As a practice that is genuinely concerned with the wellbeing of our patients, we always stress the importance of regular eye exams. Many people put off scheduling their yearly appointment, thinking that delaying their visit isn’t a big deal. For that reason, we want to share this story with you to communicate the importance of regular eye exams.
Lizzie is a 23-year-old who just graduated from the University of Louisville and is excited to begin her career as a health & wellness coach/personal trainer. She is physically fit, full of life and carefree, like most 23-year-olds.
Back in February, she came to see us for her regular eye exam to get a new prescription for contacts, and her doctor found something that would have caused her to go blind in her right eye within months if it had not been caught.
After having a picture taken of the inside of Lizzie’s eye, the doctor was able to detect that Lizzie had a retinal detachment. The retina is the inner layer of the eye that sends visual messages to the brain. In a detachment, the retina separates from the back of the eye and has the potential to cause permanent blindness.
A Medical Emergency
What’s so shocking about this condition is that since there are no nerve endings in the back of the eye, a person can go blind without feeling any pain. Eventually, as the retina detaches further, a person sees what they describe as a curtain over a part of their eye, blocking a portion of their vision. Other people describe it as a cloud in their vision.
Often times, once people see these warning signs, more invasive surgery is needed to reattach the retina and in some cases, vision is compromised.
When a retina has completely detached, the person will go blind and there is no cure.
In Lizzie’s case, since we were able to catch her detaching retina early, a retinal surgeon was able to perform a non-invasive laser surgery to permanently reattach the retina to the back of her eye wall so that it will no longer pull away.
It is heartbreaking to see a vibrant young person come to us when it is too late and have to tell them what will become of their vision.
Taking Ownership of Your Health
When we tell you that you need to come in for a complete eye exam on a regular basis, we say it for a reason! There are many other health issues, both vision and non-vision, that can be caught early through eye exams. Eye doctors can detect early stages of diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, high cholesterol, thyroid disease and even skin cancer before other doctors will see the warning signs.
Eyes are truly incredible, and your vision and overall health is important to us! Please schedule an appointment with your eye doctor today and take ownership of your health!