This incredible technology allows your Eye Doctor to scan the internal lining of your eye called the retina and save this image on the computer for year to year comparisons. The retina has about 1 million nerve fibers in it and is an extension of your brain. The retina is also the ONLY place in the human body where a doctor can observe working nerve fibers and blood vessels WITHOUT cutting into the body. Subtle eye health changes can be documented, monitored and compared each year.
Your retina can show early signs of systemic problems that can cause damage to nerves and blood vessels such as Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol and more. Your retina can also demonstrate eye health issues such as Glaucoma, Retinal Detachment, Macular Degeneration and Eye Tumors and/or Eye Cancer.
Most of the time the patient does not need to have their eyes dilated in order for the Optometrist to obtain a good Optomap retinal scan – so this is a big benefit.
The TV show called “The Doctors” aired a segment discussing theOptomap Retinal Scan and the benefits of this technology during your yearly eye examination to preserve BOTH your eye health and your systemic health.
Judy McNabnever really felt the need for yearly eye examinations until shestarted to need glasses in her 40’s and 50’s. Like most people, she thought she did not need to see an eye doctor if she did not need to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses.
One day she came intoVisionary Eyecare in Pembroke Pines for an eye exam because she lost her glasses. She was not having any problems with her eyes, no eye pain or pressure, no headaches, no vision problems….nothing. She just wanted to quickly get an eye examination so she could get a new prescription to buy a new pair of glasses at Lenscrafters.
During the eye exam at Visionary Eyecare (the Independent Doctors of Optometry next to Lenscrafters in Pembroke Pines), Judy was able to see 20/20 in the examination room, her eyes looked perfectly healthy during the dilated retinal examination and also on the digital photographs taken of the inside of Judy’s eyes. During the examination, Eye Doctor – Dr Dawn Beardenrecommended that Judy get a visual field (peripheral vision) test as a baseline – because Judy was over the age of 40 (much like a baseline mammogram is done at age 40) . This test is an advanced test that is not part of the routine eye examination and would take extra time and cost Judy extra money (unfortunately – unlike a baseline mammogram- most medical insurances and vision plans and will NOT pay for this preventative testing as a baseline). At first, Judy did not want to take the time to do the additional test butDr Bearden explained that visual field testing could uncover early and subtle eye health issues that sometimes a routine eye exam could not. Judy was convinced and did the additional visual field test… and the results came back positive – TWICE.
Dr Bearden immediately referred Judy to an ophthalmologist for a secondary evaluation. At first, Judy did not really want to see the ophthalmologist…..she kept telling Doctor Bearden that her vision was fine and she was not having any problems or symptoms….but, Dr Bearden INSISTED that she go for the secondary evaluation. Judy did see the ophthalmologist, who then referred her to Bascom Palmer in Miami to see an eye doctor that specializes in eye tumors and eye cancer.
Judy was diagnosed with a tumor in her left eye and had laser treatment to help destroy the tumor in her left eye. This was in 2005. Now in 2009 Judy still has good vision in her left eye (she is able to see 20/25 in that eye). Luckily, the tumor did not spread to anywhere else in her body and the surgeon was able to treat the tumor without having to remove Judy’s eye.
Judy shares her experience in the above and below videos. She reminds us all that YEARLY eye exams are very important to help detect eye health issues that you may be unaware of… since many eye health issues DO NOT CAUSE SYMPTOMS and can only be detected by a COMPREHENSIVE eye exam.
The above video is a report of the Annual AOA (American Optometric Association) American Eye Q Survey for 2008.
It states that 81% of Americans wear contact lenses, eyeglasses or both.
Unfortunatley 26% of them have not visited their Optometrist or other eye doctor in 2 or more years.
Many eye care professionals – including each Eye Doctor at Visionary Eyecare in Pembroke Pines, Davie and Sunrise – strongly recommend that you have a yearly eye exam because most eye and vision problems cause NO obvious signs or symptoms. Often there can be a serious eye health problem such as a retinal hole, retinal tear, glaucoma, eye cancer, tumors in or behind the eyes and many more that oftenDo NOT cause any noticeable vision blur, headaches, eye pain, eye pressure etc. Frequently these conditions easily go by unnoticedand you are unaware that there is any problem or issue without having a comprehensive eye exam done by your eye doctor.
Unfortunately, most Americans are unaware that eye examinations can detect more than just vision and eye health problems. Through comprehensive eye exams and optometrist can detect signs of diabetes, high blood pressure, brain tumors, cancer, heart and cardiovascular problems, high cholesterol, Mutliple Sclerosis (MS) and more…
The sun can cause aging changes to your skin… and also to your EYES.
Macular Degeneration and Cataracts are aging changes that can be brought on earlier in your life by exposure to the sun its ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Wearing sunglasses with good UV protection can be like wearing sunscreen for your eyes.
There are many different types of eye cancer that can affect any part of the eye. A patient can get cancer on the Eyelids, the Conjunctiva (the “skin” over the white of your eye), the Iris (the colored part of your eye), the Optic Nerve (the nerve from the eye back to the brain), the Retina (the nerve layer inside your eye – responsible for your vision), the Choroid (the blood vessels beneath the retina) and more.
The types of cancers that usually affect the skin (aka on the eyelids….basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, melanomaetc.. ) can be the same types of cancers that particularly thrive in sunlight and UV exposure – just like any other type of skin cancer.
EVERYONE (including children) should be wearing sunglasses with UV protection any time they are outdoors. People who are particularly vulnerable are those with with blue eyes, light complexions, work outdoors, have had any PREVIOUS skin cancer or who are taking any medications that make them more light sensitive.
Routine yearly eye examinations are the KEY to early detection and treatment for any types of eye cancer and any other type of eye disease
Click on the FOX News link to see an informative Video about Eye Cancer and Protection Against Aging Changes with regular wear of good UV protection sunwear. It tells a story of a man who found a weird eyelid freckle…