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Routine Eye Exams

By Francis D'Ambrosio, Jr., M.D.

About Routine Eye Exams
Routine eye exams for eye health, vision correction, eyeglasses and contact lenses are provided at D'Ambrosio Eye Care by our team of Ophthalmologists and Optometrists. Regular eye exams for seniors and adults are the best way to prevent eye health problems such as age related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic eye problems from leading to vision loss. Regular eye exams for children, teens and young adults help to be sure that vision problems are not interfering with school, learning and even sports activities. D'Ambrosio Eye Care recommends that all patients have regular eye examinations depending on your age, your health, your family history of eye problems and whether you have been diagnosed or treated for any eye conditions or diseases in the past.

When Should I Have My Eyes Examined?
Any time that you experience a sudden change in your vision, pain, redness, discharge, flashes of light, floaters or spots you should call our office immediately at 800-325-3937 and tell the receptionist what you are experiencing so they prioritize a time for your appointment.

If you are in overall good health, and to the best of your knowledge you have not been diagnosed with any eye health problems or eye diseases, scheduling an eye examination every two years is usually sufficient. It is important that, if you have any family member who has been told that they have glaucoma, macular degeneration (AMD) or are diabetic you will need to be examined at least each year or as directed by your eye doctor or family doctor. A number of eye problems and eye conditions become more frequent with age. In particular, cataract formation and other age related macula problems increase in frequency for patients over 55-60 years of age and even healthy people should consider scheduling a routine eye exam each year if they fall into this age group. Anyone over 40 should have an eye exam and glaucoma testing each year and anyone over 50 with a family history of macular degeneration should also be examined annually.

Children should have a pediatric eye exam before they enter school in order to diagnose problems with eye health muscle coordination, focusing and any other vision problems that might impact learning. Depending on your child's individual history and your family history, an appropriate frequency for children's eye exams can be determined. Please feel free to ask about how often we might recommend a children's eye exam for your child.

About Comprehensive Eye Exams

The general comprehensive eye exam at D'Ambrosio Eye Care will typically entail both the testing of your vision in order to be certain that you are seeing as clearly as you should and a complete evaluation of the health of your eyes.

A complete history will be taken from you regarding your general health, any previous eye problems or conditions that you have experienced and a review of any problems that you might be experiencing with your vision or your eyes. This will be important information to provide to the technician or eye doctor during your screening process. If you have any chronic health problems, even if they are currently stable, it is important that you share this information as well. Please be sure to tell the technician or eye doctor about any medications you are taking for these medical conditions, including over the counter medications or eye drops that you may have been using. They are all important. Please bring a current list of medications-even over the counter medications, if you have one.

Your family history will be reviewed with you as well. Please tell us about any health problems that run in your family such as diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as any eye problems that your family members may have experienced such as glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration as they can tend to run in families.

Your eye examination will begin with a technician measuring your vision, or visual acuity, both with your current eyeglasses or contact lenses, and without any vision correction. Chances are that if you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, some of the letters on the 'Big E' eye chart will be blurry without them. The technician will ask you to read a chart that consists of numbers and letters that get progressively smaller and more difficult to read as you move down the chart. This test, called 'Snellen Acuity' or just 'Visual Acuity' is an important first step to understanding how well you see.

Your eye doctor will then check your refraction in order to determine the most accurate eyeglass or contact lens prescription necessary to fully correct your vision. This entails having you sit behind an instrument called a Phoroptor, so that the doctor can present a number of lens combinations to see which corrects your vision most precisely. For those patients who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, you have probably experienced the ?which is better? test called refraction. If you require vision correction, the eye doctor will provide you with a copy of your prescription so that you can take it to D'Ambrosio Optical Center where our Opticians can help you select the best fitting, comfortable, durable and fashionable frame and the most appropriate type of lenses for your work, hobbies or daily activities.

Eye Movements
Next, the movement of your eyes, or 'Ocular Motility' will be evaluated in order to understand how well the eye muscles function together and how effectively they move your eyes into the different positions of gaze.  

By shining a fairly bright light in your eyes, the reaction of your pupils to the light will be evaluated. By shining the light into your eyes in different directions, the doctors can learn a great deal about how well your optic nerve is functioning.

Eye Pressure Testing
In order to check for one of the signs of glaucoma, 1-2 eye drops will be placed in your eyes so that the pressure, called Intraocular Pressure (IOP), can be measured while you are behind the Slit Lamp, or with a Tono Pen, which is a handheld instrument. This is an important diagnostic test for glaucoma.

Dilated Eye Exam
At this time, additional eye drops will be placed in your eyes in order to dilate or widen your pupils. Pupil dilation is important so that the doctor can examine the health of the structures in the back of your eye including the retina and its blood vessels and the optic nerve. After the dilation drops are placed in your eyes, it will usually take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes for the eye drops to fully work and dilate your pupil. Please be patient. You will be asked to relax in one of our comfortable waiting areas while the eye drops work, or if you prefer, you may browse our optical shop while you wait.

The thorough examination of the health of the retina and optic nerve through a dilated pupil is not uncomfortable; ever the fully widened pupil may make you somewhat sensitive to light and may also blur your vision, especially at near, for a few hours after your eye examination. If you have not had a dilated exam in the past, it is a good idea to have a driver with you on your exam day.  It is important to bring a good pair of sunglasses with you in order to lessen your light sensitivity.

Slit Lamp Exam
Once your pupils have dilated, you will be asked to sit comfortably behind a specialized instrument called a Slit Lamp Biomicroscope. This instrument provides the eye doctor with both high magnification and special illumination. Using this instrument it is possible for your doctor to examine the condition of your eyelids, eye lashes, eyelid margins and tear film. The Slit Lamp will also be used to carefully examine the sclera or white of your eye, and the cornea or clear dome-shaped lens, on the outside of your eye. By focusing the slit lamp through the pupil or dark center of the iris, or colored part of the eye, your doctor will be able to examine the health of the crystalline lens, which is where cataracts form. Lastly, the retina and the optic nerve are examined.

If you or someone you know wishes to schedule an eye exam or has questions about eye examinations please call D'Ambrosio Eye Care at 800-325-3937.


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