Comprehensive Eye Exam
Eye exams often include several tests and screening procedures, and at Lowcountry Eye Care, that also means a very comprehensive approach to your eye health and vision.
Here’s what you can expect during your visit to Lowcountry Eye Care.
Our technicians will lead you through several pre-screening exams in order to determine a baseline of your overall eye health. These tests will include:
- Automatic Visual Acuity and Refraction Tests: We use computerized eye exam equipment to determine your ability to see near and far. During this test, you’ll peer into an instrument and focus on a hot air balloon. This will automatically determine your baseline prescription and will take the guesswork out of “which is better, one or two.”
- Color Blindness Tests: We’ll also ask you to look at a number of charts and describe what you see to learn whether or not your eye health is affecting your color vision.
- Binocular Vision Tests: Using our high-tech equipment, we’ll ask you to focus on objects that are at different depths in order to determine how well you can fixate on a target.
- Glaucoma Tests: This is the “puff” machine you’re likely already familiar with. We’ll ask you to place your chin on a chin rest, and a instrument will send a short puff of air towards your eye. Based on your eye’s resistance to the air, the instrument will calculate your eye pressure and risk of glaucoma.
Once your pre-screening tests are completed, you’ll be seen by your eye doctor, who will assess your test results. He or she may then perform a number of additional tests and screenings during your exam:
- Slit Lamp Exam: Your doctor will ask you to place your chin and forehead against a lighting instrument. The doctor will shine a bright light into your eye as she or he looks through a powerful set of oculars (similar to a microscope).
- Visual Field Exam: Depending on your eye health, symptoms and other circumstances, your doctor may administer a visual field exam to detect possible blind spots or lack of side vision, which can be caused by brain damage, stroke or tumor.
- Refraction: Your doctor will ask you to look through a phoropter, which is an instrument that shows you a series of lens choices as you read letters or numbers on a screen in front of you. Based on your answers, the doctor will continue to fine-tune the clarity of your vision in order to determine your prescription.
Instructions and Follow-Ups
Depending on your situation and the results of your exam, your doctor may prescribe medication, corrective lenses, vision theraphy, nutritional changes or other changes to your daily routine. She or he may request that you have a follow-up exam, or a visit to a specialist (such as a neurologist or retinal surgeon) may be necessary.
If your doctor has prescribed corrective lenses, you may fill your prescription for contact lenses or eyeglasses in our Optical Department.
Glaucoma often is called the “silent thief of sight,” because most types typically cause no pain and produce no symptoms until noticeable vision loss occurs.
For this reason, glaucoma often progresses undetected until the optic nerve already has been irreversibly damaged, with varying degrees of permanent vision loss. There are also acute cases, where symptoms occur suddenly and can include blurry vision, halos around lights, intense eye pain, nausea and vomiting. If you have these symptoms, call us immediately so steps can be taken to prevent permanent vision loss.
Treatment can involve glaucoma surgery. lasers or medication, depending on the severity. Eye drops with medication aimed at lowering your pressure usually are tried first to control glaucoma.
Because glaucoma often is painless, people may become careless about strict use of eye drops that can control eye pressure and help prevent permanent eye damage.
In fact, non-compliance with a program of prescribed glaucoma medication is a major reason for blindness caused by glaucoma.
We screen, diagnose and treat glaucoma at Lowcountry Eye Care, and we partner with a number of outside providers to co-manage surgery cases.
It’s important that you’re screened annually for glaucoma, regardless of your age, eyesight or overall health.
Computer Vision Syndrome
As we enter the 21st century, the growing use of computers in the home and office brings with it an increase in health risks, especially for the eyes. One eye problem, called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), is afflicting more and more people who find themselves constantly in front of computer screens.
Are you at risk for CVS?
If you’ve experienced headaches, blurred vision, dry eye or other symptoms, you may have CVS. CVS is treatable and preventable. Below is a simple checklist to determine whether you’re at risk.
- Do you spend more than four hours a day in front of a computer screen (laptop, desktop or tablet)?
- Are you experiencing headaches either during computer use or within two hours after you’re finished?
- Do you have neck aches, back aches or muscle fatigue either during computer use or within two hours after you’ve finished
- Do you have blurred vision when using a computer?
- Do you have dry or red, itchy eyes when using a computer?
Although CVS has not been found to cause any permanent damage to the eyes, its painful symptoms can affect performance at work and at home. Eye health professionals, though, have found several ways to prevent CVS from affecting computer users.
Treatment for CVS may include different types of contact lenses or glasses, adjustments to your prescription and/or special eye drops.
If you’re concerned about your risks for CVS or think that you may be suffering from symptoms, please contact our office for an appointment.
Dry Eye Management
Many patients suffer from a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. Dry Eye Syndrome can cause redness, burning or, believe it or not, excessive watery eyes.
Dry Eye Syndrome can have a number of causes. Certain medications, climate, aging, menopause and also geographic surroundings can cause an onset of the problem. Long-term contact lens care can also contribute to Dry Eye Syndrome, which is why we work very closely with our patients to ensure that they’re using lenses the correct way.
Do you have Dry Eye Syndrome?
A short visit to our office will determine whether you have Dry Eye Syndrome or are at risk. We may administer a Schirmer test, where we’ll place a thin strip of filter paper under your lower eyelid to measure your tear production. We’ll also check the glands near your eyes for your mucous, lipid and lacrimal layers, which are part of the tear production system.
Treatment of Dry Eye Syndrome
Depending on the cause and severity, our doctors may make a variety of recommendations. We may prescribe eye drops, suggest wearing glasses instead of contacts, suggest making environmental changes at work or at home, or we may recommend inserting punctual plugs, which are permanent silicone plugs that are inserted painlessly and help your eyes drain tears properly.
If you’re suffering from Dry Eye Syndrome, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.