Monthly Archives: November 2012

Yearly Eye Exam | Claris Eye Care

We’ve all heard the old English proverb that “The eyes are the window to the soul”, but did you know that your eyes are also truly a window to your body?! Having an annual eye exam can alert your physician to a number of serious underlying diseases, like multiple sclerosis, diabetes or even a brain tumor. As with any other health related issue, early detection is critical for preventative measures to be taken.
Claris is here for you.

At some point in our lives, we’ve all thought it would be interesting to see into our future, right?

Well here’s a future prediction for those of you who don’t make routine yearly eye exams: Failure to take care of your eyes properly, will likely lead to more suffering, cost and possible health issues in your future…There are social, occupational and costly consequences of poor vision and vision loss or blindness.
A survey done by Lighthouse International, a nationwide survey, predicts a “rising prevalence in sight robbing diseases like age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy that will leave some 61 million Americans at high risk of vision loss”. It also showed that only a small percentage of those MOST at risk get the yearly exam. Hmmm.

So who’s “at risk”?

  • After the age of 40 (hello, been there, done that) having a routine annual eye exam is a generally good idea. At around age 60, it is absolutely recommended because of the increased risk in developing glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts and other eye diseases.
  • Diabetes is the third leading cause of blindness in the U.S. If you have diabetes, an annual eye exam should be mandatory.
  • Contact lens wearers need to have a lens evaluation and eye exam annually. Obviously making sure your prescription is up –to- date is important, but your eye doctor also needs to inspect for any small complications related to wearing contact lenses-like curvature of the cornea or abnormal blood vessel growth.
  • Lastly, if you have other chronic medical problems such as allergies, hypertension or arthritis you really should schedule an eye exam annually. I can actually put myself in this category, as I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. My eyes were bothering me, beyond just allergy type symptoms, and I found out, thanks to an eye exam, that I now have, essentially, arthritis in my eyes! There are measures I can take, and of course it’s kind of a drag to have “one more thing to take care of”. However, there is no quantifiable way to measure peace of mind.

What can you expect from an eye exam?

A standard, comprehensive ophthalmic exam is a series of tests that check your eyesight, neurological functions, eye muscle coordination, eye pressure and general health of the internal and external eye structures. The tests cause no pain or discomfort. You will need to avoid eyestrain on the day of the test, and may need some time before driving if the doctor uses eye drops to dilate your pupils.
After reviewing any current issues, your eye care history and overall health/medication questions, the technician and/or doctor will check your visual acuity reading letters on a chart and will then place several lenses in front of your eyes to see if you need glasses. Other parts of the exam may include the following tests:

  • To see if you have proper three-dimensional vision.
  • To check your peripheral vision.
  • To check your eye muscles by asking you to look in different directions at a penlight , as well as checking to see that they constrict properly to light.
  • To check the retina and nearby blood vessels, back of the eye and optic nerve area- using a magnifying glass that has a light on the end.
  • And possibly to check for glaucoma and Color blindness.

Vision is one of your most precious senses and having good eyesight greatly improves your quality of life. So dear readers, it’s worth repeating:
A yearly eye exam can detect a vision or other health related problem and therefore prevent or even reverse it’s progression!

Don’t delay, call Claris and make your appointment at 612.775.8009 or by email at today.

You’ve Got Some Optic Nerve | Minneapolis Eye Surgery

Out of all our five senses, the one we walk around taking the most for granted is our vision. And certainly, the last thing on our minds, on a daily basis, is checking out how our ‘optic nerve’ is doing.
But what you should know and consciously be thinking about, is that there is an eye disease, called “Glaucoma” that is like a silent thief in the night, who robs you of your sight. It could be 10 years before there are any noticeable signs or symptoms of Glaucoma, by which time the damages are irreversible.

Glaucoma is a disease of the major nerve for vision- the Optic Nerve. This nerve receives light generated nerve impulses from the retina and transmits these to the brain, where those electrical signals are recognized as vision.

Glaucoma is usually associated with elevated pressure in the eye (called Intraocular Pressure) but not always! It’s tricky-it can also be characterized by progressive damage to the optic nerve which begins with subtle loss of side vision.

There are two main types of Glaucoma: Open Angle and Angle- Closure. The most common type of the two is “Open-Angle”- its also called Primary or Chronic Glaucoma-it means that the angle where the Iris meets the Cornea is as wide and open as it should be. This condition develops slowly and has symptoms and damage that are sometimes not noticed.
The less common form of Glaucoma is “Angle Closure”- also called Acute Glaucoma or Narrow-Angle Glaucoma- characterized by a closed or narrow angle between the iris and Cornea. With this type, symptoms and damage develop very quickly and are usually very noticeable demanding immediate medical attention.

While just about everyone is “At Risk” for Glaucoma, there are certain people who are at a much higher risk and absolutely must be checked out more frequently by their eye doctor. Here are some of the major risk factors involved:

  • Having Diabetes
  • A family history of Glaucoma
  • African-American ancestry
  • A history of elevated intraocular pressure
  • Nearsightedness &/or Farsightedness
  • A history of injuries to the eye
  • Use of cortisone or steroids

If you are reading this and find yourself thinking “I wonder if I could have Glaucoma?”, then it is definitely time to visit your eye doctor! Because even though nerve damage or visual loss from Glaucoma cannot usually be reversed, Glaucoma is a disease that can be controlled. Treatments, which may involve eye drops, laser or surgery, can make the intraocular pressure normal thereby preventing or slowing down further damage.

In the past several years, due to the increasing amount of Americans with Glaucoma, there have also been increased efforts to enhance public awareness (* see The Glaucoma Foundation and The Glaucoma Research Foundation) and offer free national screenings for those at risk.

In conclusion, as I mention so often in these blogs, there is no price for peace of mind. If Glaucoma is not diagnosed and treated, it can progress from loss of central vision to blindness.

Protect your sight. Call Claris today to schedule an appointment at 612.775.8009 or by email at