Category Archives: examinations

Maintain Healthy Vision With Annual Eye Exams

Annual eye exams are an essential part of a person’s annual health plan.  Along with our yearly physical and dental exam we should remember that our eyes provide a window to the health of our bodies and an annual, dilated eye exam is an essential component of preventative healthcare.

See our video below which was produced at our new Colleyville office on the importance of regular eye exams.

Celebrate World Diabetes Day November 14th

In recognition of November Diabetes Month and World Diabetes Day on November 14, we would like to urge community members to schedule yearly eye exams, particularly those with diabetes or that are pre-disposed to diabetes. Approximately 21 million Americans have diabetes, representing 7% of the population, and 6.2 million Americans remain undiagnosed. There were 1.5 million newly diagnosed cases of diabetes in people ages 20 years or older in 2005 demonstrating that diabetes is rapidly becoming one of the most important health care issues.    …………Read More

Survey Shows Most Young Children Have Never Had an Eye Exam

Vision Service Plan has answered a question that many of us have long suspected with the release of  a study conducted by VSP Vision Care.  The nationwide study of almost 4000 Americans called the Consumer Eye Care and Eyewear Survey.  Revealed that 76% of the the children under the age of 5 had never had an eye exam.

“While most parents probably assume that vision screenings provided by pediatricians and school nurses are enough, those screenings are nowhere near as exhaustive as the comprehensive eye exams that optometrists and ophthalmologist provide,” said James Short, O.D., chair of VSP Vision Care’s board of directors.

Dr. Short elaborated further “Before children enter school, an eye doctor should examine the eyes for signs of astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightendnes and also examine the structure of the eye for telltale signs of serious diseases”.

The study goes on to discuss the importance of providing proper sunglasses for children, tips on how to get children to wear sunglasses, prevention of computer vision syndrome in children and how to spot when your child may need an eye exam.

Read more about the VSP Vsion Care Study here

Dr. Diana Driscoll Speaks at the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation Meeting

Dr. Diana Driscoll spoke to doctors and patients at the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation Meeting (EDNF) in Houston, Texas August 1st and 2nd.  Her topic was Your Eyes and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.  Dr. Driscoll, herself is an Ehlers-Danlos Patient, therefore her lecture extended beyond the ocular effects of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and included some of the treatments and techniques that she has found to have increased her functionality.

The National EDNF Meeting is held every other year and is presented as an opportunity for patients with EDS, doctors and researchers to unite in their quest for answers to this debilitating condition.

Ehlers-Danlos affects multiple body systems requiring a multidisciplinary team of doctors to assist patients.  Physicians of many specialties were present as speakers, patients and attendees.

About Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is an inherited connective tissue disorder affecting our body’s production of collagen used to make connective tissue.   Connective tissue is the glue that holds our body together making up approximately 80% of our body weight.  The most common symptoms of EDS affect the joints and skin.

Skin symptoms are characterized by thin, soft, velvety skin that bruises easily and stretches.  Tearing of the skin is common along with slow wound healing.  Scars are often look like “cigarette paper”.

Joint symptoms include hyperextensible joints (joints that extend beyond their normal range of motion). People with hyperextensible joints have often been called “double jointed”.  Because the ligaments and tendons are “stretchy” the joints dislocate or become subluxated easily.  The premature onset of osteoarthritis is common and is often difficult to identify in an X-ray.

Some of the more common ocular symptoms of EDS are keratoconus, angioid streaks, and myopia.  EDS patients are not candidates for LASIK.  At Total Eye Care we are keenly aware of the potential complication that can result from any corneal surgeries performed on Ehlers-Danlos patients.

One of the most debilitating complications of EDS is a type of dysautonomia called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS.  Dysautonomia is the result of our autonomic nervous system ceasing to function properly.  Our autonomic nervous system regulates functions that our body does automatically such as digestion, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, blood sugar regulation, hormonal/endocrine imbalances and our  sleep cycle.

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia causes a person’s heart to race when they stand still.  When a normal person stands, their heart rate may go up a few beats per minute and stabilize. A POTS patient’s heart rate will go up over 30 beats per minute.  If their body can not compensate, a POTS patient will often faint or shake uncontrollably.  A tilt table is used to test for POTS.

It is estimated that 40% to 70% of EDS patients suffer from POTS.  Many patients with POTS don’t know that they have EDS and are often mis-diagnosed with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.  It is thought that autonomic dysfunction is caused by instability of the cervical spine thus interfering with the brain stem’s ability to regulate our bodies.

The classification system for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome consists of 6 types; Classical, Hypermobile, Vascular, Kyphoscoliosis, Arthrochalasia, Dermatosparaxis.  The prevalence of EDS is approximately 1 in 3000.  EDS affects both males and females and is not specific regarding race or ethnicity.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a genetic disorder, however many patients, such as Dr. Driscoll, are unaffected until the symptoms are triggered by a virus.

An updated version of Your Eyes and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is now available, with color photos, on Amazon.com as a downloadable eBook.

This entry has been cross posted on The Total Eye Care Website.

Eye Exams are a Crucial Part of Back to School

Most of us learn visually.  Children especially are visual learners.  It is hypothesized that 80% of what a child learns is through their vision yet 86% of children have never had an eye exam.   People often assume a school screening, given by the school nurse, is adequate.  Pediatricians also offer visual screenings.

Vision screenings, while a helpful and necessary part of school back to school, allow many children that need help to fall through the cracks.  A comprehensive eye exam is truly what is needed to preserve a child’s vision.  An eye exam involves an assessment of a patient’s refractive condition (nearsighted, farsighted etc.), ocular health, binocular function (how the eyes work together) and a comprehensive medical and ocular and family history.  Timely eye exams can also prevent amblyopia and lazy eyes in children.  More information about vision and children is available on the Total Eye Care Website.

LASIK – Is It Safer Than Contact Lenses?

It’s all over the radio these days a LASIK surgeon touts “some experts believe LASIK is safer than contact lenses”. In reality this is a difficult statement to backup properly, given that we are really comparing apples to oranges. Why is this comparison difficult? Comparing LASIK to another refractive surgery procedure, such as PRK, is rather straight forward because the complications are similar for both procedures and the opportunity for complications is essentially nil after the patient is stable, typically 6 months to a year after surgery. A contact lens wearer, on the other hand, has a lower complication rate. When compared to LASIK or PRK contact lens complications are less severe and less frequent, however, a contact lens wearer’s potential for complications will last as long as the patient is wearing their lenses, often for decades.

Both LASIK and contact lenses are safe and in our office we utilize both techniques, choosing which is best for the patient. It is our practice to discuss all of the refractive options with our patients. We weigh the risks and benefits of each option before proceeding.

As a practical matter the incidence of vision threatening problems in compliant contact lens wearers is very small. When a patient does have a problem, it typically manifests itself as a red eye usually resulting from poor care or not replacing their contacts as often as recommended. It is exceedingly rare for a contact lens related red eye to cause a patient to require surgery to resolve the problem.

This prompts me to ask “what does the research say”. In my mind that’s what matters. Let the studies show us which is safer. The most important contact lens and LASIK complications are those that have resulted in a loss of vision and therefore that is the best criteria to compare LASIK versus extended wear contact lenses. A 2005 study including almost 5,000 patients followed over a 1 year period showed that 30 day Ciba Night & Day contact lens wearers, experienced an overall rate of presumed infiltrative keratitis (a type of corneal ulcer) of 0.18%. Of those experiencing keratitis 0.036% resulted in a loss of vision and 0.144% experienced keratitis without vision loss.

Numerous studies published in 2005 and 2006 indicated a complication rate for LASIK, resulting in a loss of best corrected vision, ranging from 0.6% to 7.0%.

Given the facts outlined above, I feel it is doing patients a disservice to state or imply that refractive surgery is as safe or safer than silicone hydrogel contact lenses. Both LASIK/PRK and silicone hydrogel contact lenses have come a long way in reducing both the rate and severity of complications and in looking at the numbers both are safe.

I still believe LASIK and PRK are good options for patients. I, in fact, have had LASIK and at our office it is still one of the refractive options we present to our patients. However, the research does not support the statement that refractive surgery is as safe as contact lens wear nor should it be promoted as such.

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Q: “When should my child have her first eye exam?”

A:

Your baby should have her eyes examined at any age if a

problem is suspected. Until recently eye exams were recommended for all children before they entered kindergarten. However, numerous national organizations such as the American Optometric Association, American Academy of Ophthalmology and Prevent Blindness America have begun to recommend that your child receive their first eye exam at 6 months of age and then again at 3 years of age. Many forms of blindness or amblyopia (a decrease in vision) that occur in children can be prevented if caught early. Before you take your child to your eye doctor ask them if they are set up to evaluate children that are your child’s age. Not all eye doctors see young children.

Q: I know I should have my child’s eye’s examined at 6 months of age but how can you get good information from a child that has not learned to talk yet?

A: Accurate results can be obtained from children and adults whom can not communicate verbally. Rather than asking the patient “which is better”, objective tests are used which require no responses from the child. Computerized testing and a diagnostic procedure called retinoscopy can be used to determine an accurate prescription for young children. Drops can often improve the accuracy of these procedures. Your child will also be examined for “lazy eye”, abnormal ocular development, and eye diseases.

Frequently, the examination takes only 15-20 minutes, and the vast majority of children enjoy their time at the office. Best results are usually obtained if the visit is scheduled when your child is usually at his or her best, by avoiding nap times or typically fussy periods.

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Q: Why are my eyes so dry lately?

A: Many conditions can contribute to dry eyes, including both your health and your, environment. Are you near any ceiling fans or heaters? Does your car’s heater or air conditioner blow directly on your eyes? Some medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants and diuretics can also contribute to dryness. Hormone changes, such as those attributed to pregnancy or menopause may also be a factor. Some people have a condition called blepharitis, where their lids become dry and flaky, this too can contribute to dryness.Other people may be suffering with “Sjogren’s Syndrome”, which is an autoimmune disorder where the mucous membrane glands are attacked causing significant dryness and discomfort.

Your optometrist can evaluate the source of your dry eyes and initiate a treatment plan. Dry eye syndrome is very common and can be successfully treated. In addition to eye drops there are many new solutions for the treatment of dry eyes that don’t require the use of eye drops.