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Dr. Paul Olsovsky, O.D. Discusses the Benefits of Yearly Eye Exams and Detecting and Treating Eye Conditions Early

Dr Paul Olsovsky OD

Dr. Paul Olsovsky, O.D. is an Oregon based Optometrist. In the following article, Paul Olsovsky discusses why yearly eye exams are important for overall health, and how these exams can detect eye conditions in the early stage, leading to better treatment, and outcomes.

Vision is something we often take for granted, but it is vital to everyday life. From spotting danger to enjoying beautiful scenery, our eyes are vital organs, which is why it’s important to schedule annual appointments with an optometrist. The phrase “the eyes are the windows to your soul” has never rang truer – the eyes are, in fact, windows – but to your overall health and wellness.

Dr. Paul Olsovsky, O.D. on Why Are Yearly Eye Exams Important

Dr. Paul Olsovsky, O.D. says that scheduling an exam with an optometrist at least once a year maintains eye health and keeps an eye on deteriorating vision. People will often disregard symptoms, especially if they don’t seem like a big deal, but having an eye care professional check it out can determine if it really is nothing.

For example, if a patient suddenly starts experiencing eye floaters, it can mean that they are tired or it could mean something more serious, such as a detached retina, which, if not treated, can result in the need for emergency surgery, or can, in worse case scenarios, cause blindness.

What Eye Conditions Can a Yearly Eye Exam Detect

Dr. Paul Olsovsky, O.D. explains that yearly eye exams are the ideal way to ensure that a person’s eyes are healthy. An exam can discover and screen for a variety of conditions, with some of the most common listed below:


Paul Olsovsky of Oregon says that glaucoma is an eye disease that is caused by high pressure building up inside the eye, which damages the optic nerve, causing peripheral vision loss and blindness. It’s quite common, with over three million people reporting that they’ve been diagnosed and treated.

There is no definitive cause, it but those with consistently high eye pressure tend to be more susceptible. It is unknown if this condition is genetic, however, those who have a close relative with the condition should consider themselves “higher risk”.

A doctor can check for glaucoma during a yearly eye exam, especially if a person has been experiencing symptoms, such as floaters or loss of peripheral vision in severe cases. Oftentimes, though, there are no symptoms. The diagnosis does not happen usually at first glance, explains Paul Olsovsky of Oregon.

More often, high pressure is noted within the eye during an exam. Then, a dilated retinal exam is performed, where the doctor may note abnormal changes. For a proper diagnosis, a patient returns for several visits, where the pressure is checked (usually at different times of day, for example, a morning appointment, compared to an afternoon or evening, etc.). Then, more detailed tests are performed, such as a visual field, fundus photos, or an OCT (optical coherence tomography).

In the case of glaucoma, Paul Olsovsky of Oregon says that the treatment usually consists of utilizing pressure reducing drops to regulate the eye pressure. Patients with a glaucoma diagnosis are usually followed twice per year, instead of yearly, and occasionally, more often depending on the severity of the condition.

Dr Paul Olsovsky ODDry Eyes

Dry eyes are another common eye issue that can be found during a routine eye exam. This happens when the eyes don’t make enough tears to keep the surface of the eye moist and it can be very uncomfortable.

Dr. Paul Olsovsky, O.D. says that an optometrist can diagnose dry eyes through an annual exam and determine what the cause of it is. Females, people over 50, and those that wear contact lens are more likely to experience dry eyes.

There are a variety of exciting, new treatments and technology that can help treat the symptoms of dry eyes. Supplements, such as fish oil, or high potency blends usually sold only by eye professionals have been shown to help. However, technology advancements seem to be making a huge difference in the dry eye environment.

Devices such as NuLids, Lipiflow and light therapies have been shown to make drastic improvements in patients that suffer from dry eye, reducing the use of tear drops, and symptoms such as redness, burning, and itching.

Near-Sightedness or Far-Sightedness

Do things faraway or up close suddenly look blurry? That’s a sure sign that a yearly eye exam needs to be scheduled. Usually this means that the eyes are refracting light the incorrectly, which is why objects don’t look clear.

Dr. Paul Olsovsky, O.D. explains that at an eye exam, technicians perform screening tests, such as an autorefractor, which gives a baseline of a corrective prescription is one is needed. Then, the patient’s vision is checked without correction (if glasses are not currently worn).

Next, the doctor uses a machine called a phoropter, which can be adjusted to correctly refract the light to make images clearer. Usually while looking into the phoropter, the patient can determine if the images are clear, or blurry, and adjustments are made accordingly.

This is how an optometrist can determine if an eyeglass or contact lens prescription is needed.

Retina Issues

The retina is a layer at the back of the eyeball that contains cells that are sensitive to light. When the cells get hit with light, they trigger a nerve impulse that passes through the optic nerve to the brain. Dr. Paul Olsovsky, O.D. says that damage to the retina, whether it’s a tear, a full-on detachment, or hemorrhaging from another disease like diabetes, or macular degeneration is a serious issue.

An eye doctor will use something called an ophthalmoscope, which shines a beam of light through the pupil and they’ll be able to see the back of the eye where the retina is located. This allows them see if anything is abnormal, if there are holes, or hemorrhages.

Many practices now utilize fundus photography images to diagnose retina issues. These digital images can show a 200 degree wide view of the back of the eye, without the need for dilation. And since these images are digital, they can be compared visit to visit, to monitor any changes or progression in various retinal diseases.


Dr. Paul Olsovsky, O.D. says that a cataract is when the lens in the front of the eye becomes cloudy, so it becomes harder to focus light, and oftentimes, patients will complain of a cloudy, film, or grey-like appearance to things they see. Objects will start to look blurry, hazy, or less colorful. Much like other eye issues, cataracts are detected during eye exams, and can be monitored frequently. Many times, patients relate their blurry vision to something like cataracts, when really there is something else going on. This is so critical to not only the health of the eye, but reducing vision loss.

What Treatments Are Available at Yearly Eye Exams

Once an optometrist has determined a diagnosis with someone’s eyes, they can move towards next steps to remedy the problem. This can include:

  • The need for surgery, such as laser surgery for cataracts – usually performed by ophthalmologist. However, before- and after-care treatments can be monitored by an optometrist.
  • Medication, such as drops to decrease eye pressure or eye drops moisten dry eyes
  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses for blurry vision

Scheduling yearly eye exams is an easy and important way to keep the sense of sight in tip top shape. Don’t skip out on them!