Eye Exam Definitions

Refractive Error: These are conditions that can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses and laser refractive surgery.  Examples are myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness) and astigmatism (irregular shape of the eyes).
Amblyopia:  Developmental disorder often referred to as ‘lazy eye’.  When one eye has much more refractive error (blurrier) than the other, or if the eyes are not properly aligned/balanced, the brain will suppress (‘turn off’) the ‘worse eye’.  This results in the poor development of the affected eye (20/50 or worse).   This condition can only be treated effectively during childhood to achieve normal sight and binocular vision.
Strabismus:  This is when an eye is turned in or out.  The result is amblyopia and the loss of binocular vision and reduced/loss of depth perception.
Eye alignment:  While a persons’ eyes may look straight when both eyes are open, sometimes they are not aligned properly and the patient eyes need to work very hard to maintain binocular vision.  This often result in some or all of the following symptoms: headaches, eyestrain, eye tracking problems (words appear moving), reduced depth perception and problems with near activities such as computer work and reading.
Depth Perception:  Also known as Stereovision, our optometrist will perform a depth perception test to measure how well both eyes team together. Standard on initial children’s exams and a requirement for police and firefighter exams (no extra charge).
Eye Diseases:  The danger in many eye diseases such as diabetes and glaucoma is that early vision loss is masked by the brain and the patient will have no symptoms.  In fact, in glaucoma, 50% of the nerve must be damaged before it can be detected by the most sensitive subjective test (a test that relies on patient response).  This used to be the standard in detecting glaucoma!  Now we have much more sensitive objective testing (not based on patient response) that can determine the disease much earlier!  It goes almost without saying, the prognosis of the large majority of diseases is much better with early detection.
Systemic Diseases:  Often systemic diseases are detected first during one’s eye exam.  By closely examining the eyes, we can often tell whether patients are developing diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other diseases.  Eye exam findings are so important in managing these conditions that we make sure your physician gets your progress report before you even leave our chair!