How Regular Eye Exams Prevent Unnecessary Vision Loss from Eye Disease

Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons, Ltd.
Eye exams and vision loss in Wyomissing

Diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and macular degeneration are eye diseases that can damage your internal eye structures before you experience any symptoms. Unfortunately, these conditions often cause permanent vision loss before they are diagnosed. Regular eye exams are crucial to maintaining good ocular health and avoiding vision loss. At Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons, our eye doctors can often detect early signs of eye disease at these appointments to prevent vision loss with timely diagnosis and treatment. 

Comprehensive eye exams include various tests, including your visual acuity, to diagnose refractive errors. Our eye doctors examine your visual field by moving a finger from side to side and use a series of color images to test for color blindness. Computer testing maps your cornea to diagnose astigmatism, and dilated eye drops allow our eye doctors to visualize and examine the internal structures, such as your retina, lens, optic nerve, and blood vessels. A slit lamp magnifies your eye structures, and a tonometry test measures internal eye pressure. These measures ensure long-term eye health with early diagnosis of eye diseases and other concerns. 

Early Detection of Eye Disease Can Prevent Vision Loss 

Vision impairment affects every area of your life, but vision loss is often avoidable with early detection of eye diseases during routine eye exams. Like all health concerns, it’s best to diagnose eye problems early, when they’re most treatable, and before they impact your quality of life. Some changes in the eye can signal a larger health concern, such as undiagnosed diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. These eye exams ensure you maintain your eyesight for longer and may help improve your overall health. 

If you experience vision changes, schedule an eye exam immediately to avoid further vision loss. It’s easy to take good vision for granted, and some eye diseases are unforgiving. Don’t neglect your eye health; schedule eye exams as often as recommended to maintain clear, crisp vision. 

How Often Should You Have an Eye Exam? 

People with refractive errors should have annual eye exams to update their vision prescription for glasses or contact lenses. However, even people who don’t require corrective eyewear should have regular eye exams to evaluate their eye health, especially if they have risk factors for eye disease. A high-risk person may need an annual eye exam or more frequent visits, while low-risk people should schedule an appointment every two years.

Risk factors for eye diseases include: 

  • Family history of eye diseases
  • Persons over 60
  • People of African or Latino descent 
  • Previous eye injury or surgery
  • Chronic health conditions (diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc.) 

Schedule Your Eye Exam Today 

Don’t put off your next eye exam. These appointments are crucial to maintaining a healthy eye and good vision. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam at Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Request an appointment online or call (610) 372-0712.

How Smoking Can Jeopardize Your Vision

Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons, Ltd.
smoking eye health Wyomissing

The negative health effects associated with smoking are widely known. Cigarettes alone contain many toxic ingredients that can cause serious harm to the organs. Smoking also poses a unique risk to the health of the eyes. People who smoke are at an increased risk of developing vision-threatening eye diseases, including cataracts. The experts at Berks Eye recommend regular eye exams if you are a smoker or were one previously. Continue reading for more information about how smoking can jeopardize your vision.

Age-related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a serious condition that can significantly affect central vision. If you smoke, the retinal blood vessels may constrict, which increases your blood pressure and puts you at a greater risk of experiencing permanent vision loss from AMD.


Cataracts are a leading cause of vision loss. A cataract occurs when the eye’s natural lens, which is usually clear, becomes clouded. This leads to obscured vision, sensitivity to light, and trouble seeing at night or in low-light environments. Smoking and the toxins associated with it can ultimately increase the amount of free radicals your eye is exposed to, which can negatively impact proteins in the eye and lead to deposits on the lens of the eye. Antioxidants are helpful at reducing the effects of free radicals, but if you smoke, even consuming an antioxidant-rich diet may be ineffective in removing the threat.

Retinal Detachment

When delicate blood vessels in the eye become swollen, they can sometimes rupture and leak fluid into the retina, causing detachment. Smoking significantly increases bodily inflammation, making swollen vessels more likely.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye is an eye condition that affects the tears that nourish and protect the cornea. Burning, itchiness, redness, and foreign object sensation are all symptoms of this condition. The harsh chemicals within smoke can irritate the eyes, leading to these bothersome symptoms. Smoking, as well as exposure to smoke secondhand, increases the risk of experiencing dry eye syndrome.

Optic Nerve Issues

The optic nerve links the eyes to the brain. When this connection is damaged, permanent vision loss can follow. Smokers are put at a greater risk for optic nerve issues.

Healthy Vision in Wyomissing

Healthy lifestyle choices can lead to healthy eyes. Smoking can cause a number of eye-related diseases. Even being exposed to secondhand smoke can lead to eye issues. Smokers who quit are taking the first step to the health of their vision, but the damage that smoking causes can endure until it is treated. Berks Eye provides ophthalmic, optometric, and optical services designed to help you maintain or improve your eye health and vision. Contact our office today to schedule an eye exam.

Are artificial tears safe?

Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons, Ltd.

By: Dr. Benjamin Nicholas, Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons

Over the past few months, you may have heard some concerning stories about devastating side effects from artificial tears. These eyedrops are meant to supplement a deficient tear film and clear mucus away from the ocular surface to alleviate the symptoms of a dry eye. Dry eye itself is extremely common with an estimated prevalence of greater than 16 million patients back in 2017 (1), and these over-the-counter eye drops are almost universally recommended by eye doctors on account of their good safety profile and effectiveness. “You can never OD on an artificial tear,” said one of my mentors. So, what’s all the fuss?


5 Common Eye Conditions: An Overview of Symptoms and Treatments

Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons, Ltd.
Eye Conditions Wyomissing

Eye health is important to your quality of life. Regular eye exams are the best way to detect and treat eye conditions. Here, the knowledgeable team at Berks Eye discusses five common eye conditions, including their symptoms and treatments.


Workplace Eye Wellness

Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons, Ltd.
Eye Wellness at work Wyomissing

In recent years, working remotely has become the new normal, with many workers having to adjust to using their homes as their primary workplace. Unfortunately, this meant that spending hours in front of a computer screen, too, has become standard practice. As a consequence, reports of eye strain and other symptoms have become more prevalent. The good news is that for those who use computers as a core part of their job, there are a few things that can be done at work to improve eye wellness.

Take Breaks for Optimal Eye Health

Looking at a computer screen over long periods can lead to symptoms such as dry and tired eyes. Taking frequent breaks allows your eyes to rest. Keep in mind that your eye break should extend to all screens; it is not helpful to take a break from your work computer, only to pull out your smartphone during that time. Instead, consider gazing out of an open window or even shutting your eyes for a few seconds. A total eye break is essential to helping your eyes feel their best.

Keep an Appropriate Distance

Avoid sitting too close to your computer screen. You should position yourself about an arm’s length away from your computer screen. Make sure to adjust the screen brightness so that your vision is comfortable while looking at the screen and not strained.

Use Eye Drops

If you suffer from dry eyes, consider using eye drops to help with eye comfort. Eye drops, also known as artificial tears, can provide nourishment to the eyes and stave off the effects of dry eyes. Apply your drops as recommended for the full effect. The doctors at Berks Eye can recommend brands of over-the-counter eye drops that may work best for you.


If you work in a low-moisture environment, including at home, investing in a humidifier could do wonders for your eye wellness. These devices increase the level of moisture in the air, which can help improve the way your eyes feel while working. There are even desktop humidifiers that are compact and fit conveniently into your workspace.

Protect Your Eyes

Eye wellness does not exclusively apply to those in an office setting. Individuals that work in high-risk environments, such as construction sites or manufacturing facilities, should be wearing protective eyewear on the job to prevent severe eye injuries.

Prioritize Your Eye Wellness with Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons

Do not take your eye health for granted. To maintain a lifetime of healthy vision, adults ages 18 to 60 should have a comprehensive eye exam at least once every two years. Older adults (ages 65 and older) should have annual eye exams. Schedule an eye exam with one of our experienced ophthalmologists or optometrists today by contacting us at our office at (610) 372-0712 or scheduling online at

Eye Conditions That Affect Your Retina

Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons, Ltd.
Retina Specialist Reading, PA

Can you name all the parts of your eye? Even if you can’t name every part, you have probably heard of the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. It is very important to your vision. This means that any type of damage to or disease of your retina can have severe consequences. Here at Berks Eye, we treat a number of eye conditions that affect your retina.


Nutrition and Your Eyes

Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons, Ltd.
Eye Health Reading PA

Consuming healthy foods and taking certain supplements decreases the likelihood of developing several common eye conditions. This includes age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in those 60 and up. The eye care specialists at Berk’s Eye Physicians and Surgeons Ltd. of Reading, PA explain the benefits of good nutrition for eye health.

Eye Healthy Diet

The American Optometric Association recommends adding particular dietary nutrients to preserve vision and protect against certain eye diseases. For overall health, Americans are urged to eat at least five fruits and vegetables daily. Along with regular exercise, a healthy diet may reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure and other cardiac-related ailments may prove harmful to eye health. Taking good care of yourself requires a holistic approach.

Fruits and vegetables that may boost eye health include:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Leafy greens
  • Nuts
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes

Omega-3 fatty acids are another essential element for eye health. These fatty acids aid retinal function and assist visual development. They can help prevent dry eye and lessen the odds of AMD development. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Fish
  • Flaxseed
  • Leafy greens

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements  

Obtaining nutrients through foods is the best route for eye health, but taking the right vitamins and supplements also plays a role. Vitamins and minerals critical for eye health include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Lutein
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Zinc

Most of these vitamins are antioxidants. Antioxidants battle the free radicals that break down healthy tissue, including eye tissue. Antioxidants may help in cataract prevention.  Vitamin C intake is especially valuable in cataract reduction, as are lutein and zeaxanthin.

In addition to supplements designed specifically for eye health, you may want to take fish or flaxseed oil capsules for the omega-3 fatty acids. That is probably the most effective way to ensure you are receiving an adequate amount of omega-3 fatty acids if you do not like to eat fish.


The National Eye Institute sponsored the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). This major clinical study involved 3,640 people between the ages of 55 and 80. The results showed that taking a vitamin or mineral supplement reduced the progression of AMD by roughly 25 percent. Some of the subjects reduced their visual acuity loss by 19 percent.

Follow-up studies indicate that those with a high dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce the risk of geographic atrophy, the advanced form of AMD.   

Contact Us

If you would like more information about the role nutrition plays in eye health, contact the eye care specialists at Berks Eye in Reading, PA to schedule a consultation. We can advise you on the best eye care vitamin and mineral supplements for your individual needs.

The Importance of Protecting Your Eyes From Sun Damage

Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons, Ltd.
Eye Protection Reading PA

Most of us already know how important it is to protect our skin from the power of the sun. The effects of damage from ultraviolet solar rays are obvious: dry, wrinkled skin, sun spots, and in too many cases, skin cancer. The trusted vision care team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons reminds you that your eyes are much more sensitive than your skin, and need a level of protection at least as strong as the sunscreen you use daily.

Costs of Neglect

The consequences of subjecting your eyes to years of unprotected exposure to ultraviolet rays can be severe — for your eyes and for the delicate skin surrounding your eyes. In fact, up to 10 percent of all skin cancers occur on the fragile skin near your eyes. The eyelids are a common location for this type of malignancy.

For the eye itself, long-term exposure to the sun can cause cataracts; macular degeneration, which often leads to total loss of vision; pterygia, which are growths on the eye; and photokeratitis, which is essentially a sunburn on the eye.

Framing the Issue

Given these facts, it’s clear that sunglasses should be an indispensable daytime fashion accessory for everyone. And it’s also clear that when it comes to the health of your eyes and the sharpness of your vision, frugality is not a virtue.

Those cheap sunglasses you see on the rack at the drugstore can be quite costly in the long run. Most of these inexpensive varieties block only part of the sun’s harmful UV rays. Meanwhile, they trick you — and your eyes — into thinking that you are wearing adequate protection. The darker lenses of the sunglasses reduce visible light, and in response your pupils dilate. In doing so, they are allowing a higher intensity of ultraviolet light to enter and begin damaging the retina.

For optimal protection from all these risks, look for sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVB and UVA ultraviolet rays. If the label includes a UV 400 notation, that is a sign that the product offers complete blockage of ultraviolet light.

Because much of the ultraviolet light reaching your eyes is reflected off the inner surface of the lenses or penetrates through the side, wraparound or large, snug-fitting sunglasses are ideal. Wraparound sunglasses have the added benefit of protecting more of the delicate skin near your eyes. Some types of sunglasses feature anti-reflective coatings for the inner lenses. Polarized lenses are also a prudent investment, as these lenses almost always provide exemplary protection from damaging ultraviolet rays.

If you would like to learn more about ways to protect your eyes from UV rays, we invite you to schedule a personal consultation in our Reading office with one of the skilled ophthalmologists at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons today.

Understanding MGD

Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons, Ltd.
MGD Recovery in Reading, PA

If you are suffering from MGD, your symptoms will appear almost identical to those of dry eye syndrome. In fact, MGD is a prime cause of dry eye. Because these two conditions are so closely allied, only a trained professional like the experienced doctors of Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons can accurately diagnose and treat the root cause of your eye pain or blurred vision.

Oil and Water

The fine layer of moisture on the surface of your eye protects sensitive tissues, lubricates eye movement and promotes clarity in your vision. This layer is actually comprised of water, oil and mucus, and a deficiency in any of these three can lead to irritation and dryness.

When the cause of your discomfort is dry eye syndrome (keratoconjunctivitis sicca), the problem is a decrease in the amount of tears protecting the eye’s surface. When the condition is MGD (meibomian gland dysfunction), the 20 to 30 glands in the lower eyelid that secrete oils or lipids are not working properly. The purpose of these oils is to keep tears from evaporating quickly. When gland function is interrupted, the watery surface of the eye is constantly dissipating, resulting in evaporative dry eye. 

Symptoms for both dry eye and MGD may include pain or a burning sensation in the eyes, itchiness, redness, light sensitivity and blurred vision. Patients may have a feeling that there is a small particle in the eye.

MGD is common in the general population. Risk increases with age, with those over 40 having the highest likelihood of developing MGD. There also seems to be a correlation of MGD with heavy use of eye makeup. Over time, cosmetics can clog the meibomian glands and suppress oil production.

Convenient Solutions

In recent years many exciting new treatment therapies have been developed. The LipiFlow thermal pulsation system uses targeted heat to melt away waxy gland obstructions in as few as eight minutes.

If you would like to learn more about MGD, we invite you to schedule a personal consultation in our Reading office with Dr. Domenic C. Izzo, Jr. at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons today.

Tips to Avoid Digital Eye Strain

Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons, Ltd.
Digital Eye Strain Reading PA

With more of our work, communication and leisure time taking place digitally, the team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons has seen an uptick in patients experiencing symptoms of computer vision syndrome — also referred to as digital eye strain.

Common symptoms of digital eye strain include eye fatigue, eye dryness or irritation, headaches, blurry vision and neck and shoulder pain. The more time spent using a computer, the worse the symptoms can be.

Luckily, there are ways to reduce symptoms of digital eye strain without giving up your job or social media use. Read on as our team shares some simple steps to minimize digital eye strain when working on computers.

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