Tag Archives: Blindness

Video Testimonial: Starlene Carter Talks About How A Routine Eye Exam Pupillary Dilation Saved Her Vision

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Starlene Carter came into Visionary Eyecare (Next to Lenscrafters) in Pembroke Pines in January 2001.  She was in the area and decided to stop in to schedule an eye examination for herself the following week.   She was not intending to get an eye exam that day – her plans were to spend that day shopping!

Our Office Manager, Carol Marsh, was there that day and convinced Starlene to go ahead and get her eye exam that same day since the office was not busy and the Doctor (Dr Dawn Bearden) would be able to see her right away.  Starlene agreed but, was insistent that she would NOT have her pupils dilated that day.  Her shopping was waiting and she did not want to “mess up her day” with that “dilation thing”.  Carol told her that the Doctor would talk to her during the exam about the importance of dilation.  Still Starlene would just not be convinced….

When Starlene met Dr Bearden for the first time – Dr Bearden began to explain and stress the importance of pupillary dilation.  Dr Bearden  explained that this was Starlene’s  first eye exam in our Visionary Eyecare office, there could be a multitude of eye diseases or problems that Starlene may be unaware of (because most eye problems do NOT cause any symptoms like blurry vision, headache, eye pain etc) and that Dr Bearden may NOT be able to detect these issues if Starlene did not allow the Doctor to dilate her pupils.  Dr Bearden also explained that Florida laws requires your Optometrist to dilate your pupils on the initial eye exam when you have an eye exam with a new Optometrist.  Reluctantly…..VERY reluctantly….Starlene finally agreed.

This simple decision absolutely saved Starlene’s vision.

During the eye exam, all seemed very normal.  Starlene had no family history of eye disease, she was able to see 20/20 in each eye with her new glasses prescription, she had NO eye pain, NO headaches, NO discomfort, her eye pressures were normal, her blood pressure was normal, good color vision etc.  But, when Dr Dawn Bearden dilated Starlene’s pupils – she saw 2 very LARGE retinal tears (retinal detachments) in Starlene’s right eye that posed a HUGE threat to Starlene’s vision in her right eye.  These tears could have eventually caused blindness in her eye had they not been detected during the dilation and then properly treated.

Immediately,  Dr Bearden called Dr Jay Levy – who is a local ophthalmologist who specializes in surgery of the retina.  Dr Bearden sent Starlene to see Dr Levy – who did surgery on Starlene’s right eye to repair the retinal tears in her right eye.

Starlene is now a loyal patient of Dr Dawn Bearden’s. She is still able to see 20/20 in each eye and has had no further problems from the retinal tears that were surgically repaired by Dr Levy.  Each and every year during her routine eye exam with Dr Bearden, you can find Starlene out in the waiting room telling her story to ALL of the other patients in the office.  She does a GREAT job in educating people and everyone that she comes in contact with about the importance of yearly eye examinations and the VITAL importance of pupillary dilation.

It saved Starlene’s vision…..and it can do the same for you and for the people in your life who come in for their annual eye exam!

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Sports Eye Safety Resolution for Children is Adopted by the Florida House of Representatives

Children Wearing Protective Sport Eyewear

Children Wearing Protective Sport Eyewear

As reported on Twitter by Prevent Blindness America and Prevent Blindness Florida (@PBFlorida), the Florida House of Representatives adopted HR 9095, a resolution recognizing the seriousness of sports-related eye injuries in children and the importance of sports eye safety to protect the children of Florida.

Here is an excerpt from their website:

Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the United States, and 90% of these injuries can be avoided with the use of protective eyewear. Prevent Blindness America applauds the Florida House of Representatives for their commitment to children’s eye health.  For more information about sports eye injuries and how you can protect your child’s sight, visit the children’s sports eye safety section of the Vision Learning Center.

For a copy of the adopted resolution, click here.

Dr Dawn Bearden, Dr Anna Kay Tenn, Dr Emily McCulloh and Dr Alyx Lin at Visionary Eyecare in Pembroke Pines and Sunrise routinely ask about children’s sports and hobbies during the medical and social history portion of the eye exam.  Children under the age of 12 are routinely given a prescription for polycarbonate lenses for their eyeglasses.  This polycarbonate material is more impact resistant – which is important for children due to their active lifestyle.  If a child participates in any impact or ball sport – then the eye doctors at Visionary Eyecare will also recommend sports goggles for eye safety.

Sports goggles are excellent for protecting your eyes (in BOTH adults and children) while playing any type of impact or ball sport such as basketball, racquetball, soccer, baseball, softball, tennis, rugby etc.  Many eye injuries can occur from a ball or racket hitting you in the face near the eye – or an impact with another player’s elbow, knee, head etc.  while playing the sport.

Some serious eye health issues that can occur from these impacts include retinal detachment,  subconjunctival hemorrhage (bright red blood spot on the white of the eye), ocular inflammation (iritis/uveitis)  and even cataracts or glaucoma that can occur YEARS after the injury to the eye.

In persons under 25 years of age, ocular trauma is the number one cause of visual loss.

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Diabetic Eye Examination and Diabetic Retinopathy

Informative Video from the Joslin Diabetes Center

Diabetes is the #1 Cause of Preventable Blindness in the U.S. Most of the time there are NO symptoms of diabetic eye problems.  You can have diabetic retinopathy and not even know it.  Many patients can still have fairly good vision even with advanced stages of diabetic eye disease (diabetic retinopathy).   

Diabetic retinopathy is a term used for pathology (bleeding, fluid build up and/or abnormal blood vessel growth) in the nerve lining of the inside of the eye that we use for our vision – called the Retina.

This kind of diabetic pathology is caused when elevated blood glucose (blood sugar) damages the blood vessels in the retina – causing bleeding and fluid build up in and around the retina.  Blood sugar is monitored via blood glucose testing and Glycosylated Hemoglobin (HbA1c) testing (which tells the primary care doctor the average blood glucose in someone’s blood for the past few months – not just the glucose reading on the day of the testing).

Therefore, it is essential for diabetics to have a comprehensive eye examination at least every 12 months – even if their blood sugar is under control. A comprehensive examination should include a dilated eye exam with retinal imaging (digital retinal photography) to document the presence or absence of any diabetic retinopathy.  Retinal photography is essential to pick up and document any subtle diabetic changes in the retina from year to year.

The sooner any diabetic eye problems are diagnosed and treated, the lower the risk of visual loss and/or blindness from diabetic related complications.

So, if you are diabetic or know anyone who is diabetic – a yearly dilated diabetic eye exam is essential for prevention of vision loss from diabetes.

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