Performance Eyecare conducts stress-free eye exams

Performance EyeCare STL Eye Examination

We understand the word “exam” can add some unnecessary stress to your life, so we wanted to share with you what a routine comprehensive eye exam usually consists of:

As noted by Gary Heiting, OD, and Jennifer Palombi, OD, the following is what makes up a routine eye exam:

Visual Acuity Test

This measures the sharpness of your vision and it’s usually performed with a projected eye chart to measure the distance visual acuity. It also consists of a small, handheld acuity chart to measure your near vision as well.

Color Blindness Test

This test can check your color vision as well as alert your eye doctor to any possible eye health problems that may affect your color vision.

Cover Test

During this test, your eye doctor will have you focus on a small object across the room and will then cover each of your eyes alternately while you stare at the target. The doctor then assesses whether the uncovered eye must move to pick up the fixation target, which could indicate strabismus or a more subtle binocular vision problem that could cause eye strain or amblyopia, known as “lazy eye.”

Retinoscopy

Your eye doctor may perform this test early in the eye exam to obtain an approximation of your eyeglass prescription.

In retinoscopy, the room lights will be dimmed and you will be given a large target (usually the big “E” on the chart) to fixate on. As you stare at the “E,” your eye doctor will shine a light at your eye and flip lenses in a machine in front of your eyes.

Refraction

During a refraction, the doctor puts the instrument called a phoropter in front of your eyes and shows you a series of lens choices. He or she will then ask you which of the two lenses in each choice looks clearer.

Based on your answers, your eye doctor will continue to fine-tune the lens power until reaching a final eyeglass prescription.

Autorefractors and Aberrometers

An autorefractor, like a manual refraction, determines the lens power required to accurately focus light on your retina. Autorefractors are especially useful in certain cases such as evaluating young children who may not sit still, pay attention or interact with the eye doctor adequately for an accurate manual refraction.

Slit-Lamp Examination

The slit lamp, also called a biomicroscope, allows your eye doctor to get a highly magnified view of the structures of your eye to thoroughly evaluate your eye health and detect any signs of infection or disease.

During this test, your doctor will have you place your chin on the chin rest of the slit lamp and will then shine the lamp’s light at your eye. The doctor looks through a set of oculars (much like a microscope in a science lab) and examines each part of your eye in turn.

He or she will first examine the structures of the front of your eye (lids, cornea, conjunctiva, iris, etc.). Then, with the help of a special high-powered lens, your doctor will view the inside of your eye (retina, optic nerve, macula and more).

The Glaucoma Test

A common glaucoma test is the “puff-of-air” test, technically known as non-contact tonometry, or NCT. (This test was immortalized on the hit TV show Friends, when Rachel couldn’t sit still for it.)

For NCT, the test begins with you putting your chin on the machine’s chin rest. While you look at a light inside the machine, the doctor or a trained assistant will puff a small burst of air at your open eye. It is completely painless, and the tonometer does not touch your eye.

At Performance Eyecare, we do not use the air puff. Instead, our doctors instills an eye drop and determines your eye pressure while looking with the microscope. There is no pain and this method is much more accurate than blowing air into your eye.

Pupil Dilation

To obtain a better view of the eye’s internal structures, your eye doctor instills dilating drops to enlarge your pupils. Dilating drops usually take about 20 to 30 minutes to start working. When your pupils are dilated, you will be sensitive to light (because more light is getting into your eye) and you may notice difficulty focusing on objects up close. These effects can last for up to several hours, depending on the strength of the drop used.

Once the drops have taken effect, your eye doctor will use various instruments to look inside your eyes. You should bring sunglasses with you to your eye exam, to minimize glare and light sensitivity on the way home. If you forget to bring sunglasses, the staff usually will give you a disposable pair.

Visual Field Test

In some cases, your eye doctor may want to check for the possible presence of blind spots (scotomas) in your peripheral or “side” vision by performing a visual field test. These types of blind spots can originate from eye diseases such as glaucoma.

Analysis of blind spots also may help identify specific areas of brain damage caused by a stroke or tumor.

Diabetic Retinopathy

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to have regular eye exams, at least once per year. Diabetes increases your risk of eye problems, so it is important to not delay in caring for your eyes.  However, you are also at risk for diabetic retinopathy: damage to the blood vessels located in your retina.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

This disease is the most common among those suffering from diabetes – both type 1 and 2; is the leading cause in America for blindness. In some people, the blood vessels in the retina may swell and leak fluid, however in other people you may develop new vessels on the surface of your retina. This eye disease typically affects both eyes, not just one.

If you are diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, we will recommend a treatment to help the progression of this disease which may include more than one visit to the doctor per year. Do not let this go untreated.

Preventing Diabetic Retinopathy

You can’t always prevent diabetic retinopathy. However, you can help prevent vision loss and other complications of diabetic retinopathy

  • Monitor your blood sugar level by checking levels regularly and working with your doctor to establish a routine.
  • Manage your diabetes with a healthy diet and ample physical activity.
  • Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control by losing excess weight, committing to a healthy lifestyle, and incorporating medication if needed.
  • Pay attention to vision changes. Contact your eye doctor right away if your vision suddenly changes or becomes blurry, spotty or hazy.

To find out how to treat this eye disease, or to make an appointment for your annual checkup, please schedule your appointment today!

Don’t Take Your Eyesight For Granted

Many people tend to take several things in their lives for granted– their vehicles, their homes, their spouses, and so much more. Amongst that list is the ability to hear, taste, and perhaps most importantly, see.

Think about it – what would life be like for you if you had poor vision or no eyesight at all? You wouldn’t be able to drive. You’d find the things you love doing such as sewing, painting, and playing sports much more difficult.

According to the National Eye Institute, more than 3.3 million Americans 40 years old and older have low vision or blindness. The institute also claims that the figure will increase greatly by the year 2020.

How Can I Prevent Vision Loss?

Going to the eye doctor on a regular basis can help save your vision. In fact, you could even save your life.

When you visit your local optometrist or ophthalmologist for your yearly eye exam, you will know what kind of shape your eyesight is in. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist can also detect if you have any eye conditions such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, conditions that can go undetected and intensify until they wreak irreversible havoc on your vision.

If that isn’t amazing enough, your optometrist or ophthalmologist can also detect if you have any life-threatening issues when you receive your yearly eye exam. That small network of arteries in your retinas provides a great window to your overall health, and your eye doctor can determine your overall health, especially concerning blood pressure and brain health. Even very serious diseases such as diabetes, brain tumors, and cancer can be found when you get your eye exam.

Even though you may be in good health and your eyesight is doing well.  Eye health can change and deteriorate throughout your life, depending on how you treat your eyesight and if your current prescriptions are beneficial to your eyes or not.

We Help You Make Time!

At Performance Eyecare we know your time is important and we work hard to stay on schedule so our patients do not have to wait in our office. Typically, patients are examined and eyeglasses are selected in under an hour.  We also have locations all over the St. Louis Metro and Illinois Metro East, so you can find an office close to home or work.

Your eyes are one of the most important things that you have in your life. Call us here at Performance Eyecare at (618) 234-3053 to schedule your annual eye exam TODAY!

Three Different Eye Diseases Diabetics Need to Watch Out For

People with diabetes are at a greater risk for eye disease.

High glucose levels can damage the blood vessels in the eye, which can lead to vision loss or blindness; many eye diseases have no symptoms in the early stages, so regular eye exams are a must for diabetics.

There are many different eye diseases that can plague the diabetic; this article will focus on three particularly serious eye problems: cataracts, glaucoma, and retinopathy.

Performance eye, diabetes and eye health

Cataracts

Diabetics are 60% more likely to get cataracts, and often at a younger age than people without diabetes. Poor control of blood sugar speeds it up so tight control over your blood sugar and regular eye doctor visits are most important.

Cataracts are cloudy areas that develop within the eye lens, blocking light to the retina where images are processed and making it harder to see. They don’t cause symptoms like pain, redness or tearing. Some might even stay small enough to not affect your eyesight at all.

Large, thick cataracts are generally removed via surgery.

Glaucoma

People with diabetes are 40% more likely to get glaucoma, and the longer you have diabetes the greater your chances are. Glaucoma usually has no symptoms, but it can cause bright halos or colored rings around lights. Left untreated, it can cause an increase in eye pressure damaging the optic nerve. This can result in vision loss and blindness.

Glaucoma can be diagnosed by your ophthalmologist performing these five exams: tonometry (measuring the pressure in your eye), gonioscopy (inspecting your eye’s drainage angle), ophthalmoscopy (inspecting the optic nerve), a field vision test which tests your peripheral vision, and pachymetry, which measures the thickness of your cornea.

Treatment may include eye drops, pills, laser surgery, traditional surgery or a combination of these methods.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is damage to blood vessels inside the retina caused by blood sugar buildup. During the early stages there is no pain and vision is not likely to change. Over time, the walls of your blood vessels may leak fluid, and blood vessels can form scar tissue and pull the retina away from the back of your eye. This can lead to severe vision loss and possibly even blindness.

Retinopathy is diagnosed during a thorough eye exam using a special dye to find leaking blood vessels.

Treatment in early stages is a laser surgery that seals the blood vessels and stops them from leaking and growing. It can’t restore lost vision, but combined with follow-up care, it can lower the chance of blindness by as much as 90%. Later stage treatment may consist of surgery to remove scar tissue, blood and cloudy fluid from inside the eye, improving vision.

As you can see from these three different eye diseases, keeping control of your blood sugar is most important if you wish to keep your eyesight. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help.

Scary Facts About Glaucoma, the Thief of Vision

Woman's eyeDid you know that 2.7 million people in the United States have glaucoma? If that doesn’t scare you, take this fact in – nearly HALF of those with glaucoma don’t even realize that they have it!

Could you be one of them?

“So what exactly is glaucoma?” you ask. Well, to put it succinctly, glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve and destroy your eyesight without warning. This disease gradually destroys your visions so you will hardly notice it occurring. It can also affect people of all ages, though it generally strikes the middle-aged or the elderly. While there is no cure for the disease, medication and surgery can impede its progression or can prevent further vision loss.

What’s the best way to fight against glaucoma then?

Early detection via an eye exam can work wonders in saving your vision from glaucoma. An eye exam can help detect its appearance or progress, which is vital as the disease is painless, generally has no early warning signs that can be detected without an eye exam, and can come on very gradually. Treating the early stages of this disease can help control it and prevent you from losing anymore of your vision or becoming blind.

It’s true – anyone can get glaucoma, but many are at a higher risk of getting it. This includes African Americans over the age of 40, everyone over the age of 60, and people with a family history of the disease.

Don’t worry; all is not lost! Come in for an eye exam to see if you could have glaucoma. While there are really no symptoms, an eye exam can detect signs of glaucoma such as subtle changes to your optic nerve and an increase to your IOP, that is, your intraocular pressure, which is the pressure that exists inside your eyes.

If you’re ready to come in for your annual eye exam or would like to be examined for glaucoma or other eye health issues, just give us a call at (618) 234-3053 in Swansea or (314) 878-1377 in St. Louis, or you can visit us online at www.PerformanceEyecare.com. Let us help keep you safe from the leading cause of preventable blindness!