The American Optometric Association recommends annually eye examinations for children, contact lens wearers and adults over the age over 50. For non-contact lens wearers between the ages of 20-50 without medical conditions, every 2 years is acceptable.
Floaters are fibers and particles which are floating in the gel-like substance (vitreous) that fills the inside of the eye. The particles cast shadows onto the back of the eye (retina). Typically floaters are a result of natural aging changes, but they can indicate a more serious problem. If you experience an onset of floaters, you should be examined.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. Cataracts are typically caused by normal aging of the eye, but they can occur as a result of an injury or other medical conditions. Since they are caused by aging, cataracts will occur in all of us if we live long enough. As cataracts develop, they can cause blurred vision and glare with night driving. Cataracts are treated with surgery.
Dilation of the eye provides an expanded view of the internal health of the eye. When the eye is dilated, more structures are able to be observed; therefore, a more thorough exam is performed.
Astigmatism is a vision condition causing blurred vision due to an irregular shape of the eye. It occurs when the eye is oval rather than spherical. Astigmatism is treated with glasses or contact lenses.
Farsightedness is a vision condition when you are able to see things at a distance, but objects up close are blurred. Nearsightedness is a vision condition causing blurred vision of objects at a distance, but clear vision up close. Spectacle lenses or contact lenses are used to treat both conditions.
Optometrists are medical specialists who provide primary eye and vision care. Optometrists have attended Optometry school, earning a doctorate in optometry completing a total of eight years of college. Optometrists are able to prescribe medication for certain eye diseases, diagnosis and treat medical eye conditions as well as prescribe glasses and fit contact lenses. Ophthalmologists are physicians who have attended medical school and are able to perform surgical procedures as well as treat medical conditions of the eye. Optometrists and Ophthalmologists work together to provide optimum care for patients.
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that occurs in the back of the eye (retina) in patients with diabetes causing retina damage and vision loss. The delicate blood vessels in the retina begin to leak blood and fluid into the retina damaging the cells. Patients with diabetes should have comprehensive eye examinations biannually to monitor for diabetic retinopathy. There are various treatment options for diabetic retinopathy.
Macular degeneration is a condition that causes permanent loss of central vision, typically in the older adult. There are few treatment options for macular degeneration, but annual eye examinations will monitor for this condition.