diabetesDo you or someone that you love suffer from diabetes? November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and we want to take the time to not only bring awareness to the effects diabetes can have on your eyes but also on the effects the disease can have on your overall health.

Over time, high blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. That can lead to a condition called diabetic retinopathy. High blood sugar can also lead to cataracts and glaucoma, which happen earlier and more often when you have diabetes. Some of the symptoms of eye damage conditions include floaters or spots in your field of vision. Many of the symptoms may be very mild at first, which is why we stress the importance of regular eye exams for diabetics, in particular, to provide early detection of treatable eye problems

While Type I Diabetes is usually discovered at a young age and requires insulin injections to maintain the body’s proper blood sugar levels, Type 2 Diabetes (which is usually controlled with diet, exercise, and oral medication) can eventually lead to insulin injection dependency. The key to helping avoid diabetes is proper exercise, diet, and weight management.

Diabetes can have negative effects on all parts of the body. It can cause problems with the circulatory system, the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and vision.

There are several ways to help reduce the probability of developing diabetes. Nearly 80% of people who are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes are considered overweight. It is easy to say that weight loss is the first way to help reduce your chances of developing this disease. While many people may be overwhelmed at losing 40 to 50 pounds, take small steps. Simply losing 10 pounds can have a positive effect on your body.

By losing the extra weight, it allows your body to function more normally and reduce the stresses that the extra weight but on your body. Exercise also helps the body to function normally by helping the body to burn off the excess sugar. This reduces the strain on your body and the amount of insulin needed to help convert the sugar into energy.

By watching your diet, monitoring your weight and exercising regularly, you can help to reduce your chances of developing diabetes. Small changes in your life from what you eat to whether you take the stairs or the elevator are simple changes that you can make today to help you to live healthier and happier!

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

Healthy-Aging-and-Annual-Eye-ExamSeptember is a perfect time to celebrate Healthy Aging Month since it is time when many people think about getting started on new tasks after the summer. As the years roll on, are you doing all you can to stay active and healthy? The choices you make today may affect the quality of your life down the road. Diet and exercise are key components to healthy aging.

Fitbits and online apps can help track healthy eating habits and steps. Have you set a new goal to walk 10,000 steps a day? Perhaps fresh vegetables and salads are becoming a staple in your refrigerator.

As we look at the components of staying healthy – we also look at regular exams. When was the last time you had a physical, dental or eye exam? By staying up to date with regular medical exams, you can be proactive in changes that may be occurring with your health.

Seeing your eye doctor is not just about needing glasses. During the exam, you are also going to be screened for other diseases… diabetes, cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. After the age of 40, everyone should be tested regularly for macular degeneration, especially if there is a family history of the disease.

Did you know during a comprehensive eye exam, underlying health problems can be uncovered?

These are things the doctors at Bissell Eye Care look for during your exam and may uncover a health issue you may not be aware of.

  • Diabetes affects the small capillaries in the retina of the eyes. These blood vessels may leak blood or a yellowish fluid, and this may be discovered in an eye exam
  • Hypertension presents when blood vessels in the eye exhibit bends, kinks or tears, and this may be an indication of high blood pressure.
  • Autoimmune disorders are recognized by inflammation of the eye which may be a sign of Lupus or another autoimmune disorder.
  • High cholesterol can be found with a yellowish appearance or a yellow ring around your cornea. There also may be plaques in the blood vessels of the retina which could indicate elevated cholesterol.
  • Thyroid disease will often present as bulging eyes or protruding eyeballs.
  • Cancer can be present if the structure of your eye is unusual. Ocular melanoma can develop in the cells that make pigmentation in the eye. Your eye exam can also help detect skin cancer. Basal cell carcinomas can appear on the eyelid. In any of these cases, you would be referred to a specialist.
  • Tumors can present with a droopy eyelid or irregularly shaped pupils and could possibly indicate a neck tumor or an aneurysm (Source: Digital Journal).

At risk factors for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) include: high blood pressure (hypertension), smoking, obesity, race and family history of (AMD). AMD is painless and can progress slowly over time or suddenly with dramatic changes in your vision. Early detection is key to slowing vision loss.

AMD — damages then destroys central vision. Central vision is your “straight-ahead”, finely detailed vision. This eye disease takes two forms, “dry” and “wet.” Most AMD cases are “dry.” The “wet” is a more damaging form of AMA that is responsible for about 90% of serious vision loss.

Cataracts are small at first and may not affect vision. But the denser they grow, the more they will affect your vision. As cataracts grow, they may hinder your ability to drive safely.

Just like having an annual physical and regular health screenings help to detect disease, the most important lesson learned is to have an annual eye exam. Early detection of eye disease is the key to healthy vision as you age. Give our offices a call at 724-443-6767 or 724-226-0444 to schedule your annual eye exam.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

Safety-Tips-For-Night-DrivingHave you noticed dusk starting to come earlier in the evening? Are you among those that don’t see as well when driving at night? Did you know that 9 of every 10 decisions you make behind the wheel are based on what you see?

It doesn’t matter if you’re 16 or 60. The ability to drive represents a sense of freedom for adults of all ages. But, as we get older, changes to the body and mind can make driving increasingly difficult. Night vision worsens with age due to a number of factors: pupil size, retinal changes, and cataracts.

Pupils shrink and don’t dilate as much in the dark as we age, reducing the amount of light entering the eye. Smaller pupils limit the amount of light that reaches the back of the eye called the retina. Because the retina of an 80-year-old receives far less light than the retina of a 20-year-old, it can seem like you are wearing dark sunglasses at night.

Rods and cones are contained in the retina. We depend on the cones for color vision and reading small print while the rods are critical for seeing in low light. As time goes on, we have fewer and fewer rods and they take longer to adjust to dark environments.

Cataracts are caused by a clouding of the lens in the front part of the eye. This causes the light entering your eye to be dimmed and blurred making it harder to see at night.

We can’t change the aging process so what steps can be taken to ensure safe nighttime driving?

  • Avoid driving on dark rainy nights.
  • Keep windshields clean inside and out.
  • Help drivers see you in twilight by turning your headlights on before sunset and keeping them on for an hour after sunrise.
  • Allow more time for your own journey, so you’re not driving under pressure.
  • Avoid looking directly at approaching vehicles at night, even when their lights are dimmed.
  • Have regular eye exams to check for such things as cataracts that can cause nighttime vision loss.

Avoid driving along at 50 mph, dropping to 40 mph when there’s oncoming traffic and then speeding up again. It makes it very confusing for drivers traveling behind you. It’s better to aim for a speed you can maintain such as 45 mph and sticking to it, even if there are times you could go faster.

Be proactive in taking care of your health and be safe on the road. Be honest with yourself. If a driving situation makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it. Many older drivers voluntarily begin to make changes in their driving practices. If fast-moving traffic bothers you, consider staying off freeways, highways, and find street routes instead. You may also decide to avoid driving in bad weather (rain, thunderstorms, snow, hail, ice). If you are going to a place that is unfamiliar to you, it is a good idea to plan your route before you leave so that you feel more confident and avoid getting lost.

If friends or relatives are concerned about your driving ability – it may be time to take a hard look at your safety and the safety of others.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

progressive-lensesAs we age, the need for progressive lenses increases. Just like graying hair and wrinkles, presbyopia is an inevitable sign that you’re getting older. Perhaps it started with cheaters to read but has now progressed so that prescription eyewear is necessary.

Presbyopia is the normal, gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects. Most people will start to notice presbyopia in their mid-40s. But unlike your changing hair or skin, blurred vision is much harder to live with. Thankfully, there is an answer – progressive or bifocal eyewear. We will explore the differences.

There is a distinct line in the lens with bifocals. This means bifocals only cover two different distances. With the growth of digital devices, lenses have had to evolve to cover more of a person’s field of vision.

A progressive lens is an amazing piece of engineering, allowing multiple vision fields to be incorporated into a single lens without any clear distinction between the fields themselves. Progressive lenses go from distance to intermediate to near offering a full range of clear vision. Unlike bifocals, progressives don’t have a visible line across the lens, which can be more visually attractive. You can eliminate the need for multiple pairs of glasses (i.e. reading, computer, distance) which can impact your lifestyle and tasks of daily living.

Adjusting To Progressive Lenses

Like anything new, there is an adjustment period. But consistency in wearing your progressive eyewear is key. Put away your old glasses. No-line bifocals will slightly alter your peripheral vision due to power changes that occur at the edges of the lenses. This initial difference in your peripheral vision will probably require some slight changes in horizontal head and eye movements. Make sure to wear your glasses high on the bridge of your nose and as close to your face as possible. Sensitivity to this area of the lens will diminish with time as you become more accustomed to your new lenses.

The professionals at Bissell Eye Care will help you transition as you age gracefully. Have questions? Give our office a call at 724-443-6767 or 724-226-0444.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

Wear-the-RIGHT-Sunglasses-for-Your-Summer-Fun!As we roll into summer, sunscreen and sunglasses are a winning combination. Sunglasses are an easy solution that makes life more comfortable when outdoors, while also providing critical protection from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. But…all sunglasses don’t provide the protection you need to protect your eyes.

Long-term exposure to UV rays can damage the eye’s surface as well as its internal structures. This damage can sometimes lead to eye conditions such as cataracts (clouding of the lens) and macular degeneration (breakdown of the macula).

Did you know that glaucoma can make eyes highly sensitive to light and glare, with some glaucoma medications exacerbating the problem even further?

A brimmed hat whenever you’re in the sun long enough to get a suntan or a sunburn, is recommended along with sunglasses to help protect your eyes from the sun. If you have blue, green, or gray eyes, you may have noticed yourself squinting into the sunlight more than your brown-eyed counterparts. Light sensitivity — typically affects people with light eyes because they have less pigmentation in multiple layers of the eye than those with darker eyes.

Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for sunglasses:

  • Look for UV protection.
  • Don’t be deceived by color or cost. The ability to block UV light is not dependent on the darkness of the lens or the price tag. Always choose sunglasses that are labeled as blocking 99-100% of UV rays.
  • Polarized lenses block out not only direct rays from the sun but also light reflecting off surfaces such as water, snow or reflective metals. Polarization is unrelated to UV protection, so you still need to ensure UV absorption of the lenses.
  • Blue light blocking.
  • Photo Chromic lenses adjust with the light and can be a compromise from buying dark lenses allowing you to see well in different level of brightness.
  • Wrap around frames and lenses add extra coverage and help to block out the light from all angles providing the best protection for your eyes. Some studies have shown that enough UV rays enter around standard sunglass frames to reduce the protective benefits of the lenses.
  • Check lenses for quality. Look for a uniform tint, not darker in one area than in another.

Special features in sunglasses can include:

Mirror coatings. These thin layers of various metallic coatings can reduce the amount of visible light entering the eyes. They are popular in high-glare environments and when combined with the wraparound feature, they can even provide added protection to the skin surrounding the eye area. UV protection, however, is not guaranteed.

Gradient. These lenses are permanently shaded from top to bottom or from top and bottom toward the middle.

Impact resistant. While all sunglasses must meet minimum FDA standards regarding impact resistance, no lens is truly shatterproof. Plastic lenses are less likely to shatter upon impact than glass lenses. And, polycarbonate plastic, used in many sports sunglasses, is even more impact resistant than regular plastic, but scratches easily. If you buy polycarbonate lenses, look for ones with scratch-resistant coatings.

Buying a pair of sunglasses that offer little more than looks and some shade for your eyes can not only fail you at blocking out the proper amount of sunlight, but they can also cause short term and long term damage to your eyes. Bissell Eye Care carries a full line of RXable (either prescription or nonprescription) sunglasses in a variety of styles and colors.

Wear sunglasses whenever you are outdoors, whether you are working, driving, participating in sports, taking a walk, running errands or doing anything in the sun. Remember this summer as you enjoy the nice weather it is important to protect not only your skin but also your eyes. If you have any questions about proper eye protection, stop in and see us so we can help you ensure you enjoy your summer!

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

tips-for-better-eye-healthDo you take your eyes for granted? Often patients take their eyesight for granted until they begin having problems with their vision. When day-to-day activities become challenging, that will trigger a call for an eye appointment. Having good vision and healthy eyes may determine your ability to remain independent and self-sufficient.

Studies have shown that women make up 65 percent of AMD cases; 61 percent of glaucoma and cataract patients are women, and 66 percent of blind patients are women. On average women live longer and many eye problems are age-related. Some eye conditions, such as dry eye, are more common in women, young and old. Often women put their family’s health and screenings before themselves and neglect regular eye care.

In general, women are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases than men, many of which affect vision, such as lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome and hyper thyroiditis. In addition, pregnancy can cause vision changes due to the hormonal changes pregnant women experience. As women age and go through menopause, dry eye occurs at double the rate.

Prevention is key to preventable vision loss. The good news is most vision loss is preventable. Here are some simple steps to take control of your eye health today:

  1. Early signs of disease or changes in vision may begin at 40. Get a yearly comprehensive medical eye exam. An exam by an eye care professional skilled in medical and surgical eye care provides the opportunity to identify diseases and conditions that are not symptomatic in the early stages.
  2. Know your family history.  Certain eye diseases can be inherited – macular degeneration and glaucoma in your family’s history can increase your risk by 50% for macular degeneration and from four to nine times for glaucoma. If you haven’t talked with family members about their eye conditions, now is the time to do so.
  3. Eat healthy foods. A diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains benefit the entire body, including the eyes.
  4. Stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk for eye diseases such as cataract and age-related macular degeneration. Tobacco smoke worsens dry eye.
  5. Wear sunglasses. Exposure to ultraviolet UV light raises the risk of eye diseases, including cataracts, fleshy growths on the eye and cancer.
  6. Bacteria will form from your eyelashes and requires daily eyelid hygiene. Like brushing your teeth, your eyelids need daily care. Hot compresses help keep tear producing glands working at top efficiency.

In a comprehensive eye exam at Bissell Eye Care, our state-of-the-art technology allow us to look at the overall health of your eyes.  During these exams, we may discover conditions that affect your eyes in addition to perhaps uncovering an underlying condition in your overall general health. This will ultimately help your primary care provider enhance your overall health and wellness.

Be proactive, stay healthy and protect your eyesight with regular eye exams.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

Corneal-TopographyEarlier this year, you may remember us talking about our OCT machine. OCT Angiography (OCTA) is a quick non-invasive piece of equipment which performs a test, allowing your eye doctor to see retinal vessels during your annual eye exam. OCTA is the only non-invasive way to visualize the vascular structure of your retina.

The machine allows us to look at the eye in a similar manner as an MRI. It takes a piece by piece view of the eye. Our optometrists then look at this imagery and are able to determine the health of your eyes, or if there are any concerns that need to be further addressed.

Our newest piece of equipment is located in the Natrona Heights office – a Topcon Corneal Topography Machine. Corneal topography is a procedure used to monitor and measure changes that may occur to the shape and integrity of the cornea of your eye.

Computerized corneal topography (also known as computer assisted corneal topography, computer assisted keratography, or video keratography) is a computer-assisted diagnostic technique in which a special instrument projects a series of light rings on the cornea, creating a color-coded map of the corneal surface as well.

The series of illuminated rings, referred to as a placido disc, are reflected back into the instrument. This process delivers accurate, high resolution images of the anterior corneal surface. Corneal topography testing provides the optometrists with a detailed description of various curvature and shape characteristics of the cornea. This type of testing is particularly helpful in pre and post op surgery.

Corneal-Topography-State-of-the-technology-in-eye-careThis information provided in the testing illustrates corneal astigmatism, detection of corneal pathologies and perfection of contact lens fitting. Through the use of the corneal topography machine, it provides the perfect platform for contact lens fitting. Simulation software is used in tandem with the testing, which automatically selects the best fitting contact lens based upon a complete contact lens database for all the main manufacturers.

If we break this down in very basic terms, when you look at a mountain, the OCT test looks at the land terrain by section and the Corneal Topography test is like a drone looking down at the overall shape of the mountain. If you combine both together, you are able to have a very comprehensive view of the overall structure of the mountain.

Bissell Eye Care invests in these types of diagnostic technologies to provide you and your family with comprehensive eye care services. If you have questions about these diagnostic tools, or other eye care concerns, give our office a call at 724-443-6767 or 724-226-0444.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

LASIK-Co-managementJust as you may have a team of doctors managing a heart or diabetic condition, so too can you have a team of eye care professionals managing your eye care. Co-management is the process of eye care professionals working as a team to provide a patient’s care. In most cases, this occurs when an optometrist such as the doctors at Bissell Eye Care provide the initial evaluation and care after the surgery with an ophthalmologist performing the surgical procedure. Often the optometrist has been the patient’s trusted eye care provider for years. This is especially valuable to patients as they have established a doctor patient relationship with our office over the years.

Co-managed care provides an additional check and balance between the patient and surgeon, with an optometrist assisting the patient’s questions and concerns.

LASIK/Cataracts Co-Management

In LASIK, “co-management” is the term commonly used to describe a situation when an optometrist provides pre-op and post-op care with an ophthalmologist providing surgery. For example, an optometrist will provide the initial LASIK, All-Laser Lasik, PRK, LASEK or any other refractive surgery evaluation, and then care for the patient after the surgery.

Some factors Bissell Eye Care will take into account to determine which surgery may be right for you:

  • An overall health assessment will be conducted to determine if any systemic diseases are present that may impair your ability to heal such as autoimmune or immunodeficiency diseases.
  • Corneal health including dry eye disease, thin corneas, irregular corneas, or corneal diseases such as keratoconus are considered.
  • Stability is determined by your eyeglass prescription.
  • Analysis of your retinal health ensures there is no other ocular disease present that would prevent you from achieving 20/20 vision after laser vision correction.
  • Candidacy for some refractive surgeries may be limited due to lifestyle and occupation.

Patient Benefits for co-managed care:

  • Familiarity with your optometrist and the convenience of pre- and post-operative follow-up.
  • A central hub of patient care coordination.
  • Often less costly depending on copays and insurance deductibles.

Bissell Eye Care has working arrangements with eye surgeons and specialized eye care doctors to provide many of the surgical services such as cataract surgery, laser surgery, refractive surgery, retinal detachments, retinal tears and hemorrhages. You can be assured that your eyes will be comprehensively managed by the best eye care professionals.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

diagnosis-of-eye-diseaseAs technology continues to improve, we are better able to look at the human eye with the Optovue OCT machine. OCT Angiography (OCTA) is a quick non-invasive piece of equipment which performs a test, allowing your eye doctor to see retinal vessels during your annual eye exam. OCTA is the only non-invasive way to visualize the vascular structure of your retina.

During this test the structure of your eyes are examined- from the front, or anterior segment, to the back, or retina. OCT is used to aid in diagnosing disease and managing your ocular health. These metrics along with a high-resolution image and symmetry analysis help to determine if you are displaying the early signs of retinal disease or glaucoma.

The machine allows us to look at the eye in a similar manner as an MRI. It takes a piece by piece view of the eye. Our optometrists then look at this imagery and are able to determine the health of your eyes, or if there are any concerns that need to be further addressed.

So what does this mean for you, the patient? These scans are able to detect early vascular changes in diabetic patients and early signs of glaucoma. We cannot stress the importance of early detection of eye diseases enough. Early detection can help to prevent further loss of vision. As we have talked about before, you can lose a significant amount of your vision without you noticing.

Bissell Eye Care continues to invest in the most up to date technology and equipment in order to best serve our patients. We are one of a handful of optometry practices in the Pittsburgh region to offer screenings with the Optovue OTC Angiography machine. By using this technology, we are able to better facilitate the diagnosis and management of eye diseases, many of which may lead to permanent blindness.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

new-year's-resolutionsAre you ready for the New Year? During the holiday season many people take the opportunity to reflect on the year that has past, focus on new goals and make New Year’s Resolutions. Weight loss, financial freedom, healthy habits are among the top resolutions people make.

Resolutions for better health often include, eating better, exercising, or cutting down on sugar intake. While many people have resolutions to improve their health, they tend to not include an annual medical physical, 6 month dental visits and an annual eye exam.

With the New Year in full swing there is no better time to schedule your eye exam. You or your children may receive an annual vision screening at work or school. What people don’t realize is that a vision screening is much less comprehensive than an eye exam.

Vision screenings usually only take a few minutes and are often performed by volunteers, not by a certified optometrist. Vision screenings are typically designed to detect major vision problems. What many people do not realize is that an eye screening is ineffective at detecting subtle vision problems or overall health diseases, which if left untreated can rob you of your vision or lead to ongoing health problems.

Eye exams that are performed by an optometrist are designed to not only evaluate your visual acuity, but also to check the overall health of your eye. During a comprehensive eye exam, the optometrist will also check for signs of eye problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and detached retina.

As an added health bonus, your optometrist can also detect early signs of health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke risk; all based on the appearance of the delicate blood vessels and other structures within the eye.

As the New Year brings about resolve to change, consider your body’s overall health. Scheduling annual visits to not only your optometrist, but also to your medical doctor for a yearly physical can help to keep your body in top shape and provide early detection of any medical conditions before they become serious problems. Early detection is key to obtaining the best chance of treatment providing a positive outcome. Wishing you the best in 2018.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

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