Happy 2014 to all our patients and friends from all of us at the Nielsen Eye Center! With a new year comes the ability to wipe the slate clean and change our habits in areas of health, friendships, family and finances. Our bodies are one of the most important gifts given to us and cherishing and maintaining this powerful vessel should be included in all of our resolutions. Indeed our ‘eyes are the window to the soul’ but what many of us don’t know is that they also carry very important information regarding the body’s overall health. This is why community eye screenings have become such an important part of our practice.
Our eye screenings take place at community centers throughout the South Shore and our main goal is awareness. Awareness costs approximately 5 minutes of your time. It will include a basic visual acuity test, eye pressure recording, and brief examination of the eye. With these basic steps, we are usually able to discover dry eye conditions, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retina changes and even changes related to macular degeneration. These screenings aren’t intended to replace a full eye exam but we believe that awareness is essential for patients to learn more and then at a later date, receive a full eye exam if they wish.
Here is a summary of the conditions listed above that eye screenings can help discover:
Dry Eye: A very common condition that may or may not be related to other diseases of the body. Symptoms include ‘tired eyes’, irritation, and/or gritty feeling of the eyes. Most dryness worsens in the winter months and ophthalmologists are able to treat and improve this condition with various lubricants and medications.
Cataracts: Most common reversible condition responsible for decreased vision across the world. This is an age-related change that occurs in the natural lens of the eye. With time, the lens becomes ‘milky’ or cloudy which may lead to decreased vision, glare with lights, or trouble reading.
Glaucoma: A disease affecting the nerves responsible for carrying visual information to our brains. This disease usually affects people over the age of 40 however may present in children as well. The pressure in your eyes is typically increased and eventually will lead to vision loss. Glaucoma is referred to as the “silent thief of sight” because patients usually do not have any symptoms until vision loss is severe. Treatment usually starts with eye drop medications and in more severe cases, surgery.
Diabetic Retinopathy: Changes of the retina including bleeding, swelling, and new blood vessel growth in diabetic patients that may lead to severe visual loss if left untreated. Annual eye exams are extremely important in this patient population.
Macular Degeneration: Age-related changes in the retina in patients over the age of 50. This condition is increased in individuals with a family history of the disease as well as patients who are Caucasian, female, or smoke. An annual eye exam can screen for this condition and preemptive measures can be started to decrease its progression.
To schedule a free screening, either for yourself or for a group, call The Nielsen Eye Center at 617-471-5665. We wish you a very healthy and joyful year!