Zeana Bertacchi got her first pair of glasses at age 10 and was finally able to see clearly without squinting. Later, when she enrolled in an anatomy class at Loyola University Chicago, she became fascinated with the physiology of the eye. She began shadowing optometrists and learned more about the profession, ultimately deciding to pursue optometry full-time.

Q What are some of the most common signs that a patient should consider corrective lenses?

A Not being able to see street signs clearly while driving or seeing a glare and halos around car lights at night. Many people also suffer from tired eyes and blurry vision. Some have jobs that require an inordinate amount of time spent in front of a computer screen, which can lead to headaches, double vision and eyestrain. These are common signs of the need for prescription glasses.

Q Why do people usually put off getting glasses or contacts?

A Time and money. Finding time to get glasses may seem unrealistic to many people. Additionally, they may feel they have to choose between basic necessities and medical needs. However, its possible to fit an eye exam in over a lunch break or on a Saturday morning. As for cost, an eye health checkup may result in reduced future costs by preventing the need for expensive treatments.

Q Are there new technologies in glasses and contacts that people considering them should know about?

A Yes. With glasses, a custom-made progressive lens was recently introduced, which allows for a larger reading area with minimal peripheral distortion. This allows people who previously had issues with no-line bifocals to use them. With contacts, new high-definition lenses minimize glare and halos at night. In addition, new custom multifocals give you functional vision at a variety of distances. Many of the newer contact lenses are made of a breathable material that allows for some extended wear.

Q Why is the end of the year a good time to consider corrective lenses?

A If your employer offers a flexible spending account (FSA), you may be contributing money from your paycheck to cover medical expenses. However, FSA benefits expire at the end of the year. One means of using your FSA contributions is by scheduling your vision checkup and purchasing contacts or glasses before year-end.