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Your eyes are two of your best assets! Here at Aloha Laser Vision, we’re people of vision. We perform a multitude of eye care services designed specifically to achieve the sharpest vision possible for your eyes. Routine examinations, LASIK eye surgery, cataract surgery, and treatments for glaucoma are our specialties, but we have much more to offer. Our experienced eye surgeon—Alan Faulkner, MD—is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and well-versed in the most modern eye care techniques. You can count on Aloha Laser Vision, which has a deep commitment to changing lives through improving vision, for all your eye care needs.
- How the Normal Eye Works
- Abnormal Vision
- Recommended Intervals for Eye Exams
- Reasons to See An Ophthalmologist Immediately
How the Normal Eye Works
The first step in eye care is a basic understanding of how a normal eye works. Much like a camera, light rays are focused onto the retina (a light-sensitive membrane located at the back of the eye) by the lens (a thin, transparent part of the eye behind the iris and the pupil). Electrical impulses carry signals along the optic nerve to the brain, where the image is interpreted.
For the eye to focus clearly, the cornea (clear front surface of the eye) and lens work together. The cornea has a fixed shape and its focus cannot be changed, but the lens does change shape to change focus. This is how we change our focus from distant objects to near objects. An eye that does not focus images clearly usually has a cornea that is abnormally shaped. In this case, the cornea is too steep, too flat, or irregularly shaped. For most patients, the laser can correct these corneal problems, which are commonly known as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism.
There are three primary types of vision problems: nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Because they are caused by abnormalities in the cornea, Dr. Alan Faulkner and technology to correct the cornea’s surface and restore clear vision.
The cause of nearsightedness is a too steep cornea or an eye that is too long. Visual images come to focus in front of the retina, and the image is blurry. Being nearsighted means that objects at a distance will not be in focus, while close vision is clear, unless astigmatism is also present. Nearsightedness is often detected during a school vision screening. Laser treatment corrects nearsightedness by flattening the cornea.
Farsightedness occurs when the cornea is too flat or the eye is too small. Visual images come to focus behind the retina. Being farsighted means that objects at a distance are clearly seen, while close objects will not be in focus. Farsightedness easily goes undetected because patients are usually able to compensate for this vision problem until their thirties or forties, when the problem becomes prominently noticeable as distance vision also deteriorates. Laser treatment corrects farsightedness by steepening the cornea.
Astigmatism is a common vision problem that occurs when the cornea has an oval shape, with more curvature in one direction than in another. Because light rays are focused differently in the two directions, there are two points of focus instead of one, resulting in blurry images, eye strain, or headaches. Doubled, tilted, or ghost images are not uncommon, especially at night. Slight astigmatisms can be ignored, but high degrees of astigmatism will cause both near and distant objects to be blurry. Laser treatment corrects astigmatism by steepening or flattening the cornea into a spherical shape.
Presbyopia: Normal, Age-related Vision Loss
As we get older, typically around age 40, it becomes more difficult for the lens of the eye to change shape and achieve clear focus. Presbyopia, a natural part of the aging process, occurs when the lens can no longer change shape. Patients with presbyopia find their vision blurred when looking at near objects and have difficulty switching focus from near objects to distant objects.
To correct vision for presbyopia, a complete eye examination is needed to determine what strength glasses are needed to see well at a distance. For nearsighted patients, removing their glasses may improve the focus of close objects. For other patients, glasses or bifocals will improve close vision. Laser treatment cannot correct for presbyopia because the laser reshapes the cornea, and not the lens. However, many patients elect to have monovision correction, a procedure that corrects one eye for distance vision and the other eye for close vision. The same results can also be achieved by having LASIK in one eye. To find out more information about the options available for treating presbyopia, please contact Aloha Laser Vision.
Keratoconus is a degenerative eye condition in which the cornea of the eye becomes weak and changes shape. As the cornea thins, the smooth rounded surface bulges forward to form a conical projection that obscures vision. Keratoconus is a progressive disease that can lead to blindness if it is left untreated. In the earlier stages, keratoconus can be treated with corneal crosslinking (CXL), specialized contact lenses, and implants; however, individuals with advanced stage keratoconus may require corneal transplants to restore vision.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness, and actually refers to a group of conditions that damage the optic nerve, thus hampering the ability of the eyes to deliver visual information to the brain. The disease can lead to a progressive, irreversible loss of vision, which occurs gradually over a long period of time. Affecting nearly 1 in 200 people aged fifty and younger, if glaucoma is detected early enough, it is possible to halt the development or at least slow the progression of the disease.
Macular degeneration is the degeneration of the macula, which is part of the retina. This portion of the eye is responsible for central vision. As macular degeneration progresses (typically with age) central vision loss occurs, which can make everyday activities like reading and driving increasingly difficult. The best known way to prevent macular degeneration is to protect your eyes from UV rays.
Recommended Intervals for Eye Exams
While modern technology is always improving our ability to restore abnormal vision, it remains imperative that patients receive regular ophthalmological care to maintain the health of their eyes.
With regular eye examinations, patients can experience the life-long benefits that come from having good vision.
Recommended intervals for eye exams are:
- Age 20-39: Individuals of African or Asian descent or with a family history of glaucoma should have a medical exam every three to five years. Others can be seen at least once during this period.
- Age 40-64: Every two to four years
- Age 65 or older: every one to two years
Reasons to see an Ophthalmologist Immediately
Routine eye exams at Aloha Laser Vision are a necessary part of every adult and child’s overall health. Children should be examined through infancy and their first few years of school to ensure early detection of any potential vision defects; adults should have an eye exam at least every two years, though the ophthalmologists at Aloha Laser Vision prefer to see their patients once a year to ensure optimal vision health.
You should see an ophthalmologist if you have any one of the following symptoms:
- Blurry vision (while wearing glasses or contact lenses)
- Bulging of one or both eyes
- Crossed, turned, or wandering eyes
- Difference in sizes of the eyes
- Discharge, crusting, or excessive tears in the eyes
- Double vision
- Haloes (colored circles or rays around lights)
- Red eye, eye pain, or loss of side vision
- Seeing flashes or streaks of light
- Seeing spots or shadows
- Swelling in any part of the eye
- Twitching or shaking eye
If any of these symptoms occur, contact an ophthalmologist immediately. In addition to the above symptoms, you should seek immediate help if you suffer any eye trauma such as a chemical burn, blunt injury, or a foreign body in the eye.
To schedule a screening or a routine eye exam, contact Aloha Laser Vision today.