About Your Eyes
Healthy Eyes, Healthy People.
The nations health agenda is embodied in a ten year plan that brings to light the most important health trends of the new millennium. Healthy People 2010 seeks to build collaborative efforts among health care providers and their communities that address the glaring health needs of our society. The American Optometric Association created Healthy Eyes, Healthy People in response to this movement. Here are four examples of how Family Eye Health and Contact Lens Center is bringing Healthy Eyes, Healthy People to life.
Objective 1. Reduce impairment due to refractive errors in school age children
See Maine Learn is a collaborative effort among the Maine Optometric Association, the Maine School Nurses Association and the Maine Department of Education. This effort was spearheaded by Dr. Mailhot two years ago. The initiative targets school age children across the State grades 1-5 with impairment due to undetected vision problems. School nurses and optometrists throughout the State have joined in training sessions to improve the current method of school vision screening. The result is that nurses are better equipped to find the vision problems that contribute to school failure. The improved expanded vision screening technique is inexpensive, easy to administer, and uncovers 40% more vision problems that are not detected with the traditional Snellen Visual Acuity screening. Detection of the problems is half the battle. Statistics show that the majority of children who need glasses don’t ever get them. Many never follow up with an eye care provider for a comprehensive eye examination. The back to school season is an ideal time for parents to bring their children to the Family Eye Health & Contact Lens Center for eye examinations.
Objective 2. Reduce blindness due to amblyopia
InfantSEE is an optometric initiative that addresses prevention of amblyopia, which is the most common cause of blindness in young people. Treatment of amblyopia before age 5 is critical, yet only ½ the children are diagnosed before age 5. The American Public Health Association, the Academy of Pediatrics, the Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association call for professional eye and vision care for our infants. To meet this need, the Family Eye Health & Contact Lens Center will provide a one time no cost vision health assessment to infants six to twelve months of age. InfantSEE is meant to be a useful adjunct to traditional pediatric care. Reports will be forwarded to the infant’s pediatrician. Contact http://www.infantsee.org/ for more information.
Objective 3. Reduce vision loss due to diabetes
Diabetic Retinopathy is a leading cause of vision impairment in Americans over age 40. Five million Americans have diabetic retinopathy, and these numbers are predicted to double in 30 years. Diabetic retinopathy happens when some of the small blood vessels in the retina leak. At first there may be no symptoms but as the condition worsens vision will blur. Don’t wait for symptoms because diabetic retinopathy is more difficult to reverse as it progresses. Approximately half of the people diagnosed with diabetes have some diabetic retinopathy. Pregnant women with diabetes should have there eyes examined during pregnancy. A comprehensive eye examination done by an ophthalmologist or optometrist should be part of every diabetic patient’s health routine. The basic tests for detection of retinopathy are visual acuity, dilated eye exam, and tonometry. If you have lost vision from diabetic retinopathy, ask your eye care professional about low vision services. The Maine Optometric Association recognizes the importance of thorough eye health assessment for the diabetic patient. The prevention of vision impairment from diabetic retinopathy is a major vision objective for every optometrist. Dr. Mailhot has streamlined his communications with primary care physicians in order to share important information needed to prevent and treat diabetic eye disease. Contact www.nei.nih.gov/health/diabetic/retinopathy for more information.
Objective 4. Reduce vision loss due to glaucoma
Glaucoma is called the silent thief of sight. This is because there are no symptoms in the early stage of open angle glaucoma. Eventually, people with glaucoma develop some loss of side vision which can progress to tunnel vision, or complete extinction of sight. Approximately 2 million people have glaucoma that is diagnosed, but studies estimate that there are another 2 million cases that are undetected. The most common finding in glaucoma is elevated ocular pressure, however sometimes the pressures remain normal. Glaucoma is detected in a comprehensive eye examination that includes, visual acuity, visual fields, optic nerve imaging, tonometry, and pachymetry. Some of these tests require eye drops that either anesthetize the eye or dilate the pupil. Glaucoma can be treated with medicines and, or surgery to relieve the eye pressure. Because glaucoma often does not have symptoms patients might stop using their medication because they don’t see the difference. This is a serious mistake that can result in loss of vision. In closed angle glaucoma the angle between the iris and the cornea gets blocked which results in sudden increases in eye pressure. There may be pain, redness, headache, or blurred vision associated with these episodes. This is an emergency. You must seek treatment by an eye specialist immediately. Blindness can occur within a few days. Always consult an ophthalmologist or optometrist before taking any medications that may worsen glaucoma. Dr. Mailhot is licensed to treat glaucoma independently by virtue of postgraduate training and certification. Contact www.nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma for more information.
"Dry Eye Syndrome is the chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture in the eye. Symptoms include: persistent dryness, scratching, and burning. It can be particularly bothersome for wearers of contact lenses...."
"Even if you're generally a successful contact lens wearer, allergy season can make your contacts uncomfortable. Airborne allergens can get on your lenses, causing discomfort. Allergens can also stimulate excessive production of natural substances in your eyes, which bind to your contacts and become uncomfortable...."
"Light sensitivity, or photophobia, is an intolerance of light. The main symptom of photophobia is discomfort in bright light and a need to squint or close your eyes to escape it. Headaches may also accompany light sensitivity...."
Computer Vision Syndrome
"Odds are, if you use a computer regularly, you suffer from Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Symptoms include: eyestrain, eye fatigue, dry eyes, burning eyes, etc. There are steps you can take to alleviate these symptoms...."
Presbyopia and Aging Eyes
"There's no getting around it -- this happens to everyone at some point in their life, even if they've never had a vision problem before...."
"It's amazing that something so small can have so many working parts! (Click on the words for their definitions)...."