Shiley Eye Institute optometrists are eye care professionals who perform comprehensive dilated eye exams and are experts at fitting all types of contact lenses and glasses. Working hand in hand with Shiley ophthalmologists, the optometry service strives to deliver the best possible care to each patient.
Contact lenses are thin lenses that sit on top of the cornea (the clear outer layer of the eye). They correct refractive errors to make your vision clearer — just like eyeglasses. According to the National Eye Institute, about 45 million Americans wear contact lenses. If you use them the right way, they can be a safe and effective alternative to eyeglasses. If you have a refractive error, like being nearsighted or farsighted, optometrists can prescribe contact lenses to help you see clearly. SEI optometrists can prescribe several types of contact lenses including specialty contact lenses.
People who have eye disease that is not correctable with standard refractive glasses, contact lenses, medical treatment or a surgical procedure, yet do have some remaining vision are termed "low vision". Profound visual impairment can result from injuries, birth defects or eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy or inherited retinal diseases. Using the latest technological advancements in optical aids, SEI optometrists provide much needed care for our low vision patients.
I just left the Shiley Eye Institute feeling grateful that this top quality group - eye specialists, clinical researchers, and academicians - is in my community. Due to an array of eye problems, I see physicians in many departments and am extremely pleased with the care I’ve received. However, I’d like to share my experience about one physician, in particular, Natalie Afshari, M.D., Chief, Division of Cornea and Refractive Surgery.
Nearly forty years ago, I was diagnosed with Fuch’s Dystrophy. I recognized the symptoms because my mother had Fuch’s and was nearly blind much of her adult life. Although corneal transplantation was relatively new, I decided to undergo the surgeries. Several years later, I developed Shingles (Herpes Zoster) in and above one eye.
When I moved to San Diego 1989, I did my research and chose Shiley for periodic checks and for macular degeneration identified there. In 2012, I learned that the right cornea was rejecting due to a recurrence of Shingles.
But, I was lucky. Among many skills, Dr. Afshari is an expert on Fuch’s and corneal transplantation. She worked diligently to save my cornea, but additional transplants were needed due to Shingles recurrences. After discussions together, we decided to proceed with a relatively new technique, a prosthetic corneal transplant. This amazing gift not only contains donor tissue, but is encased in metal, making it less likely to reject. The surgery saved my eyesight.
The admiration I have for Dr. Afshari grows with each visit. She possesses extraordinary clinical skills, listens intently to concerns, suggests solutions, and assures that all questions have been fully answered. Together we make important decisions. I look forward to visits because I trust her professionally and am uplifted by her energy, caring and friendship. In addition to her research and teaching, Dr. Afshari exhibits both the expertise and the human qualities I believe make her an outstanding physician.
I tell friends I have supernatural powers in the right eye that I now jokingly call “bionic”. Recently Dr. Afshari asked a Shiley Low Vision expert, optometrist Dr. Anne Lam, to see me. Dr. Lam worked diligently and creatively over several months, combining both hard and soft contact lenses. The results of the teamwork enabled me to meet my goal – to pass the DMV vision test and renew my Driver’s License. I feel fortunate that I am truly a Shiley success story.
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