Patients will sometimes tell me they ‘bounce’ around when it comes to where they have their eyes examined. If there is a sale on glasses at Costco, they would get their glasses and eye exam done there. When it’s time for another pair of glasses, if there is a deal to be had at Walmart, they would get their eyes checked and buy their glasses at Walmart, and so it goes. But is this wise?
As patients of mine know, I believe an ounce of prevention is worth its weight in gold. One of the benefits of getting your eyes examined on a regular basis (every 1 to 2 years) is that if there is something of concern, it can be monitored and treatment can begin early to prevent or minimize damage to the eyes. And continuing care/monitor requires serial data collection and the more high quality the data, the better. I would argue a 10 minutes eye exam – which is supposed to include a prescription check, check of the binocular vision (ability of the two eyes to work together), and assess the eye health – normally does not provide high quality data. Furthermore, when patients ‘bounce’ around, records usually get ‘lost’. Some offices also charge a premium for the transfer of patient record, which cause some to ‘not bother with it’. Even in instances when the eye exam is ‘normal’ with no pathology noted, the patient’s history is still important. For example, a patient’s optic nerve head cuppings and intra-ocular pressures (two of the measurements used to screen for glaucoma), despite being in the normal range, might have changed since their last eye exam. How will we know if we have no previous record to compare to? Patients have thus lost the most beneficial aspect of having regular eye exams.
In addition to monitoring the eye health of patients, regular eye exam at the same optometry office also allow us to measure the long-term stability of the patient’s refraction. This stability is critical in evaluating the candidacy of patients who are interested in having laser refractive surgery. It also provides important information for those having cataract surgeries. These are certainly not an exhaustive list but you get the jist.
So, find an optometrist who cares about the health of your eyes and stay with him or her. Dr. Mei-Ling Chan Optometry in Barrie would love to be that ONE eye care provider for you.