People always think they would notice if something was wrong with their eyes, but that’s not always the case!
I had a patient last year, who had come in just because she felt like she needed stronger reading glasses. In fact, she almost cancelled her appointment because she was busy that day. Everything checked out: distance vison was great, and she did just need a boost for up close. Everything appeared normal up until the very last step of the exam. After dilation, I was able to see to the edges of her retina, and found a choroidal melanoma. Choroidal melanoma is the most common primary malignant eye tumor and the second most common type of primary malignant melanoma in the body. She was referred immediately and received radiation therapy. I saw her again this year, and so far she is doing well
The first picture below is a straight on view of her retina. Everything looks normal. The second picture is what was visible when she looked to the side. The melanoma was way off on the edge of her retina, which is why she did not have any symptoms or notice any changes in her vision.
A “virtual” sight test would not have caught this. If she was issued a renewed prescription online without a comprehensive eye exam, this would not have been found. #VisionHealthMonth
The back of your eyes is the only place we can actually SEE blood vessels without cutting open skin. Not only can your Doctor of Optometry see changes due to diabetic retinopathy, but also other general health conditions such as high blood pressure, and more!
The Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends a comprehensive eye exam every 1-2 years for healthy adults, even if you are not noticing any changes in your vision. Adults over age 60 should be seen yearly.