Author - Esther Euripidou (Optometrist)
Many people find it quite confronting to have an eye test. Fear that there is something wrong, particularly if someone in the family has been told they have an eye condition.
Being fearful can happen at any time, particularly if you are anxious about making a grade, a job application or test based on visual performance. Sometimes it is better not knowing….no…. disagree.
Late presentation eye disease is a dilemma for you, your family and all health professionals involved. In many cases there are solutions, treatment options, awareness strategies before you are in a crisis situation.
Here I discuss an example -
Keratoconus is a condition which sounds nastier than what it really is. I prefer to call it “Fragile cornea syndrome”. Sometimes from eye rubbing the collagen bonds in the corneal tissue are damaged (at a microscopic level) and the membrane can become weakened and distorted. Sometimes it's temporary-like if you are pressing hard on your eyeball through your eye lid for a short time but then the membrane springs back to normal. Other times it can stay distorted. This is what also happens in the aging process, only very slowly. Our skin gets weak and saggy with age so it is expected that the eye tissue will also. In the case with the cornea (the window of the eye) it has to be spherical in shape to give us undistorted vision.
Distortion in vision can be caused by an aspherical cornea. There are many variations of non-spherical. In an eye test we can analyse things like the corneal shape and thickness and see if you are “normal” for age.
Haloes, doubling and asymmetric distortion are analysed in the eye test and we work out how we can help with this problem.
An unstable tear film (as in dry eyes) can give this sort of problem. Inflammation of the corneas can also produce the same distortion. In an eye test we can work out a suitable management plan for the condition identified as causing the problem.
If you are fearful at any point, you can let the optometrist assigned for your test know as your primary concern.
As an optometrist, I work at a pace that I feel my patient is comfortable with. We can take a pause when you need to. We can give you more technical information or preparation advice for a measurement.
I am always surprised when patients have put off an eye test for so long because of fear. Once measurements are done, we discuss results. Information is delivered with a sensitive approach. Knowledge is empowerment.
Early treatment and interventions are always favourable for a better long term outcome.
Concerns, any necessary referral and areas of confusion are discussed to the level of detail that is required to understand your visual status.
By Esther Euripidou
Optometrist at 1001 Optical
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