or amblyopia, is a term used to describe reduced vision in one eye, often as a result of the eye drifting in (esotropia) or out (exotropia), or from a large difference in prescription from one eye to the other (anisometropia). Early detection of amblyopia in infants and children is an important reason to have your child’s eyes professionally examined by a vision specialist, especially if there is a family history of lazy eye.
Flashers and Floaters
One of the changes that can occur in the eyes as one gets older is an increase in floaters. The inside of the eye is lined with the vitreous membrane, a biological plastic wrap. As we age, the vitreous membrane tends to shrink and may separate from the retina, either in smaller pieces or larger sheets. The result is a myriad of semi-transparent shapes that move around inside the fluid of the eye. Occasional small floaters are normal and almost everyone experiences them. Larger floaters may be more symptomatic, and sometimes – especially if accompanied by “flashing lights” – it indicates that the underlying retina is also detaching. Retinal detachments are serious and may result in vision loss and usually require immediate retinal surgery. If you see a number of floaters all at once, and/or they are accompanied by flashing lights and reduced vision, call us immediately.
is a general term used to describe a number of ocular conditions. Most of us are familiar with the school-aged child who gets a red eye and is sent home from school. A red eye is one that is irritated by infection, inflammation or injury. Infectious diseases of the eye include viruses, bacteria or fungus, on rare occasions. Inflammation may be the result of allergies or an immune-type of response. A foreign body may also make an eye red and irritated. When the doctor sees a red eye, a careful history is taken. Then we examine the eyes with a biomicroscope, sometimes using special stains to highlight the cornea and conjunctiva. Treatments may include antibiotic, steroid or allergy eye drops, or removal of the foreign body.
are a normal aging change. When we are young, the eyes are able to focus easily from distance to near. As we approach our 40s, most people begin to find that they don’t see as well at close range (“presbyopia”) because the lens of the eye is less able to accommodate. As we continue to age, the previously clear lens becomes cloudier, a condition known as cataracts. When the lens becomes too cloudy to see comfortably, an operation is performed to remove the cloudy lens and implant a clear, artificial lens. Cataract surgery is very common and in most cases very safe and effective.
Potential Side Effects of Medications on Your Vision
There are some oral medications which may affect your eyes and vision, so when you come to our office for an examination, please bring along a list of your current medications and the doctors who prescribed them. During your visit with us, a careful history will be taken which includes ocular and medical conditions. In some cases, additional testing, such visual field studies or retinal photography, may be indicated to document side effects and assist your physicians in managing your medications.
Learning Related Vision Problems
Does your child:
- Skip words or loses their place when reading?
- Use their finger as a pointer?
- Complain of blurred or double vision?
- Close or cover one eye?
- Read below age or grade level?
- Reverse number or letters?
- Is not working up to their academic potential?
If so, they may have a learning-related vision problem. Good vision involves more than visual acuity. Deficiencies in eye movements, focusing and eye teaming may result in a person struggling to read easily and fluently despite having average or above average intelligence. Inability to visualize what is read may be evident in a person who is a good “word caller” and yet has poor reading comprehension. Our doctors are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of vision problems that can affect learning. When you call to schedule an appointment, be sure to let us if your child is experiencing these problems. We can help.
An important part of the eye examination is the determination of a person’s refractive status. Through the use of objective findings, such as the auto refractor, the doctor’s observations and the patient’s subjective responses (“which is better, one or two?””), we can determine if a person is hyperopic (farsighted), myopic (nearsighted) or has astigmatism (oh no!). This information, along with other phoropter tests (that thing you look through with all the dials) provides information towards determining a prescription for lenses or contact lenses. Determining a successful prescription for a person is both science and art, requiring careful listening skills and attention to the patient’s visual needs.