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Dry Eye Disease and Treatment – Itchy Eyes in Central New Jersey

Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic condition that develops when your eyes do not produce and maintain enough tears to keep the eye’s surface lubricated resulting in multiple symptoms that range from person to person. This can be due to a reduction in tear production or increased tear evaporation from a lack of lipid in the tears that stem from oil glands in the eyelids. The effects can range from minor dryness and discomfort to pain, blurred vision and frequent infections.

Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome can vary depending on the severity of the condition but can include:

  • Dry, itchy eyes
  • Burning or stinging
  • Irritation
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Pain
  • Foreign body sensation

The main function of tears is to maintain the health of the cornea of your eye by washing away foreign matter and ensuring that the surface of your eye remains moist, smooth and clear. Tears also rinse away dust particles from your eyes and contain enzymes that protect your eyes from bacteria that can cause infections. Dry eyes is a condition that develops when the amount of tears produced is not sufficient to maintain the moisture balance in your eye. This can result in that scratchy sensation, a continuous feeling of dryness, stinging and a sensation of a foreign body in your eye. Ironically in an effort to fight off the condition, dry eyes can cause you to produce excessive tears, which is why some people experience watery eyes.

Causes of Dry Eye Disease

Dry eyes can occur naturally as a result of aging or hormonal changes, typically in women who are pregnant, taking oral contraceptives or going through menopause. In fact, women over 50 have a 50% greater risk of dry eye disease than men do of the same age. It can also result from taking certain medications that reduce tear production such as antihistamines, blood pressure medications and antidepressants. Environmental factors can also play a role in drying out the eyes and DED is common in areas where the climate is dry, dusty and windy. Home air conditioners or heating systems and excessive time spent staring at a computer or television screen can also dry out eyes and exacerbate symptoms due to the lack of blinking while staring at our screens.

Individuals that suffer from certain medical conditions such as diabetes, blepharitis, lupus, arthritis and thyroid problems are more vulnerable to developing DED. Other causes can be due to eye surgery including LASIK, certain conditions in which the eyelids don’t close properly or extended contact lens use.

Diagnosis of Dry Eye Disease

Typically, dry eye disease can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam and a description of your symptoms. On some occasions the eye doctor might decide to do a test that measures how quickly your tears evaporate from the surface of your eye. By instilling a simple dye called fluorescein (much like food coloring) the doctor is able to watch and count how long it takes the tears to start to break up after they’ve asked you to hold your eyes open after a blink. This is called TBUT or a Tear Break Up Time test. A low TBUT generally indicates a lipid (aka oil) deficiency in the tears resulting from oil glands in the eyelids not functioning properly. In another type of test, called a Schirmer test, a strip of filter paper is placed under the lid of the eye and you will be asked to close your eye for five minutes. Following the test the amount of moisture on the strip will be measured. Schirmer tests are performed less frequently than a TBUT test.

Treatment for Dry Eyes

There are many treatment options for dry eyes which are highly dependant upon the cause and severity of the condition. Many mild forms of DED can be alleviated using artificial tears or lubricant eye drops to make up for the lack of natural tears usually produced by your eyes. If over-the-counter drops don’t alleviate your symptoms, your doctor might prescribe prescription drops that actually stimulate tear production or steroids for short-term relief.

More severe cases of dry eyes might be treated with a punctal insert which is a tiny insert containing a slow-release lubricating substance that is placed inside the lower eyelid. Since DED is often related to eyelid inflammation known as blepharitis your doctor may prescribe a heated hot compress mask, specialty eyelid scrubs and sometimes an antibiotic ointment. Finally, punctal plugs might be recommended for severe cases which would be inserted into the tear ducts to reduce the tear drainage in your eyes to keep them from drying out.

If the cause of your dry eyes is something external or environmental, eliminating that cause may solve the problem and resolve the symptoms. Avoid dry environments, hair dryers, heaters and fans, (particularly directed toward the eyes) and smoky environments and wear eye protection such as wrap around glasses or goggles when in dusty or windy areas. Use a humidifier to add moisture to dry indoor air. If working on computer or watching television, make sure to blink purposefully as our natural tendency is to reduce our blink rate when staring at a screen. Also avoid rubbing your eyes as this can further irritate them. Staying hydrated by drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day can also help.

In cases where discontinuation or switching to different medications is possible this can eradicate symptoms. Your doctor may also recommend that you limit or refrain from contact lens use for a certain amount of time or switch to a different brand or type of contact lens which will reduce dehydration.

Dry eye disease won’t have a permanent effect on your vision, but there is no reason to endure dry, itchy and uncomfortable eyes, especially since there are so many treatment options to increase moisture and comfort. It’s also important to realize that this is a chronic disease that needs consistent treatment. Your doctor will work with you to create a long term strategy to keep your eyes as comfortable as possible.

Presbyopia Diagnosis and Treatment in Central New Jersey

As we reach middle age, particularly after age 40, it is common to start to experience difficulty with reading and performing other tasks that require near vision. This is because with age, the lens of our eye becomes increasingly inflexible, making it harder to focus on close objects. This condition is called presbyopia and eventually it happens to everyone who reaches old age to some extent.

To avoid eyestrain, people with untreated presbyopia tend to hold books, magazines, newspapers, and menus at arm’s length in order to focus properly. Trying to performing tasks at close range can sometimes cause headaches, eye strain or fatigue in individuals who have developed this condition.

Causes of Presbyopia

During our youth, the lens of our eye and the muscles that control it are flexible and soft, allowing us to focus on close objects and shift focus from close to distant objects without difficulty. As the eye ages however, both the lens and the muscle fibers begin to harden, making near vision a greater challenge.

Presbyopia is a natural result of the aging process and not much can be done to prevent it. Its onset has nothing to do with whether you already have another vision impairment such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Everyone will notice some degree of loss of near vision focusing power as they age, although for some it will be more significant than others.

Symptoms and Signs of Presbyopia

Presbyopia is characterized by:

  • Difficulty focusing on small print
  • Blurred near vision
  • Experiencing eyestrain, fatigue or headaches when doing close work or reading
  • Needing to hold reading material or small objects at a distance to focus properly
  • Requiring brighter lighting when focusing on near objects

Presbyopia can be diagnosed in a comprehensive eye exam.

Treatment for Presbyopia

There are a number of options available for treating presbyopia including corrective eyewear, contact lenses or surgery.

Eyeglasses

Reading glasses or “readers” are basically magnifying glasses that are worn when reading or doing close work that allow you focus on close objects.

Eyeglasses with bifocal or multifocal lenses such as progressive addition lenses or PALs are a common solution for those with presbyopia that also have refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism). Bifocals have lenses with two lens prescriptions; one area (usually the upper portion) for distance vision and the second area for near vision. Progressive addition lenses or PALs similarly provide lens power for both near and distance vision but rather than being divided into two hemispheres, they are made with a gradual transition of lens powers for viewing at different distances. Many individuals prefer PALs because unlike bifocals, they do not have a visible division line on the lens.

Bifocal and Multifocal Contact Lenses

For individuals that prefer contact lenses to glasses, bifocal and multifocal lenses are also available in contact lenses in both soft and Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) varieties.

Multifocal contact lenses give you added freedom over glasses and they allow you to be able to view any direction – up, down and to the sides – with similar vision. People wearing progressive lenses in glasses on the other hand have to look over their glasses if they want to view upwards or into the distance.

Another option for those that prefer contact lenses is monovision. Monovision splits your distance and near vision between your eyes, using your dominant eye for distance vision and your non-dominant eye for near vision. Typically you will use single vision lenses in each eye however sometimes the dominant eye will use a single vision lens while a multifocal lens will be used in the other eye for intermediate and near vision. This is called modified monovision. Your eye doctor will perform a test to determine which type of lens is best suited for each eye and optimal vision.

Surgery

There are surgical procedures also available for treatment of presbyopia including monovision LASIK eye surgery, conductive keratoplasty (CK), corneal inlays or onlays or a refractive lens exchange (RLE) which replaces the hardened lens in the eye with an intraocular lens (IOL) similar to cataract surgery.

Since it affects so much of the older population, much research and development is going into creating more and better options for presbyopes. Speak to your eye doctor about the options that will work best for you.

Pediatric Eye Exams – Family Eye Care in Central New Jersey

According to experts, 80% of learning is visual, which means that if your child is having difficulty seeing clearly, his or her learning can be affected. This also goes for infants who develop and learn about the world around them through their sense of sight. To ensure that your children have the visual resources they need to grow and develop normally, their eyes and vision should be checked by an eye doctor at certain stages of their development.

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA) children should have their eyes examined by an eye doctor at 6 months, 3 years, at the start of school, and then at least every 2 years following. If there are any signs that there may be a vision problem or if the child has certain risk factors (such as developmental delays, premature birth, crossed or lazy eyes, family history or previous injuries) more frequent exams are recommended. A child that wears eyeglasses or contact lenses should have his or her eyes examined yearly. Children’s eyes can change rapidly as they grow.

Eye Exams in Infants: Birth – 24 Months

A baby’s visual system develops gradually over the first few months of life. They have to learn to focus and move their eyes, and use them together as a team. The brain also needs to learn how to process the visual information from the eyes to understand and interact with the world. With the development of eyesight, comes also the foundation for motor development such as crawling, walking and hand-eye coordination.

You can ensure that your baby is reaching milestones by keeping an eye on what is happening with your infant’s development and by ensuring that you schedule a comprehensive infant eye exam at 6 months. At this exam, the eye doctor will check that the child is seeing properly and developing on track and look for conditions that could impair eye health or vision (such as strabismus(misalignment or crossing of the eyes), farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism).

Since there is a higher risk of eye and vision problems if your infant was born premature or is showing signs of developmental delay, your eye doctor may require more frequent visits to keep watch on his or her progress.

Eye Exams in Preschool Children: 2-5

The toddler and preschool age is a period where children experience drastic growth in intellectual and motor skills. During this time they will develop the fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and perceptual abilities that will prepare them to read and write, play sports and participate in creative activities such as drawing, sculpting or building. This is all dependent upon good vision and visual processes.

This is the age when parents should be on the lookout for signs of lazy eye (amblyopia) – when one eye doesn’t see clearly, or crossed eyes (strabismus) – when one or both eyes turns inward or outward. The earlier these conditions are treated, the higher the success rate.

Parents should also be aware of any developmental delays having to do with object, number or letter recognition, color recognition or coordination, as the root of such problems can often be visual. If you notice your child squinting, rubbing his eyes frequently, sitting very close to the tv or reading material, or generally avoiding activities such as puzzles or coloring, it is worth a trip to the eye doctor.

Eye Exams in School-Aged Children: Ages 6-18

Undetected or uncorrected vision problems can cause children and teens to suffer academically, socially, athletically and personally. If your child is having trouble in school or afterschool activities there could be an underlying vision problem. Proper learning, motor development, reading, and many other skills are dependent upon not only good vision, but also the ability of your eyes to work together. Children that have problems with focusing, reading, teaming their eyes or hand-eye coordination will often experience frustration, and may exhibit behavioral problems as well. Often they don’t know that the vision they are experiencing is abnormal, so they aren’t able to express that they need help.

In addition to the symptoms written above, signs of vision problems in older children include:

  • Short attention span
  • Headaches
  • Frequent blinking
  • Avoiding reading
  • Tilting the head to one side
  • Losing their place often while reading
  • Double vision
  • Poor reading comprehension

The Eye Exam

In addition to basic visual acuity (distance and near vision) an eye exam may assess the following visual skills that are required for learning and mobility:

  • Binocular vision: how the eyes work together as a team
  • Focusing
  • Peripheral Vision
  • Color Vision
  • Hand-eye Coordination
  • Tracking

The doctor will also examine the area around the eye and inside the eye to check for any eye diseases or health conditions. You should tell the doctor any relevant personal history of your child such as a premature birth, developmental delays, family history of eye problems, eye injuries or medications the child is taking. This would also be the time to address any concerns or issues your child has that might indicate a vision problem.

If the eye doctor does determine that your child has a vision problem, they may discuss a number of therapeutic options such as eyeglasses or contact lenses, an eye patch, vision therapy or Ortho-k, depending on the condition and the doctor’s specialty. Since some conditions are much easier to treat when they are caught early while the eyes are still developing, it is important to diagnose any eye and vision issues as early as possible.

Following the guidelines for children’s eye exams and staying alert to any signs of vision problems can help your child to reach his or her potential.

Disclaimer – Optical Center in Plainsboro, NJ

Content on this web site has been provided and/or reviewed by our Practice. We have reviewed site information and find it to be in accordance with the standards of the optometry profession in our jurisdiction. We strive to provide unbiased, accurate, timely and up-to-date information. The information on this site is not presented as a substitute for informed professional advice and does not substitute for consultation with optometrist or any other health and/or medical professional. If you have any questions about your individual situation, please contact your optometrist – your eye health professional.

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Eye Exams

Your Eye Exam Specialist

We strongly encourage everyone to get a comprehensive eye exam once a year. Even if you do not have vision problems, a vision “check-up” can be critical in spotting and treating issues before they affect your vision. This is especially important for children who may not even realize that the problems they may be having in school are actually vision related. Our comprehensive eye exam is designed to provide a complete evaluation of your vision health.

Why Are Eye Exams Important?

During an eye exam, our optometrists are not only determining the proper prescription for your eyeglasses, but also checking your eyes for common eye diseases. With some simple tests we can detect the early onset of a serious eye illness such as glaucoma. With early detection, your chances of successful treatment are much higher. Our eye doctors will also assess how your eyes work together. Your eyes can be an indicator of your overall health, and our eye doctors will evaluate if there are any non-vision health issues that you should be aware of.

What’s the Difference Between a Vision Screening and a Complete Eye Exam?

A vision screening can be helpful but it is by no means a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam. Vision screenings are used to help identify those at risk for vision problems and are often performed by a school nurse or volunteer. Even the test conducted by the clerk at the Drivers License Bureau is a form of vision screening. While these efforts can be helpful, they are not conducted by experienced professionals who have the training to detect eye disease.

A comprehensive eye examination performed by our optometrists involves careful testing of every aspect of your vision. The exam will give the eye doctor enough information to recommend a personal treatment plan. These exams are much more thorough than the simple vision check conducted by family physicians and pediatricians as part of a medical check-up.

Treatment plans can be as simple as recommending eyeglasses or as serious as spotting a need for eye surgery. The point is that only with a comprehensive eye exam can you be sure that your eyes are getting the best treatment available. That is why no matter who you are, annual eye exams are essential to ensure you are seeing clearly and preserving your vision for life.

Which Procedures Are Part of a Comprehensive Eye Examination?

A comprehensive eye exam includes a variety of procedures to evaluate the health of your eyes and the quality of your vision. Some – like reading an eye chart –are most likely familiar to you. However, unless you have had a comprehensive eye exam, many of the evaluations will be new. For example:

- An autorefractor evaluates the way an image is focused on the retina, where vision processing takes place, without the need for you to give feedback. This makes autorefractors especially useful when examining people who may have difficulty with a regular ("subjective") refraction.

- Cover tests, in which the eye doctor will have you focus on a small object at a distance and will then cover each of your eyes, can detect even a very subtle misalignment that can interfere with your eyes working together properly (binocular vision) and cause amblyopia or "lazy eye."

-Tonometry is the name for a variety of tests that can be performed to determine the pressure inside the eye.  This is often called the glaucoma test, although testing for glaucoma requires more than just measuring the eye pressure.  The most common method used is the "air puff" test – in which an automated instrument discharges a small burst of air onto the surface of your eye. Based on your eye's resistance to the puff of air, the machine calculates the pressure inside your eye - called your intraocular pressure. Though the test itself can be startling, there's no risk of eye injury from the air puff test as only air touches your eye during this measurement.

Testing is performed to evaluate the eye's surface (for things like dry eyes, allergy eyes, pink eye) and the internal eye.  A Biomicroscope (Slit Lamp is another name for it), ophthalmoscope, and specialized lenses are used during this part of the examination.

There are other tests that the eye doctor may decide to perform based on his or her observations, almost all of which are quick and painless. They are, however, very important in assessing the overall health of your eyes.

Looking for an Eye Exam Near You?

Eye exams in Plainsboro and the surrounding central New Jersey area are available at Allied Vision Services.

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Hours & Locations – Eye Doctor near me

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Allied Vision Services has four eye doctor’s offices in Plainsboro and nearby. For pictures, staff info and more about each eye doctor’s office, click the titles below.

Need an Eye Exam near you in Central NJ?

Our eye doctors at Allied Vision Services have many years experience diagnosing and treating eye disease, including  cataracts, AMD and diabetic retinopathy, as well as performing vision screenings. They are excited to have the opportunity to use their expertise as optometrists to offer advanced eye care services for both children and adults in Central New Jersey.

Getting a Comprehensive Eye Exam is the New Physical: When's The Last Time You Saw an Eye Doctor near you?

At our eye care clinic we offer comprehensive eye examinations, using the latest optometry techniques and equipment. Any consultation at Allied Vision Services starts with a detailed vision test that includes simple testing techniques such as the "old fashioned" eye chart test as well as advanced digital imaging technologies, such as OCT scans, that help our eye doctor near you detect and measure any future changes to your retina. Next time you visit us for your annual eye exam, we will be able to detect even the slightest changes to your eyesight, by comparing the images from your current vision test to the results of your last year's eye exam.

Make your eye care a priority by scheduling an appointment today.  When we don't see clearly, all areas of our life are affected, from our simple daily tasks to our personal safety.  A routine eye exam near you is crucial for maintaining good eyesight as well as prevention and detection of disease.  Protect your eyes and your vision; schedule your yearly eye exam now.  Dr Russo, Dr McGowan and the other eye doctors near you are looking forward to your visit.

Appointment Cancellation/No Show Policy 

The time we reserve for your appointment ensures that you receive the highest quality care.  Should you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please do so as soon as possible so that we may schedule other patients waiting to be seen.   Please ask your Allied Vision office for policy details,  as you may incur a charge for not canceling within 24 hours or not showing for your scheduled appointment. Thank you.

Check out our hours and interactive maps for each of our eye care clinics below.

Allied Vision Services

Lawrenceville, NJ, nicknamed “the village...
2495 US Route 1 #8
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

Located at the Lawrence Shopping Center, directly off Business Route 1.

  • 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
  • Closed

Most major insurances and vision plans accepted.

We Accept:

  • visa
  • mastercard
  • americanexpress
  • discover
  • cash

 

Allied Vision Services

FYI We are located five...
10 Schalks Crossing Road
Plainsboro, NJ 08536

Plainsboro Plaza, between CVS & Post Office on Schalks Crossing Rd.

Our Plainsboro eye care clinic is located in Plainsboro Plaza, only five minutes from Princeton University. If you’re hungry, we are surrounded by fantastic restaurants, such as Romeo’s Ristorante and East Asian Fusion.

If you’re looking to lose yourself in nature without having to travel far, you are in luck! Allied Vision Services is an easy 15-minute drive from Audubon’s Plainsboro Preserve, where you can meander through tranquil forest trails with a cool breeze coming off the water. We look forward to seeing you!

  • 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
  • 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
  • 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Closed
  • Closed

We Accept:

  • visa
  • mastercard
  • americanexpress
  • discover
  • cash
  • debit

 

Allied Vision Services

Flemington, a borough in Hunterdon...
14 State Route 31
Flemington, NJ 08822

You can find us located on Route 31 North, just north of the Flemington Circle

  • 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Closed
  • 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • 9:30 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Closed

Most major insurances and vision plans accepted.

Allied Vision Services

Robbinsville is located within Mercer...
1004 Washington Boulevard
Robbinsville, NJ 08691

At the Foxmoor Shopping Center, at intersection of Washington Blvd & Route 33

  • 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Closed
  • 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Closed

We Accept:

  • visa
  • mastercard
  • discover
  • cash

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WE'VE GOT YOU COVERED

Because we provide both medical and routine eye care, we accept a number of insurance plans to help cover the cost depending on your individual needs. Since each office accepts different plans, please call and ask if we take yours.

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Our Eye Care Staff Is Here To Help You With Your Insurance

If you want to check if one of our practices accepts your plan, please give us a call and we would be happy to assist you. Our staff is also always available to answer any questions regarding your benefits.

The cost of routine eye exams and prescription eyewear can be of real concern, especially for large families. In many cases, vision insurance can lower these annual expenses.

A vision insurance policy is not the same as medical insurance. Regular medical health insurance plans protect you against financial losses due to unexpected eye injuries or disease. Vision insurance, on the other hand, is a wellness benefit designed to provide routine eye care, prescription eyewear and other vision-related services at a reduced cost.

Our Optometrists

birds eye view of doctors exam with patient | Allied Vision Services | Eye Care for the whole family

With four offices serving the New Jersey area, Allied Vision Services eye doctors provide a full range of family eye care, including comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fitting, the latest in fashion frames, and high-tech lens materials. All of our optometrists are board certified in the treatment and management of eye disease.

Our optometrists are trained in the most up to date advancements in eye care, committed to providing the highest quality treatment for each of our patients. At Allied Vision Services, we want to be your partners in eye care and therefore strive to make each visit comfortable, effective and informative. We take the time to learn about your eye health history and listen to your concerns in order to provide you with the most thorough and holistic treatment plan possible. Your eye doctor should be someone you trust to have the knowledge, experience and professionalism to treat your eyes with comprehensive, expert eye care.

Find an Eye Doctor Near You!

Meet the Optometrist in Plainsboro, Lawrenceville, Robbinsville and Flemington New Jersey

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Contact Us

Allied Vision Services

Allied Vision Services

Allied Vision Services

Allied Vision Services

 

Whether you would like to schedule an eye exam at Allied Vision Services, ask our optometrists a vision care question, or to contact us for any other matter, give us a call.

Don’t hesitate to address any questions and concerns you have about your eye and vision health. We are here to assist you in protecting and preserving your precious eyes and eyesight. You only have one pair of eyes and they need to last a lifetime - don’t take your vision for granted. Contact us today!

We look forward to hearing from you.

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