Optometrist Response to Atlantic’s Article on The Eye Exam “Scam”

Your eye exam is not a scam. Glasses and contact lenses are medical devices.

When you notice a change in your vision, it can be caused by a host of other things. For example, I’ve seen…
– patients who were unaware that they had diabetes, but were diagnosed based on the appearance of the retina at the back of their eyes
– patients who didn’t know they had high blood pressure, but again were diagnosed after an eye exam
– a patient who thought she had dry eye, and was using drops suggested by the pharmacist, but it turned out to be an inflammatory eye condition linked with thyroid disease
– patients with retinal holes which required laser surgery to prevent retinal detachment
– 2 patients that came in for a routine exam, but ended up having an eye tumour 🙈

On the less “scary” side, I’ve seen plenty of people after they tried to order a higher powered contact lens themselves, thinking they needed something stronger, but they did it incorrectly and ended up giving themselves a headache. Or they ordered glasses online after modifying their glasses prescription a bit and couldn’t see out of the new ones. I’ve seen TONs of people with burning, itchy, red eyes who tried to self-medicate with over-the-counter antibiotic drops, which didn’t help. Do you really trust yourself to know what you need without going to the doctor? Your optometrist is not just a barrier to getting glasses… we’re here to help you take care of your eyes and catch preventable causes of vision loss! 👀 Eye exams might seem simple when everything is going well, but it takes years of training for me to rule out eye disease and other more sinister causes of a prescription change.

This author as simply upset because he was too unprepared to have spare glasses or contact lenses. If you use medication, it’s your own responsibility to have a supply wherever you go. It’s NOT a local doctor’s job to give it to you, sight unseen. Don’t be a statistic in preventable vision loss!

The main takeaway from this should be to make sure you always have a backup pair of glasses 🤓

Yascha Mounk – It is very irresponsible to encourage people to risk their eye health like this

 

(This is a response to the article The Great American Eye-Exam Scam  in the Atlantic )

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Alzheimer’s May One Day Be Predicted During Eye Exam

It would be very exciting if we could detect Alzheimer’s early before any symptoms with optical coherence tomography (OCT)! This is technology that we already have readily available in our office, as we use it to monitor other conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. It’s much less invasive than the tests they currently use for Alzheimer’s.

Of course, much more studies are needed before any true link is established, but it really wouldn’t surprise me because we can already see lots of general health conditions in the eye such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and more! Your eyes truly are the window into your brain 🤓#iloveeyes

Read more on Science Daily: Alzheimer’s May One Day Be Predicted During Eye Exam

 

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Solar Eclipse Safety Tips

There will be a total solar eclipse on August 21, between 1:10pm-3:49pm!! The last total solar eclipse visible in North America was in 1979, and the next one won’t be until 2024, so you won’t want to miss this one!
 
Here are some safety tips for viewing the eclipse:
– In Ontario, we will not be in the path of totality, so it will NOT be safe to look directly at the eclipse at any time.
– You must wear eclipse glasses with special filters. Here is a list of reputable vendors: https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters
– Looking through binoculars, regular sunglasses, polarizing filters, and other home-made filters, etc, is NOT SAFE.
– While you may be able to find something to dim the sun to a “comfortable” viewing level, it may not block to whole spectrum, so you could be damaging your retinas with infrared radiation… and you wouldn’t notice until afterwards. This video talks about how you can get solar retinopathy by looking at the sun

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Eye Cancer Found On Routine Exam

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

eye cancer
normal retina
melanoma
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