Don’t Overlook Your Eye Exams

by Mar 31, 2020

When most people think about eye examinations, they think about vision tests and getting a new prescription for glasses or contact lenses.  While this is certainly a significant part of eye exams, it is only a small aspect of what your optometrist evaluates. One of the most important roles of an optometrist is to thoroughly examine the health of your eyes, including the front surface and all of the internal structures of the eye.  Our doctors are trained to identify eye diseases, like glaucoma or macular degeneration. They are also able to determine whether general health conditions, like high blood pressure or diabetes, are impacting the health of the eyes. Many of the conditions that can affect the health of the eye occur with little to no symptoms, so allowing our doctors to evaluate your eyes and assure a clean bill of health is important to do regularly.  


How Are Ocular Health Evaluations Performed at Eye Exams? 

Using a high powered microscope, our doctors are able to look closely at all the tissues of the eye, from the front to the back.  One of the most important parts of the health exam is the evaluation of the retina, the tissue that lines the back of the eye. The retina is responsible for collecting light as it enters the eyes and transferring it to the brain, where the visual input is processed.  The retina is not visible from the outside of the eye, so doctors must use a series of lights and lenses to evaluate the health of this important tissue.  

In order to see the retina, light must be directed through the pupil.  Your doctor will use a lens to look through your pupil to the back of the eye and see the retina.  By looking through your normal pupil, without the use of any dilating eye drops, your doctor is able to see a small portion of the retina.  In order to see a larger area of the retina and more thoroughly evaluate the ocular health, your doctor may give you dilating drops, which make your pupils large for a few hours.

There are some new devices and technologies that allow for retinal evaluation through a digital screening technique.  These machines can take a picture of the back of the eye, giving the doctor a wide-field photo of the retina. By using imaging to document retinal health, your doctor is able to easily determine if the health of the eye has changed from year to year.  If you are unsure whether you should opt for a dilated retinal exam or a retinal imagining screening, talk to your optometrist. They can determine which form of evaluation is most appropriate for you. 


Importance of Retinal Health at Your Eye Examination

Evaluating the retina allows doctors to directly and noninvasively look at blood vessels.  This means that eye care providers can be the first to identify if systemic conditions that affect blood vessels, particularly diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure, are causing damage to the retina.  If these chronic conditions are undiagnosed or poorly controlled, the health of the retina can be threatened, and the optometrist can identify this during a retinal health evaluation. Your optometrist is also trained to identify signs of sight-threatening conditions like glaucoma or macular degeneration.  

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At Nittany Eye Associates, you will receive only the highest quality eye exam with our eye doctors in the State College, PA and surrounding areas. Call us at (814) 234-2015 or schedule an appointment online with one of our highly trained optometrists in State College. The next time you need an eye examination for your retinal health be sure to visit Nittany Eye Associates where we always put the care of you and your family first at our convenient locations in State College, Matilda, Spring Mills, Tyrone, and Lock Haven PA areas.



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