Experiencing a gradual or sudden change in your vision can be stressful, confusing, and even frightening, but it is important to get a professional examination as soon as possible rather than ignore the symptoms. Your vision is one of your most precious assets, and at USC Roski Eye Institute, our skilled ophthalmologists are dedicated to providing the most thorough examinations and comprehensive treatments available.
Whether you notice only minor or temporary changes in your vision, it is crucial to pay attention to the symptoms and seek medical attention right away. The majority of eye conditions that lead to visual impairment can actually be prevented or cured if diagnosed early enough.
In order to narrow down the potential causes of your vision problems and whether you are a candidate for treatment, please answer the following questions.
Do you experience cloudy or blurry vision?
Gradual or sudden blurriness in one or both eyes, even if it eventually clears up, can be an indication of a number of eye issues, including:
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration
- Corneal Abrasions
- Infection Retinitis
Blurry, hazy vision can also be an sign of neurological issues, such as stroke, or trauma, such as an injury to the eye. Possible treatments include surgery, artificial corneal transplant, or prosthetic replacement of the ocular surface ecosystem (PROSE). Through a series of test and exams, the ophthalmologists at USC Roski Eye Institute can create and expertly execute your care and treatment to achieve the best possible outcome.
Do you experience peripheral vision loss or tunnel vision?
Darkness around the border of your field of vision is known as tunnel vision or peripheral vision loss and may indicate the following basic causes:
- Optic Nerve Damage from Glaucoma
- Occlusions (Eye Strokes)
- Retinitis Pigmentosa
- Detached Retina
Whether gradual or sudden, as soon as you notice peripheral vision loss, see your ophthalmologist right away. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to cure tunnel vision. However, it is possible to prevent further vision loss with laser treatment or prescription eye drops. In most cases, it will be necessary to identify the cause and treat that issue first.
Are there spots or strings in your vision?
Specks or strings that seem to float by in your field of vision are commonly known as eye floaters and typically occur as a result of age-related changes in the vitreous substance within the eye. Over time, the fibers within your eye can clump together, casting shadows across your retina.
Potential causes of eye floaters include:
- Posterior Uveitis
- Torn or Detached Retina
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Intraocular Tumors
- Eye Injury
Eye floaters are more common among those who are 50 and older, and do not always require immediate treatment. However, it is in your best interest to have your sight examined as soon as you notice any specks or strings. In some cases, laser surgery may be recommended to eliminate the floaters or the vitreous substance can be removed and replaced during a vitrectomy.
Is your center of vision blurry or distorted?
If your vision has gotten blurry or hazy in the center of your field of vision, it is likely that you may be suffering from Age-Related Macular Degeneration. This condition occurs when the macula, located at the center of the light-sensitive retina becomes worn and thin over time. It is possible to treat AMD with photodynamic therapy or laser surgery.
Schedule an Appointment at USC Roski Eye Institute Today
The exceptional eye doctors at USC Roski Eye Institute are experts at diagnosing and treating a wide variety of eye conditions. To receive a comprehensive eye exam and ensure that your vision is protected from further issues or vision loss, please complete our online contact form or call 323-442-6335 today!
To learn more about the health services at the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute with a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu or by calling USC Roski Eye Institute.
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At a time when more people turn to the internet for everything, from information to shopping to making a living, it is not surprising that the concept of “telemedicine” has become more of a reality each day. Now, psychiatric patients can have Skype therapy sessions from the comfort of home, monthly medication prescriptions can be refilled with the click of a mouse, and even an eye exam can be performed with just a laptop and a smartphone. But for all the convenience and efficiency that telecommunication and information technology has brought to our lives, how well can it replace the thoroughness and expertise of a doctor’s appointment?
What Do Online Eye Exam Companies Promise?
One online company in particular, Opternative, has come under scrutiny recently for claiming to offer refractive eye exams that are just as accurate as an in-person exam with an optometrist. Needless to say, the claim drew the attention of the American Optometric Association (AOA), an organization that represents nearly 40,000 optometrists, optometry students, and paraoptometric technicians and assistants, as well as the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the largest national membership association of ophthalmologists, osteopathic doctors, and medical doctors in the country.
According to Opternative, in order to take the online refractive eye exam, a patient needs to be between the ages of 18 and 40 and have access to a computer and a smartphone. Following a series of online visual tests and multiple choice questions, the patient’s results are then sent to a physician to approve or deny the patient’s glasses or contact lens prescriptions within at least 24 hours. Based on Opternative’s own clinical study, the results of the online refractive test are just as accurate as a traditional exam and only use technology that has already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Both the AOA and AAO have openly challenged the online company, stating that Opternative’s claims are misleading to consumers because they highlight convenience, low costs, and FDA approval without providing adequate information about the limitations of the test.
Important Factors to Consider When Taking an Online Vision Test
In order to help the public more accurately evaluate online eye exams, the AAO has issued the following guidelines.
- First, an online test is not a substitute for a one-on-one eye exam. It may be used as a follow-up tool for patients between the ages of 18 and 39 who do not need severe corrective eyeglasses.
- If you experience vision problems, schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist.
- Patients under 18 years of age or 40 and older should not rely on online eye exams. Instead, they should visit a qualified ophthalmologist or optometrist who can identify risk factors or symptoms of eye disease and begin treatment as soon as possible.
- Patients between the ages of 18 and 39 should schedule comprehensive eye exams every five to 10 years to detect eye diseases and conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, or corneal astigmatism that may not present immediate symptoms.
- Online vision tests cannot offer accurate prescriptions for patients that need irregular or high-power prescriptions.
- Online vision tests can test the power of eyeglass prescriptions, but are not effective at testing contact lens prescriptions.
Schedule an Eye Exam at USC Roski Eye Institute
Regular, annual eye exams from a professional optometrist or ophthalmologist are the only way to accurately catch vision problems and get effective treatment. An online eye exam may be appealing for its convenience, but it is important that patients are fully aware of the limitations. Please do not wait to make an appointment with a skilled ophthalmologist at USC Roski Eye Institute for a comprehensive eye exam using the most state-of-the-art technology available.
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