Many of us put off what we know we need to do. But I met a man this week who wished he didn’t procrastinate.
A Ten Year Decline
I met a patient who told me the vision in his right eye has been failing – for ten years.
It had been decades since his last eye exam. Worse, at his last exam he was told he had macular degeneration. Add to that diabetes, high blood pressure, and a blood clotting disorder. All of these can affect the eyes.
Once the exam was finished, I told him the bad news. The eye disease had destroyed the vision in his right eye. There was nothing I could do to bring it back. His left eye had macular degeneration too, and his vision was already affected.
When I asked him why he waited, he said “Well, I knew the right eye was getting worse. I could tell it for the past ten years. Five years ago, I got really concerned. When it finally went blind, I figured it was time to do something about it.”
I encouraged good blood pressure and blood sugar control. I urged him to see his other doctors as scheduled. I explained the benefits of a healthy diet, vitamin supplements, protection from UV light, and regular testing at LaFollette Eye Clinic. And of course, I told him to stop smoking!
This poor man was living the visual lifestyle with a disadvantage. There wasn’t much I could do for his right eye. Our diagnostic and treatment plan would focus on preventing further vision loss in the right eye, and trying to preserve his vision in the left eye.
Make no mistake. Some vision changes are permanent, especially if they are caused by eye diseases such as glaucoma or macular degeneration.
If you see vision changes, don’t wait. Schedule a complete eye exam with dilation. See your trusted eye doctor as soon as possible. Here’s why:
- Better safe than sorry: What if your exam just shows a little change in your prescription? In my book, that’s great news. At the very least you can update your glasses or contact lenses and enjoy clear vision. When this happens, I always tell patients they did the right thing by calling me.
- Catch problems early: Most eye diseases are easier to treat and have better visual outcomes when they are discovered early. It was too late to do anything about my patient’s right eye. If he had gotten eye care years ago, it’s possible he might see better today.
- Peace of mind: The man and his wife were pretty upset. They had worried about his right eye for the past ten years. And now, they’re worried about his left eye too. If your vision changes, get care as soon as you can. Even if it’s a false alarm, the peace of mind could be priceless.
- A lifetime of clear vision and comfortable eyes: The eyes are incredible wonders, and so much can go wrong. Vision changes may be harmless, or they may mean serious problems. Either way get them checked and do the best you can to enjoy a good visual lifestyle for years to come.
Here’s one more tip: you don’t need to wait until your vision changes to get an eye exam. In fact, it’s best to have one yearly. That’s because many eye problems start without warning – you can’t feel them or see them coming.
If it’s been over a year since your last eye exam or your vision has changed, schedule a complete eye exam with an eye doctor you trust. Do it as soon as possible!
Question: Have you ever put something off and then realized it was a bad idea? Please tell me about it in the comments below.
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