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Medical Services

Comprehensive Medical Eye Exams

DrHammerExam5The Medical Eye Center’s ophthalmologic exam for both adults and children provide a comprehensive, thorough examination of your eyes to provide you insight into your health. A myriad of diseases have ocular manifestations ranging from arthritis to xeroderma. The eye is the window to the body from the eyelids to the optic nerve. The external examination of the eyes may help diagnose elevated cholesterol levels or thyroid disease while visualization of the optic nerve and the vessels in the back of the eye may provide insight into arteriosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, sarcoidosis and carotid artery disease.

Eye ExamThe eye examination will start with a thorough review of your medical history, medications and family history in addition to any presenting problems. The physical portion of the exam will start with an assessment of your vision to determine if glasses or contact lenses are appropriate. The examination will then proceed to the external and motility examination. A biomicroscope will evaluate the surface of your eye and the lens. The pupils will be checked and the pressure in your eyes measured. You will expect to be dilated to thoroughly evaluate the optic nerve, the macular region, retinal vessels and periphery. We will then communicate your findings to your personal physician. Specialized testing that may be needed to more fully evaluate any pathology found or suspected will be discussed with you. Many ancillary tests including laser scanning of your optic nerve and retina can be done in our offices.

The comprehensive eye exam at the Medical Eye Center is anything but a simple exam for glasses; it will allow your physician to make your eye exam the window to your health.

Glaucoma

CataractsGlaucoma is known as the sneak thief of sight as it may lead to blindness.

Glaucoma is diagnosed when pressure within the eye becomes elevated which in turn damages the optic nerve initially causing loss of peripheral vision and later on all vision.

Most patients have high intraocular pressure but damage may occur at normal pressures. The optic nerve which connects the eye to the brain may become cupped or hollowed out even though the pressure within the eye is in the average range. The evaluation for glaucoma is much more than simply checking the pressure. The comprehensive medical eye exam performed by the physicians at the Medical Eye Center will evaluate the status of your optic nerve and if glaucoma is suspected laser scanning of your optic nerve head and computerized visual field testing will be done. If our early detection reveals you to be a glaucoma suspect or if frank glaucoma is diagnosed we will initiate treatment and monitor you regularly to help prevent you from being a victim of the sneak thief of sight.

Cataract

Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye loses its clarity and as a consequence vision deteriorates. It can be said that everyone if they live long enough will develop cataracts; medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus or the treatment of diseases such asthma or colitis with steroids may precipitate cataract formation but given enough time we will all develop them. The fact that a cataract exists is not a reason to remove the lens if you are seeing well enough to do the activities you need to do for your daily living.

A cataract should be removed when the vision to function normally becomes compromised.

Occasionally cataract surgery may be recommended to enable adequate visualization and treatment of a retinal problem but generally if the cataract is so dense that we cannot see the retina in all likelihood you will not be able to see out through the same cataract.

The physicians at the Medical Eye Center, through your dilated pupil, will be able to see the lens of your eye and advise you on proper management. When you reach the point where something must be done we will be happy to follow you through the entire process of the cataract removal and lens insertion. We will offer you the latest in intraocular lenses to help you optimize your vision to its fullest potential.

Macular Degeneration

DrHammerExam1Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in the United States affecting more than 10 million Americans.  The macula is the central portion of the retina, the light sensitive film lining the back of the eye, which is responsible for our central vision enabling us to see fine details such as reading fine print and street signs.  Macular degeneration as the name implies is a degeneration of the central portion of the retina. Those with the highest risk are people with a family history of macular degeneration, Caucasians, and individuals who smoked cigarettes or grew up in a household where people smoked.

The most common form of macular degeneration occurs in individuals over age 50 is referred to as Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD). There are two types of ARMD often referred to as dry or atrophic macular degeneration  and wet or exudative macular degeneration.

The physicians at the Medical Eye Center through their dilated ophthalmologic exam will evaluate the health of your macula and advise you if any treatment or proactive measures can be instituted.  We have the ability of photograph and measure the thickness of your macula to monitor for progression.  Depending on the health of your macula the National Institute of Health’s AREDS  vitamins or high energy visible light filters for your glasses may be suggested.

Diabetic Retinopathy

DrHammerExam4Once you are diagnosed with diabetes mellitus a comprehensive medical eye examination will be requested by your physician.

The physicians of the Medical Eye Center will be able to determine if the diabetes has begun to affect your eyes; hopefully before it affects your eye sight.

The most common ocular complication of diabetes mellitus on your eye is diabetic retinopathy; we will be able to determine if you have retinal damage or any other of the ocular complications of the disease. Diabetic retinopathy is the most frequent cause of new cases of blindness among adults age 20-74 years. According to the American Diabetic Association “during the first two decades, nearly all Type 1 diabetic patients develop retinopathy and greater than 60 % of patients with Type 2 diabetes have retinopathy.”

The longer duration that one has diabetes mellitus and the poorer the control the more likely you are to see the complications of the disease. Time marches on and we cannot control how long tone has diabetes mellitus but glycemic control is vital to limit the progression of the diabetic complications. The United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study has shown “for every percentage point decrease in the hemoglobin A1C there was a 35% reduction in the risk of microvascular complications.”

The physicians at the Medical Eye Center will work with you, your family and your physician to thoroughly evaluate your eyes for any diabetic complication and help institute treatment to prevent you from losing your vision.

Dry Eyes

dryeyeAccording to the National Eye Institute nearly five million Americans 50 years of age and older are estimated to have Dry Eyes.  Dry eyes are more common in women than men and women who experience menopause prematurely are more likely to have eye surface damage. Fortunately we are not aware of our eyes unless we cannot see well or our eyes are uncomfortable.  The symptoms of dry eye range from stinging or burning of the eye, a sandy or gritty feeling as if something is in the eye, excessive tearing, a decrease in tolerance to reading or computer work to fatigue, pain and redness. The causes of dry eye eyes also vary in their etiology ranging from infrequent blinking associated with staring at a computer to medical conditions such as the immune disorders Sjogren’s Syndrome and hyperthyroidism. The treatments available include lubricating drops and ointments , dietary supplements, cyclosporine and closing the openings in the lids where the tears drain into the back of the nose.

The Medical Eye Center is an Accredited Dry Eye Center with a certified tear testing laboratory.  The physicians of the Medical Eye Center will use various approaches to relieve your dry eye symptoms but the first priority is to determine if the etiology is a medical condition which needs to be addressed.   Dry eye may be caused by diseases of glands in the eyelids, a symptom of chronic inflammation of the conjunctiva or from an inability of the eyelids to close completely during sleep.  The complete ophthalmologic exam by the physician of the Medical  Eye Center along with our tear testing laboratory will determine the etiology of the dry eye and then we will be able to advise the appropriate treatment.