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  • Writer's pictureJantz Chappel

Why everyone needs an eye exam

This blog might be a little aggrandizing but let's explain the importance! It drives me crazy when someone says I see great why do I need an eye exam or my kid sees great. As an optometrist, I will be honest determining your glasses prescription is not my top priority. My top priority is to determine if everything is healthy in the eyes because that is by far the most important! Don't get me wrong glasses prescription is important and getting it right is super important but not the top priority. I don't want you to be able to just see today, I want you to be able to see for the rest of your life!

I could just list diseases you could have 20/20 vision or zero symptoms but have a disease that can make you go blind or just go over the ones I have seen personally. At first, I will just go over some basic facts about the eyes. You don't notice slow losses of your vision when it affects only your peripheral vision. When you have mild peripheral vision loss the brain says I don't like that and then masks the problem. Diseases like Glaucoma is a perfect example of this slow loss of peripheral vision. You will never notice a problem with your vision until it gets severe. When you have severe Glaucoma then it is a major issue and you're looking through a tunnel all the time until it goes dark. The good news is if you detect the problem early and take your medication you will most likely never see an issue with your vision. Going on to another disease I have seen would be retinal detachments the patients had zero symptoms most common I worry about is flashes of light (the most common symptom) this is a problem where you can lose vision in hours. There are some findings in the eye before you have a retinal detachment that you might want to monitor or treat before you get to the point of a retinal detachment. I have seen what we call proliferative diabetic retinopathy which is diabetes bleeding so bad in the eye that the eye makes new blood vessels in the eye which are leaky and cause scar tissue that can cause blindness in 50% of pt within 5 years without treatment. This is just a short list of things I have seen multiple times a year not once in a lifetime kind of disease.

Going to LASIK, PRK, RK, ICL, and SMILE patients (all these are surgeries to help vision) most of the people that get these surgeries are high myopic (nearsightedness) they have increased risk of both Retinal detachments and glaucoma by significant margins that do not go away after surgery. Which were discussed above. A good chart of those risk factors is below.

Myopia nearsightedness risk factors with glaucoma and retinal detachment

When it comes to kids you wouldn't believe how many kids I see for their 1st eye exam and they are 20/100 vision. Meaning what the average person sees at 100 feet away is what this kid sees at 20 feet. Meaning they needed glasses most likely needed it for multiple years! Another big worry is to make sure there isn't a major difference between the two eyes the kid may see great in one eye but can't see in the other and that can cause long-standing problems. Where the child may never see 20/20 in the bad eye ever (Unless new technology develops which would have to work on the development of the brain, which I believe is a long way away). The sad thing is that normally just putting them in glasses and/or patching at an early enough age is enough to get these patients to 20/20 in their bad eye forever, they may need glasses or contacts lenses still but they see 20/20 where someone even in glasses or contact lens without treatment could be 20/200. The worst part is if something ever did affect the good eye they would be legally blind forever.

Autorefractor OPD III

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