General Eye Care
Comprehensive Eye Examination
Regular eye exams are an important tool in eye health for detecting and preventing eye diseases and evaluating the overall health of the patient. Some diseases, such as glaucoma, develop gradually without symptoms of pain or vision loss, so patients may not notice that anything is wrong until significant and irreversible damage has been done. Early detection of eye diseases allows for a choice of treatment options and a reduced risk of permanent damage.
The Comprehensive Eye Examination
An eye exam is different from a vision screening, which only tests vision and is commonly performed by a school nurse, pediatrician or other health care provider. Only an eye doctor can perform a comprehensive eye exam to evaluate the overall health of the eye and detect any changes that may indicate a vision disorder. During a routine eye exam, the doctor will evaluate the eyes for refractive error, as well as conduct a medical examination of the front of the eye and a dilated examination of the back of the eye.
Glasses and Contact Lens fitting
A contact lens is a thin disk which is placed on the surface of the eye, providing vision correction.With advances in optical technology, most people can wear contact lenses, regardless of the type or extent of their vision problems. This includes patients with astigmatism and those who need multifocal lenses. Our practice offers a comprehensive array of contact lenses to suit our patients' individual needs. Talk with us to find out which contact lenses are best for you. All contact lenses require a prescription.
Diabetic Eye Exam
Patients with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing eye diseases that can lead to vision loss and blindness, such as diabetic retinopathy and cataracts. In fact, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. More than 40 percent of patients with diabetes will develop some form of eye disease in their lifetime.
Diabetic eye conditions often develop without any noticeable vision loss or pain, so significant damage may already occurred to the eye by the time patients notice any symptoms. For this reason, it is important for diabetic patients to have their eyes examined at least once a year. Early detection of eye disease can help prevent permanent damage.
Diabetic-related eye problems develop from high blood sugar levels, which can cause damage to blood vessels in the eye. The risk of developing eye problems can be reduced through regular eye exams and by keeping blood sugar levels under control through a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Causes of Diabetic Eye Conditions
Diabetic eye conditions develop in the retina as a result of microvascular abnormalities. The tiny blood vessels within the retina develop microaneurysms and begin to leak blood. As new blood vessels develop to replace the blood vessels that are no longer viable, they also leak blood and can cause hemorrhages and permanent damage to the retina.
Diagnosis of Diabetic Eye Conditions
Diabetic eye conditions can be detected through a comprehensive eye exam which involves a visual acuity test to measure vision at various distances, and a dilated eye exam to examine the structures of the eye for any signs of disease. During this test, your doctor can examine the retina and optic nerve with a special magnifying lens. Tonometry may also be performed during a comprehensive eye exam to measure the pressure inside the eye with a special instrument.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in the United States. Glaucoma can affect patients of all ages but becomes more common with age. Many people affected with glaucoma do not experience any symptoms and may not be aware that they have the disease until they have lost a significant amount of vision. With early detection and treatment, eyes can be protected against the serious loss of vision or blindness.
Glaucoma can affect anyone from newborn infants to the elderly. It has been estimated that up to 3 million Americans have glaucoma. At least half of those people do not know they have glaucoma because initially it usually has no symptoms.
Treatment of Glaucoma
Once glaucoma has been diagnosed, treatment should begin as soon as possible to help minimize the risk of permanent vision loss. There is no cure for glaucoma, so treatment focuses on preventing further damage. Treatment for each individual case depends on the type and severity of the glaucoma. Most patients do very well using drops to reduce pressure in the eye. Some patients, however, may require a laser procedure or surgery.
Dry eye is a common condition that occurs when the eyes are insufficiently moisturized, leading to itching, redness and pain from dry spots on the surface of the eye. The eyes may become dry and irritated because the tear ducts don't produce enough tears, or because of a chemical imbalance in the tears.
Patients with this condition often experience irritating symptoms and which may result in more serious damage to the vision if the condition is left untreated. It is important for patients with this condition to take special care of their eyes in order to alleviate symptoms and prevent complications. Your doctor can diagnose dry eye after a thorough evaluation of your eyes and tear production with a Schirmer tear test.
Causes of Dry Eye
Dry eye is very common but is more often found in women, older patients, contact lens wearers, and patients who had LASIK. Certain medications and medical conditions may also be associated with dry eye syndrome. Causes of dry eye include:
- Medication such as antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medication and antidepressants
- Medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and thyroid problems
- Environmental conditions such as smoke, wind, air conditioning and dry climates
- Long-term contact lens use
- Eye surgery
- Sun exposure
- Smoking or second-hand exposure to smoke exposure
- Sjogren's syndrome
- Thyroid eye disease
- An eye injury
- Eyelid surgery
- Inflammation of the conjunctiva
- Pool lid function
For further information, go to GetEyeSmart.org, maintained by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.