Various parts of the eye work together to catch, focus and process light to make vision possible. When the eye is open, light first passes through the cornea, the eye’s transparent outer windshield. The cornea takes a wide spectrum of light and bends it through the pupil, a round opening in the iris, or colored part of the eye. Directly behind the pupil is the eye’s natural lens. It fine focuses the light directly onto the retina, a photosensitive membrane that lines the back of the eye. The retina then changes the light spectrum into electrical impulses and sends them through the optic nerve to the processing center of the brain where vision is interpreted.
Many eye diseases do not cause symptoms for months or years. Therefore, regular eye examinations by an eye doctor should be as important as regular visits to your family physician. In many cases, early treatment of glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, crossed eyes and some forms of macular degeneration can prevent deterioration of sight and even blindness. Our goal is to protect your sight through early diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following intervals when there are no particular problems.
- Newborn: By a pediatrician, family doctor, or eye doctor. Infants at high risk for medically abnormal eye conditions should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist.
- Pre-school: By a pediatrician, family doctor, or eye doctor.
- School age: By a pediatrician, family doctor, or eye doctor.
- 20-39 years of age: A dilated comprehensive eye exam at least once during this period by an eye doctor. African-Americans and Hispanics who are at higher risk for glaucoma should be examined every 2 to 4 years.
- 40-54 years of age: At 40 and every 2 to 4 years thereafter by an eye doctor. African-Americans and Hispanics who are at higher risk for glaucoma should be examined every 1 to 3 years.
- 55-64 years of age: Every 1-3 years by an eye doctor. African-Americans and Hispanics who are at higher risk for glaucoma should be examined every 1 to 2 years.
- 65 years or older: Every 1 to 2 years. More frequently based on risk factors.
- Individuals With Risk Factors: The frequency of ocular examinations in the presence of acute or chronic disease will vary widely with intervals ranging from hours to months, depending on the risks involved, response to treatment, and potential for the disease to progress. The frequency and time intervals will be determined by the ophthalmologist.
You should have your eyes examined if you have any of the following:
- Decreased vision, even if temporary
- Flashes of light
- New floaters (black “strings” or specks in the vision)
- Curtain or veil blocking vision
- Haloes (colored circles around lights)
- Eye pain
- Redness of the eye or skin around the eye
- Eye discharge or tearing
- Bulging of one or both eyes
- Crossed eyes
- Double vision
- Family history of eye disease
Prevention of Eye Injuries
Over one million people suffer eye injuries each year in the United States. Almost 50% of these accidents occur at home, and over 90% of them could have been prevented. Prevention is the first and most important step in avoiding eye injuries.
In the house
Everyday products can sometimes cause serious burns when they touch your eyes. Make sure that all spray nozzles are directed away from you before you pull the handle. Read instructions carefully before using cleaning fluids, detergents, ammonia or harsh chemicals. Wash your hands thoroughly after use. Use grease shields on frying pans to protect from spattering. Wear special goggles to shield your eyes from fumes and splashes when using powerful chemicals. Use opaque goggles to avoid burns from sunlamps.
In the workshop
Many objects can fly into your eyes unexpectedly and injure your eyes. Think about the work you’ll be doing and protect your eyes from flying fragments, fumes, dust particles, sparks and splashing chemicals before you begin work. Read instructions before using tools and chemicals and carefully follow the precautions for their use. Protect yourself by wearing safety glasses.
Toys and games can be dangerous when used incorrectly. Pay attention to your child’s age and responsibility level when you buy toys and games. Avoid projectile toys such as darts, pellet guns, etc., which can hit the eye from a distance. Supervise children when they are playing with toys or games that can be dangerous. Teach children the correct way to handle items such as scissors and pencils.
In the garden
Garden tools and chemicals are the cause of many outdoor accidents. Keep everyone away when you use a lawnmower. Don’t let anyone stand on the side or in front when you mow the lawn. Pick up rocks and stones before going over them with your lawnmower. These stones can shoot out of the rotary blades, rebound off curbs or walls and cause severe injury to the eye. Make sure that pesticide spray-can nozzles are directed away from your face. Avoid low-hanging branches.
National Eye Institute of the National Institute of Health. A government service to advise information about eyes and eye health subjects. Click Here