Windows to Your Wellness

East Falls’ high-tech optometry team saves lives (and makes precision glasses that’ll give you a new view of the world).

So a guy goes into a local optometrist’s recently with blurry vision. Sounds like a routine story, one you’d hear at any optometry office anywhere in Philly, except that Dr. Jesse Jones’ office is anything but routine and the patient had a much bigger problem than blurry vision.

A few digital scans of his eyes revealed the man was suffering a minor stroke. “I’ll be fine” the man insisted as he prepared to leave, intending to drive himself home, but Dr. Jones cuts him off. “No, you’re not — I’m calling an ambulance.”

Welcome to the world of high-tech optometry. It’s light years away from LensCrafters or even the corner optometrist. In an unassuming office on Ridge Avenue, Dr. Jones and his team are using the latest technology to not only ensure healthy vision, but also diagnose serious ailments like strokes, multiple sclerosis, and type 2 diabetes. They can even detect an increased risk of colon cancer. All based on scanning the vast network of blood vessels and pathways in and behind a patient’s eyes.

But they’re not just about catching illnesses, they want to prevent them. “Our goal is to create a digital profile for each patient’s eyes, one that we can use to detect changes in their vision and their overall health as well,” Doctor Jones explained. 

As a guy who shopped for glasses mainly by price (my last pair was a $125 special from Costco) I admit I was skeptical when I first visited East Falls Eye Associates. All the digital scanning talk at first seemed like maybe a sales tactic — an up-sell. The service adds an extra $50 to the regular exam fee, and usually isn’t covered by insurance. 

But how much was I saving with my old eye doctor? My “special” glasses were fine, I guess, but getting out to appointments & back took a chunk out of my day. What if Dr. Jones’ high-tech office  — right down the street — could scan for serious illness plus improve my eyesight beyond the standard glasses I was used to? As a comedian once said, how can seeing better not be at the top of your to-do list?

I had to go for it.  Of course, the exam isn’t *all* digital — there were the usual intake questions (family medical history, drug usage, vision history, etc.) with Lisa (technician and office assistant), expert in drawing info out & making sense of it all. 

The routine eye exam with Dr. Jones was similarly familiar, and maddeningly thorough. Optometrists must be the most patient people on earth, “Better like this? Better like this? No? Again? How’s this? Now this…?”  

Anyway, once we’d nailed down my prescription, things got sci-fi in a hurry:

I could go into the technical names of the machines (optical coherence tomography anyone?) but let’s just say the equipment at EF Eye Associates is way beyond the “puff of air and a slit lamp” in assessing your eye health.

Using laser and high-resolution imaging, Dr. Jones maps your retina, optic nerve, blood vessels, and other internal structures with incredible detail that wasn’t possible only a few years ago. The human eye is full of teeny-tiny nerves & blood vessels, which modern optometry can now “read” for signs of illness — and also document anomalies, tracing changes over time. Truly amazing, how today eyes really are windows to your health. 

High tech imaging also can measure astigmatism with extreme accuracy, meaning you get eyeglasses/contact lenses that are as customized as a fingerprint. Contact lenses? If you’ve heard you can “never” wear them, might be time to talk to Dr. Jones — he swears there’s a contact for everyone these days. 

As a lifelong eyeglass-wearer, I’ve had “wow-I-can-see-better” moments before with new glasses, but I had to agree with office manager Justin when he said “Welcome to the world!” as I first put on my new specs. It was like going from basic cable to HD. Sha-zam.

So glad Monica (technician and the fashionista responsible for the office’s wide range of cool frames) was there to help me navigate their wall of glasses! She steered me in the right direction when I told her what I was looking for:  I wound up going with ECO eyewear, a line that uses recycled, bio-based materials that are light & bendy. Lots of options in my usual sweet spot of “mostly conservative but a little trendy, too” — these new ones are black but with electric blue accents.

A whole new look and a clean bill of health at East Falls Eye Associates. Schedule your appointment with the team today. They work with your doctor, are experts at getting the most from your insurance company, and they’re great community people too! (Dr. Jones regularly visits Abbottsford Homes to keep the residents’ eyes in top shape, while occasionally diagnosing more serious health problems.)

See better and support local business. 

East Falls Eye Associates
4189 Ridge Avenue (corner of Ridge and Indian Queen Lane)

And don’t forget to check out their Facebook page.

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