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 VITALimportance 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!
Josephine is a 42 year old, 160 pound gorilla that lives in Miami at the MetroZoo. She had severe cataracts that made her vision so blurry – they only allowed her to see shadows. The cataracts were impairing her vision to the point where her quality of life was becoming severely diminished.
Recently, Josephine underwent cataract surgery – which is a very common surgery for humans (especially here in South Florida) but, is extremely rare in gorillas (it has only been performed a handful of times). The surgery was very risky due to Josephine’s advanced age of 42 (gorillas usually live to around age 50) and the necessity to administer general anesthesia.
Josephine had top ranking human and veterinary Eye Doctors attending to her pre-op and her surgery. They were able to remove her cloudy lenses (cataracts) inside of her eyes and replace the old lenses with new, clear synthetic ones to hopefully restore the clarity of her vision once again.
Around 10 million school children in America have vision conditionsthat can negatively affect learning. This can be prevented by taking kids to get their first formal eye exam with an Eye Dr in an Eye Clinic BEFORE they enter school. A child’s first eye test with an Eye Doctor should be done between ages 3 and 4. At Visionary Eyecare in Pembroke Pines, Sunrise (Next to Lenscrafters) and Davie (Next to Pearle Vision) – our Optometrists, Dr Bearden, Dr Tenn and Dr McCulloh, begin to see children at age 4.
Allen Picture Cards
A child does NOT need to be able to verbalize or know their alphabetfor the examinerto perform a comprehensive eye examination.
There are numerous eye charts for children!!
Lea Flip Chart
Allen and Lea charts have pictures or shapes on them that youngsters can identify. The Broken wheel chartallows the child to tell the examiner which wheel on the car is “broken” . The Tumbling E chart (also known as the illiterate chart) allows a child to just POINT in the direction that the “legs of the E” are pointing in.
Allen Picture Eye Chart
Often our children can not express to us when they are having problems with their vision. They may not even realize that they are experiencing vision problems. Sometimes children will try to compensate for vision issues by closing one eye, rubbing their eyes excessively, squinting, skipping over words or loose their place when they are reading.
Kids may start having difficulty in school due to an “unknown” reason. A recent study indicated that up to 60 percent of youngsters that have been identified as “problem learners” or “learning disorder” actually suffer from an undetected visual condition.
Tumbling E Eye Chart
A vision problem is not suspected in many children because they were able to pass the school vision screening or the pediatrician vision screening. These children may still have visual issues but, they were not detected on the screening. Only a comprehensive eye exam, done by an Eye Doctor (Optometrist or Ophthalmologist) will be able to detect subtle vision problems.
Broken Wheel Eye Test
Vision issues need to be detected and corrected before age 7 to prevent lifelong problems such as lazy eye (amblyopia), eye turn (strabismus), learning disabilities and behavior problems.
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.
According to a study published in “Diabetes Care” – almost 13 percent of all adults aged 20 or older have Diabetes and 40 percent of these people have NOT been diagnosed with either diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Non-Hispanic Blacks and Mexican Americans had TWICE the rate of Diabetes than Non-Hispanic Whites.
So this demonstrates that you may have diabetes and you may not even know it – often there are no symptoms until the diabetic disease had progressed.
Yearly Eye Examinations with your eye doctor (Optometrist or Ophthalmologist) can often help detect early diabetic signs – even when you are not yet having any symptoms. When an eye doctor examines the inside of your eyes during a dilated retinal exam or through the use of retinal photography he or she can see signs of diabetes which include bleeding and swelling of the retina (the nerve layer that lines the inside of your eyes).
Bleeding And Leaking In Diabetic Eye Disease
Common signs of diabetes include increase in hunger, thirst and an increase in urination frequency. If your blood sugar is very high – you can even see a sudden increase in blurry vision.
Diabetes can damage the eyes and cause a permanent decrease in vision… and also increase the risk for stroke, heart attack, kidney damage, impotence and numbness in your fingers and toes.
If you are over 20 and have not had a physical recently – now may be a good time to call your Primary Care Doctor and schedule one…especially if you have been very hungry, thirsty or going to the bathroom a lot!
If it has been more than 12 months since your last visit to your Eye Doctor – pick up the phone and schedule an appointment….for yourself….. and your family members!
Many people often ask – What is the difference between an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist??
… OR …
What is the difference between and Optometrist and an Optician??
Well, HERE is the answer for you:
Optometrists are Doctors of Optometry. They act as Primary Care Doctors for your eyes. They are experts in vision care, eye health and eye function. They prescribe glasses and contacts and can diagnose and treat eye diseases (like pink eye, glaucoma, eye allergies, eye ulcers, styes, eye inflammation etc.) with various forms of medication. They are also trained to remove certain types of foreign bodies in the eye. They usually have 4 years of college education, 4 years of Post-Graduate Doctorate work in Optometry School and some Optometrists elect to do a 1 year Post-Doctorate Residency.
Ophthalmologists are medical Doctors of Ophthalmologythat deal primarily with the diseases of the eyes, which they are able to treat with medicine and surgery. Most ophthalmologists act more as Seondary Care providers for your eyes – since most are eye surgeons. They can also prescribe glasses and contacts – but, you’ll find that most ophthalmologists concentrate their practices primarily around eye surgery and treating various eye disease. They usually have 4 years of college and 4 years of medical school and then they complete a Post-Doctorate 3 year Residency in Opthalmology to learn about the eye, eye disease and various ophthalmic surgical techniques.
Opticians are experts in optics, optical lenses and frames. Opticians fill the prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses that have been prescribed by Optometrist and Ophthalmogists. They fit, sell, dispense and repair eyeglasses. In some states they can also fit contact lenses. Their education requires a high school diploma and 2 year Opticianary program (or a 3-5 year Opticianary apprenticeship).