Optometry Q&A with Dr. Neha Dada

Neha Dada, O.D., The Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center

Close your eyes – keep them shut. What do you see, nothing?

Imagine trying to work, prepare a meal, or drive, all while keeping your eyes closed? That’s difficult to do…right? The majority of us would not be able to perform our jobs, or complete other daily tasks if we lost our vision. So then why do so many individuals gamble with such a vital sense? Unfortunately, can you think of the last time you had an eye exam? Were they dilated? Did your eye doctor discuss different ways to help keep your eyes healthy?

Some of the leading causes of blindness in the US are related to age, such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, whereas other causes of blindness are linked to systemic conditions such as diabetes. However, it’s possible that blindness from these diseases can be prevented with early detection and treatment. Because the general population is living longer, working past the “retirement age”, and enjoying active and fulfilling lifestyles well into their older age, it is important that we seek routine eye care from a young age to help avoid preventable eye problems.

When should I start having my eyes examined?
Infants as young as 6-9months of age should have their eyes checked, not necessarily for glasses but to ensure they have good eye health. Beginning at age 3, children and young adults need a yearly eye exam. During this age, having clear and comfortable vision plays a vital role in the ability to learn. Because education has become increasingly visually demanding with the introduction of digital learning using e-readers, laptops, and tablets, it has become even more important that this age group sees well to efficiently learn. Those who are ages 18+ should follow their eye doctor’s recommendations for an eye exam –but that should not exceed more than 2 years. Finally, because early detection of eye diseases and disorders can dramatically help save vision, those who are ages 40+ should have their eyes examined yearly.

What is involved in a comprehensive eye exam?
A routine eye exam involves measuring your vision, testing general functions of the eye such as pupils and ocular motility, measuring the pressure within the eye, and performing a dilated retinal exam. Without completing these basic aspects of an eye exam, your eye doctor can not accurately determine if your eyes are healthy.

My eye doctor checks my vision for glasses or contacts, but why are they checking my eye pressure and dilating my eyes?
Your eye pressure is a measure of the fluid that flows in the anterior chamber of the eye. If pressure is too high or too low, the eye can become unhealthy and loose function. Generally, having elevated pressure is not something that one can feel –yet it puts the individual at greater risk for developing glaucoma –a slow progressing degenerative disease that can lead to significant loss of vision if left untreated. Checking eye pressure takes only a few seconds, is completely pain free and non-invasive. A dilated eye exam involves instilling special drops in the eyes that temporarily enlarges the pupil, allowing the practitioner to check for cataracts, retinal diseases, detachments, holes, bleeding, etc.

Overall, everyone should seek eye care from a qualified professional, either an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Don’t gamble with your vision! Find an eye care professional who will take the time to explain conditions, discuss preventative measures, and answer your questions.

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  • Providers involved include:

    Monica Francis, PA

    Avi Silber, MD, FAAP
    Tracy Lucas, FNP
    Adeola Ayodeji, MD, FAAP

    Chanchal Singh, MD
    Sneha Shrivastava, MD
    Penelope Guccione, FNP

    Julie A. O’Connor, CM, LM, MS
    Marian Seliquini, CM, LM, MS

    Koreen E. Thomas, FNP
    Andrea Giovinazzo, FNP-C

    Kate Michalak L.Ac., RPAC

    Alban Burke, DDS

    Neha Dada, O.D.

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