The general public has a variety of misconceptions about eye care. In this social media-driven world we live in, there are so many businesses and individuals that have your attention. Some will have your best interest in mind, while others see an opportunity to take advantage of a billion dollar industry. It is important that you get your information, technology and education on your health from a trusted resource. The “Eye Care Myths – Debunked” series will help you sort through the facts and increase your knowledge on eye health.
Myth 1: “I can see PERFECT. I don’t need an Eye Exam.”
Most patients end up at the eye doctor because of vision needs and vision devices. Blurred vision, a change in vision, expiration of contact lens supply, or broken glasses will drive potential patients to make an appointment with their Eye Care Provider (ECP). The reality is that a vision exam is not a comprehensive eye health exam. Take the “eyeglass prescription” component away, and it is still important to have an annual eye health check. 20/20 vision is only one part of “healthy vision.” Much like an annual physical with your primary care provider, a skin check with your dermatologist, and an oral health exam with your dentist, a comprehensive eye health examination should be scheduled annually.
In addition to visual function, your ECP will typically evaluate eye muscles, the way pupils respond to light, depth perception, curvature of the cornea, and the ability of the eyes to focus/work together. An anterior segment (front of the eye) exam will reveal any lid and lash disease, dry eye disease, conjunctivitis (pink eye), cataracts, risk factors for glaucoma, and contact lens-related issues, to name a few. A posterior segment (back of the eye) exam, will use views through the pupil to uncover any inflammation, macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic changes, freckles or moles (nevus), holes, tears, detachments, and other abnormalities that often times won’t even present you with symptoms.
The eye is often the window to systemic health. Numerous diseases and medical conditions present signs and/or symptoms in the eye first. Perfect vision does not mean perfect eyes. It’s wonderful to see clearly, but it is essential to see healthy and be healthy.
Jared Most, OD