How often must I have an eye exam?
We recommend a complete dilated eye exam every one to two years. This time range depends upon certain risk factors associated with age, and any possible eye ailments you may have. The regular use of contact lenses also effects how often you should get your eyes examined. Children need to have their first exam within the first year of life to look for early signs of vision problems, then again by age three and before entering first grade.
What happens during an eye exam?
An eye exam includes several tests to measure how well you see in different circumstances, including how well your eyes work together and how clearly you see objects at different distances. In addition to assessing your vision, your eye will also be examined for signs of disease or other problems that could affect your vision or your health.
How can I tell if I need an eye exam?
In addition to seeing the eye doctor every one to two years or as often as recommended, you should also schedule an appointment anytime you have problems or concerns about your vision or other symptoms that could indicate a vision-related problem, including:
- red or itchy eyes
- blurry vision
- chronic headaches
- difficulty seeing at night
- double vision
- the appearance of flashing lights or many floaters
- dry eyes
- eye fatigue
- difficulty focusing
Contact Lens Fitting
Advances in technology have made contact lenses an accessible reality for many of us. Our team at American Vision Center, strives to meet all of your eye and vision care needs including contact lens fittings. After a comprehensive eye and vision evaluation, we will discuss the variety of contact lens options with you to select the type that best fits your vision needs and lifestyle. We want to find the lens that can provide you with the most comfortable vision in the long term. Once we have narrowed down the candidates to the best remaining option, we will send you home with your first trial pair. If you suffer from allergies, dry eye disease and/or frequent eye infections, speak with our team to determine whether contact lenses are right for you.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease that develops when the pressure inside the eye increases to the point where it presses against the optic nerve and causes permanent vision loss. Most people who have glaucoma have significantly increased intraocular pressure (IOP), but some people can develop glaucoma even with mild increases in IOP or even normal IOP.
What symptoms does glaucoma cause?
Glaucoma doesn’t cause any symptoms in its early stages, and for many people, the first indication they have the disease is when vision loss begins to occur. Because glaucoma causes no symptoms at first, having regular comprehensive eye exams is the best way to ensure the disease is caught early, when it’s most treatable.
What methods are used to test for glaucoma?
The Non-Contact Tonometry or “air puff” test is a common method used to evaluate elevated IOP; however, Goldmann Tonometry test performed in our office is the most accurate measurement of IOP. There are several other important factors to consider when we diagnose Glaucoma such as structure and function of the optic nerve. We use Optical Coherence Tomography scan to evaluate structure and Visual Field(peripheral or side vision) testing to evaluate function of the optic nerve.
How is glaucoma treated?
In many cases, glaucoma can be treated with eye drops designed to help reduce the IOP. Drops may need to be administered a few times each day to maintain a lower pressure inside the eye. When drops are not effective, surgery or laser may be needed to help provide better drainage for the excess fluid that contributes to an increased IOP.
Are there risk factors for glaucoma?
Yes, the disease is more likely to occur in people over the age of 60. African Americans, however, are at increased risk after the age of 40. Some studies indicate that diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease may increase the risk of developing glaucoma. Having a family history of glaucoma increases the risk of developing glaucoma as well
What is dry eye syndrome?
Dry eyes are a common problem experienced by many people, specifically those who spend long periods of time using computers, or those who work or live in smoky and polluted environments. Dry eye syndrome can also develop in people with lid abnormalities like entropion, where the lid turns inward, or ectropion, where the edge of the lid turns outward. Lid abnormalities make it more difficult for tears to be spread evenly across the surface of the eye. The dry eye condition can also develop in people who don’t produce enough tears or when the tears produced are of poor quality. Some medications can also cause dry eyes when used for a long time, such as extended use of over the counter eye drops. Dry eyes can also develop in people with certain types of autoimmune disorders, such as Sjogren’s syndrome and Graves’ disease.
What kinds of symptoms are caused by dry eyes?
Dry eye syndrome can cause symptoms like:
- scratching, itching or burning
- gritty sensations
- foreign body sensation (the feeling that something is in your eye)
- heightened sensitivity to light
- eye strain or eye fatigue
- significant tearing
- blurry vision that gets worse over the course of the day
- discomfort while wearing contacts
In most cases, dry eye symptoms affect both eyes. In some cases, only one eye may be affected.
What treatments are available for dry eyes?
Dry eyes can cause significant discomfort if left untreated, and over-the-counter eye drops rarely provide anything beyond temporary relief. For a lasting relief of symptoms, prescription eye drops can help by augmenting your natural tears or reducing inflammation. By targeting the root causes of dry eyes, prescription eye drops provide true solutions. Punctal occlusion or punctal plugs are also an effective way to combat dry eye symptoms. Plugs(made from collagen) are inserted to partially block the tear drainage system in order to aid in the preservation of natural tears on ocular surface.
Why do cataracts form?
Cataracts develop when the eye’s normally clear lens, located behind the iris, begins to “cloud up.” Cloudiness occurs when the proteins inside the lens clump together, blocking light from reaching the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye. When light cannot reach the retina, it is unable to clearly interpret what we “see” so it can send those signals to the brain. As a result, vision becomes dimmer and colors become less vibrant. Cataracts can occur in one eye or both eyes, and they tend to occur in older people, although they can also be present at birth or they may be caused by trauma or by prolonged use of some types of medications. They’re also more common among people who have diabetes.
Do I need to have my cataracts removed?
That depends on how clouded the lenses are and how well you can see and function with your cataract in place. Cataract evaluations can help determine whether you can wait to have surgery to remove your cataracts or whether having them removed right away will have a significant impact on your quality of life.
How are cataracts removed?
Cataract removal is a very safe procedure, and it’s often one of the most commonly performed procedures in the U.S. It uses tiny incisions on the side of your eye to enable a special instrument to gently break apart and remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens- or IOL- so you can see more clearly.
What is the post-op recovery period like?
During your recovery period, you’ll need to have eye exams to ensure the lens is seated properly and to ensure you don’t develop an infection or other complication. American Vision Center provides state-of-the-art individualized follow-up care to ensure you have the best visual outcomes possible.
Why do I have eye allergies?
Like many other types of allergies, eye allergies can be caused by many factors, including:
- pet dander
- eye makeup
- facial cleansers, shampoos, soaps and detergents
- chemical fumes
- pollutants including smoke and car exhaust
Contact lens wearers may be more likely to develop eye allergies, and most people who have allergic symptoms in their eyes also have other allergic conditions, including allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or atopic dermatitis (eczema). Living or working amongst dust is also a contributor to allergic reactions within your eyes.
What are the symptoms of eye allergies?
Symptoms of eye allergies may range from mild to severe, this all depends on your sensitivity and exposure to certain allergens, like dust, pollen, and smoke. Some of the most common eye allergy symptoms include:
- itching, stinging or burning sensations
- excessive tearing
- thick mucus discharge from the eyes, especially while sleeping
- heightened sensitivity to light
- foreign body sensation (the feeling an object is poking into your eye)
Sometimes, eye allergy symptoms may occur with other allergic symptoms, such as sore or itchy throat, sneezing, or runny nose.
Eye allergy treatment options
The most ideal way to reduce flare-ups of your eye allergies is to reduce your exposure to allergens when possible. However, in many cases, allergens are unavoidable, especially ones coming from seasonal pollutants like pollen. Current treatments for eye allergies include prescription eye drops which help to reduce itching and other eye allergy symptoms. In more severe cases, antihistamines may be prescribed as well to help treat the allergy systemically. If you experience eye allergies, it’s best to avoid long-term use of over-the-counter eye drops, since overuse of these products can cause symptoms to become worse or may mask symptoms that indicate a more serious underlying condition. Additionally, overuse of over the counter eye drops may lead to dry eyes. Instead, make an appointment to have your symptoms evaluated to ensure they aren’t related to an infection or another serious issue.
What is the retina?
The retina is the light-sensitive back “wall” of the interior of the eye. The retina contains special cells called rods and cones, which when exposed to any light, trigger nerve reactions that are sent to the brain. The brain in return interprets these signals as the images we see in front of us.
What kinds of diseases affect the retina?
Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the most prevalent retinal disease, affecting about 15 million older adults in the U.S. AMD causes no symptoms in its earliest stages, and without regular eye exams, the disease may progress undetected until vision loss occurs. The macula is the portion of the retina responsible for central vision. In AMD, the macula deteriorates, affecting the ability to see straight ahead and impairing a person’s ability to read and to see and recognize faces. Other retina diseases include:
- diabetic retinopathy, a retinal disease that affects people with diabetes, damaging the blood vessels that supply the retina with oxygen-rich blood and nutrients
- cancer of the retina, or retinoblastoma
- retinal detachment, an emergent condition that causes the retina to pull away from the back of the eye, requiring immediate medical attention to prevent blindness
- macular holes, which occur more often among people over age 60
How are retinal diseases managed?
Retinal diseases require ongoing care and regular exams to keep them in check and to help slow the progression of the diseases. Dilated exams are an important part of disease management, enabling the retina and macula to be seen and evaluated so signs of disease can be monitored. Having regular exams also ensures you can be referred to an ophthalmologist when needed for more advanced care, which may include lasers to repair holes or abnormal blood vessels or other techniques, including removing the gel-like vitreous portion of the eye.