We use the latest technology to look for any signs of eye disease or poor visual function. The following is a summary of what we evaluate during a routine examination.
Macular Pigment Score:
Advanced technology enables us to measure the pigment levels at the central retina, also referred to as the macula. Those individuals with low pigment levels are up to 40% more likely to develop Macular Degeneration, a blinding eye disease. Low pigment levels can also impact one’s visual performance, night vision, and further promote damage from blue light.
If your pigment score was found to be low at your exam, there are lifestyle and dietary changes you can make to improve your score. For example, diets rich in dark, green, leafy vegetables (especially spinach, kale, and orange bell peppers) may increase the pigment score. Additionally, sun protection is imperative to ocular health and protecting the central macula.
One of the most effective means of improving the macular pigment is with nutritional supplementation. Our doctors recommend MacuHealth, which is a natural eye health supplement to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and maintain healthy eyes. This supplement is comprised of three natural carotenoids- lutein, zeazanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin- all of which are critical to filter and protect against harmful blue light. The recommended dose is one capsule per day to be taken with food.
Contrast Sensitivity Score:
Contrast Sensitivity Threshold (CST) testing was utilized during your exam to assess the quality of your vision during real-world activities. This test is now understood to be essential since new research has shown that it is possible to improve vision even in those who see 20/20!
Unlike traditional measurements of vision, which use a dark letter on a white background, assessment of contrast sensitivity involves identifying the border between the visible and invisible. It pinpoints those with poor ability to discriminate faint objects, faces, or signs when very little difference in contrast exists. Poor contrast sensitivity often leads to complaints of reduced night vision and glare. Additionally, this test is used by our doctors to diagnose early stages of cataracts, optic nerve problems, and even retinal disease.
A recent study published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science (IOVS) revealed that patients that took MacuHealth for a year had significantly improved contrast sensitivity scores when compared to those patients in the placebo group. These results show that vision can be optimized even in those patients who consider themselves to have perfect 20/20 or better vision with or without eyeglasses or contact lenses.
We will continue to monitor your contrast sensitivity yearly and make recommendations to always ensure your optimal eye health and vision.
Optomap Ultra-Wide Digital Retinal Imaging:
The Optomap captures a high-definition image of the retinal tissue lining the back of the eye. This technology allows us to precisely track your health and aid in the diagnosis of ocular conditions. One aspect of this test is called Fundus Autofluorescence, and it enables us to identify certain retinal problems that are normally hidden from view. This imaging may be repeated to confirm changes in the retinal appearance.
Lids/ Dry Eye Disease:
At your exam, the doctor evaluated the lids, lashes, and ocular surface for Dry Eye Disease. Dry eye is an extremely common concern in our evolving world. In fact, over 70 million Americans suffer from dry eye symptoms, which may include redness, burning, itching, fluctuating vision, tearing, and gritty eyes. Unfortunately, in most cases, dry eye is undiagnosed because the symptoms are misunderstood or absent in some stages of the disease.
At your upcoming dry eye evaluation, we will use a batter of laboratory and diagnostic tests to identify the underlying cause of your dry eye and will devise a customized treatment plan to get you on your way to feeling better!
At your exam, the cornea was evaluated for any irregularities- like corneal thinning, edema, and any scars from previous injuries. Patients with irregular corneas may struggle to achieve functional vision with traditional glasses or contact lenses. Therefore, specialty contact lenses (i.e. hybrid or scleral contact lenses) may be recommended in these more unique cases. The doctor will recommend the best therapy for optimal vision based on your corneal anatomy.
Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process. A cataract is a term used to describe when the clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy, and it will cause reduced vision at distance and at near. Night driving may become especially difficult as one experiences more glare around oncoming headlights. Additionally, the growth of a cataract may dull the perception of colors.
The opaque lens can easily be removed with cataract surgery. During this surgery, the cloudy lens is replaced with a clear implant. Cataract surgery is a very common and safe procedure. When needed, we will manage your pre- and post-operative visits. Otherwise, we will continue to monitor your cataract at each examination.
The vitreous body is the jelly-like fluid that fills the space within the center of the eye. With aging, the vitreous may begin to shrink, and, as a result, its fibers begin to tug at the retinal tissue. As the fibers eventually detach from the retina, this can cause a vitreal detachment. A vitreal detachment is often marked by floaters, or small threads floating within one’s field of view.
For most patients, a floater is monitored, and it is unlikely to cause any sight-threatening complications. If you begin to notice more or new floaters, flashes of light, or loss of vision, please call our office immediately.
Macula (Macular Degeneration):
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness amongst Americans age 55 and older. This diseases causes deterioration of the macula, which is the critical portion of the retina responsible for central vision. During your eye examination, the doctor carefully evaluated the macula for any early changes consistent with Macular Degeneration. The doctor may recommend more frequent follow-up visits to continue to monitor the macula for change.
The retina is a thin layer of tissue lining the back of the eye. The retina receives light from the lens and converts this light into neural signals to be sent to the brain for visual recognition. If there is breakdown in the retinal tissue, this could potentially cause visually threatening symptoms. Therefore, visiting the eye doctor routinely will ensure adequate retinal health.
The choroid is the vascular layer of the eye located between the retina and the sclera. A patient may have a choroidal nevus, which is simply an eye “freckle”. A nevus is a flat, benign, and pigmented area in the back of the eye. Routine examinations will ensure that a choroid is not changing and becoming problematic.
At your exam, the doctor may have noted changes in the back of the eye or an elevated eye pressure, which may make you more at risk for developing glaucoma. Glaucoma is characterized by progressive damage to the optic nerve. When a patient loses nerve tissue, the vision changes and ultimately blindness may occur.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States. This disease progresses very slowly and without pain or warning signs. Therefore, it is imperative to establish appropriate baseline measurements and continue to track a patient to ensure no damage to the optic nerve occurs. At your glaucoma visit, these baseline measurements will be obtained and used for future reference. Our goal is to preserve your vision, and we are committed to doing that.