Free Eye Screenings Sept. 20

Ophthalmology Open House Set From 4:00-6:00 PM

September 19, 2016

Eyesight is often taken for granted until a problem arises.

When it does, it may take a specialist, like an ophthalmologist, to help fix the problem. 

An ophthalmologist is an eye physician and surgeon. Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists and opticians in their levels of training and in what they can diagnose and treat.  An ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and surgery. An ophthalmologist diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, performs eye surgery and prescribes and fits eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems. 

This month, Penn Highlands Ophthalmology invites you to attend an open house from 4:00-6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20, at its new DuBois location at 865 Beaver Drive, DuBois.

Free screenings highlight the event and will include an intraocular pressure test for glaucoma and a general vision exam. There is no charge for either screening and attendees will receive a free gift and also be eligible to win door prizes by signing up at the event. Light refreshments will also be served.

Staff will also be available to help provide tours of the new state-of-the-art facility that includes specialty rooms for laser treatments, various optical diagnostic tests, minor procedures and a modern optical center. The optical center showcases many name brand lines of eyewear and contact lenses available at the center.

Attendees will be able to meet the eye surgeons, Thomas Smith, MD, John Fabre, MD, Timothy Marra, DO and Ryan Bisbey, MD. The surgeons treat patients for a wide array of vision disorders including macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma, optic neuropathy and many other diseases of the eye. Surgeries can be scheduled at Penn Highlands Clearfield, Penn Highlands DuBois and Clarion Hospital for patient convenience.

In addition to the DuBois office, the physicians also see patients in Clearfield, Philipsburg and Clarion. For more information about the offices or to schedule an appointment, please call 814-371-2390. Information about the physicians is available through the Penn Highlands Healthcare online physician finder at

“We’re extremely excited to be in our new space along Beaver Drive,” Smith said. “We believe the patients will like the new modern space and we have much more room to expand our great optical center and provide more options for eyewear to our patients.”

What is glaucoma? And why be screened for it at this event?

Glaucoma affects more than 2.7 million Americans age 40 and older, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can cause vision loss and blindness. The most common form of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma. As with most eye issues, early detection and proper treatment can lessen the damage caused by glaucoma and protect your eyes against serious vision loss. 

Open-angle glaucoma occurs as a result of damage to the optic nerve at the back of the eye. In most cases, this is caused by an increased pressure inside the eye, usually due to poor drainage of the fluid inside the eye. This puts pressure on the nerve that sends signals to the brain for processing. In some cases the damage is due to poor blood supply to the optic nerve, and in these cases the eye pressure may not be high, although lowering eye pressure is still the main form of treatment. Another risk factor for the optic nerve is uncontrolled blood pressure.

In the beginning stages of glaucoma, vision is normal and there are no symptoms or pain. However, as the disease progresses, a person may experience a loss of side or peripheral vision or have tunnel vision. If left undiagnosed and untreated, a complete loss of vision will occur. Symptoms that become apparent as the disease progresses include:
Blurred vision;
Noticeable loss of peripheral vision;
Difficulty adjusting to low light conditions.

If you don’t have any of the above symptoms, there a few indicators that you might be at risk:
A family history of glaucoma;
High blood pressure;
Suffer from migraines, heat attacks, strokes or Raynauds disease;
Short sightedness;
Suffered from an eye injury;
Use, or have used steroids for, say, asthma, joint disease, eczema etc.

If you’re in this high-risk group, you must have an eye check before you are aged 35, with regular checks after that.

Early treatment for glaucoma can delay further progression of the disease. That’s why early detection is so important. 

The most common treatment is with eye drops to help lower eye pressure, although laser treatment and surgery can sometimes be required.  The best way to prevent it becoming a problem is early detection. While it can be treated, there’s currently no way to restore vision that’s been lost.