Nvision Blog

5 Reasons You Need Regular Eye Exams

Posted on June 28, 2021

 

There are many reasons to get regular eye exams. They are very effective at detecting diseases in their early stages.  They can help people enjoy better vision throughout their lives.

Regular eye exams can slow down the rate of age-related vision loss, and improvements in technology can do more than was possible in the past. After a year in quarantine and looking at devices more, an eye exam can help with dry eyes and digital eye strain.

The Necessity of Eye Exams 

Eye exams are often neglected until a person notices something wrong with their eyesight, but regular visits to the optometrist can make the difference between a lifetime of good vision and having to treat vision problems after they’ve developed. Doctors recommend regular eye exams for a variety of reasons.

1. Detecting Diseases

Even if you have good vision, and you don’t need any kind of corrective lenses, you should still get your eyes regularly looked at by an optometrist. There are diseases which, if left untreated, can lead to a loss of vision. These diseases might not have any warning signs. The only chance for some diseases to be detected is during a dilated eye exam.

For example, cataracts grow slowly. Patients often do not notice the deterioration of their vision until a significant amount of their vision has already been lost. Similarly, patients with diabetic retinopathy often do not experience symptoms in the early stages of the disease, when it is at its most treatable.

Eye exams can pick up other health problems. Even some general health concerns will show up on an eye exam before any other form of checkup. This is because the eye is the only site in the body where blood vessels can be viewed in their natural state, without any kind of invasive surgical procedure.

Certain conditions, like high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and diabetes, cause changes in the blood vessels of the eye or fluctuations in vision. Multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases can be detected by a doctor noticing changes in the eye and the optic nerve. Optometrists know that a number of conditions, such as lupus and leukemia, can show their signs in eye exams before other, more noticeable symptoms develop.

For these reasons, patients are encouraged to schedule their eye exams on a regular basis. Checking the eyes can be the catalyst that leads to a lifesaving diagnosis.

2. Maintaining Quality of Life

Regular eye exams can arrest the onset of poor vision, and a loss of vision can be incredibly disruptive. People experience depression when it becomes difficult to see in normal conditions; car accidents become much more likely; and elderly people are much more at risk for a fall.

Scheduled visits to an optometrist can pick up vision problems like reduced contrast sensitivity, a loss of depth perception, and reduced field of vision, all of which can affect the ability to see steps, read signs, or notice other environmental hazards. Regular eye exams not only help with overall vision, but they can help to keep you simply moving around and going about your day-to-day business.

While regular eye exams are beneficial in adulthood and later in life, they can also be very helpful to children. Research has suggested that 80 percent of learning comes through the eyes. Decreased vision affects everything from academic success and athletic ability to interpersonal communication and relationships. If a child has poor eyesight, correcting it can make a big difference in their overall development.

3. Growing Old

No matter how healthy a person’s eyes may be, vision inescapably gets worse with age. Some age-related conditions may cause a drastic loss of vision, but for many people, the effects are almost imperceptible. This can be a challenging issue to face, and many will put off going to an optometrist until something goes wrong. They couldn’t read the writing on a sign, or they got into an accident because they couldn’t drive properly in the dark.

It is difficult to acknowledge that one cause for deterioration of eyesight is simply advancing age, but an optometrist can intervene early enough to prescribe stronger glasses, lifestyle changes, or other remedies to slow the onset of age-related vision loss. However, this intervention will not happen if optometrist visits are few and far between, so yearly regular eye exams are the way to go.

4. Changing Technology

Another reason to have regular eye exams is that the technology for conducting eye exams, and diagnosing conditions, is constantly changing. It was only a matter of a few years ago that a patient with wet macular degeneration would have been at risk for losing most, or even all, of their vision. Now, medication can protect their eyesight to a greater degree than was possible in the past.

Similarly, many patients who have had cataract surgery can now benefit from lens implants. They may never have to wear glasses or have any other form of corrective eyewear again.

Staying in touch with your optometrist will keep you apprised of new developments in optometric care that can help you with an eye condition or protect you from the onset of one.

5. Pandemic-Related Eye Strain

A more timely reason to have a regular eye exam is that during the COVID-19 pandemic, people spent more time on their phones and tablets, and in Zoom meetings, than ever before. While this did mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, it led to what researchers called an epidemic of dry eye syndrome and digital eye strain.

It was difficult to schedule eye exams during the pandemic, but with increased vaccination rates and the national curve flattening, many optometrists have reopened their clinics for in-person visits, taking care to regularly sanitize all their surfaces and equipment, and practice social distancing as much as possible, so patients can feel safe and protected while getting what might be their first eye exam in months.

The dwindling of the pandemic is a great reason to resume regular eye exams. If continual exposure to computer screens during 2020 caused any problems, your optometrist can help you slow your vision loss with corrective lenses, eye drops, and suggested lifestyle changes.

 

Questions About Insurance

While vision insurance policies differ across providers, some policies do offer coverage for eye exams. Vision coverage is considered an add-on to standard health insurance, so there are typically some additional costs involved.

Insurance companies have taken to creating two categories for visits to an optometrist’s office: medical visits and routine visits. Both types of visits are still thought of as full eye exams, with the same kind of care. Where they differ is the reason for the visit: Routine visits look for signs of common vision conditions, while medical visits will look for conjunctivitis, glaucoma, cataracts, or age-related macular degeneration — serious conditions that might need surgery.

Different health insurance plans will have their own policies about coverage for routine visits compared to coverage for medical visits. For routine visits, most plans contain some coverage for glasses and contact lenses. Other plans might cover only a certain number of yearly routine exams.

The entirety of the visit may be covered or only a portion of it. When it comes to medical visits, most insurers will cover those exams if there is evidence or reasonable suspicion of an eye health problem.

The Best Approach

Vision can be deceptive. Even a 20/20 vision test and no problems with day-to-day vision can mask the development of eye problems down the road. For this reason, many people don’t think about going to an optometrist until something significant happens to their eyes or their vision.

The best approach is to get regular eye exams annually. This ensures you’ll stay on top of any potential problems as they arise.

References

20 Surprising Health Problems an Eye Exam Can Catch. (January 2020). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Eye Exam -- Not Just Seeing Well, but Being Well. Corporate Wellness.

Aging and Your Eyes. (January 2017). National Institute on Aging.

New Technologies and Diagnostic Tools in Optometry. (September 2012). Journal of Optometry.

Digital Eye Strain Epidemic Amid COVID-19 Pandemic – A Cross-Sectional Survey. (December 2020). Ophthalmic Epidemiology.

Seeing Your Optometrist for the First Time After COVID

Posted on June 28, 2021

 

With rates of COVID-19 diagnoses declining, many optometrists are welcoming patients back into their offices. To ensure that patients are kept safe, facilities and equipment are given regular deep cleanings, patients' temperatures are taken at the door, and staff and patients alike will be wearing masks and socially distancing.

Patients themselves can help by staying at home if they’re sick, filling out paperwork online, and regularly washing their hands.

Going Back to the Doctor’s Office

By now, many states have allowed healthcare practitioners to resume in-person services. Optometrists are back to providing vital regular and urgent care, as well as seeing patients for emergencies, comprehensive eye health and vision care, consultations, and many other areas of practice that were not possible (or outright off-limits) during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

woman getting eye examined at optometrist

For this reason, optometrists around the country are encouraging patients to schedule in-person appointments to address eye care needs that might have gone unnoticed or untreated for the long months of the first phase of the pandemic. Many people who have spent hours of their day on Zoom meetings or watching TV shows on their phones, just inches away from their face, will be struggling with dry eyes or digital eye strain. Now that many restrictions about public services are being loosened, the time is right to go to an optometrist’s office for a checkup.

Keeping Patients Safe

Doctors are aware that after the better part of a year with lockdown restrictions, patients might have questions or concerns about in-person checkups. It is hard to socially distance yourself from someone who has to have their face right next to yours as they conduct an eye exam, for example.

To allay any fears about exposure or transmission of the COVID-19 virus, optometry offices have worked very hard to create a safe, healthy, and welcoming environment for patients. Every office will be different, and every state and jurisdiction will have its own requirements, but the standard factor among all locations is strict adherence to the guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is in addition to similar state and local health directives to reduce the risk of infection, and to afford as much protection as possible to patients and healthcare practitioners alike.

Examples of these directives include rigid instructions for regular cleaning and sterilization of all surfaces, especially common areas like lobbies and restrooms, and treatment and diagnostic equipment. Many offices will undertake this form of cleaning multiple times a day. Some might even temporarily close during the workday, to allow staff (or an outside service) time to clean everything before admitting any more patients.

Additionally, patients might be requested to not bring any guests with them, in order to better manage crowd flow and social distancing. When necessary, guests might be contacted by staff to come and pick the patient up.

Staff might take patients' temperatures before they enter the office, and patients might have to answer questions on whether they’ve had any exposure to or symptoms of COVID-19 before they are allowed to enter. Upon entry, they may be directed to sanitize their hands and put on a facemask if they don’t have one on already. Refusal to wear a facemask could legally be grounds for refusal of service.

What Can You Do?

While these are all things that an optometrist’s practice can do to reassure you during your first visit since the pandemic, there are also things you can do to lower potential risks before and during your appointment.

If you or anyone in your household experiences any symptoms of COVID-19 (like loss of smell or taste, shortness of breath, fever, or cough), stay at home and call your doctor (not your optometrist). Similarly, even if you feel mildly sick, it is best not to take any risks, and you should reschedule your appointment. If you have an eye-related emergency (like pain in one or both of your eyes, or loss of vision), call your optometrist or have a friend call on your behalf.

When in your optometrist’s office, stay six feet away from everyone (except when being examined), and continue to wear your facemask. You should do these things even if you have been fully vaccinated and even if the staff at the office have also received their vaccines.

You may be invited to wear disposable medical gloves if you wish. Cloth face coverings may not be sufficient, and you may be asked to use a disposable mask (provided by the optometrist’s practice) instead.

Keeping Your Hands Clean

There is usually paperwork to fill out for every visit, so many optometrists are using digital platforms to reduce the necessity of different people touching the same sheets of paper and using the same pens. Check with your optometrist if they offer any possibility of filling out your intake forms online before the appointment. Not only will this reduce the amount of face-to-face contact you have with people outside your household bubble, it will also reduce the amount of time you have to spend in the office. This, in turn, helps the staff keep a better handle on crowd flow in their workspace.

Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Make it a point to wash your hands with soap and hot water regularly, and use hand sanitizer whenever provided. If you see a pair of frames you would like to try on, ask the staff before you can touch the frames and place them on your face. You may have to wait for the staff to disinfect the frames.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to exact a huge toll on people, families, and communities. But as the rate of vaccinations increases, there is optimism as many parts of life resume, including routine eye care visits.

References

Is It Safe to Go to the Eye Doctor During COVID-19? Here is What You Need to Know. (May 2020). Health.

Digital Eye Strain in the Era of COVID-19 Pandemic: An Emerging Public Health Threat. (August 2020). Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility. (April 2021). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How to Keep Your Business Safe From COVID-19. (December 2020). Cleveland Clinic.

Temperature Screening: New Guidance From the CDC, FAQs, and Best Practices. (May 2020). The National Law Review.

COVID-19 Employee Return-to-Work Survey. (May 2020). Society of Human Resources Management.

Why Businesses Can Still Require Masks After States Drop Mandates. (March 2021). ABC News.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): What Do I Do if I Feel Sick? (July 2020). Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Masks, Distancing Still Important Even With Vaccination, Study Suggests. (June 2021). CNN.

Announcing the Vivity Extended Depth of Focus IOL at NVISION Centers

Posted on October 19, 2020

We at NVISION® Eye Centers are honored and pleased to introduce the Alcon AcrySof® IQ Vivity™ Extended Vision Introcular Lens. This recently approved Extended Depth of Focus IOL is the latest advancement in IOL technology aimed at providing the patient the ability to gain clear vision at distance (e.g., for watching children playing in the backyard) in addition to better intermediate (working on a computer or applying makeup/shaving) and some near vision (reading,  knitting) compared to what a monofocal IOL would provide. NVISION Eye Centers was selected to participate in a comprehensive study of the new Vivity lens and the NVISION Team was the only center in Orange County that was able to have access to this lens up until its release to the general public in Q4 of this year.

With many Multifocal IOLs on the market today, what makes the new Vivity lens different? 

Vivity is the first of its kind IOL non-diffractive lens that “stretches and shifts” the wavefront to create an extended focal range without monofocal-like a visual disturbance profile.

In other words, there are no rings or “light splitting” technology that previous multifocals/trifocals utilized to channel light energy so patients can see varied ranges of vision. Instead, light rays are “stretched or shifted” to these ranges of vision as a result of X-WAVE™ Technology to provide the broader range of vision.

X-WAVE™ Technology consists of two smooth surface transition elements. Surface #1 is a slightly elevated smooth plateau and surface #2 is a small curvature change. Each surface transition element has a specific function to synergistically stretch and shift the wavefront (light) creating an extended focal range rather than multiple focal points like previous light splitting IOL’s. X-WAVE™ is proprietary technology that lives on the central 2.2mm of the optic anterior.

In addition to the potential benefits of the AcrySof® IQ Vivity™ Extended Vision IOLs, the AcrySof® IQ Vivity™ Toric IOLs provide corneal astigmatism correction, which may provide clearer vision if you have corneal astigmatism. The Vivity Toric IOL is offered in several models for varying levels of corneal astigmatism.

Attributes of this IOL include:

  • Creates a continuous extended focal range to deliver distance, intermediate and some functional near vision for patients (functional near vision could represent J3-J5 according to early information derived from Study).
  • Delivers the benefit of monofocal-like properties so there are minimal visual disturbances.
  • Utilizes nearly all transmitted light coming into the eye (97%).
  • Significantly broadens the market for who is now a viable candidate for a presbyopic correcting lens due to there being no diffractive technology on optic.
  • Available with astigmatic correction (T3-T5) which covers ~ 1-2.5 diopters of cyl.
  • Vivity has been available outside of the US (OUS) for a handful of months thus far and the results/outcomes have been incredible.

As with any new lens introduced to the market, it is the patients experience with the product that really indicates the effectiveness of this technology to meet their needs and enhance their individual lives. So, what are patients saying about this new Lens?

A clinical study was conducted with 106 patients and they were asked about their experience with the AcrySof® IQ Vivity™ Lens:

  • Over 90% reported they were satisfied with their vision. †
  • 94% of patients reported rarely or never needing eyeglasses or contacts at distance.
  • 87.2% of patients were less likely to need glasses at arm’s length in bright light versus 57.6% of patients with a standard monofocal lens. 
  • 46.1% of patients were less likely to need glasses up close in Birght light versus 16.2% of patients with a standard lens. 
  • Patients reported less bothersome glare. 

Vivty Lens

We all are truly excited to have access to the new Vivity technology. We collectively want to thank each and every one of you for considering us for your patients to have early access to this great new technology.

Gratefully, from all of us at NVISION,

Sheri Rowan, MD

Surgeon, NVISION Eye Centers