Let’s talk eyeballs. I am going to show you why you need regular eye exams, enlighten you on innovations in eyecare, and get you thinking about the type of caring you receive.
What is your most important sense? Which would you least want to lose? Safe bet most of you thought “vision.” Now, when was your last eye exam? Has it been over a year? Like I tell my patients, if you can’t remember when your last exam was, then you are overdue. Wait, you’ve never had an eye exam? If you think “I see fine, I don’t need one,” then you have no idea what we can find in an eye exam, regardless of how well you see.
So many systemic (body) diseases can be found in the eyes, most without any symptoms or sensations whatsoever. Diabetes can damage the whole body; in the eye it causes leaky blood vessels. I recently saw advanced diabetes in a patient who didn’t even know he had diabetes. Same with high blood pressure, which can cause a stroke in the eyes. Cancer, like breast or colon or lung, can spread to the eyes; I found lung cancer in the eyes of a patient who didn’t even know he had lung cancer! A smattering of others: lyme disease, sickle cell, AIDS, Graves’ disease, multiple sclerosis, shingles, sarcoidosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis…..yep, all can show up in the eyes even if you see fine and feel fine.
I have a lot of patients dread the “air puff” test. I wish I could say a group of sadist optometrists came up with the test just to torture you, but it measures the fluid pressure in the eyes to check for risk of glaucoma. This eye disease has, you guessed it, no symptoms or sensations, but can cause blindness. Be happy to know there are alternatives to the “air puff” that tell us the same info but don’t scare the bejesus out of you.
Nearsightedness means you can see up close without glasses but everything far away is blurry; it is also called myopia. Myopia is associated with serious eye diseases which can cause blindness. We used to tell kids “your vision is going to get worse as you get older” which in turn increases the risk of those diseases, but now we don’t have to….treatment is available to control the myopia and hopefully prevent those diseases. This needs to be started early to have the best outcome, so pre-teens and teens make great candidates for the different therapy options. I grew up to become very nearsighted, so I understand what your kids are going through.
Adults that are nearsighted aren’t left out. They may be eligible for myopia treatment with overnight vision correction, or orthokeratology. No surgery, no glasses or contacts during the daytime. I also call it eye voodoo.
Are you suffering from anything from mild headaches to migraines? Eye strain to neck pain? Difficulty focusing? Feeling like you just can’t see well even though you may see perfectly fine at 20/20? Your eyes may be misaligned, or not focusing at the same image simultaneously, causing your brain to work overtime, creating a multitude of symptoms. An innovative test can determine if the Neurolens® could alleviate your pain.
How about identity? Do you prefer a “vanilla” visit, or are sprinkles more your style? Do you feel like a number or a family member (which isn’t always a good thing lol)? Need to cry? Want a hug? Want to show off your newest 2-,4-, 8-legged friend? Are you just taken care of, or do you feel special and appreciated? Find an office that jives with you and has the innovations and frames and equipment worthy of you. Make it your goal to have an eye exam this year. I promise it will be (relatively:-)) easy.