Thomas Eye Group has both ophthalmologists and optometrists working together in an integrated delivery model to give the best eye care. Optometrists are trained specifically to diagnose and treat conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. So, they perform similar examinations to ophthalmologists and are a critical part of the nation’s eye health delivery system, but they are not medical doctors and do not perform eye surgery. After receiving a bachelor's degree, optometrists complete an additional 4 years of training to receive an optometry degree. Some may also spend a year in clinical residency.
When you arrive at Thomas Eye Group, our eye care specialists will ask you about your personal medical history. Our eye doctors consider your age, your personal medical history, and your family history in determining the types and number of tests that will be conducted to assess your eye health. Your doctor will check your eye's reaction to light, measure pupil size, and assess eye alignment and muscle balance. Your doctor will also evaluate how your eyes move.
An ophthalmoscope lets doctors examine the inside of your eye. It has an angled mirror, various lenses, and a light. With it, our doctors can see the retina, the fundus (back of the eye), the optic nerve, the retinal veins, and arteries, and detect certain problems that can affect the vitreous humor (the jellylike substance in the eye). The doctor will ask you to stare straight ahead while the beam of light is shone into the eye. Often, eye drops are used to dilate (enlarge) the pupil, which helps the doctor to have a better view of the inside of the eye. Ophthalmoscopy is painless but if eye drops are used, the patient’s vision may become temporarily blurred and sometimes sensitivity to light may be experienced for some time after the examination.
The visual field is the entire area of vision. To test your peripheral vision (how you see what is not directly in front of you) doctors usually ask patients to close one eye and fix the open eye on the doctor’s face while the doctor moves his or her finger toward the center of vision from above, below, left and right. The patient must tell the doctor when the finger is first detected. The visual field can be measured in greater detail if the doctor finds it necessary. Doctors use visual field testing to check for abnormal blind spots, to monitor for macular degeneration, to detect changes in the characteristics of the optic nerve, stroke or brain trauma, and other medical and eye diseases (glaucoma).
A routine eye exam begins by measuring visual acuity and performing refraction to determine your best vision. How well you see at different distances (visual acuity) depends on how your eyes bend light to focus the picture properly (refraction). Eye doctors use the Snellen chart (a chart of letters or numbers of different sizes) to measure visual acuity. The degree to which you do not have a normal vision is your refractive error. Your eyeglasses and contact lens prescriptions correct your refractive error. Common types of refractive errors are Myopia (nearsightedness), Hyperopia (farsightedness), and Astigmatism (the roundness of the eyeball).
Normal results for a patient are 20/20 vision, no color-blindness, no signs of disease such as glaucoma or diabetes, and normal optic nerve, retinal vessels, and fundus. The doctor will usually correct vision with glasses or contact lenses. However, a routine exam could find things that indicate eye disease, trauma, blockages, or some form of damage. In this case, the eye doctors at Thomas Eye Group will conduct further testing to develop a treatment plan.