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Keep an eye on your eyes
They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Literally taken, one could say that the view from most windows is foggy and distorted. Our eyes are extremely important parts of the body, yet they are the most overlooked. Whether or not you wear glasses, taking good care of your eyes prevents vision problems later on. A good place to start is getting your eyes checked on a regular basis, especially if you are part of a family with a history of eye disorders. If you were not aware, vision testing is an important exercise even if you don’t wear spectacles, and should be done at least every five years. If you wear corrective lenses, you should have a check-up every two years.
Taking the test
Check-ups involve testing your visual acuity (sharpness of vision), refraction, visual field and ability to see colour. Vision acuity tests measure if the eye can see details up close or at a distance. This test is familiar to many and involves reading letters of different sizes and fonts on an eye chart. Each eye is tested individually and then together, with and without corrective lenses, if they are worn. Refraction is another test that is used to determine if there is a need for corrective lenses. The test is usually done following an abnormal visual acuity test, to determine the exact lens prescription. In other words, if your acuity test result is normal, you won’t have to do this test. Visual field tests are used to check your visual field, or the total area around you that can be seen when you are looking in one direction. Your eyes should be able to see clearly in the direction of your gaze and to the side at the same time. The normal human visual field extends to approximately 60 degrees nasally (toward the nose, or inward) in each eye, to 100 degrees temporally (away from the nose, or outwards). The test is important since it assesses the potential presence of blind spots, which could indicate eye diseases.
A blind spot in the field of vision can be linked to a variety of specific eye diseases including glaucoma. Rehabilitating the blind spots involves no surgery or medication of any kind. Finally the colour vision test is used to screen for colour-blindness. Colour-blindness occurs when certain cells in the retina which normally respond to colour, do not respond as they should. There is no treatment for colour-blindness. People with a colour deficiency are born with it. Colour blindness is caused by a common recessive gene. (U The Caribbean Health Digest)
Choosing an eye doctor
Choosing an eye doctor is an important healthcare decision. After all, you will be trusting your eye doctor to safeguard your precious sense of sight and help you maintain a lifetime of good vision. The first step in your decision is to understand that there are two types of eye doctors: optometrists and ophthalmologists. It’s also helpful to understand the third “O” in eye care: opticians.
What Is an Optometrist?
An optometrist is an eye doctor who has earned the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. Optometrists examine eyes for both vision and health problems, and correct refractive errors by prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses. Some optometrists also provide low vision care and vision therapy.
Optometrists also may participate in your pre-and post-operative care if you have eye surgery.
Both optometrists and ophthalmologists examine eyes and prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses.
What Is an Ophthalmologist?
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) or an osteopathic doctor (DO) who specialises in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists are trained to perform eye exams, diagnose and treat disease, prescribe medications and perform eye surgery. They also write prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses.
An optician is not an eye doctor, but opticians are an important part of your eye care team. Opticians use prescriptions written by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist to fit and sell eyeglasses, contact lenses and other eyewear.
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