Comprehensive Eye Exams
Regular eye exams for the entire family are important in maintaining your eyes’ health by detecting and preventing disease. Some diseases may develop slowly without causing pain or vision loss. Early detection of problems can reduce the risk of further harm and allow for a choice of treatment options. Using state-of-the-art equipment and expert diagnostic skills, we regularly screen for diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration, which can develop without any noticeable symptoms.
Patients should see their eye 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 eye examinations to ensure the proper development of their vision and prevent any interference with their academic achievements. Older adults are often at a higher risk for eye conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts. Even though your eyes seem healthy, you should still have regular eye examinations to detect any problems as soon as possible and begin necessary treatment.
The cornea is the clear covering of the front of the eye that bends, or refracts, light rays as they enter the eye. For clear vision to occur, the cornea must have the correct shape and clarity to focus incoming light rays precisely on the retina at the back of the eye.
Corneal exams are important because they can determine whether any distortions exist in this portion of the eye. A computerized test called corneal topography can map out the surface of the cornea, alerting your doctor to the presence of inflammation, scarring or astigmatism. This exam can provide information about the health of the cornea and is a valuable diagnostic tool prior to a contact lens fitting, vision correction procedure or corneal transplant.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Patients with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing eye conditions as a complication of their disease. These conditions can lead to vision loss and blindness and include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. Diabetic retinopathy is actually the leading cause of blindness in the United States.
Diabetic eye conditions often develop without any noticeable loss of vision or pain, so significant damage may have occurred 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.
Diagnosis of Diabetic Eye Conditions
Diabetic eye conditions can be detected through a comprehensive eye exam. A comprehensive eye exam 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.
Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy
Other than controlling blood pressure, blood cholesterol and the levels of blood sugar, treatment is not needed during the first three stages of diabetic retinopathy. The fourth stage, proliferative retinopathy is treated with a laser surgery procedure known as scatter laser treatment. During the procedure the abnormal blood vessels are ablated causing them to shrink. This procedure works best once the blood vessels begin to bleed. Severe blood vessel bleeding may need to surgically corrected with a vitrectomy procedure to remove the blood from the eye.
Reducing the Risks of Developing Diabetic Retinopathy
Patients with diabetes need to have an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam. The length of time a patient has diabetes will determine the likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy. Almost 50 percent of patients in the United States, diagnosed with diabetes, have a form of diabetic retinopathy.
The risks of developing diabetic eye disease can be minimized by:
- Monitoring changes in vision
- Keeping A1C levels under 7%
- Monitoring and managing blood pressure levels
- Eating a healthy diet
- Participating in a regular exercise routine
- Monitoring and managing cholesterol levels