Expanding Technology Can Help in the Detection and Prevention of Eye Diseases and Disorders
There are many eye and vision problems that have no obvious signs or symptoms. Therefore, a yearly comprehensive eye and vision exam is the optimal way to maintain a lifetime of healthy vision and healthy eyes. The doctors in the University Eye Center (UEC) have access to the latest technologies to diagnose and treat patients. This month, we will concentrate on the various ways high-tech tests and procedures performed by optometrists during an eye exam can benefit a patient.
Patients typically associate a visit to the eye doctor with the eye chart test. While this procedure to measure visual acuity (traditional), along with pupil dilation, continues to be used as a standard of care, new advances in eye care technology are becoming more prevalent in optometrists' offices. Corneal topography, retinal imaging and tear film analysis are just a few examples of the new high-tech tolls optometrists are incorporating into their practices.
The cornea is the most significant structure used by the eye for refractive power. To detect corneal irregularities due to disease, trauma or other factors that may result in distortion of vision, a new device -- corneal topography -- is used. This system evaluates the shape and regularity of the front surface of the eye. Not only are these devices faster and more compact than ever before; but, they are also more robust and more affordable, making them available for routine patients; not just the patients with corneal issues. Topography, in addition to being used as a diagnostic tool, is often used for those patients wearing contact lenses to assist in the initial fitting of contacts and for the detection of potential contact lens complications.
Several types of retinal imaging systems are used to give optometrists a view of the retina. These progressive technologies provide wide-angle views of the retina to help detect macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinal holes or detachments, as well as, systemic diseases such as diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure.They may also be used during pupil dilation which give the doctor more area of the eye to assess at one time.
Dry eye is one of the most common eye conditions characterized by insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. New advances in tear film analysis technologies, including computerized analysis of the tear lipid layer, allow optometrists to detect the cause of dry eye and to identify the best course of treatment for a patient.
The American Optometric Association's (AOA) guidelines for receiving comprehensive eye exams begin early in life. The AOA urges parents to bring infants, six - 12 months of age, to their local optometrist for an assessment and then again for an exam at age three and and at age five before entering kindergarten. Children and adults should receive yearly comprehensive eye exams, unless otherwise advised by an optometrist.
There are many other ways to promote "good vision and healthy eyes". A good starting place is scheduling a comprehensive eye examination. At the College's clinic, University Eye Center, the optometry staff diagnose and treat patients with the most up-to-date equipment and technology. To schedule an appointment at the UEC you may call 212-938-4001.