When was your last eye exam? Annual exams are very important not only to determine if you need correction to see well, but also to maintain the health of your eye. We recommend an annual eye health and vision exam by Dr. Bell. They typically only take 30 minutes and are crucial to protecting and preserving your precious vision for a lifetime.
While some eye diseases let you know something's wrong - with symptoms such as red eyes, light sensitivity, or flashing lights - many serious, vision-threatening problems have no warning signs. Much like high blood pressure, most forms of glaucoma, for example, produce no symptoms whatsoever until some vision has been permanently lost. Proper eye care and checkups can help prevent your eyesight being taken from you. Annual eye exams can also detect diabetes, hypertension, retinal holes or tears, and other important treatable medical conditions. Today's sophisticated medical equipment, in the hands of one of our experts, can detect the earliest signs of a problem.
A complete eye exam involves a series of tests designed to evaluate your vision and check for eye diseases. It doesn't hurt. Your doctor may use odd-looking instruments, aim bright lights directly at your eyes and request that you look through a seemingly endless array of lenses. Each test is necessary and allows your doctor to evaluate a different aspect of your vision.
Dr. Bell will thoroughly examine the external and internal parts of your eyes for signs of eye or systemic diseases. With special instruments, a study will be made of the interior of the eyes for cataracts, retinal problems, glaucoma and other diseases.
Our examination typically includes an initial case history. This is intended to reveal whether your vision problem, if you have one, is the result of any eye problem or of your general health. Diabetes, blood pressure or circulation problems, and allergies are just a few of the general diseases that affect the eye and vision. We also want to know your specific occupational and recreational vision requirements so that we can determine the lens prescriptions that are best for your individual needs.
In addition to the tests for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, Dr. Bell also tests for crossed eyes (strabismus) and lazy eye (amblyopia). Eye functioning as well as visual skills needed for learning, such as binocular coordination, accommodation, convergence, peripheral awareness, color and depth perception are assessed during each examination. When the eye exam is completed, the doctor studies all the assembled information. The doctor then makes a professional decision on how to give each patient the highest possible visual efficiency. This may take the form of a prescription for eye glasses or contact lenses, a recommendation for visual training (eye exercises), a referral to another health care professional, or a clean bill of visual health. The doctor also determines the date of the next examination.
Thanks to the advances in optical technology, almost everyone is a candidate for contact lens use. This includes patients with astigmatism and also those who prefer bifocal or multifocal lenses. We offer a comprehensive array of contact lenses to suit each individual patient's needs including daily disposables, extended wear soft lenses and gas permeable contact lenses.
Macular degeneration is a chronic eye disease that can severely impact vision. The most common type is called dry macular degeneration. The less common wet form is more severe and can be very disabling. Today, through early detection and treatment, eye care professionals are better able to manage this disease.
Glaucoma, the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in the United States, is an eye disease that can lead to a permanent loss of vision. Glaucoma generally provides no warning signs or symptoms of disease, making testing an important part of a full vision exam. Dr. Bell performs a glaucoma pressure test on all patients.
For those patients needing glasses or contact lenses, we offer a complete optical department. Since your prescription can be filled at the same place it was written, you will not only save time and travel, you will also have the security of knowing the doctor who wrote the prescription is available to answer questions. We carry a wide selection of frames for every budget, including designer, sunglasses and sports.
Each prescription received from the laboratory is checked thoroughly for optical correctness and fabrication exactly as ordered. When delivered to you, it is adjusted correctly to provide a proper fit. Follow-up care of you eye glasses is always available at our office.
There are four visual issues that can affect the health and vision of our children. They are refractive error, such as myopia; strabismus; amblyopia, more commonly known as lazy eye; and lastly, significant ocular diseases.
Almost 15% of our children suffer from undiagnosed refractive problems such as excessive hyperopia, myopia, or significant astigmatism. Failure to identify these conditions at an early age can result in the development of amblyopia. Failure to detect these conditions can delay perceptual skills, reading abilities, create attention deficits and lead to the failure of the eyes to work together which, in turn, causes problems with depth perception. Fortunately, most of these conditions are easily treatable with glasses or contacts.
Strabismus, more commonly known as eye turn, affects about 3-4% of our children. It is an inability for the eyes to maintain alignment in the same direction simultaneously. When one or both eyes turn in or out, (esotropia and exotropia respectively,) symptoms such as headaches and blurred vision may occur. Hypertropia, also known as vertical misalignment, is much more difficult to pick up. It often manifests as blurred vision, headaches and changes in reading speed and comprehension. Children will often start using their fingers or another object to help guide them (or prevent them) from losing their place in line as they read. In addition to the obvious social implications and cosmetic concerns these children can encounter with eyes looking in opposite directions, they also risk amblyopia and loss of fine depth perception as well as frustrations with reading and often poor performance in a traditional school setting. The treatment for strabismus depends on the type and severity of the condition, but may include special prismatic glasses, surgery or vision therapy.
Amblyopia, the term used to describe a preventable reduction in vision acuity in one or both eyes, affects 2-8% of the overall population. It may be caused by strabismus, developmental ocular diseases such as cataracts or a significant difference in the prescription between the two eyes. It may lead to a permanent decrease in vision; if untreated, through pre-adolescence, and may have a significant impact by creating many occupational limitations. If caught early, the condition may be corrected through glasses, patching or vision therapy.
Childhood ocular disease, though rare at about 0.5% of our children, has the most devastating effects. Childhood ocular diseases like retinopathy of prematurity, retinoblastoma (a 100% fatal cancer of the eye if not detected early in the disease), and toxoplasmosis (a fungal disease transferred from the mother to fetus through the placenta), can have effects much greater than just vision and ocular health. The treatments are variable depending on the condition, but early detection is the key.
The reasons are numerous but the most obvious is that our children cannot always help themselves. Most of these vision conditions are painless and present since birth so they do not know that anything is wrong. They just think that how they see is the way that everyone sees. Worse yet, is that most of these vision disorders can result in serious learning problems and, at times, even behavioral issues. Think about how you would behave if you couldn't see what everyone else is seeing. Would you get frustrated?
The earlier a problem is detected the better the overall prognosis. We can prevent vision loss and decrease the negative impacts that vision loss will have on our kids for the rest of their lives. Mistakenly, most parents think that the vision screening our children have in kindergarten and again in fifth grade will detect these issues. Think about these facts:
Less than 15% of all preschoolers receive eye examinations from a qualified eye doctor.
Less than 22% of all pre-schoolers have an adequate vision screening consisting of visual acuity (amazingly only 30 states in our country require this), eye alignment (required by only 24 states) and refractive error (only 8 states require this).
There are no uniform criteria for screening failure across the country, state, county or school districts and this includes the area that we live in.
25% of 10 year olds have vision problems
After the age of 7 less than 20% of children with vision problems present in early childhood will ever recover functional vision similar to the other non-affected eye.
In summary, please make sure that your children have an eye exam by a qualified eye health professional, give them a chance at a life full of color, detail and possibility.
Do they consistently turn their head to one side?
Do they consistently turn their head to one side when picking something up?
Do they seem startled if you approach from one side vs. the other?
Do they seem to consistently miss seeing something of interest?
Were there any complications during or immediately after birth?
Do their pupils look the same?
Do they have a family history of a lazy eye?
Do they sit close to the TV because they say they cannot see it?
Do they complain of headaches?
Do they tilt their head to one shoulder or to one side consistently when watching TV or reading?
Do they have a shorter attention span than usual when doing near tasks?
Were they slower than expected in hitting their milestones?
School age children
Do they have attention issues?
Do they say they have headaches?
Do they complain of double vision or blurred vision at distance or near?
Do they have trouble seeing the board?
Have their reading comprehension scores started to drop?
Do they lose their place on the page or use their fingers to keep track of where they are on the page (after 2nd grade)?