What is the Purpose of a Diabetic Eye Exam?

Youroptometrist in Falls Church, VA, serves many purposes beyond giving you a prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses. At Nova Vision Center, we’re proud to offer diagnoses and treatment for a wide range of optometric problems, including things like dry eye syndrome, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy, to name a few. One of the ways that we diagnose certain problems is through a diabetic eye exam. If you’re unsure of the purpose of this important kind of optometric exam, read on.

What is a Diabetic Eye Exam?

A diabetic eye exam is a special eye exam designed to detect warning signs of eye endangerment due to diabetes and related disorders. The primary focus of a diabetic eye exam is to check for signs of diabetic retinopathy, the most common and one of the most serious eye conditions associated with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar levels cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye. This damage can lead to blood and other fluids leaking into the retina, causing swelling and the formation of deposits known as exudates. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can progress to more severe forms, potentially leading to retinal detachment or severe vision loss. This is why it’s so crucial to have a diabetic eye exam regularly if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

How is a Diabetic Eye Exam Done?

A comprehensive diabetic eye exam typically includes a visual acuity test and pupil dilation to examine the retina and optic nerve thoroughly, as well as possibly the use of imaging techniques such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) and fluorescein angiography. These tests provide detailed images of the eye structures and can reveal changes not visible through routine eye exams. Whether or not you’ve been officially diagnosed with diabetes, you should get a diabetic eye exam on occasion. Interestingly, sometimes a person is unaware they have diabetes until an optometrist conducts a diabetic eye exam and sees the warning signs.

Remember, even persons without diabetes should get adiabetic eye exam in Falls Church, VA. This kind of exam can only reveal warning signs that your eyesight might be in danger. Contact us today to book yours.

Pros and Cons of Scleral Lenses

State-of-the-art scleral lenses that cover more of the eye’s surface than traditional contacts may be just what the doctor ordered if you have previously had trouble wearing contacts and want to put aside external eyeglasses.

But what are the associated benefits and disadvantages?

Here’s what you need to know: Because scleral lenses are larger than traditional contacts, and because they are hard rather than flexible, they can be worn by people with irregularly-shaped corneas and by those who have had lasik surgery. They are also said to be comfortable for people with chronic dry eye.

Scleral contacts, with proper training, may also be easier to insert and wear because of their size. They are crafted of gas-permeable material, so they allow oxygen to reach your cornea, and they can be worn for longer periods without discomfort or damage to the eye.

However, there are some cautionary guidelines:

For wearers who are new to scleral lenses, adapting to this type of contact may be challenging at first. Even though this type of contact lens was first developed in 1887, they are a relatively recent option for most contact lens wearers. Previous disadvantages, primarily that earlier versions were not gas-permeable and unsuitable for extended wear, have been addressed. Scleral contacts are now as versatile as other types of contacts, and they can provide much-improved vision correction if properly fitted.

The learning curve for user insertion of scleral lenses may be high, and new users will be given intense training and direction on how to properly insert and remove the lenses.

Close monitoring can prevent problems.

Your vision specialist will monitor your use of scleral lenses closely for at least a month with weekly checkups and then every three months thereafter. This type of contact is subject to lens fogging, clouding, and scratches. If monitored closely, though, potential problems can be addressed before they become critical.

If you’re interested in learning more about modern contact lens options, schedule an appointment withNova Vision Centerfor a consultation and vision check.

What Is InfantSEE®?

InfantSEE® is an amazing program developed by the American Optometric Association. The beauty of it is that it offers a free one-time comprehensive eye exam for infants. This program is available free to everyone. It doesn’t matter what your income is or if you don’t have insurance. However, it’s only available to children between six and 12 months of age.

What Happens During an InfantSEE® Assessment?

The optometrist will perform several non-invasive tests during an InfantSEE® exam in Falls Church, VA.

  • Visual Acuity Testing
  • Eye Movement Testing
  • External Eye and Lid Health Check
  • Pupil Response

Your optometrist will then provide you with any guidance and recommendations based on your child’s needs.

When Should I Schedule My Child’s First Eye Exam?

You should schedule your child’s first eye exam between the ages of six to 12 months. Then, at 4-5 years of age, you should schedule a vision screening test. The caveat is that if you notice something unusual, schedule an eye exam for your child immediately.

Where Can I Schedule an InfantSEE® Exam?

Early pediatric eye exams are extremely important! Early intervention will help minimize or prevent many visual issues and developmental delays. So don’t wait! You can get an InfantSEE® exam at Nova Vision Center or any other participating optometrist.

Looking for an Eye Doctor in Falls Church, VA?

Don’t wait to have your child’s eyes examined especially if you’ve noticed something that doesn’t seem quite right. Please Contact Nova Vision Center today. Let us examine your child’s eyes. Then, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing everything is OK or getting the early intervention treatment needed if it’s not.

How Long Does Vision Therapy Take?

Vision therapy refers to a program that can boost your entire visual system. However, because it can be applied to an array of visual issues, it’s by no means one-size-fits-all. If you’re wondering how long you can expect to be in therapy, we’ll look at the specific treatment plans and conditions that affect how much time you’ll spend working on the problem.

How It Works

Visual therapy in Fall Churchs, VA, refers to non-surgical tactics that have been shown to resolve vision problems. It goes beyond contact lenses and eyeglasses and begins with customized plans that match the patient’s needs. For example, a patient with a lazy eye would undergo treatment that strengthens the non-performing eye or a person with crossed eyes would retrain both eyes to work together.

How Long Does It Last?

As you might expect, the more minor the condition, the less time you’ll spend correcting it. The most common time frame is a few months, up to 50 weeks. However, it may last as little as 10 weeks if the eyes are largely functional on their own. In addition, the rate at which a person’s eyes recover will depend on not just the person’s in-office commitment, meaning they show up to every appointment and diligently adhere to the doctor’s instructions. There will also be home exercises that typically take less than 15 minutes per day.

See an Optometrist in Falls Church, VA

If you’re interested in visual therapy, the right eye doctor in Falls Church, VA, can make a big difference. At Nova Vision Center, our staff is trained in not just traditional tactics but also how technology can be integrated for even better results. To learn more, call us about this effective alternative to surgery.

3 Dangerous Myths About Diabetes and the Eyes

Have you been diagnosed with diabetes? If so, working with an optometrist for diabetes vision care in Falls Church is important. Unfortunately, several myths can hinder you from seeking the care you need. Take a look at a few of the most common myths and facts to know about diabetes and your visual health.

Myth: Low blood sugar does not affect the eyes.

Just as high blood glucose levels can harm your eyes and vision, so can low blood sugar levels. Individuals who experience low blood glucose levels can have several issues with their vision, including dim or blurred vision and less color sensitivity than usual.

Myth: Diabetes is not a vision concern if you are on medication.

Even if you consistently take diabetes medication to keep your blood sugar levels stabilized, it is important to seek routine vision checkups. While your blood sugar may seem stable, the condition can still affect your eyes. The more proactive you are about monitoring for changes, the less likely it will be that diabetes leads to a condition like diabetic retinopathy.

Myth: Diabetics don’t need eye exams more frequently than usual.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, having an annual eye exam is important. Normally, adults only need an eye exam every few years unless certain concerns need to be monitored. Therefore, you do need more frequent appointments.

Discuss Diabetes and Your Eyes with a Falls Church Eye Doctor

If you have diabetes, it’s important to create a care plan with an eye doctor in Falls Church. Contact the team at Nova Vision Center to schedule an appointment.

What Should I Know Before Scheduling an Appointment with Nova Vision Center?

At Nova Vision Center in Falls Church, VA, we pride ourselves on our full-service, family-oriented vision and eye-care practice. We like to create long-term relationships with our patients, and we have been serving clients in northern Virginia for more than 70 years.

Let’s Get Acquainted

If this is your first visit—whether you are four, 14, or 40—we will want to know your vision history and whether you have a specific eye or vision problem.

Also, be prepared to share your general health history, daily routine, and medications you regularly take. If you have specific vision problems or a family history of eye or vision conditions, we will add that information to your file.

We are always happy to discuss the concerns of parents with young children. Today, we can effectively test and identify vision problems even in toddlers and prescribe corrective lenses if necessary.

Our trained specialists will advise you about options that fit your lifestyle and budget, no matter the patient’s age.

Diagnostic Efficiency

We utilize state-of-the-art equipment and modern examination tools, along with our training and experience, to assess your eye health and vision needs and recommend the best solutions or corrective lenses.

Whatever you are experiencing — difficulty reading or driving, dry or itchy eyes, or blurred vision — we can test for underlying causes, including genetic or inherited medical problems.

In addition to assessing your ability to see properly, our doctors will discuss any symptoms you report, review your treatment history, and check your current prescriptions.

Age-related Concerns

We’ll work together to determine a solution to any specific complaint, whether for you or your children.

In addition to assessing your ability to see properly today, our team is happy to discuss any concerns you have about the future, including diagnosis and treatment of progressive conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, or Macular degeneration.

The Benefits of Vision Therapy for Stroke Recovery

If you’ve had a stroke, you know the physical and cognitive effects it can have on your life. And that includes the effect it has on your vision. That’s where your optometrist in Falls Church, VA, can help.

Vision-Related Therapy to Help in Your Recovery After Having a Stroke

Here are several ways vision therapy in Falls Church, VA, can help you improve your vision after you’ve had a stroke.

How Vision Therapy Helps in Stroke Recovery

Vision therapy can quite possibly help in your stroke recovery. It’s a non-evasive and highly effective option for improving your visual functions. It does this by strengthening the synaptic function of any residual cells surviving after your stroke. It can also help to halt further degradation of your visual perception.

The Benefits of Vision Therapy After Having a Stroke

Post-stroke vision therapy has many benefits, including improving eye movements, visual tracking, depth perception, and peripheral vision.

The Importance of Early Intervention

The key to vision therapy after having a stroke is getting help early on. Early intervention will help ensure you get the most out of your vision therapy. The sooner you start your vision therapy sessions after having your stroke, the better the chances are your vision and overall recovery will improve.

Do You Need an Optometrist in Falls Church, VA?

If you’ve had a stroke and are experiencing vision challenges, seek help immediately! Don’t wait! Your vision recovery depends on it. Contact Nova Vision Center today. We can help. At Nova Vision Center, we offer comprehensive vision therapy services designed to address various visual issues. We look forward to helping you improve your vision before it’s too late.

Should My Child Have Visual Acuity Testing?

When very small children clearly can’t tell you what they can and can’t see, you may wonder if you should wait until they can have a standard eye exam. We’ll look at how visual acuity testing works alongside the recommended schedule for eye exams.

Early Signs of Vision Problems

A doctor can spot vision problems in children as early as birth. While they won’t be able to tell whether your child can see the bottom row, they will check the size, shape, movement, and pupil response of the child’s eyes. They may be able to identify anything from cloudy corneas to cataracts within newborns.

Visual Acuity Testing in Children

Children between 6 months and a year old should have their eyes checked by a doctor, who will largely monitor for the same issues listed above. However, once a child is around three or four, they can usually complete more interactive tests at a pediatric eye exam in Falls Church, VA. Whether they know their letters or not, this is a good time to clarify their visual acuity. From there, regular eye exams are recommended around once a year after the age of five.

Eye Exams in Falls Church

At Nora Vision Center, our optometrists in Falls Church, VA, use age-appropriate techniques to assess your child’s visual acuity, but this is only one part of the exam. Our team is there to check for signs of lazy eye, color vision, and even neurological conditions. It’s our job to work with parents to identify issues as early as possible and intervene whenever we can, particularly if your family has a history of eye disease. Even serious visual conditions can potentially be mitigated with the right treatment, so it’s crucial to schedule regular exams for your child.

How Does Vision Therapy Work?  

Vision therapy is an innovative approach to treating many vision problems. It’s a customized treatment program available at Nova Vision Center, designed to improve visual skills and abilities, enhance visual comfort, and alter how visual information is processed. This specialized form of therapy isn’t available everywhere, but you can get vision therapy in Falls Church, VA, at Nova Vision Center.

Why Vision Therapy Works

Vision therapy has been compared to physical therapy, but it’s much more involved than that. This groundbreaking therapy is based on neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s innate ability to alter and adapt in response to stimuli. To put it simply, it’s the brain “learning” to act differently. The brain is heavily involved in vision, and by completing certain exercises and activities, the way the brain functions with your eyesight can be changed and—more importantly—improved!

How Vision Therapy Works

Vision therapy involves a series of visual tasks and exercises performed both in the office and at home. The therapy is highly customized to each patient’s unique needs and may involve the use of therapeutic lenses, prisms, filters, and computerized visual activities. The goal is to train the visual system to correct itself by reinforcing connections between the eyes and the brain, improving eye coordination, focusing, and processing visual information.

Who Can Benefit From Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy benefits individuals of all ages who suffer from a range of issues. This includes people with binocular vision problems (such as convergence insufficiency), strabismus (misalignment of the eyes), amblyopia (“lazy eye”), and visual-perceptual disorders. It’s also effective for eye strain or discomfort from prolonged computer use, known as computer vision syndrome.

To learn whether you are a good candidate for vision therapy, contact your Falls Church, VA optometrist. We offer consultation appointments in addition to eye exams and help with prescriptions.

Understanding Macular Degeneration

As you age, it’s important to be aware of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration most typically affects older folks, although there are rare instances when younger people are impacted. The most common kind is called age-related macular degeneration since it occurs in older adults. Understanding this condition is crucial for early detection and management of macular degeneration in Falls Church, VA.

Two Types of Age-related Macular Degeneration

The macula is a small but crucial part of the retina, which is the light-sensitive layer of tissue located at the back of the inner eye. It’s primarily responsible for central vision and color perception. Changes in these two areas of vision are often symptoms of the onset of age-related macular degeneration, or AMD.

The two types of AMD are wet and dry:

Dry Macular Degeneration – This form is more common and occurs when the macula thins over time, gradually blurring central vision. It’s characterized by the presence of drusen, which are tiny yellow deposits under the retina.

Wet Macular Degeneration – Less common but more severe, this type happens when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and leak fluid or blood, damaging the macula.

Why Does AMD Occur?

There are many reasons why AMD occurs. One is that it is simply a part of the aging process. Like other body parts, the macula ages, as well. A natural deterioration occurs, which is why this condition mainly affects older persons.

Another reason has to do with genetics. If you have a family member with AMD, your risk is higher and you’ll also develop the condition.

If you want to learn how to prevent AMD, you should be aware of lifestyle factors. Excess alcohol consumption, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, and poor nutrition all increase your risk for AMD.

When you visit your optometrist in Falls Church, VA, we will check for signs of AMD. Contact us today for your next eye exam appointment.