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Keeping up with your overall eye health is very important no matter what your age. This is why it is important for both adults and children to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once every year. However, many people think that walking into their local eye glasses shop and having their eye glasses or contact lens prescription updated counts as their yearly visit. This unfortunately common misperception can have some dangerous consequences. This is why it is important to understand the difference between a Comprehensive Eye Exam, that can only be performed by a certified Optometrist, and a Vision Screening, which is much less thorough and does not give as deep an insight into your eye health.

As a first rule, if your spending $30-40 on an exam – your likely not getting the complete picture. While the price may be attractive, as with anything, you get what you pay for. These kinds of exams will test your vision and will be able to determine whether you need new glasses or contacts, but that’s about it. Comprehensive Eye Exams, by contrast, go much deeper and will tell you much more.

By contrast, a Comprehensive Eye Exam, along with testing to see if you need new glasses, we will also check for the actual health of your eye. Medical records are consulted and tests are run to see if there is risk of developing any conditions that could harm your overall visual and ocular health. Among the tests performed are tests to see if there are any signs of eye disease such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, which have little or no symptoms until significant damage has already occurred. With diseases such as these, it is essential to catch them early, or else the risk of losing a significant amount of sight increases dramatically.

Besides your eye health, your overall bodily health can be detected through your eyes as well. A Comprehensive Eye Exam also includes examinations of the retina, cornea, blood vessels and nerves for any signs that might signify the onset of tumors, cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes, among other conditions that can be first detected in the eyes.

While it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to get your prescription updated from time to time while you’re passing by, it is important to know that it doesn’t count as your yearly exam. Come see us at Vani Vision at least once a year for the full picture!

Macular degeneration is a very dangerous and all-too-common eye condition that robs a person of their central and detail vision by destroying the small part of the retina, called the maucla, that is responsible for this type of vision. Consequently, detail work such as threading a needle or activities such as reading a book, become very difficult or even impossible. Dr. Nikil Patel of Vani Vision, in Atlanta, GA adds, “Macular degeneration can sometimes be a heart-wrenching ordeal, as the blank or blurry spot in the center of a person’s field of vision often blots out faces, making it hard even to recognize close friends and loved ones. Macular degeneration usually comes on very slowly and is easily overlooked without routine eye exams, causing a significant loss of sight before detection. Especially for those over the age of 40 and/or with a family history of the disease, these routine eye exams are indispensable as a means of early detection and treatment, ensuring long term eye and vision health.”

Two types of macular degeneration exist, dry and wet. Below, Dr. Patel gives an outline of both:

Dry Macular Degeneration is a much more common condition than it’s wet alternative. Symptoms include blurry distance and/or reading vision, colors seeming much less vivid and difficulty seeing in dim lighting. Macular degeneration that affects only one eye is often more difficult to detect without an eye exam. This results from your good eye making up for the short-comings of the vision in the bad eye. In this case, eye exams become even more important to detect and monitor the progress of this single-eye macular degeneration.

Wet Macular Degeneration is much more rare, and considered considerably more dangerous. This is because wet macular degeneration displays a tendency to worsen drastically over an alarmingly short amount of time. Symptoms of this form of macular degeneration are similar to the dry form, with the addition that you may also notice that straight lines seem to be bent or crooked.

Macular degeneration, once it has already developed, has no federally approved treatment options, and sight which is lost through damage caused by macular degeneration is non-reversible. Preventing macular degeneration altogether, is therefore a person’s best defense. Besides regular eye exams for early detection, a number of expert studies have shown a link between certain health supplements and reduced risk of macular degeneration. Those who took Vitamin C, Vitamin E and other healthy supplements appeared to reduce their long-term risk of developing macular degeneration or of their dry macular degeneration getting worsening or developing into wet macular degeneration.

For more information, contact Dr. Patel today!

The most well-known part of a comprehensive eye exam is the basic visionblog_photo_12_31_15 test. When you have a general vision test, one of the main conditions the eye care practitioner is checking for is a refractive error. A refractive error means there is an abnormality in the shape of the eye, changing the eye’s ability to focus light directly onto the retina.This causes blurred vision and can usually be corrected by wearing prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses and possibly, alternate treatments such as vision therapy, ortho-k, LASIK or refractive surgery such as LASIK.

The term, “refractive error” refers to a problem with the process of refraction that is responsible for sight. Normally, light rays that enter your eye are refracted or bent through the cornea and the lens, and ultimately converge or are focused onto a single point on the retina. From the retina, messages are sent through the optic nerve to the brain which then interprets these signals into the image that we are seeing.

In order for this process to work effectively, the anatomy of the eye including the length of the eye and the curvature of the cornea and the lens must be just right to be able to focus the light onto the retina. When this is not the case, a refractive error will occur.

There are several different types of refractive errors, depending on which part of the eye is affected, and it is possible to have multiple refractive errors at the same time:

Myopia or nearsightedness:
In myopia the length of the eyeball is too long which results in light coming to a focus in front of the retina, rather than on the retina. This allows the individual to see well when objects are close but not clearly when looking at objects at a distance.

Hyperopia or farsightedness:
Hyperopia is when the eyeball is shorter than normal and can result in near objects being blurry. However, people experience hyperopia differently. Sometimes distant objects are clear while other times people may experience overall blurred vision near and far or no problems at all. In children particularly, the lens may accommodate for the error allowing for clear vision but may cause fatigue and sometimes crossed eyes or strabismus. Hyperopia causes eyestrain or fatigue especially when looking at near objects for a period of time. Often people with 20/20 vision may still need glasses at their desk to relax their eyes and improve concentration.

Astigmatism:
Astigmatism is usually the result of an irregularly shaped cornea (although it can sometimes also be due to a misshapen lens). The cornea, which is normally round, is more football-shaped in an eye with astigmatism, resulting in multiple focus points either in front of the retina or behind it (or both). People with astigmatism usually have blurred or distorted vision to some degree at all distances, near and far.

Presbyopia:
Presbyopia is an age-related condition which usually begins to appear sometime after 40. As the eye begins to age, the lens stiffens and can no longer focus clearly on objects that are close.

It’s important to note that presbyopia is often confused with hyperopia, as both cause problems focusing at near distances. However, high hyperopia can also cause blur at far distances as well, especially in dim lighting, and depth perception problems can result in motor vehicle accidents. In these instances people with hyperopia could use glasses at any distance.
If you are having trouble seeing, it is important to have an eye exam to determine the cause of the problem and to effectively correct your vision. Even if your vision is fine, you should schedule a routine eye exam on a regular basis to ensure that your eyes are healthy and that any potential problems are caught early.