Eye Exams are the key to clear vision Annual eye exams help diagnose optical conditions or problems with your eyes, not to mention help you see the world more clearly! At Philadelphia Eyeglass Labs, our Optometrists are dedicated to providing comprehensive vision care by prescribing lifestyle recommendations for your vision needs. All locations offer extended evening hours so that you can be examined at your convenience. The American Optometric Association recommends an eye exam every 12 months. Is it time? Vision Basics Your cornea and lens are responsible for focusing; when you experience issues with blurriness, it is because the shape of your eyeball and cornea change. This is known as a refractive error. There are four common refractive errors found during eye exams: Myopia – Also known as nearsightedness. Vision may be clear up close but blurry in the distance. Hyperopia – Also known as farsightedness. Vision may be clear in the distance but blurry up close. Presbyopia – Inability to focus close up, typically as a result of aging. It is corrected with progressive lenses, which account for the near-focusing inability. Astigmatism – Focus problems caused by an asymmetric cornea, which can occur alone or with any of the above listed conditions. The great news is that we can help compensate for any and all of these refractive errors! By offering the latest in lens technology, our skilled optometrists and opticians will get you seeing more clearly than ever before. Optical Health Issues Common eye conditions have symptoms that include burning, itchy, or irritated eyes. Remember that these are only guidelines and a consultation with our eye doctor is necessary to receive the proper treatment. Dry Eye When tears cannot produce adequate moisture for your eyes, you can experience the symptoms of dry eye, including stinging, burning, and discomfort. Our optometrists treat dry eye with drops, changes in contact lens prescription, and medication. Dry eye becomes more common over the age of 50. Eye Allergies Did you know that Philadelphia is one of the most common cities for eye allergies? Common allergy signs include itchy, swollen, and/or red eyes. A variety of allergens can cause these issues, including pollen, mold, dust, and pet dander. Similar to dry eye, our eye doctors treat eye allergies with prescribed eye drops, as well as suggested lifestyle changes. Corneal Abrasion and Foreign Bodies Eye injuries commonly involve the cornea, and contact with dust, dirt, sand, and other particles can scratch the cornea. Symptoms include tearing, blurred vision, redness, pain, and increased light sensitivity. If you believe you have a foreign body in your eye and/or have developed corneal abrasion from the particle, do not attempt to remove the object and avoid rubbing your eye. Rinse your eye with sterile saline and make an appointment to consult with one of our eye doctors. Computer Vision Syndrome If you are like most Americans, you may experience vision related issues from prolonged computer use. These issues include eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eye, and neck/shoulder pain. Most of these symptoms can be eradicated through the use of proper posture, lighting, and computer vision glasses. Computer vision glasses are a type of progressive lens that contains a large intermediate zone, which makes it more comfortable for your eyes to focus on a computer screen, tablet, or other electronic device. Eye Floaters Floaters typically look like black or gray spots in your vision. While usually the result of age, we recommend that you make an appointment with one of our optometrists to determine if the floater is due to a more serious condition related to retinal detachment. What happens during an eye exam? We offer what are known as comprehensive eye exams, which provide patients with a treatment plan including a prescription for glasses or contact lenses. Our doctors are well-versed in the latest lens technology and will also recommend specific lens options to compliment your needs. Patient History – Our optometrists want to make recommendations based on your lifestyle, so telling the doctor about all general health/occupational issues, previous conditions, and familial health concerns is important. Visual Acuity – Visual Acuity measures how clearly each eye is seeing. Most patients are very familiar with this part of the eye exam; it is when you are asked to read letters on what is known as the Snellen eye chart. Preliminary Tests – Depending on your needs, the doctor will test various aspects of visual function, including color vision, eye muscle movement, depth perception, light response, and peripheral vision. Keratometry – This test measures the cornea’s curvature, which is especially important for contact lens wearers. Refraction – During this part of the exam, the eye doctor places a series of lenses in front of your eyes to determine the correct lens power needed to correct your refractive error. You may need eye drops for this portion of the exam. Evaluation – The last step of an eye exam includes evaluating the the lens, retina, and eye pressure. Dilation of the pupil through the use of drops may be necessary and is recommended for most patients, as it helps to diagnose conditions including eye tumors, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, and retinal detachment. Ocular Diseases While common eye conditions are usually mild and fleeting, certain ocular diseases can lead to permanent vision loss. In these cases, early detection during an eye exam is critical for treatment and patient health. Glaucoma Glaucoma affects nearly 2.3 million Americans over the age of 40, and is the second leading cause of blindness. This group of diseases damages nerve tissue, ultimately leading to the loss of vision. Those over the age of 60 who have high blood pressure, heart disease, and/or diabetes are especially at risk for Glaucoma. The condition is treatable with eye drops and surgery. Cataracts A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area on the lens of the eye which may or may not interfere with normal vision. While usually found in patients over the age of 55, infants and children may also develop cataracts. Symptoms include blurred/hazy vision, reduced color intensity, increased sensitivity, and increased difficulty seeing at night. Cataracts that interfere with normal vision can be surgically removed, and in most cases, vision can be restored. Retinal Detachment A detached retina is an extremely serious condition, and if immediate action is not taken, permanent vision loss may occur. If you experience sudden spots, floaters, or flashes of light, the retina may gradually or suddenly be pulling away from supportive tissue. Surgery is almost always required to repair a retinal detachment. Macular Degeneration The macula is a part of the retina, and is responsible for sharp vision. In most cases, this type of vision loss is slow and includes shadowy areas in central vision and unusually fuzzy vision. Early signs of this disease are often found during retinal eye exams and prescription medication may slow down the degenerative progress.