Most eye diseases are painless—ensure the health of your eyes with a yearly exam.

➼ People tend to put off going to the eye doctor until they’re not seeing well. The optometric physicians at Morgantown Eye Associates diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions in patients who are unaware of them because they are painless and advance gradually. Office founder Dr. Thomas Stout highlights a couple here—both of them reasons he recommends a thorough eye exam yearly.

Corneal Disease
Vision can change even in young people without a medical cause. But a teenager or young adult whose vision becomes noticeably worse year by year may have corneal disease, a condition in which the clear dome in front of the eye becomes thinner and more cone-shaped over time. An eye exam aimed only at correcting vision will leave it to progress unchecked, eventually resulting in vision that can no longer be corrected to 20/20.

It doesn’t have to be like that. Identified in a patient’s teens, corneal disease can be stopped by wearing rigid contact lenses. And it can be halted even at later stages through the use of an ultraviolet light treatment.

A patient’s best course of action is to visit an optometric physician who will map the shape of the cornea when first prescribing contact lenses.

Dry Eye Syndrome
It starts with the occasional need to clear your vision with a few quick blinks. It advances so gradually from there that it’s easy to ignore. But the fact is, the more our lives have come to center around video screens, the more of us experience dry eye syndrome. Over-the-counter relief? Sure, but the wrong one can actually make it worse. The good news is, medical assessment and treatment are easy and typically covered by health insurance.

Causes of dry eyes fall into two categories. One is problems with the tear glands. In rare instances, they’re inflamed, and a prescription medication is the answer. But if they’re simply not making enough tears for our unblinking computer stares, tiny plugs implanted in the tear ducts can prevent tears from draining away too fast. A simple test can determine whether one of these conditions is the cause.

The other category, and the most common cause, is reduced oil production by the dozens of tiny oil glands located along the upper and lower eyelids. These glands can become clogged over time, especially in people who take antihistamines and those who have rosacea. The damage can become irreversible. But caught early enough, functioning can be restored through heat treatment and medication.

A regular exam by an optometric physician can identify dry eye syndrome and its cause.

The most experienced eyecare practice in town with nearly 40 years of history, Morgantown Eye Associates provides primary care for the eye: vision correction tailored to your lifestyle as well as basic medical care with referral for serious conditions. The office’s large inventory of lenses, frames, and contact lenses and its on-site opticians mean same-day fulfillment for many prescriptions, and MEA’s three enthusiastic optometric physicians enjoy the use of state-of-the-art equipment, several pieces unduplicated in the region, for fast, accurate imaging and assessment.

Dr. Thomas Stout lectures nationally on eye disease and contact lens design. He’s also an avid fly fisherman and is learning to play old-time music on his great-grandfather’s fiddle.