For most people, vision is something we take for granted until we have problems. And sooner or later, most of us will develop some sort of vision impairment.
Denison Optical Optometrist Lauren Claborn compares optometry to primary care physicians screenings.
“We do a comprehensive health check of the eye from front to back and look at every structure to be sure everything looks healthy,” she said. “We check for complications due to diabetes. We check for cataracts. We check for glaucoma, macular degeneration, and if we see the need for further treatment involving medication or surgery. Then we refer you to the proper ophthalmology specialist.”
When most people think of optometrists, they think of the person who evaluates their vision and prescribes glasses or contact lenses to correct common vision problems.
“Myopia or nearsightedness is when your near vision is good, but you have difficulty seeing far away,” Claborn said. “That’s becoming more and more prevalent partly due to how much time we spend on screens.”
Claborn said that she urges parents to limit children’s time watching television, working on computers or staring at phones. She added that studies indicate that those activities actually increase myopia as the eye tries to adapt to seeing better up close.
“The best things children can do for their vision is to get outside and play,” she said. “For patients who have really large progression of myopia, I’ve started prescribing drops that can slow down the process.”
Optometrists such as Claborn address other vision problems as well.
“Sometimes I will prescribe glasses only for night vision driving,” she said. “Other problems include computer vision. The blue light emitted from the screens can be harmful, so you can put a blue light blocking coating on the glasses to reduce the exposure to blue light.”
Screen watching can also cause other types of problems with the eye.
“I also treat a lot of dry eyes due to computer use,” she said. “I have patients who take a fish oil supplement and use prescription drops for dry eyes. I also treat lazy eye, or amblyopia in children. That can go undetected for many years, so it’s really important to get your kids’ eyes checked regularly.”
Edward Southerland is a feature writer for Best of Texoma. For more information, visit BestofTexoma.com or www.facebook.com/BestOfTexoma.