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Chester County Press

Oxford Family Eyecare provides new vision testing to assess retinal health

04/14/2015 03:56PM ● By Richard Gaw


Every morning when we wake up, we brush our teeth. Maybe we floss. We shave. We shower. We comb our hair. We conduct all of the rituals of daily routine that enable us to look presentable enough to face the world.

In that daily punch list of hygiene, how many of us think about the health of our eyes?

By the time we reach 50, the effects of age, decades of peering into computer screens, and the radiant absorption of various kinds of light have all conspired to affect our ability to drive, read and conduct the business of life. Over time, our eyes can become susceptible to cataracts and glaucoma, but there is yet another condition that carries with it just as much potential for damage.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration [AMD] is the leading cause of vision loss in people 50 years or over in the United States. In the United States, an estimated one out of every 10 adults over the age of 60 years has AMD. Most patients are first diagnosed with AMD only after having already suffered irreversible visual loss.

The most common form of the condition is known as Dry AMD, which affects up to 90 percent of those who have been detected with AMD. Tiny deposits called drusen start appearing within the retina, and in most cases, its appearance is so insignificant that there are no outward symptoms and no outward appearance. As the amount of drusen increases in the retina, however, AMD patients may begin to see blind spots in the middle of their vision. As Dry AMD progresses, it may develop into Wet AMD, which affects about ten percent of AMD patients. The treatment for Wet AMD is to have injections in the eye every six to eight weeks, in order to keep the blood vessels from hemorrhaging.

By then, however, its effects are irreversible.

Now, there is a breakthrough -- a vision test to determine the presence of AMD -- and it's at Oxford Family Eyecare.

Developed by MacuLogix, Dark Adaptation is a painless, non-invasive procedure that tests the recovery of vision when going from bright light to darkness. The procedure is simple: during the initial screening, patients receive a flash that bleaches out the retina. If they are able to recover their normal vision in six to six-and-a-half minutes, that signifies that there is no detection of AMD. If they're not able to recover in that time, a follow-up test is then done on both eyes to measure the time it takes them to recover their eyesight after taking the test. In addition, retinal photographs are done on the patient to look for any potential hemorrhages or atrophy in the eye.

The test can help detect AMD in patients three to four years before it can be detected by other methods.

For Optometrist Dr. Malcolm H. Kelly, having the Dark Adaptation testing at his eyecare location will potentially save the eyesight of many of his patients.

"A mother of small children came in recently, and she told me that she simply can't drive at night," he said. "A woman recently told me that she sees horizontal yellow streaks whenever she looks at her kitchen counter. It turns out that her parents and grandfather went blind as a result of AMD. These women are both perfect candidates for the testing.

"What we're trying to do through the use of the Dark Adaptation testing is cut off the potential of AMD early, so that it won't progress."

Currently, Oxford Family Eyecare is the only eye care center in the Oxford area that offers the Dark Adaptation testing. It's not surprising; throughout his career in eye care, Kelly has worked closely with area physicians and opthalmologists for the benefit of his patient's health needs, and is committed to incorporating the most advanced technology and equipment to his practice.

"I think a lot of people look at family eye care as nothing more than eye tests and glasses, and we're more of a medical model," Dr. Kelly said. "We focus on the detection of diabetes, macular degeneration and other systemic problems. This testing is just another measure of our commitment."

For more information about the Dark Adaptation testing, call Oxford Family Eyecare at 610-932-9356, or visit www.oxfordfamilyeyecare.com.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail rgaw@chestercounty.com.



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