By Dr. Scot Yap, 11/13/2014 (Events Magazine)
The importance of a comprehensive exam cannot be overstated. It is important to emphasize that good vision does not necessarily equate healthy eyes. Having “20/20 vision” tells your eye doctor that only a small portion of your eyes are healthy. What about the rest of the eye? For example, a legally blind patient with advanced glaucoma may still be capable of “20/20”, while their peripheral vision has been claimed by the disease. Many systemic conditions affect our eyes. Early detection of these systemic diseases often happen during your comprehensive dilated eye exam. Diabetes, hypertension, auto-immune or inflammatory disease, malignancies or metastases, and brain tumors are only some conditions that can manifest in our eyes. Many potentially blinding eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts are predominantly seen in the geriatric population, and early treatment is crucial in preserving and maintaining functional vision.
We must also consider the quality of our vision. How comfortable are your eyes? Do you have dry eyes? Do you experience headaches, eyestrain, lose concentration, or fall asleep while reading? These symptoms may indicate a “hidden” refractive error that forces your eyes to strain. It is very important that parents pay attention to these symptoms in kids. Neural connections from our eyes to our brain are still developing from birth to school age. These connections are necessary for the development of good vision and true depth perception. Myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, strabismus, and congenital cataracts are only some conditions that may hinder this process. These conditions must be treated before it is too late. Children lacking clear vision and/or true depth perception may be excluded from certain occupations in adulthood. It is also important to note that children may not complain about their vision, because they may be unaware that there is a problem. With the constant advances in corrective lens technology (spectacles, soft/hard contact lenses, specialty contact lenses), there is an esthetic solution for everyone seeking to improve their vision.