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Eye exams are a vital part of health maintenance for everyone. Adults should have their eyes examined annually to keep their prescriptions current and to monitor for early signs of eye disease. Children as well as infants should be evaluated closely to ensure proper visual development. Vision is closely linked to the learning process. Many children will not complain of vision problems simply because they do not know what “normal” vision looks like. If your child performs poorly in school, complains of headaches or struggles with homework, it is important to have their vision evaluated. Regular eye examinations are important for seeing more clearly, learning more easily and preserving your vision and visual health for life.

What’s the difference between a good eye exam and a great one? You’ll know it when you see it! Dr. Judy Ngyuen and the other doctors at Bella Eye Care Optometry take extra steps to make sure you get the best eye exam in the Tri-City area. We take pride in seeing things that others don’t. More than just getting a new glasses or contact lens prescription, our thorough eye health examinations will check for cataracts, dry eye syndrome, glaucoma and more. A comprehensive eye exam, like the ones we give at Bella Eye Care Optometry, can often detect dangerous diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and more. Early detection of such diseases may possibly save not just your eyesight, but your life.

A Few Of The Eye Conditions We Routinely Test For

Glaucoma is a term used to describe a group of diseases that can lead to damage to the eye’s optic nerve and result in blindness. In many people, increased pressure inside the eye causes glaucoma. There is a space in the front of the eye called the anterior chamber. A clear fluid is continuously being produced and draining through this area. If this fluid is being produced too quickly or draining too slowly, the pressure in the eye will rise. If this is left uncontrolled, optic nerve damage and visual loss can result.

Anyone can get glaucoma, but some people are at a higher risk than others. They include African-Americans over age 40, everyone over age 60 and people with a family history of glaucoma. Diabetics are also at greater risk for developing this disease. Glaucoma is not curable, but is controllable with treatment, especially if caught early. The doctors at Bella Eye Care Optometry will perform a comprehensive eye examination including tonometry (the measure of the pressure inside the eye), a visual field analysis (the measure of your field of vision) and pupil dilation (which allows a better examination of the optic nerve) to determine your risk for developing glaucoma. Should you be suspected of having glaucoma, further testing is completed and treatment is initiated as necessary.

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens that causes loss of vision. The lens is located behind the iris and pupil. It focuses light onto the retina at the back of the eye. It adjusts to allow us to see clearly both up close and far away.The lens is made of mostly water and protein. As we age, this lens material begins to opacify. This is a cataract. This may worsen over time, making it difficult to see. Cataracts are a particular problem with the California sun. Cataracts have little effect on vision at first. Vision may become a bit blurred, like looking through a dirty window. You may also begin to notice glare from lights and say that colors seem to be faded.

Cataracts are treated with surgery. The clouded lens is removed and most often replaced with a clear, plastic lens. This is usually an outpatient procedure. You will be instructed to use eyedrops and an eye shield while sleeping while your eye heals. This procedure is very successful in restoring vision. Research is showing that there may be several contributors to cataract formation including smoking, diabetes, ultraviolet sunlight and normal aging changes of the eye. If you are diagnosed with cataracts, you may not need surgery for some time. But by having your vision tested at Bella Eye Care Optometry regularly, you can discuss if and when this treatment might be needed.

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels within the retina. The blood vessels may begin to swell and leak or new blood vessels may begin to grow on the surface of the retina. These changes may result in vision loss or blindness. The longer someone has diabetes, the greater his or her risk for developing diabetic eye disease. Almost 50% of all people with diabetes develop some diabetic retinopathy during their life.

There are often no symptoms during the early stages of the disease. There is no eye pain and vision isn’t blurred until the condition worsens. That is why it is so important to have an annual dilated examination if you have diabetes. Some diabetic retinopathy is treatable with the use of a laser. It is used to shrink the abnormal vessels growing in the retina. Studies have shown that this treatment reduces the risk of severe vision loss by 60%. It often cannot restore vision that has already been lost. That is why early detection is so important. Another complication related to diabetes is cataracts. People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop cataracts and often develop them earlier than people without diabetes.

People with diabetes are also twice as likely to develop glaucoma as other adults. The longer you have diabetes, the greater the risk for developing glaucoma. Glaucoma related to diabetes is treated with medications, laser or surgery. If you are diabetic, we urge you to have annual dilated eye examinations with Doctor Nguyen at Bella Eye Care Optometry.

Your eyes are lubricated by tears produced by tear glands in your upper eyelid. Blinking spreads a film of tears across the surface of your eyes that then move to the inside area of your eye and drain through the tear drainage ducts in the nose and throat. Your tears are comprised of three separate layers. They include a watery layer, a mucus layer and an oily layer. An abnormality in any of these three layers can lead to dry eye symptoms.

These symptoms include:

Dryness of the eye Mucous discharge
Redness Sandy or gritty feeling
Itching Burning
Constant or occasional tearing
Watery eyes
Light sensitivity Eye pain or soreness
Lid infections Sties
Tired eyes Contact lens discomfort
Contact lens solution sensitivity Frequent use of lubricating eye drops

Environment plays a large role in your tear layer. Sunny, dry or windy weather can lead to dry eye symptoms. Heaters, air conditioners and high altitudes increase the evaporation of tears from the eye’s surface. If your tear drainage is too great or too slight, you may experience dry eye symptoms. Wearing contact lenses increases tear evaporation and may lead to dry eye symptoms. Tear production gradually decreases with age. At age 65 the tear glands produce about 40% of the lubricating tears they produced at age 18. Certain medications, including decongestants, antihistamines and diuretics may reduce tear production. Other related conditions include sinus/nasal congestion, chronic cough, bronchitis, allergies or hay fever, middle ear congestion, dry throat or mouth, headaches and asthma.

Management of dry eyes can be a challenging process. Lubricating drops and ointments may provide relief for dry eyes. Lacrimal occlusion is often used when lubricating drops alone are not adequate. Lacrimal occlusion is the partial blockage of your tear drainage ducts to preserve natural tears on the surface of the eyes. This procedure often provides long-term relief from dry eye symptoms. Temporary (dissolving) plugs are inserted into your tear drainage ducts. They last four to seven days, during which time your symptoms are monitored. Once the efficacy of the plugs are determined, permanent plugs are inserted. Often lubricating drops are no longer needed following punctal occlusion.

When left untreated, severely dry eyes may lead to chronic infection of your eye and eyelids, corneal ulceration, scarring and permanent vision loss. Doctor Nguyen at Bella Eye Care Optometry will work with you to determine the best option for treating your dry eye symptoms.

Low vision is a condition that exists when ordinary glasses, contact lenses, medical treatment and/or surgery are unable to correct a person’s sight to the normal range. Reduced visual function has a profound influence on an individual’s well being. The goal of low vision services is to maximize the usable sight of a person, enabling them to perform routine tasks.

Doctor Nguyen will complete a thorough eye examination and can recommend strategies to improve the quality of life of those with reduced visual function. Optical devices often used to obtain this goal include hand-held or stand magnifiers, high-power reading lenses, telescopes and tinted lenses. Non-optical devices such as talking books, clocks and calculators, large-numeral telephones and large print reading materials are also introduced and considered.

A person with a vision impairment can often benefit from an orientation and mobility specialist. These services can teach the visually impaired person to travel independently. Doctor Nguyen will be happy to discuss this option and help arrange for these services.

How well your child sees can determine whether or not they clean their rooms and pick up after themselves. Ok, not really but did we get your attention?

Your child’s vision is of utmost importance to their future. The sooner a child has an eye exam, the sooner we can ensure their visual acuities, eye health and, most importantly, the developmental aspects of their vision. We can help remove potential obstacles and increase their ability to learn, to thrive in school and in life.

Physically, children change constantly and so quickly. This is also true of their eyes and vision.

And did you know that 80% of the harmful UV (ultraviolet) radiation your child will be exposed to in their lifetime, here in California, will happen prior to their 18th birthday?

So, please be sure to have your child’s eyes examined every year before school starts to ensure their health and make sure they don’t fall behind.

We see children as young as 6 months old! We suggest having your child’s eyes examined before they are 18 months old, again when they turn 3, and annually thereafter when they start school.

We perform eye examinations to meet the requirements of the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition. It’s the disturbance of the macula, the part of the retina that controls how well we can see detail in front of us—as opposed to seeing things in our periphery. AMD is a leading cause of legal blindness in people age 65 and over, and 1.75 million adults in America suffer from its effects.

As with many eye conditions and diseases, it is often possible to detect early signs of Macular Degeneration during your regular eye examination. Therefore, scheduling regular eye exams is an excellent way for Dr. Nguyen and Bella Eye Care Optometry to make an early diagnosis of Macular Degeneration.

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease in which the normally round cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape. This cone shape deflects light as it enters the eye on its way to the light-sensitive retina, causing distorted vision. Keratoconus can occur in one or both eyes and often begins during a person’s teens or early 20s.

Eyeglasses or soft contact lenses may be used to correct the mild nearsightedness and astigmatism that is caused by the early stages for keratoconus. As the disorder progresses and cornea continues to thin and change shape, rigid gas permeable contact lenses can be prescribed to correct vision adequately. In most cases, this is adequate. The contact lenses must be carefully fitted, and frequent checkups and lens changes may be needed to achieve and maintain good vision. The doctors at Bella Eye Care Optometry are well versed at treating Keratoconus.