SEE your eye doctor at least once a year. Not JUST for the check of functional vision but also a check of your eye health and markers of general health changes only identifiable in the eye. The annual eye exam completes an annual physical; everyone agrees prevention is the best medicine, and we detect and prevent systemic and eye disease at wellness visits! Through the pupil of the eye is the only way in which key vasculature (like that around the heart) can be visualized without cutting a patient open once a year. This is why a view into the back of the eye is a critical part of any annual resolution to take better care of yourself.
Use your glasses or contact lenses as prescribed by your eye care professional. If s/he emphasized use of eyewear during certain conditions or stressed constant wear you can rest assured that this is in your best interest; at least if it comes from a professional you trust. These prescribed uses vary: reading books, driving at night, computer use, sun protection, full time wear, etcetera. Contact lens use is the most commonly confused. You should be prescribed a wear time (daily, extended wear, up to 18 hours…), replacement schedule (twice monthly, monthly, daily…), and a recommended cleaning product. Most people use disposable soft contact lenses with multipurpose disinfecting solution, but most people believe that if they wear it less than the prescribed time that this somehow extends its life. We challenge these patients to name another substance that comes in a vacuum sealed package with a use by date and a prescribed time that they put inside their body beyond that time. Let alone a prescribed medical device! IF YOU WEAR YOUR CONTACTS PART OF THE TIME, YOU ARE BETTER OFF IN DAILY DISPOSABLE CONTACT LENSES. Not everyone is a good candidate, but if your are you will find that they will be more comfortable, more convenient, up to 12 times safer according to recent studies, and for those who wear contacts less than 4 times a week, these single use products are CHEAPER than their reusable counterparts!
Eat healthfully, and know what nutrients you need in the eye. If you haven’t had a consultation on diet and supplementation to improve glare recovery, contrast sensitivity, and visual processing time, you may consider taking the MVP (Maximum Vision Potential/Protection) Test only available at 4Sight iCare. In addition to testing the density of the macular pigment (the results of healthy eating that prevent eye disease), we test contrast sensitivity and glare to measure improvement over time between visits. This MVP testing provides the opportunity for you to drive more safely, see better at night, perform better in sport, and protect yourself from blinding eye disease. It’s called ocular nutrition, and it is an important part of your eye care plan.
Schedule an annual exam (wellness or other) with your primary care doctor and make sure s/he is communicating with the specialists that care for you. Allergist, chiropractor, dentist, endocrinologist, obstetrician, oncologist, optometrist, orthopedist, physical therapist, rheumatologist… Whatever the specialty, make sure they have the name, address, and phone/fax number of your primary care doctor. Everyone should see an eye doctor, a dentist, and a primary care doctor at least once a year, and correspondence between primary care for your eyes, teeth, and body is essential for anyone with medical findings that indicate extra testing, a change in medication, or an adjustment in care frequency. From the eye doctor perspective, anyone coming in for a wellness exam will be invited back the next year for an exam but those who are not well will be invited back for a medically indicated exam the following visit and a letter of correspondence will go to the primary care doctor coordinating that care. Examples of people who believe they are well but will be offered a medically indicated exam include: controlled diabetic patient, controlled hypertensive patient, and patients using a medication with side effects that present in the eyes. When a patient returns with a resolved condition where diet and exercise control what was previously only controlled with medication, this is the time that medical indication for dilation is no longer present and a dilated fundus exam may not be ordered on a regular basis.