may be able to suggest alternatives. For example, high-index plastic lenses are thinner and lighter than traditional glass or plastic lenses. They use less material to bend the light going into your eye. High-index lenses may be especially beneficial for stronger prescriptions. High-definition lenses are another option. High-definition lenses take more account of the patient’s eye shape, which may allow them to correct for eye aberrations other than nearsightedness or farsightedness. With free-form lenses, the optician will take additional eye measurements, and the lenses will be manufactured on machines with very tight tolerances. Some of the additional measurements might include the angle of the eye in relation to the back of the lens in different positions, such as straight on, to the side, etc. With increased measurement, the high-definition glasses are customized to the patient. Other high-definition lenses, called wavefront lenses take into account the exact patient’s eye. The lenses are then ground for that patient. For wavefront high-definition lenses, the optometrist or ophthalmologist will determine if the patient is eligible.
Polycarbonate lenses can be very durable and are often high-index.
Opticians may also help fit you for an aspheric lens. Standard lenses have one curve across the entire surface. An aspheric lens has a flatter curve. Also, depending on whether the correction is for nearsightedness or farsightedness, the curve of the lenses will change, being fatter at the edges for nearsightedness and fatter in the middle for farsightedness. Many aspheric lenses are also made of high-index materials.
Amping Up Your Eye Glass Lenses in Alameda County
With many of the new lenses, your optician will suggest coatings to protect your eye and the life of the lens. Anti-reflective coating is especially useful with aspheric and high-index lenses, since the aspheric lenses sit closer to the face and are flatter, it is easier to notice more reflections. Scratch-resistance coatings are also strongly recommended to improve durability. Speak with your optician, though, since many lenses, especially high-index lenses, have scratch resistance already built in. UV coating ” or ultra violet coating ” will block 100% of UV rays. A normal plastic lens already blocks most rays, and most high-index and other new lenses have UV coating built in already. Your optician should be able to tell you whether the coating is built in or needs to be added. Some companies also advertise coatings that help reduce fogging.
Other Eyeglasses Lens Options in Alameda County
An optician may be able to help you decide if you want photochromic lenses, or lenses that become darker when you go out into sunlight. Some brands offer photochromic lenses especially for driving. These sun photochromics have a darkish coating on the glasses that darkens even more when exposed to the sun while driving. This measure is required because the standard photochromic glasses did not darken enough to prevent all UV light from entering when in a car. Your glasses may have other tints as well. For example, some sport hunters like a yellow tint, which allows for better contrast when it is overcast.
If you need bifocals or trifocals, your optometrist or ophthalmologist will write the prescription for you. They may help you decide if you can use progressive lenses, which provide similar functionality, allowing users to change the distance at which they are focusing. Progressive lenses allow the change in focus without a line in the lens. When considering progressives vs. bifocals or trifocals, you should know that bifocals or trifocals may offer a wider lens area for a specific task. You may also be prescribed multifocal lenses for specific tasks, like working at the computer. There is some evidence that when children wear bifocals or the like, they lessen the amount of nearsightedness, since the eyes don’t have to focus so much for near tasks. Opticians can help you find the right frames and help you try on and adjust multifocal lenses.
Get New Contact Lenses for Excellent Vision in Alameda County
When it comes to contact lenses, your optician, whether fitting you in Berkeley, Oakland, Fremont, Hayward, San Leandro, Dublin, Newark, or Pleasanton, should be able to help you learn how to insert and remove the contacts. Contact lenses come in different powers, diameters, and curvatures. The optometrist or ophthalmologist will determine which contact lenses are right for you based on your eye and what correction is needed. When contact lenses prescriptions are filled, with one very narrow loophole, they must be filled with the brand prescribed by the eye care professional. The loophole addresses manufacturers who have generics for name brands. Your optician should help you feel comfortable with putting in and taking out the lenses your eye care professional has prescribed.
Contact lenses are prescribed to meet the same kinds of vision problems that eyeglasses correct. You can get contacts for nearsightedness and farsightedness, bifocal contact lenses, and the like. Even toric lenses are available. They allow users with astigmatism, who could never use contact lenses previously, to wear contacts. Toric contact lenses of many kinds are available ” including disposables, multifocals, colored, and the like. There are even contacts that perform orthokeratology. These contact lenses shape the eye during use at night, allowing the user to sometimes go without corrective lenses during the day.
Contact lenses are either soft or gas permeable (RGP). Soft lenses are made from soft plastics that contain water. The water is used to carry oxygen to the eye. Gas permeable lenses allow more oxygen to the eye. They tend to be smaller than soft lenses, and since they do not cover as much of the eye, users may find them less comfortable initially. They provide many users with sharper vision than the soft lenses. Your optician should be able to provide you with information on how to get used to your contact lenses. A new kind of soft lens, called silicone hydrogel, is also available. It is a soft lens that allows oxygen into the eye. As such, silicone hydrogel is a good choice for those who want to sleep in their contacts. You can ask your optometrist or ophthalmologist which kind of contact lens is right for you.
Contact lenses are also available for fun ” to change or deepen eye color, for example. Even contact lenses that are for purely cosmetic use, such as changing the eye color, should be prescribed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist because all contacts are medical devices.
Switching Out Your Contact Lenses in Alameda County
Contact lens wearers in Alameda County, whether in Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, or Fremont, should listen carefully to instructions about when to change their contact lenses. Gas permeable lenses may be worn for a year. Soft contact lenses may be disposed of daily, weekly, monthly, or on different schedules. Ask your optician about the replacement period. For contacts that you wear more than a day, ask your optician about cleaning and storing your contacts.
Soft contact lenses have an expiration date, and you should take account of the expiration date. Soft contacts are packed in fluids that have the ability to become contaminated. You would not want to place contaminated material in your eye.
Find a Good Optician in Alameda County
When you look for an optician, whether in Berkeley, Oakland, Fremont, San Leandro, or Hayward, you will find many options. You might go to one of the chain stores that specialize in filling prescriptions. Or you might work with someone in your optometrist’s office. In any case, find out who you are dealing with and what their qualifications are.
In California, the state licenses Registered Dispensing Opticians (RDO). These are the companies that fill the eyewear prescriptions. The state also licenses a Registered Spectacle Lens Dispenser (SLD) and a Registered Contact Lens Dispenser (CLD). These latter two are the people who are permitted to fit and adjust spectacle lenses and contact lenses, respectively, at a company that has an RDO license. The SLD and CLD must display their licenses at work. The state also requires that out-of-state vendors that deliver contact lenses at retail to California addresses have a license as a Registered Nonresident Contact Lens Seller. The Medical Board of California manages these licensing programs.
Note that doctors are not allowed to have a financial relationship of any kind with an RDO ” including landlord/tenant. So if you get your lenses at your optometrist’s or ophthalmologists, you will not be working with an RDO, SLD, or CLD. Instead, you will be working with a technician who is performing under the supervision of the doctor or optometrist. The technicians may have voluntarily undergone the process to get a certification from the American Board of Opticianry or the National Contact Lens Examiners. These groups require training and ongoing education for those who wish to become certified. However, neither this voluntary certification or any state licensing is required for technicians working the doctor’s or optometrist’s office.
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