Routine Eye Exams
A routine eye exam is done to test your vision as well as evaluate the front and back of the eye for eye disease. The Board Certified Ophthalmologists at VisionMD use the most advanced technology to test for several eye diseases including eye problems related to diabetes, as well as glaucoma, and inflammation in the eye. Many eye problems which lead to vision loss can be missed or undiagnosed for years. Because many of these eye problems can be treated, it is important to see an ophthalmologist at regular intervals to check on the health of your eye. While an exam for contact lenses or glasses can be very helpful, it does not evaluate the health of your retina or optic nerve in detail. So be sure to also have your dilated eye exam done by an ophthalmologist at regular intervals.
There are two types of eye doctors:
An ophthalmologist is the highest level of expertise in vision care and you can specifically request to see one at VisionMD Eye Doctors. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who complete medical school and residency training. Ophthalmologists give full eye care, including a complete eye exam, prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses and they can diagnose as well as treat complex eye disease. They are also trained in laser surgery and incisional eye surgery.
Optometrists attend optometry school and are able to give a prescription for eyeglasses and contact lenses, diagnose common eye disorders and treat some select eye diseases.
How to Prepare for your Eye Exam:
For your visit be sure to bring your prescription glasses or contact lens box if you wear them. This is important information for your VisionMD eye doctor to have. Also, bring sunglasses to wear after your eye exam because your exam may include dilation. When your eyes are dilated it can make you more sensitive to daylight and bright lights. If possible, you may want to ask a family member or friend to drive you home after you eye exam. If you are taking any eye drops, or medications please bring a list of them to your eye doctor’s visit.
Glaucoma is a classification of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve. It is usually treated by lowering the pressure of the eye. The pressure of the eye is different from a person's blood pressure. Eye pressure should be tested by an ophthalmologist. Early treatment for glaucoma includes both eyedrops as well as a simple laser procedure. If undiagnosed or left untreated, glaucoma can result in devastating vision loss and blindness. Because glaucoma starts to cause vision loss in a person's peripheral vision or "side vision" many people do not realize they are losing vision. If you have a family history of glaucoma, or you are in a higher risk population, you should have a full glaucoma screening at your next eye appointment.
There are three main tests to evaluate a patient's optic nerve for glaucoma. The first test is called an OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) and is a microscopic evaluation of the fibers of the optic nerve. It is painless, takes just a minute, and the results are immediate. The second test is called a Visual Field. A Visual Field test is an interactive test that is similar to playing a video game. The test results provide the doctor with information on a patient's peripheral vision. The test takes anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes to complete. The third test is called Pachymetry. This test is done to measure the thickness of your cornea as research has shown that patient's with thinner corneas are more at risk for glaucoma.
Based on your risk factors and glaucoma status, OCT testing and Visual Field testing may be repeated yearly, or every few months. Pachymetry is generally done once during the initial glaucoma screen and then repeated on an "as needed" basis. All three tests are painless and non invasive.
Dry Eye Syndrome Treatment
Dry eye syndrome can present with a variety of symptoms, ranging from a scratchy sensation, to stinging or burning in the eye. Though seemingly counterintuitive, patients with dry eye may also experience excess tearing which tend to follow periods of dryness. Other symptoms include eyelid heaviness, eye pain, discharge, pain, and eye redness. Dry eye can even cause blurry vision. Now, as we move deeper into the digital age, dry eye has become more of an issue for patients. Staring at our phones and computer screens for increasing amounts of time, resulting in decreased blinking, can cause or aggravate dry eye symptoms. If you are a patient with a medical disease such as Sjogren's syndrome you may also experience very significant dry eye symptoms.
At VisionMD we know how frustrating dry eye can be and take a stepwise approach to helping to alleviate your symptoms. If you are experiencing these symptoms, ask your VisionMD doctor about treatment options for dry eye. Dry eye therapy usually is chronic so your doctor may recommend long term use of eye lubricants and other lifestyle modifications.
Diabetic Eye Exam
Any patient with a history of Diabetes should have a yearly dilated eye exam with an ophthalmologist. A dilated eye exam requires eye drops to dilate (or enlarge) the pupil so that the ophthalmologist can view the patient's retina through a set of special lenses. Even in patient's with seemingly good blood sugar control, the retina can still sustain damage and the only way to evaluate this is by having a comprehensive exam with an ophthalmologist. If significant evidence of diabetic retinopathy is seen on your eye exam, you may be referred to a retina specialist for more in depth evaluation.