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From the Desk of Dr. Benjamin Azman

From the Desk of Dr. Benjamin Azman: What Do Optometrists Do?

I am very proud and passionate about what I do and I wanted to take a moment to share a story about my patient today and also explain to you what optometrists (eye doctors) do on a daily basis. We not only help restore vision to all kinds of patients, but every patient is given a full eye health exam, which includes looking for (and often diagnosing) eye diseases as well as systemic health diseases ( diabetes, high blood pressure, tumors, etc.) We don’t just give you glasses to help you see, but we evaluate your eyes and your overall health. And very often we restore vision to people who are legally blind, save or prevent vision loss, and sometimes save lives.

One of my specialties is the management of a disease called keratoconus, which is when the front part of the eye, or the cornea, becomes extremely steep and thinned and causes blurry vision and visual distortions which glasses do not correct for. My patient today has had keratoconus for many years and has been struggling to see due to his loss of vision. As of today, he was officially legally blind with his vision being 20/400 ( barely able to see the big E on the chart). But today I restored his vision with the design of a custom scleral device/lens. This device acts as a prosthetic and recreates a smooth front surface on the eye. His vision went from 20/400 to 20/30 which is more than 10 x improvement in sight. He was very emotional and super excited to be getting his vision back. I see several patients a week like this and I enjoy each encounter and opportunity I have to help these people.






From the Desk of Dr. Benjamin Azman: The Importance of Annual Eye Exams

I want to share with all of you the following patient encounter I had this week, which underscores the importance of annual eye exams. Eye exams are not only a means to obtain glasses or contact lenses. They are also not only for those who wear glasses and contacts, but rather everyone should have their eye health evaluated every 1-2 years. Some more often.

phoropter elderly manThe most important element of an eye exam is something called ophthalmoscopy, which is an intricate skill using a microscope, high powered lenses, and light to view the inner layer of the eye called the retina. The retina is a paper-thin layer of cells that’s responsible for processing vision. Damage to the retina can occur from disease or trauma, and often spontaneously. Luckily, early detection with ophthalmoscopy during a routine eye exam can allow a doctor to detect early signs of an impending problem, which can then be treated.

And that’s exactly what happened with my patient… He was a regular, young, healthy 28-year-old guy who came to the office for a routine eye exam and a contact lens evaluation. In his mind, he came for contacts and didn’t fully understand the concept of evaluating the health of his eyes. After explaining the necessity to dilate his eyes and check them, he agreed and ophthalmoscopy was underway. After evaluating his eyes I was concerned about his left retina. There was a very subtle change in its appearance and I knew it could be the beginning of something more serious. I sat down with the young fellow and explained to him the importance of referring him to a retinal specialist who would perform more tests and determine the exact problem going on.

Lo and behold today I received his referral report to find out that he had the beginning of a retinal detachment. If undiagnosed, he could have lost all/part of his vision in that eye. He’s undergoing retinal surgery tomorrow with a promising prognosis.

Thanks, Dr. Elman at Elman Retina Group, P.A. for working together to provide excellent care for our patients!