FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What is Nearsightedness?
- What is Farsightedness?
- What is Astigmatism?
- What is a Retina Specialist?
- What is a Detached Retina?
- Visual Acuity: What is 20/20 Vision?
- What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
- What causes Diabetic Retinopathy?
- What are Bifocals?
- What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
- What is Low Vision?
- How Do I Find The Names of Ophthalmologists in Alabama?
- What is a Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exam?
- Nearsightedness or "Myopia" means you can see better up close than you can at far distances. Myopia occurs because the eye is larger than average. Since myopia is caused by the eye being longer than average, the light that is focused in the eye lands in front of the retina rather than on the retina. Nearsighted glasses, contact lenses, and laser refractive surgery are all used to move the image from in front of the retina to on the retina itself.
- Farsightedness or "Hyperopia" means that you can see better far away than you can close up. However, with higher amounts of hyperopia, you cannot see well far away or close up. Hyperopia occurs because the eye is smaller than average. Since hyperopia is caused by the eye being smaller than average, the light that is focused in the eye lands behind the retina rather than on the retina. Farsighted glasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgery are all used to move the image from behind the retina on to the retina itself.
- Patients with "Astigmatism" have distortion of vision in addition to blurring of vision. Normally, the eye is shaped round like a basketball. With astigmatism, the eye is shaped more like a football. That is, curved more in one direction than it is in the opposite direction. This is usually caused by an irregularly shaped cornea which is steeper in one direction. Astigmatism is corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or laser refractive surgery.
- Retina specialists are specialized eye doctors who treat only diseases of the retina. Any condition of the eye in which there is decreased vision, which cannot be explained by a condition involving the eye lids, cornea, and/or lens, could involve consultation with a retina specialist. The retina specialist is most often called upon when vision can no longer be improved after appropriate glasses have been prescribed and/or cataract surgery to determine the cause of persistent decreased vision, or if there is any abnormality noted in the back of the eye on routine eye examination.
- The retina is an extremely thin tissue that lines the inside of the back of the eye. The retina has been compared to the film of a camera. However, unlike film, the retina continually renews itself chemically and electrically, allowing us to see millions of different images every day without them being superimposed. A retinal detachment is a separation of the retina from its attachments to the underlying tissue within the eye. Most retinal detachments are a result of a retinal break, hole, or tear.
- 20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. 20/20 vision does not necessarily mean perfect vision. 20/20 vision only indicates the sharpness or clarity of vision at a distance.
- Retinopathy is disease of the retina. May people with diabetes get retinopathy. This kind of retinopathy is called diabetic retinopathy (retinal disease caused by diabetes.) Diabetic retinopathy can lead to poor vision and even blindness. Most of the time it gets worse over many years.
- If you are not able to keep your blood sugar levels in a target range, it can cause damage to your blood vessels. Diabetic retinopathy happens when high blood sugar damages the tiny blood vessels of the retina. When you have diabetic retinopathy, high blood pressure can make it worse. High blood pressure can cause more damage to the weakened vessels in your eye, clouding more of your vision.
- A bifocal is a lens that has two focal points, usually one lens for viewing distant objects, and one lens for viewing close objects. A bifocal may contain a visible line across the middle of the lens that separates the two focal portions.
- Dry Eye Syndrome is a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. Its consequences range from subtle but constant irritation to ocular inflammation of the anterior (front) tissues of the eye. Persistent dryness, scratchiness, and a burning sensation in your eyes are symptoms of dry eyes. Another symptom of dry eyes is "foreign body sensation," the feeling that something is in the eye. Dry Eye Syndrome is an ongoing condition that may not be completely curable (depending upon the cause). But the accompanying dryness , scratchiness, and burning can be managed. Your ophthalmologist may prescribe "artificial tears," which are lubricating eye drops that may alleviate certain symptoms.
- Low Vision is a bilateral impairment to vision that significantly impairs the functioning of the patient and cannot be adequately corrected with medical, surgical, therapy, conventional eyewear, or contact lenses. It is often a loss of sharpness or acuity, but may be present as a loss of field of vision, light sensitivity, distorted vision, or loss of contrast. Low vision services do not cure the cause of the vision problem but rather utilize the remaining vision to its fullest potential.
- See the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners website at www.albme.org. See "Look up a Licensee" and follow the directions.
- A comprehensive dilated eye exam is a painless procedure in which an ophthalmologist examines your eyes to look for common vision problems and eye diseases, many of which have no early warning signs. Regular comprehensive eye exams can help you protect your sight and make sure that you are seeing your best. Dilation: Drops are placed in your eyes to dilate, or widen the pupils. Tonometry: This test helps to detect glaucoma by measuring eye pressure. Visual Field Test: This test measures your side (peripheral) vision. Visual Acuity Test: This eye chart test measures how well you see at various distances.
"THE INFORMATION LISTED IN THIS SECTION IS NOT INTENDED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL ADVICE, BUT IS TO BE USED ONLY AS AN AID IN UNDERSTANDING OPHTHALMIC PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES. ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN ABOUT YOUR MEDICAL CONDITION."