OUR SERVICES

Treatment of eye disease and visual disorders

At Visual Concepts, we are committed to providing advanced vision care in a professional and comfortable environment. Our primary eye care service includes a complete eye exam that analyzes eye health and vision function. In addition to eye exams and vision testing, we provide testing for dry eye disease, glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration. We offer glasses, contact lenses, and pre- and post-operative care.

Eye Exams

We take even routine eye exams very seriously. During a yearly or bi-yearly examination, our patients receive a patient history review, a series of vision and eye tests, assessments of eye focusing and movement, and an eye health evaluation. Our optometrist will discuss any additional testing that may be required to diagnose an eye disease or condition.

Contact Lenses

Not sure that glasses are for you? Ask us about contact lenses. Advances in the field of optometry have produced a variety of different types of contact lenses with a range of benefits. Rigid gas-permeable (RGP), daily-wear soft, extended-wear, extended-wear disposable, and planned replacement are the various types of contact lens options available today. Our optometrist will discuss the various options with you to determine which type will best fit your needs and lifestyle. Schedule your examination today by calling or booking an appointment online. They are many advantages to consider when determining if contact lenses are right for you and our knowledgeable staff is here to answer any questions.

Adult Eyecare

All adults and adolescent should have eye exams on a regular basis to check for eye health problems. More than just checking your vision, regular eye exams help detect glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts and diabetic retinopathy among other health problems.

African-Americans are at greater risk for glaucoma, and should have eye examinations every 1 to 2 years before age 40 and every 1 year after age 40.

People with diabetes are at risk for several eye disorders, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts, and should have eye examinations every year.

During an eye exam, an optometrist reviews your medical history and completes a series of tests to determine the health of your eyes. The exam will evaluate both your vision and the health of your eyes. If you wear prescription glasses or contacts, bring them to your appointment along with a pair of sunglasses for the trip home in case your doctor needs to dilate your pupils.

Retinoscopy
This test may be used to help determine your prescription. During retinoscopy, you will be given a large target to focus on, typically a chart with letters decreasing in size from top to bottom, while a small light is directed at your eye.

Refraction
This test determines your exact vision prescription. During this test, the doctor puts an instrument called a phoropter in front of your eyes and shows you a series of lens choices. Refraction determines your level of farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia.

Fundus Photography
Fundus photography involves photographing the posterior pole of the eye. It is useful to detect and monitor certain eye conditions for example diabetes, glaucoma, macular degeneration.

Cover Test
During a cover test, the eye doctor will have you focus on a small object at distance and will then cover each of your eyes alternately while you stare at the target. This indicates how your eyes work together and can help detect strabismus (eye misalignment), amblyopia and other vision issues.

Slit-Lamp Examination
The slit lamp is used to examine the health of many of the structures of your eyes, inside and out. With your chin on the chin rest, the doctor will shine the lamp into your eye. This procedure can help detect cataracts, corneal ulcers, diabetic eye disease, macular degeneration, and other conditions.

The Glaucoma Test
This test measures the pressure inside your eye. The most common glaucoma test is the “puff-of-air” test, technically known as the non-contact tonometer. The doctor may also want to look at the optic nerve inside the eye to determine if you have glaucoma.

Visual Field Test
This test checks for possible blind spots in your peripheral vision.

Dilation
Dilating drops make the pupils of your eyes bigger, allowing your doctor to get a better view into the internal structures of the eye. Once dilated, your eyes will be very sensitive to light. Bringing sunglasses with you to your appointment can make your trip home more comfortable. It may also make your vision blurry. Most people are comfortable driving while their eyes are dilated, but many people arrange other transportation.

Contact Lenses

The history of contacts and the improvements they hold for our future are fascinating subjects, since many of us have some form of vision problems.

Vision correction is a chronic need everywhere. Approximately 168.5 million residents in the U.S. use some form of corrective devices such as eyeglasses or contact lenses. That’s over half of the population in America!

More and more people are turning to contact lenses made to bring their vision into focus. People’s reasons to wear contact lenses instead of glasses range from active lifestyle choices to cosmetic reasons.

Contact lenses are small prescription lenses, worn in “contact” with the eye. They are designed to correct refractive errors and maintain ocular health. They float on the tear film layer on the surface of the cornea.

Modern contacts are much more than small eye-glass lenses that fit onto your eyes. They do, however, function much like regular eye glasses—refracting and focusing light so that objects appear clearly. Since the lenses stick to the tear fluid on your eye surface, they move naturally with you. This is but one advantage contacts have over glasses.

Types of contacts are not all the same. They are available in different forms, designed to meet different purposes. These forms can range from their “modality,” or how often you change the contacts–say, daily, every two weeks, or monthly. They also fit different needs, such as contacts for astigmatism, contacts for nearsightedness, and more.

Contact lenses come in different strengths or “diopters.” If you wear contacts, take a look at their box or your prescription. You’ll see either plus or minus signs, followed by numbers. Without getting too in-depth, these convey the shape of the lenses. Different shapes correct different vision problems.

Toric lenses, which are more weighted at the bottom, help correct astigmatism. Spherical lenses, which are the same all around, help correct nearsightedness and farsightedness. There are also lenses for monovision, bifocals, and multifocals.

Contact lenses and their concept have been around for much longer than most people believe.

Along with many other modern-day conveniences, Leonardo da Vinci envisioned the concept of contact lenses in 1508. In 1636, Renee Descartes took this further by sketching a protruding contact lens. Later, in 1801, a scientist named Thomas Young became the first to wear a contact lens, which was secured to his eye with wax!

Yes, we have come a long way in contact lens comfort.

Soft contact lenses

In 1971, the soft contact lens was officially introduced, ushering in a new era apart from the hard contact lenses of the past.

Daily contact lenses

The next major breakthrough in contact lens technology came in 1988 when the first disposable lenses were launched. It would then take eight years to introduce daily disposable contact lenses, or “dailies,” in 1996.

Silicone hydrogel contact lenses

Now we have silicone hydrogel lenses, which offer greater comfort and can be worn for longer periods of time in comparison to their predecessors.

Colored contact lenses

Have you ever wished your eyes were slightly bluer than their natural hue? Now you can have just that—even if you don’t need your vision corrected.

There are cosmetic contact lenses to enhance, or even change, the color of your eyes. This includes “plano,” or zero power, lenses with no magnification. (Read more about cosmetic contact lenses.) There are even black sclera contact lenses to complete your next Halloween costume. However, since contacts are medical devices, you should speak with an eye care professional before using such novelty contact lenses.

It seems like no matter what your vision needs may be, we now have contact lenses to fulfill them.

What’s next around the corner for contacts? Stay tuned!

Eye Conditions

Nearsightedness, or myopia, as it is medically termed, is a vision condition in which people can see close objects clearly, but objects farther away appear blurred. People with myopia can have difficulty clearly seeing a movie or TV screen or the whiteboard in school.

Myopia occurs if the eyeball is too long or the cornea (the clear front cover of the eye) is too curved. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused correctly, and distant objects look blurred.

Myopia affects nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population. While the exact cause of myopia is unknown, there is significant evidence that many people inherit myopia, or at least the tendency to develop myopia. If one or both parents are nearsighted, there is an increased chance their children will be nearsighted.

Even though the tendency to develop myopia may be inherited, its actual development may be affected by how a person uses his or her eyes. Individuals who spend considerable time reading, working at a computer, or doing other intense close visual work may be more likely to develop myopia.

Generally, myopia first occurs in school-age children. Because the eye continues to grow during childhood, it typically progresses until about age 20. However, myopia may also develop in adults due to visual stress or health conditions such as diabetes.

Myopia may also occur due to environmental factors or other health problems:

Some people may experience blurred distance vision only at night. With “night myopia,” low light makes it difficult for the eyes to focus properly. Or the increased pupil size during dark conditions allows more peripheral, unfocused light rays to enter the eye.

People who do an excessive amount of near-vision work may experience a false or “pseudo” myopia. Their blurred distance vision is caused by overuse of the eyes’ focusing mechanism. After long periods of near work, their eyes are unable to refocus to see clearly in the distance. Clear distance vision usually returns after resting the eyes. However, constant visual stress may lead to a permanent reduction in distance vision over time.

Symptoms of myopia may also be a sign of variations in blood sugar levels in people with diabetes or may be an early indication of a developing cataract.

An optometrist can determine the cause of the vision problems through a comprehensive eye exam.

How is myopia diagnosed?

Testing for myopia may use several procedures to measure how the eyes focus light and to determine the power of any optical lenses needed to correct the reduced vision.

As part of the testing, you will identify letters on a distance chart. This test measures visual acuity, which is written as a fraction, such as 20/40. The top number of the fraction is the standard distance at which testing is performed (20 feet). The bottom number is the smallest letter size read. A person with 20/40 visual acuity would have to get within 20 feet to identify a letter that could be seen clearly at 40 feet in a “normal” eye. Normal distance visual acuity is 20/20, although many people have 20/15 (better) vision.

Using an instrument called a phoropter, an optometrist places a series of lenses in front of your eyes and measures how they focus light using a handheld lighted instrument called a retinoscope. Or the doctor may choose to use an automated instrument that evaluates the focusing power of the eye. The power is then refined based on your responses to determine the lenses that allow the clearest vision.

Your optometrist can conduct this testing without using eye drops to determine how the eyes respond under normal seeing conditions. In some cases, such as for patients who can’t respond verbally or when some of the eye’s focusing power may be hidden, an optometrist may use eye drops. The eye drops temporarily keep the eyes from changing focus during testing.

Using the information from these tests, along with the results of other tests of eye focusing and eye teaming, your optometrist can determine if you have myopia. He or she will also determine the power of any lens correction needed to provide clear vision. Once testing is complete, your optometrist can discuss treatment options.

How is myopia treated?

People with myopia have several options available to regain clear distance vision. They include:

Eyeglasses. For most people with myopia, eyeglasses are the primary choice for correction. Depending on the amount of myopia, you may only need to wear glasses for certain activities, like watching a movie or driving a car. Or, if you are very nearsighted, you may need to wear them all the time.

Generally, a single-vision lens is prescribed to provide clear vision at all distances. However, patients over age 40, or children and adults whose myopia is due to the stress of near-vision work, may need a bifocal or progressive addition lens. These multifocal lenses provide different powers or strengths throughout the lens to allow for clear vision in the distance and up close.

Contact lenses. For some individuals, contact lenses offer clearer vision and a wider field of view than eyeglasses. However, since contact lenses are worn directly on the eyes, they require proper care to safeguard eye health.

Laser procedures. Laser procedures such as LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) or PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) are also possible treatment options for myopia in adults. A laser beam of light reshapes the cornea by removing a small amount of eye tissue. The amount of myopia that PRK or LASIK can correct is limited by the amount of corneal tissue that can be safely removed. In PRK, a laser removes a thin layer of tissue from the surface of the cornea in order to change its shape and refocus light entering the eye. LASIK removes tissue from the inner layers, but not from the surface, of the cornea. To do this, a section of the outer corneal surface is lifted and folded back to expose the inner tissue. A laser then removes the precise amount of corneal tissue needed to reshape the eye. Then, the flap of outer tissue is placed back in position to heal.

Vision therapy for people with stress-related myopia. Vision therapy is an option for people whose blurred distance vision is caused by a spasm of the muscles that control eye focusing. Various eye exercises can improve poor eye focusing ability and regain clear distance vision.

If you have myopia, you have a variety of options to correct your vision problem. In consultation with your optometrist, you can select the treatment that best meets your visual and lifestyle needs.Other refractive surgery procedures. People who are highly nearsighted or whose corneas are too thin for laser procedures may be able to have their myopia surgically corrected. An optometrist may be able to implant small lenses with the desired optical correction in their eyes. The implant can be placed just in front of the natural lens (phakic intraocular lens implant), or the implant can replace the natural lens (clear lens extraction with intraocular lens implantation). This clear lens extraction procedure is similar to cataract surgery but occurs before a cataract is present.

Source: aoa.org

Farsightedness, or hyperopia, as it is medically termed, is a vision condition in which distant objects can be seen clearly, but close ones do not come into proper focus. Farsightedness occurs if your eyeball is too short or the cornea has too little curvature. In these cases, your eye can’t correctly focus the light that enters it.

Common signs of hyperopia include difficulty concentrating and maintaining a clear focus on near objects, eye strain, fatigue and/or headaches after close work, aching or burning eyes, and irritability or nervousness after sustained concentration.

Hyperopia

Common vision screenings, like the ones done in schools, often don’t detect hyperopia. However, a comprehensive optometric examination will include the necessary testing to diagnose hyperopia. If needed, your optometrist can offer treatment options.

In mild cases of farsightedness, your eyes may be able to compensate without corrective lenses. In other cases, your optometrist can prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses that alter the way the light enters your eyes, allowing you to clearly see close objects.

Source: aoa.org

Astigmatism is a common vision condition that causes blurred vision. It occurs when the cornea (the clear front cover of the eye) is irregularly shaped or sometimes because of the curvature of the lens inside the eye.

An irregularly shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, the light-sensitive surface at the back of the eye. As a result, vision becomes blurred at any distance. This can lead to eye discomfort and headaches.

Most people have some degree of astigmatism. Slight astigmatism usually doesn’t affect vision or require treatment.

Astigmatism frequently occurs with other vision conditions like myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). Together these vision conditions are referred to as refractive errors because they affect how the eyes bend or “refract” light.

The specific cause of astigmatism is unknown. It can be hereditary and is usually present from birth. It can decrease or increase over time.

A comprehensive optometric examination will include testing for astigmatism. If necessary, your optometrist can provide eyeglasses or contact lenses that correct the astigmatism by altering the way light enters the eyes.

Another option for treating astigmatism is a corneal procedure called orthokeratology (ortho-k). In this painless, noninvasive procedure, the patient wears a series of specially designed rigid contact lenses to gradually reshape the curvature of the cornea.

Laser surgery can also treat some types of astigmatism. The laser changes the shape of the cornea by removing a small amount of eye tissue.

What causes astigmatism?

The curvature of the cornea and lens bends the light entering the eye in order to focus it precisely on the retina at the back of the eye. In astigmatism, the surface of the cornea or lens has a somewhat different curvature.

the surface of the cornea is shaped more like a football instead of round like a basketball, the eye is unable to focus light rays to a single point. Vision becomes out of focus at any distance.

In addition, the curvature of the lens inside the eye can change, resulting in an increase or decrease in astigmatism. This change frequently occurs in adulthood and can precede the development of naturally occurring cataracts.

Sometimes astigmatism may develop following an eye injury or eye surgery.

Astigmatism also occurs due to a relatively rare condition called keratoconus in which the cornea becomes progressively thinner and cone-shaped. This results in a large amount of astigmatism, which causes poor vision that cannot be clearly corrected with eyeglasses. People with keratoconus usually need contact lenses for clear vision and eventually may need a corneal transplant.

How is astigmatism diagnosed?

Optometrist using a phoropter and retinoscope

An optometrist can diagnose an astigmatism through a comprehensive eye examination. Testing for astigmatism measures how the eyes focus light and determines the power of any optical lenses needed to improve vision. This examination may include:

Visual acuity – When you read letters on a distance chart, you are measuring your visual acuity. Visual acuity is given as a fraction (for example, 20/40). The top number is the standardized testing distance (20 feet) and the bottom number is the smallest letter size read. A person with 20/40 visual acuity would have to get within 20 feet to read a letter that should be seen clearly at 40 feet. Normal distance visual acuity is 20/20.

Keratometry/Topography – A keratometer is the primary instrument used to measure the curvature of the cornea. By focusing a circle of light on the cornea and measuring its reflection, it is possible to determine the exact curvature of that area of the cornea’s surface. This measurement is particularly critical in determining the proper fit for contact lenses. A corneal topographer, which is gaining use, generates a contour map of the cornea and provides even more detail of the cornea’s shape.

Refraction – Using an instrument called a phoropter, your optometrist places a series of lenses in front of your eyes and measures how they focus light. This is performed using a handheld lighted instrument called a retinoscope or an automated instrument that evaluates the approximate focusing power of the eye. Based on your responses, the power is then refined to determine the lenses that allow the clearest vision. Despite improved technology, patient input remains integral in determining vision needs.

With the information from these tests, your optometrist can determine if you have astigmatism. Your optometrist will use these findings, combined with those of other tests performed, to determine the power of any lens correction you need to provide clear, comfortable vision. Once testing is complete, your optometrist can discuss treatment options.

How is astigmatism treated?

Eyeglasses are the primary choice for persons with astigmatism.

People with astigmatism have several options to regain clear vision. They include:

Eyeglasses. People with astigmatism primarily choose eyeglasses to improve their vision. The eyeglasses contain a special cylindrical lens prescription that compensates for the astigmatism. This provides additional power in specific parts of the lens.

Generally, a single-vision lens is prescribed to provide clear vision at all distances. However, patients over age 40 who have presbyopia may need a bifocal or progressive addition lens.

Contact lenses. Some people will have better vision with contact lenses rather than eyeglasses. Contact lenses may provide clearer vision and a wider field of view. However, since contact lenses are worn directly on the eyes, they require regular cleaning and care to safeguard eye health.

Standard soft lenses may not be effective in correcting astigmatism. However, special toric soft contact lenses can correct for many types of astigmatism. Because rigid gas-permeable contact lenses maintain their regular shape while on the cornea, they can compensate for the cornea’s irregular shape and improve vision for people with astigmatism.

Laser and other refractive surgery procedures. Astigmatism can also be corrected by reshaping the cornea through LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) or PRK (photorefractive keratectomy). PRK removes tissue from the superficial and inner layers of the cornea. LASIK removes tissue only from the inner layer of the cornea.

If you have an astigmatism, you have a wide range of options to correct your vision problem. In consultation with your optometrist, you can select the treatment that best meets your visual and lifestyle needs.

Source: aoa.org

Presbyopia is a vision condition in which the shape of the crystalline lens of your eye changes. These changes make it difficult to focus on close objects.

Presbyopia may seem to occur suddenly, but sight reduction occurs over a number of years. Presbyopia usually becomes noticeable in the early to mid-40s, but the reduction of your accommodation starts as early as childhood.

Presbyopia is a natural part of the aging process of the eye. It is not a disease, and it cannot be prevented.

Some signs of presbyopia include holding reading materials at arm’s length, blurred vision at normal reading distance and eye fatigue along with headaches when doing close work. A comprehensive optometric examination will include testing for presbyopia.

To help you compensate for presbyopia, your optometrist can prescribe reading glasses, multifocals or contact lenses. Presbyopia can complicate other common vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Your optometrist will determine the specific lenses to allow you to see clearly and comfortably. You may only need to wear your glasses for close work like reading, but you may find that wearing them all the time is more convenient and helpful.

The effects of presbyopia will continue over your lifetime. Therefore, you may need to periodically change your eyewear to maintain clear and comfortable vision.

Source: aoa.org

Yes, we have come a long way in contact lens comfort.

Soft contact lenses

In 1971, the soft contact lens was officially introduced, ushering in a new era apart from the hard contact lenses of the past.

Daily contact lenses

The next major breakthrough in contact lens technology came in 1988 when the first disposable lenses were launched. It would then take eight years to introduce daily disposable contact lenses, or “dailies,” in 1996.

Silicone hydrogel contact lenses

Now we have silicone hydrogel lenses, which offer greater comfort and can be worn for longer periods of time in comparison to their predecessors.

Colored contact lenses

Have you ever wished your eyes were slightly bluer than their natural hue? Now you can have just that—even if you don’t need your vision corrected.

There are cosmetic contact lenses to enhance, or even change, the color of your eyes. This includes “plano,” or zero power, lenses with no magnification. (Read more about cosmetic contact lenses.) There are even black sclera contact lenses to complete your next Halloween costume. However, since contacts are medical devices, you should speak with an eye care professional before using such novelty contact lenses.

It seems like no matter what your vision needs may be, we now have contact lenses to fulfill them.

What’s next around the corner for contacts? Stay tuned!

L38C / U6A Sandton City Rivonia Road and 5th Street Sandton 2146

info@vcoptom.co.za / info2@vcoptom.co.za