It is important to inform your optometrist about any previous ocular conditions that have been diagnosed or is present in your immediate family.
You must also notify your optometrist about your medical condition and history as well as any chronic systemic medication that you are using. Your eyes are part of the rest of your body, sharing the same circulatory system and are affected by how you maintain your health and diet. Smoking also has a negative impact on your eyes. It plays a role in cataract formation and macular degeneration.
The optometrist might make use of the following methods to aid in achieving best corrected vision:
- Spectacles/sunglasses – depending on the need, occupation and comfort of the patient. The spectacles might be for full time or occasional wear as needed/advised by optometrist.
- Soft contact lenses – most common type of contact lens worn by patients. Advanced manufacturing of different contact lens materials allow for an increased rate of successful fitting, with fewer complications.
- Rigid gas permeable lenses (Hard contact lenses) – these are smaller and harder contact lenses more often fit on patients with high prescriptions or irregular corneal surfaces, that do not achieve 6/6 vision with soft contact lenses.
- Scleral lenses – these are large diameter rigid gas permeable lenses which do not touch the cornea. This is a good option for those patients who have struggled to obtain good vision and comfort with contact lenses in the past. Good candidates may possibly include patients with keratoconus, corneal transplants, refractive surgeries, dry eyes and even patients who do not manage with their contact lenses while doing sports.
- Orthokeratology – involves fitting a carefully designed rigid gas permeable lens to temporarily reshape the cornea overnight to correct refractive problems. The objective is to have clear vision during the day without wearing spectacles or contact lenses. This is an alternative measure to refractive surgery and needs careful analysis of corneal shape.
- Low vision devices – include different types of magnifiers to achieve the most appropriate vision for a specific activity.
The optometrist might also refer a patient to an ophthalmologist to determine if the patient is a good candidate for refractive surgery such as alteration of corneal shape or insertion of an artificial lens with a pre-calculated dioptric value (unit used to measure eye sight). Other factors such as age and medical condition play an important role. “Sometimes we are limited not by our abilities but by what we see”. Regular eye examinations are essential to maintain optimal visual functioning and ocular health!