Eye Examination Benefit
Regular eye exams are an invaluable tool in maintaining eye health by detecting and preventing disease. Some diseases, such as glaucoma, develop gradually without causing 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 can allow for a choice of treatment options and reduced risk of permanent damage.
How Often Do I Need an Eye Exam?
Patients should see their doctor for a comprehensive eye exam every one to three years, depending on their age, risk of disease and overall physical condition. Children should have regular tests to ensure the proper development of their vision and prevent any interference with their academic achievements. Even if your eyes are healthy, you should still have a regular eye exam to detect any problems as soon as possible and begin necessary treatment.
What Can I Expect From an Eye Exam?
During a routine eye exam, your doctor will evaluate your eyes for refractive errors, as well as common conditions such as:
- Diabetic eye disease
This is done through a series of eye tests that examine all aspects of the eye, including a visual field test, dilation, glaucoma test, slit-lamp examination, cover test, retinoscopy and refraction. These tests can all be performed in your doctor's office and are safe for all patients.
Blepharitis is the chronic inflammation, or infection, of the eyelids and the eyelash follicles along the edge of the eyelid. Blepharitis, which is not contagious, affects patients of all ages. Symptoms of blepharitis include, red or swollen eyes, and eyelids that are crusty, flaky or scaly.
There is no cure for blepharitis. Blepharitis can be controlled with proper hygiene of the eyelids. Treatment and preventative care for blepharitis involves a thorough but gentle cleaning of the eyelids, face and scalp. Warm compresses can be applied to loosen crust and a gentle baby shampoo can help keep the eyelids clean. This treatment may be combined with antibiotics if a bacterial infection is causing or contributing to the condition.
Dry Eye Treatment
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.
Floaters and Flashes
Floaters and flashes of the eye commonly occur as the result of age-related changes to the vitreous gel. The vitreous is firmly attached to the retina and is a thick, firm substance without much movement. As we age, the vitreous becomes thinner and more watery, and tissue debris that was once secure in the firm vitreous gel is now able to move around on the inside the eye, casting shadows on the retina.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes. The length of time a patient has diabetes will determine the likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy. Over 40 percent of patients in the United States, diagnosed with diabetes, have a form of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye complication and a leading cause of blindness in American adults.
Diabetic retinopathy causes the blood vessels that supply nourishment to the retina, the light-sensitive lining in the back of the eye where vision is focused, to weaken. These weakened vessels can leak, swell or develop thin branches, causing a loss of vision.
During any stage of diabetic retinopathy a condition known as macular edema can develop. Macular edema is the buildup of fluid in the macula, the light-sensitive part of the retina that allows us to see objects with great detail. As the macula swells vision becomes blurred. About half of the people with proliferative retinopathy are diagnosed with macular edema.
Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition in older adults and the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50. Macular degeneration affects the macula, the part of the retina responsible for the crisp, detailed central vision needed for reading or driving. As we age, the tissue in the eye responsible for vision slowly begins to deteriorate which can significantly affect a patient's quality of life.
Types of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration can be classified as either dry (non-neovascular) or wet (neovascular)
Dry (Non-Neovascular) Macular Degeneration
Dry macular degeneration is the more common diagnosis, and is considered to be an early stage of the disease. This form of the disease usually develops as a result of aging and thinning of macular tissues and the depositing of pigment within the macula.
Wet (Neovascular) Macular Degeneration
Only about 10 percent of patients see their condition progress to the more advanced and damaging wet macular degeneration. In wet macular degeneration, new blood vessels develop beneath the macula and cause a leakage of blood and fluid. This leakage can lead to permanent damage in the central vision and the creation of blind spots.
Macular Degeneration: Introduction
Macular Degeneration: Overview
Macular Degeneration: Treatment Overview
Macular Degeneration: Wet Form
Macular Degeneration: Dry and Wet Treatment Overview
Macular Degeneration: Laser Treatment
Intravitreal Injections: Overview
Macular Degeneration: Dry Form
Macular Degeneration: Prevention Introduction
Experts disagree on which nutrients can prevent eye disease or reduce vision loss. Studies have been conducted to help us learn more about the relationship between vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and eye health. The general consensus is that the same things that are good for your body are good for your eyes: a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, drinking at least six glasses of water a day, regular exercise, and avoidance of cigarette smoke.
Much of the research that has already been conducted points to the benefits of vitamins and antioxidants, specifically beta carotene, vitamins D, E, A and C, zinc, selenium, copper, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese and lutein. The National Eye Institute's Age-Related Eye Disease Study found that about one-fifth of patients with intermediate and advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) were able to reduce their risk of vision loss after taking high levels of zinc and antioxidants. The study did not find a correlation between these nutrients and the development of cataracts.
Patients taking the anticoagulant medication such as warfarin or Coumadin should consult their doctors before increasing the amount of leafy greens they eat.
In addition to the comprehensive ophthalmology services we provide, our practice features a boutique optical shop for convenience of our patients with a wide array of eyeglass frames and contact lenses to suit every look and budget. We provide patients frames from many elite designers such as, Michael Kors, Lacoste, Nine West, DKNY, Easy Clips, offering some of the most fashionable sunglasses and prescription frame styles around. To learn more about our optical shop, call us today at 508-836-8733 or stop in to see the wide array of products we currently offer.
There is indeed something for everyone to satisfy all ages and tastes.