An ophthalmologist – Eye M.D. – is a medical or osteopathic doctor who specializes in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists are specially trained to provide the full spectrum of eye care, from prescribing glasses and contact lenses to complex and delicate eye surgery.
Ophthalmologists are different from optometrists and opticians in their training and in what they can diagnose and treat. As a medical doctor, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and surgery.
Increasing regulations require us to have you fill out many forms. You are welcome to print and complete these at home, then bring them with you to help expedite your visit!
Visual Field Test
A perimetry test (visual field test) measures all areas of your eyesight, including your side, or peripheral vision. It can detect early changes in vision caused by nerve damage from conditions such as glaucoma and stroke.
The HRT or Heidelberg Retinal Tomograph is a state-of-the-art diagnostic device used in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma. It produces a 3-dimensional image of the optic nerve, thus allowing us to accurately assess for structural damage from glaucoma over time.
The VEP or Visual Evoked Potential measures the electrical impulse transmitted from the retina to the occipital lobe of the brain (the part of the brain with which we "see") allowing us to measure with high sensitivity any abnormality in the visual pathway.
If you have diabetes mellitus, your body does not use and store sugar properly. High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels in the retina, the nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and helps to send images to the brain. The damage to retinal vessels is referred to as diabetic retinopathy.
Macular degeneration is a disease of the macula – the central area of the retina at the back of the eye that allows you to see fine details and do things such as read and drive. When the macula does not work properly, your central vision can be blurry and have areas that are dark or distorted. Macular degeneration affects your ability to see near and far, and can make some activities – like threading a needle or reading – difficult or impossible. Macular degeneration is the most common cause of severe vision loss in people older than 50.
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve – the part of the eye that carries the images we see to the brain. When damage to the optic nerve occurs, blind spots develop starting in the side vision. These blind spots can go undetected until the optic nerve is significantly damaged which ultimately can cause complete blindness to the point of not being able to see light. Early detection and treatment by your ophthalmologist are the keys to preventing optic nerve damage and blindness from glaucoma.
A Cataract is a clouding of your eye’s natural lens that affects many of us as we age. Cataracts are the leading cause of visual loss in adults 55 and over. A cataract may be the reason sharp objects become blurred, bright colors become dull, or seeing at night becomes difficult.
Cataract surgery entails making a tiny incision in the eye and inserting an instrument about the size of a pen tip to break up and remove the cloudy lens. Once the cloudy lens is removed, a replacement lens implant or “IOL” is inserted through the same tiny incision and set into its permanent position within the same membrane or “lens capsule” that used to hold the natural lens that had become a cataract.
Types of Intraocular Lenses (IOL)
An intraocular lens (IOL) is an artificial lens that is implanted during cataract surgery. Traditionally, monofocal IOLs were used for cataract surgery which can restore functional vision, but not at all distances. Thus, people still need glasses to correct for other distances. New-generation “premium” lenses can often give you adequate vision at most distances thus decreasing your dependence on glasses, bifocals, or reading glasses. Presbyopia correcting lenses are available in two types:
1. Multifocal lenses which have several rings of different powers built into the lens. The part of the lens (ring) you look through will determine if you see clearly at a far, near or intermediate distance.
2. Accommodative lenses are hinged to work in coordination with the eye muscles. The design allows the accommodative lens to move forward as the eye focuses on near objects, and backward as it focuses on distant objects.
Also, astigmatism-correcting lenses address those with pre-existing astigmatism, again decreasing dependency on glasses.
Floaters and Flashes
Floaters are actually tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous, the clear gel-like fluid that fills the inside of the eye. They may look like small specks or clouds moving in your field of vision. Flashes are caused by traction, or pulling, on the retina by the vitreous to which it is attached. As we age, the vitreous gel condenses and shrinks, forming clumps or strands inside the eye, and pulling on its attachments to the retina. This is a common cause of floaters and flashes which should be evaluated to rule out retinal detachment as noted below under Vitreous Detachment.
When the vitreous gel pulls away completely from the retina it is called a posterior vitreous detachment. This is not generally a serious problem although floaters, flashes, and vitreous detachment can sometimes be associated with a tear in the retina which can cause it to detach. A careful, dilated retinal examination is usually required to rule out a retinal detachment which requires laser and/or surgery to repair when it occurs.
Dilating eye-drops are used to dilate, or enlarge, your pupils so your doctor can see the inside of your eye in detail. They can also relax the focusing muscles of the eye allowing for a more accurate refraction.
Common Vision Problems
(Nearsightedness) People who are nearsighted can see close up, but have difficulty seeing distant objects. Myopia is typically caused by an eye that is too long, which causes light to focus in front of the retina.
(Farsightedness) People who are farsighted can see far off, but have difficulty seeing near objects, especially after 40 years of age. Hyperopia is typically caused by an eye that is too short, which causes light to focus behind the retina.
Presbyopia is an age-related condition that blurs near vision. It’s caused by a gradual loss of flexibility in the eye’s natural lens and surrounding muscles which decreases the ability of the lens to change shape or "accommodate" from distance to near vision.
When the surface of the cornea (the clear "window" in the front of the eye) is curved more like a football than a basketball it causes “corneal astigmatism” which blurs vision at all distances.
Refraction is the measurement of your eye's nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and/or presbyopia which determines the power of your glasses, contacts, or laser vision correction. It is often done after dilation in order to reduce accommodation which can artificially inflate the amount of nearsightedness measured.
Regular eye exams are important.
Schedule yours today!
TO SCHEDULE: Call our office (704) 864-7789
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We request at least 24 hours notice if you cannot keep a scheduled appointment so that we may offer that time to another patient. We reserve the right to charge for missed appointments at the rate of $25 per missed appointment. Excessive no-shows may result in dismissal from the practice. Please help us serve you better by keeping your appointments.
Payment is due when services are rendered. Patients without insurance who pay in full at the time of their visit receive a discount for saving us from having to file for insurance payment. Patients with insurance must pay their co-payments at the time of their visit, along with any other required fees based on their purchased goods and services and their insurance policy. We will then bill their insurance company (and secondary insurance company if applicable) for their part.
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"All staff members are wonderful, very thorough and discusses all issues." -Tina R.
"Dr. Allf is a very good and patient doctor." - Margaret J.
"Very impressed with doctors and staff." - Jack B.
"Doctor always takes ample time and answers all my questions." - Barbara D.
"Doctor always walks me to check out desk--a kindness I appreciate." - Barbara D.
"It has been one month since you performed Lasik correction of my vision. I am delighted with how wonderful the results have been and how easy it was to achieve them....I feel that I can see significantly better than with my contact lense. Thanks a million for making this possible."
"I would like to thank you for one of the greatest gifts I've ever received--the gift of clear vision!...Thank you again for your caring and kind manner, your expertise, and the care of your staff."