As an eye care professional I am exposed to more than my fair share of eye conditions and diseases. I see at least one person every day that has some sort of eye condition that doesn’t fall under the “normal category”. I have also observed that the vast majority of the people that I see in my office that have these eye conditions are also wearers of glasses and/or contact lenses. You might read that previous statement and think, well, glasses and contacts must be correlated with eye disease! But, that would be absolutely false! Then why is it the majority of the people I see with these eye conditions also wear glasses or contact lenses? The reason they are being treated for an eye condition is because they needed glasses or contacts and therefore got regular eye care. During their routine eye exam, I was able to diagnose them with these eye conditions. I was also able to diagnose the condition early and prevent irreversible vision loss. The fact they needed glasses or contacts actually provided a situation for me to save their vision! Then the question becomes, so where are those non-glasses wearing people with eye disease? Well, to be frank, they are running around undiagnosed. They seem to think that because they can see fine that there must not be a problem. I would like to dispel this myth.
As I interact with people, I hear on a regular basis, “I don’t need an eye exam, doc. I see just fine.” I can’t help but cringe when I hear that. To me, that statement would be the equivalent of “my teeth are white today, I guess I don’t need to brush them.” Did you know that most of my patients with glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and a slew of other diseases still see 20/20 or better? There are so many eye diseases that can easily fly under the radar until it’s too late. If you lose vision from glaucoma, I cannot bring it back, but if I catch it early, I can prevent you from ever losing your vision.
When I say to someone, “you should get your eyes examined,” I am not implying you need glasses. What I am really saying is, “there are many serious eye conditions that are undiagnosed. Especially among those who do not get regular eye care. I would hate to see you years down the road and not be able to help you when there is so much I can do right now to save your vision.”
As March has been designated Save Your Vision Month by the American Optometric Association, I want you to think of your vision differently. I want you think of me not only as “the glasses doctor,” but as the “save your eyes doctor.” If you haven’t had your eyes examined in a while, come on in and let me do what I do best. You probably already know if you are someone who doesn’t need glasses, but there is a chance you don’t know if you have glaucoma or another eye condition. Save your vision. Save your eyes. Get them checked. See you soon!