While the elements of an eye exam may be pretty similar from one practice to another, the manner in which they are conducted, and the information gleaned from the process is what truly separates one doctor and practice from the rest. Dr. Pope uses a variety of tried and true techniques and today’s technology to evaluate your individual visual requirements and to determine the best correction for your day-to-day life. Your options will be discussed and the pros and cons of each presented so you can make the most informed decision and select the best option to meet your needs.
Dr. Pope is an Optometrist, and as such, is not a surgeon and does not perform eye surgery. However, he is trained and experienced in the co-management of most eye surgeries, including LASIK, Cataract, Blepharoplasty, and Glaucoma. He works with many different surgery groups in the Greater Houston Area, including: The Eye Center of Texas, Houston Eye Associates, Retina Consultants of Houston, UTMB, Baylor College of Medicine and many more. If something does require more advanced care, he will ensure that you are referred to most appropriate secondary or tertiary health care professional in the most appropriate field.
COMPREHENSIVE EYE EXAMS
Unlike a vision screening or other general eye test, comprehensive eye exams evaluate the entire health of the eye. They also help the optometrist or ophthalmologist determine your unique prescription. Comprehensive eye exams should begin as an infant to ensure proper eye and vision development. Ongoing eye health examinations at regular intervals are also important as many eye diseases and vision changes can occur without warning signs.
MULTIFOCAL INTRAOCULAR LENS IMPLANTS
Multifocal Intraocular Lens Implants (multifocal IOLs) are a relatively new phenomenon in the world of vision correction, with the first FDA-approved lens hitting the market in 2005. Don’t be swayed by the seemingly recent developments; multifocal IOLs are an effective way to expand your range of vision, with little to no post-surgical complications. Working as a substitute for traditional single-lens IOLs during cataract surgery, these premium lenses offer patients additional options when it comes to their vision enhancement.
What Does a Comprehensive Eye Exam Include?
A comprehensive eye exam includes testing with eye charts that help the doctor determine the sharpness of your vision. We will check your visual acuity, or how well you are able to identify details. This is generally done with charts like the Snellen eye chart.
People usually recognize this test, though they may not know it by name. With an “E” at the top and eleven rows of capital letters, the Snellen chart helps the doctor determine your visual acuity. The fourth line from the bottom is “20/20” vision. This means you can see as well at 20 feet as someone with adequate visual acuity should. Some people can see even better than this, but 20/20 is the standard. It generally means you don’t need corrective lenses to drive or do other everyday activities.
If you are unable to read the smaller lines, the doctor will ask you to determine the characters on the higher lines. From there, a starting point is determined for further testing to narrow down your unique prescription.
During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor does much more than just determine your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Dr. Pope will also check your eyes for common eye diseases, color vision, assess how your eyes work together, and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health.
Why it’s Important to Get Regular Eye Exams
Comprehensive eye exams often are the first way chronic systemic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes are detected. Regular eye exams are the best way to ensure eye health and maintaining your best vision possible.
Please call us with questions, or to schedule an appointment!
Multifocal IOLs—What Are They?
Multifocal IOLs aren’t your run-of-the-mill intraocular lenses. Traditionally, cataract or eye correction patients who underwent surgery received artificial corrective lenses designed to enhance distance vision only. Most patients still suffered from varying levels of post-surgical presbyopia, which required them to wear reading glasses or bifocals. Now cataract or laser surgery patients can choose the option of multifocal IOL implants.
What’s the difference between these lenses and traditional IOLs? Multifocal IOLs can correct all vision variances, including greatly reducing presbyopia and the consistent need for reading glasses. Most multifocal IOLs work like an “in-house” bifocal lens for the eye to accurately distribute light at any focal point, creating clear vision at any distance. The lens provides near and far vision capability at the same time at all times. Your brain will quickly learn to adjust to the correct focus depending upon your activity.
The Benefits of Multifocal IOLs
Multifocal IOLs offer many benefits for patients interested in removing the need to wear or becoming less dependent upon glasses. Because of their bifocal structure, this two-in-one lens is not dependent upon eye movement and alters itself independently to optimize incoming light. Multifocal IOLs can also be combined with their single-lens sister IOLs for optimal vision enhancement. Multifocal IOLs are also safe and comfortable, acting much like a permanent contact lens, and can be implanted in either one or both eyes.
The Cost of Multifocal IOLs
Costs will vary based on unique patient needs and insurance. Because multifocal IOLs have additional features compared to their single-lens counterparts, the cost of the lenses and procedure itself is increased, as well as out-of-pocket deductibles and copayments. These enhancements are not considered a medical necessity, especially if the patient without cataracts is electing to receive implants. However, for a lot of patients, the high success rate and the reduced need for glasses far outweighs the cost of surgery.
Are Multifocal IOLs for Me?
When considering multifocal IOLs, the first thing to consider is how you want to see. Do you drive long distances for work? Spend most of your day on a computer or read a lot? Are you constantly in dim light? Occasionally, multifocal IOL wearers experience mild glaring or halos around their eyes. These small compromises in vision should be taken into consideration, but for most patients, these are only minor symptoms to otherwise clear and focused vision.
If you have pre-existing conditions or health issues like astigmatism or glaucoma, it is not recommended that you undergo corrective eye surgery. When considering if multifocal IOLs are right for you, talk with Dr. Pope, who will be able to assess your eye health, health history, and any current or future precautions.
Conditions We Treat
Let’s begin with “Myopia.” Exactly what is it? Myopia is the medical term for “nearsightedness,” a condition affecting nearly three million Americans a year, where a refraction error of the cornea hinders light to bend properly, making objects far away appear blurry. While this condition is technically chronic, recent advancements in the eye industry have made it possible for people with low Myopia to temporarily correct their vision through a process called Orthokeratology, or “Ortho-k.”
Cataracts affect millions of Americans each year, and as the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of fifty, it’s no wonder new advances in cataract surgery are breaking through on a regular basis. The most recent development? Laser technology—the new-and-improved version of the traditional hand-and-knife technique of past decades. With laser surgery comes the benefit of a bladeless procedure and the use of a highly customized eye map for greater accuracy.
Orthokeratology—What is It?
Orthokeratology is a form of reversible, refractive correction involving the overnight use of gas-permeable contact lenses to reshape the contour of the cornea while you sleep. These oxygen-intense, “breathable” lenses work to temporarily reverse the effects of Myopia during the night so the wearer can experience clear vision the following day—without the use of glasses or contacts. Ortho-k is used primarily to slow the progression of mild Myopia in adults and children, although it can aid in the temporary correction of low-degree astigmatism, hyperopia, and presbyopia as well.
The Orthokeratology Process
Orthokeratology involves a three-step process: 1) the initial examination, where your optometrist or ophthalmologist will use a Topograph to determine the refraction error of the cornea, 2) the fitting, which may happen on the same day, where your eye care professional will select a series of up to three strengths of custom Ortho-k prescription contacts, and 3) the one-to-two-week treatment phase where candidates use their prescription contacts while sleeping for at least six to eight consecutive hours each night.
Candidates will wear disposable soft lenses or glasses throughout the day during the correction phase. On completion of the treatment, only the prescribed overnight contacts need to be worn. Occasionally, candidates experience mild glaring and haloes around bright light. Remember, there is always the risk of infection without proper eye and lens care, so practice good hygiene and schedule routine follow-up eye appointments!
Why Choose Orthokeratology?
For those with mild or moderate Myopia, Ortho-k is a great option, especially for sports-related activities or when working in environments containing debris or dust. Ortho-k can also be an effective pre-LASIK treatment that can temporarily stall the need for corrective eye surgery. In addition, the fast, painless and safe process makes Ortho-k a practical solution for children who have Myopia.
How Costly is Ortho-k?
Unfortunately, most insurances do not cover the total cost of Ortho-k. Additionally, costs will vary depending on your eye doctor and your unique prescription. The general, two-set lens and appointment package can range anywhere from $900 to $1,800.
Am I a Candidate for Ortho-k?
The best candidates for Orthokeratology are children between the ages of eight and 12 who have progressive Myopia. If early stages of nearsightedness are caught soon enough, Ortho-k can sometimes help with restoring vision in children, because the custom lenses “mold” the eyes overnight to hinder or encourage the growth of cells. Ortho-k also works well with adolescents and young adults with mild or moderate Myopia, or for adults under the age of 40 who aren’t interested in LASIK or other eye corrective surgery. If you suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome or have severe Myopia, Ortho-k is not recommended.
Ask Your Doctor
If you have questions or concerns about Ortho-k, schedule an appointment with your eye care professional. He or she will be able to help you determine your candidacy, costs, benefits, and risks of the process.
What Is a Cataract?
A cataract is the thickening of the eye’s lens. Overtime, this “clouding” begins to restrict the light flow to the retina, causing eyesight to become blurred and dim, with the visual acuity similar to someone looking through a foggy window. Eventually, if no action is taken, total vision loss will occur. Though this condition is chronic and arguably inevitable, cataract surgery is a safe and effective solution, with a 98% success rate of improved vision in patients.
Traditional Cataract Surgery
Originally, the procedure to remove a cataract involved using a diamond blade to make a small incision in the cornea, the clear outer coating of the eye. The surgeon would then insert a small, ultrasound wave-emitting probe to soften the cataract enough to be suctioned out of the cornea. Once the cataract was cleared, only the thin outer membrane of the cornea—the lens capsule—remained. An intraocular lens (IOL) would be inserted onto the lens capsule, allowing light to once again safely pass through to the retina. (Note: Though laser technology is gaining widespread acceptance, traditional cataract surgery is still a common and modern procedure.)
Laser Cataract Surgery
Out with the Old
While some of the actual cataract removal process remains the same, replacing traditional incision instruments with a laser has quite a few benefits. Laser technology allows for increased accuracy when it comes to creating the initial incision and circular opening through which the cataract will be removed. Through an optical coherence tomography, a 3D image of the eye is captured, enabling the laser to incise at the correct points on the cornea, creating openings at precisely the correct depth and length. This precision also allows for a greater degree of success when the cornea self-heals after surgery.
Diabetic retinopathy is an ocular manifestation of diabetes, a systemic disease, which affects up to 80 percent of all patients who have had diabetes for 10 years or more. The longer a person has diabetes, the higher his or her chances are of developing diabetic retinopathy.
Glaucoma is a complicated disease in which damage to the optic nerve leads to progressive, irreversible vision loss. It is the second leading cause of blindness.
The most common form of the disease occurs when the ocular drainage canals become clogged over time. The inner eye pressure (also called intraocular pressure, or IOP) rises when the correct amount of fluid can’t drain out of the eye. With the most common form of glaucoma, the entrances to the drainage canals are clear, and should be working correctly. However, the clogging problem occurs farther inside the drainage canals. This is like a clogged pipe below the drain of a sink.
Despite these intimidating statistics, research indicates that at least 90 percent of new cases could be reduced. Education on diabetic eye disease and retinopathy is especially important because it is often preventable or treatable. Unfortunately, this means it can go unnoticed in the early stages. As the disease progresses, permanent vision loss is a real possibility if the patient does not receive treatment.
There are multiple forms of the disease, and only your doctor can determine your particular form. With one form, blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In another, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina.
Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy
In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, many do not notice a change to their vision because there are little to no symptoms. If an eye doctor does not catch the disease early, one could sustain mild blurriness at near or far distances, as well as floaters. In severe cases, a sudden loss of vision may occur.
Unfortunately, the disease can result in permanent damage that cannot be reversed. However, if caught in time, prescribed treatments may slow development and prevent vision loss.
Concerned about the onset of diabetic retinopathy? Please call us at 281-482-0066 to schedule a preventative eye examination today with Dr. Pope.
While anyone at any age can develop the disease, these conditions pose a higher risk:
- A family history of glaucoma
- Individuals over 40 years of age
- Individuals of African or Mediterranean descent
- People who’ve experienced an eye injury or trauma
- People of all ages are at risk for developing glaucoma, and only an eye doctor can make a diagnosis. Routine eye examinations are important to detect and identify symptoms.
Please contact us at Parkwood Vision Center to schedule your eye appointment today.
DRY EYE SYNDROME
Dry eye syndrome is a condition in which the eye does not produce enough tears, or the tears are too thin to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. Dry eye syndrome is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults.
Blepharitis is a common condition that causes inflammation of the eyelids. It is characterized by redness, swelling, styes, cysts, and flaky crusts at the eyelid margin and along the lash line. Symptoms also include scratchy, swollen, tender, and irritated eyes.
Various types of bacteria can cause blepharitis. It may be chronic or acute in presentation. People with skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, and eczema are more prone to have flare-ups. Poor facial hygiene can also be a contributing factor.
When our eyes are not properly lubricated, our vision and comfort can suffer greatly. Thankfully, there are treatments and alternatives to help address the problem.
Causes & Symptoms of Dry Eye
Dry eye can result from an improper balance of tear production and drainage. Advanced dry eyes may even damage the front surface of the eye and impair vision. Elderly people frequently experience dry eye, but it can happen to anyone. Medications, other diseases, obstructions of glands, hormone changes, and many various medical situations can create dry eye symptoms.
People with dry eye syndrome may experience:
- Irritated, scratchy, gritty or burning eyes
- A feeling of something in their eyes
- Excess watering
- Blurred vision
Treatment of Dry Eye
While dry eye can be a chronic condition, Dr. Pope can prescribe treatment. This will keep your eyes healthy, more comfortable, and prevent your vision from being affected. Specific treatments aim to restore or maintain the normal amount of tears in the eye to minimize dryness or related discomfort and to maintain eye health.
To learn more about this condition, watch the video below. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment with us if you are experiencing any discomfort in your eyes, or if you feel that you have insufficient eye moisture.
Various types of bacteria can cause blepharitis. It may be chronic or acute in presentation. People with skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, and eczema are more prone to have flare-ups. Poor facial hygiene can also be a contributing factor.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye that leads to a decrease in vision. Left untreated, it is the most common cause of blindness and is conventionally treated with surgery. Vision loss occurs because opacification of the lens obstructs light from passing through and being focused on to the retina at the back of the eye.
Conjunctivitis is a swelling and irritation of the membrane that covers the white part of the eye and eyelid lining. It is often referred to as “pink eye” due to the pink color of inflamed blood vessels.
What Causes Cataracts?
The most common cause of cataracts is biological aging and overexposure to ultraviolet light. The lens lies behind the iris and pupil and works to focus light onto the retina at the back of the eye. The rest of our eye structures work together to adjust and transmit images to the brain, which allows us to see objects and colors.
The lens is made of mostly water and proteins. The protein stays aligned in a way that the lens remains clear. As we age, this protein can clump together and become opaque. Much like trying to look through a foggy window, the clouding is what causes blurriness and difficulty seeing and is called a cataract.
While there is no guaranteed way to avoid cataracts, wearing eyewear and sunwear that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays can slow the onset as well as decrease the exposure to direct sunlight. People with cataracts commonly experience difficulty in appreciating colors and changes in contrast, driving, reading, recognizing faces, and coping with glare from bright lights.
Treatment for cataracts is safe and effective. The most common form of treatment is surgery. In fact, by age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract, or have cataract surgery. Cataract surgery replaces the lens inside an affected eye and restores your clear vision. Other treatment may be possible, but cataract surgery is common and very helpful for many people.
If you have questions about cataracts or other eye health conditions, please call our office or speak with Dr. Pope at your next appointment.
Many irritants can cause temporary conjunctivitis. Seasonal or indoor allergens, pollutants in the air, eye makeup, contact lenses, or other kinds of debris may cause irritation and inflammation. It is usually alleviated when debris or allergens are no longer present. Washing the affected eye and keeping it clean often allows enough time to heal, and symptoms should subside.
Infection conjunctivitis may be viral or bacterial. The viral type may accompany a cold, fever, sore throat, or flu. Eye redness and watery discharge are common symptoms. Staph or strep bacteria may cause bacterial conjunctivitis. It can include eye redness and discharging mucus.
Bacterial and viral pinkeye can be highly contagious and can easily be passed between people. This is often seen in children as they can contract it during play in schools or daycares. The symptoms are generally mild and do not pose a serious threat to eye health. However, it should be treated by an eye doctor. A doctor should also see newborns with symptoms as it’s important to diagnose and treat symptoms in young babies to ensure no vision loss occurs.
Conjunctivitis is a common condition we see often at Parkwood Vision Center. Some eye diseases are similar, so it’s important for patients to have a professional evaluation by an eye doctor to determine their specific needs and proper treatment. Treatment is different depending on the cause, but all forms of conjunctivitis need professional evaluation to ensure good eye health. In most cases, it can be successfully treated with antibiotics, eye drops, or ointments.
If you are experiencing symptoms, call us to schedule an appointment right away!
RETINAL TEARS AND DETACHMENTS
Retinal tears and detachments happen when the retina (the inner lining of the eye) is damaged. The retina is a layer of tissue that’s light-sensitive and sends visual information through the optic nerve to the brain. Without it, we are unable to see.
A retinal tear is a small break in this inner lining. Retinal tears can have many causes and can happen at any age. Aging, eye trauma, eye surgery, or being drastically nearsighted may cause retinal tears or detachments.
Age-related macular degeneration, often referred to as AMD, is a medical condition that usually affects older adults. This vision-stealing disease is the result of degeneration to the macula. It results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field because of the damage to the retina. It occurs in dry and wet forms and is the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in adults over the age of 50.
Treating Retinal Damage
Tears and detachments can be treated with laser surgery or an advanced “freezing” process. Both of these treatment options attempt to keep the retina in place and keep it from fully detaching. If tears are not treated quickly, this layer of tissue can eventually detach from the inside of the eye. Detachment causes permanent vision loss.
Retinal detachment describes a much larger separation of the retina tissues. Although it is not exclusive to older people, it’s more common in those over age 40. If detected early enough, retinal detachment can be treated with the procedures used for some tears. More intricate surgery may be necessary. This procedure uses gas to push the retina together with the wall of the eye to allow for reattachment.
Symptoms of Retinal Tears and Detachments
Symptoms of these retinal conditions may include seeing flashes or floaters, sudden blurry vision, and seeing an area of dark vision.
If you notice changes to your eyesight or have other questions regarding your eye health, please call us right away. Make sure to mention any changes to Dr. Pope during your appointment. Serious problems can develop if left untreated, or if too much time passes between eye exams.
We’re happy to schedule an exam time that is convenient for you, or to work you in as soon as possible, in case of an eye emergency.
Types of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration can make it difficult or impossible to read or recognize faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life. The dry form of advanced AMD results from atrophy of the retinal pigment epithelial layer below the retina. This causes vision loss due to the damage of photoreceptors, also known as rods and cones, in the central part of the eye.
The wet form of advanced AMD causes vision loss due to abnormal blood vessel growth. This ultimately leads to blood and protein leakage below the macula. Bleeding, leaking, and scarring from these blood vessels eventually causes irreversible damage to the photoreceptors and rapid vision loss if left untreated. Fortunately, only about 10 percent of patients suffering from macular degeneration have the “wet” type.
Macular degeneration is not painful, which may allow it to go unnoticed for some time. For this reason, regular eye examinations are important. While approximately 10 percent of patients age 66 to 74 will have findings of macular degeneration, the prevalence increases to 30 percent for patients age 75 to 85 years of age. Family history may also play a factor. The good news is that regular eye exams, early detection, and new treatment options enable doctors to maintain (and in some cases increase) visual acuity in patients.
Vision therapy is similar to physical therapy, but instead of a joint or muscle, it works with the eyes and brain. There is a neurological component with this kind of therapy because the eyes are an extension of the brain. Our eyes help make “seeing” possible, but vision is reliant on the eye-brain connection. If either of these organs are not working properly, vision will be difficult or non-existent.
What Does Vision Therapy Treat?
Every patient is different, but vision therapy is most commonly a treatment option for amblyopia (“lazy eye”), strabismus (“crossed eyes”), and binocular vision problems with eye alignment. It may also treat eye movement disorders, focusing disorders, or other visual deficiencies related to eye strain or fatigue. Vision therapy can address problems derived from stroke or brain injury, too. The earlier problems are caught and treated, the more likely they are to be fixed. For this reason, vision therapy is often used for children, because they adapt better to changes and visual exercises. This doesn’t mean adults can’t benefit from vision therapy in certain situations. Parents who bring their child in for an eye exam during their infancy greatly reduce the risk of their child developing any vision related learning disorders.
Does Vision Therapy Work?
Studies show that vision therapy is rooted in science and can help train your body and its abilities in the same way that physical or occupational therapy can. The important thing to remember is that vision therapy is not one set of devices or exercises. Vision therapy may include any number of activities or techniques put together by a qualified medical professional to address specific vision problems. Vision therapy should not be confused with informal and unscientific methods that some people believe can fix your refractive error and “train you” to not need glasses.
When Do I See a Doctor About Vision Therapy?
Any time you feel your eyes or your child’s eyes are not performing properly, you should seek medical attention. Children should receive an eye exam even as babies, and again before they enter school. Eye exams check for more than clear and accurate vision. For this reason, everyone should receive periodic exams to ensure their eyes are healthy. If you notice any changes in your sight or think your child is not developing properly, seek help right away.
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