Author - Oscar Hsu (Optometrist)
Towards the end of January this year, it was a busy Tuesday morning. A 50 year old gentleman, Mr. X, came in and requested an eye test to update his reading glasses. A general question we often asked every customer: “Is there anything bothering your eyes or vision? Any symptoms you noticed recently?” Mr. X answered, “Nothing much.” Then I went on to ask about his medication and family history of eye diseases. Suddenly he said, “Well, about a week ago, when I was driving I noticed a speed camera flashing, but the funny thing was I never knew there was a speed camera near my house. I asked my neighbours, but they all insisted there is no speed camera nearby.”
That definitely rang my alarm. I went straight to check how well he could see from a distance with the chart, as I covered his right eye, he said, “Oscar, why did you turn the light dimmer” while I was 2 meters away from the switch. I said, “Please let me have a look inside your eyes first. Your left eye might have a certain condition.” Mr. X asked, “What about my reading glasses?” I said, “I would like to check the structure of your eyes and make sure they are all good, and then I can update the prescription of your reading glasses.”
When I looked into his left eye, I saw a horse-shoe- shaped tear with retinal detachment. I told Mr. X that I have to refer him to see an eye specialist immediately. He was confused and replied, “Why? I am seeing fine when I open both of my eyes. I don’t feel pain or irritation in my eyes.”
Left Eye Before Retinal Detachment Left Eye After Retinal Detachment
Thanks to the retinal camera in every branch of 1001 Opticals, the retinal photography also serves as a great tool to communicate and explain to our customers. I took a retinal photo of his left eye and compared it to one of his previous one which was done 2 years ago. I explained to him if it is not treated in a timely manner, this condition can cause permanent damage to his sight or the worst scenario, he might lose vision of his left eye. Mr. X started to realize his condition was serious. I called a local eye specialist on his behalf and they kindly squeezed him in between appointments as an emergency case for laser surgery.
People tend to neglect retinal detachment because most patients don’t feel any pain or irritation when it happens. Often when it occurs, the vision of the affected eye is suppressed and the other eye compensates. Therefore the vision is still fine unless the good eye is covered. We shall pay attention to the signs such as floaters, flashes, or shadows similar to a curtain coming down/cross the vision. If they are presented, we should see a local optometrist for a full eye examination to get our ocular health defined. Vitamins for ocular health are an essential part of keeping our eyes healthy at all times. Vitamin A can be especially helpful in preventing retinal detachment. For those who already had a retinal detachment in one eye e.g. Mr. X, 15% might have retinal detachment in the other eye in the future. Therefore those patients need regular review by their optometrists.
By Oscar Hsu.
Optometrist at 1001 Optical.
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