When was your last eye exam?

AS any other child in primary school, you would find me in the sun running, jumping and playing games under the bright and hot sun. However, when I was in Grade Six, I noticed my eyes started to tear up whenever I’m in the sun and with excessive bright lights I would get headaches. Luckily, my parents took heed to this issue and I began to wear glasses. In fact, I still wear specs and I couldn’t be any happier. Not to be cliché but the eyes are the windows to one’s soul and in a more literal sense, it is an insight to the inner workings of our body.

icture showing a visual acuity test.

Ever went to your regular family doctor when you have the flu and they use a light while examining your eyes? Well, the reason for this is the fact that your blood vessels can only be visible in your eyes. Your family doctor can also detect signs of diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, cataracts, glaucoma and even brain tumours. While this can be an effective way for eye care—the best-recommended way is to have a dilated eye exam and regular checkups with an eye doctor. Dilation of the eyes happens when an eye doctor (optometrist) drops an eye drop into your eyes that will increase or widen the size of your pupils. This will allow the doctor to examine the back parts of your eyes even better, some of which includes your optic nerve and retina. The optometrist will also perform a visual acuity test, most of us may know it as the ‘alphabet chart test’. This is where your vision will be tested by distance, 20 feet to be exact. Peripheral vision is the indirect vision we see from the sides while looking straight ahead. A doctor will also test your side visions because a bad or even no side vision can be a sign for certain eye diseases. If by chance, your doctor decides you need to wear spectacles/glasses then this means you have a refractive error in your eyes. To have a refractive eye means to have an eyes-shape that does not bend light correctly or in a manner that allows you to see an image clearly. Hence, you’ll need spectacles – or contacts if you prefer- to correctly bend light for you. The refraction test allows you with the help of your doctor to choose the correct lens type for your eyes.

Diagram showing refractive errors.

Your doctor can also prescribe photochromatic and transitional lenses to help with sunlight. These will turn into a tint, similar to that of a sunshade. Have you ever wondered why grandma and grandpa have a lens within a lens in their glasses? Well, in Guyana doctors also can prescribe magnified lens within the normal lens if needed. It is important to note that persons who have diabetes should have regular eye checks because of their risk to diabetic retinopathy. This disease is when a high level of blood sugar damages blood vessels in our retina. If the scarring is a lot, it can result in permanent vision loss. A balanced diet, exercising, maintaining a good BMI, wearing sunglasses, resting your eyes, being aware of your family’s history of eye diseases, avoiding smoke and excess amounts of light to the eyes are all other preventative measures we can take to ensure good eyesight. Also, your eyes and brain are connected by the optic nerve. Taking care of one automatically means you’re taking care of the other.

To have sight is an amazing thing. Our eyes provide us with new meanings and a sense of pictorial vividness. Our most precious memories, faces of loved ones, journey through books and pictures are all captured by sight. Places like DaSilva’s Optical, Optique Vision Care, Ming’s Optical and even our very own public hospitals provide services that ensure care for this wonderful sense. I was taunted throughout my life for being a ‘four-eye’ but I’ll tell you what, I could care less about that for without my many pairs of specs— I would not have been the same. Eyecare is effective when I (you) care; take care of the window of your soul.

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