In everything we do in life, there are certain risks involved. Some things are of higher risk than others. Our job is to minimize these risks in our lives.
When crossing the street, we stop and look both ways. If we see that no car is coming and the crossing is safe, we continue on across the street. Here we are minimizing our risks involved in crossing the street instead of blindly jumping out in the busy road without looking.
The same analogy pertains to eye care. Many people are in higher risk groups than others for a variety of reasons whether it be by choice, as in contact lens wear or due to a genetic predisposition to a particular ocular disease. Our job as responsible people is to properly minimize the risks involved in our eye health in any way possible to assure ourselves that our eyes will last and serve us well. Not all conditions can be detected without an examination, until it is too late. Prevention is a key to good health risk management.
Kids At Risk:
Children born prematurely or with low birth weights are at higher risks and should be evaluated at 6 months of age or sooner. Children with parents who have significant visual correction should be monitored early and regularly. Children who are physically or mentally challenged are also in a higher visual risk group.
Contact Lens Wearers:
Contact lens wear by itself is a very safe practice if done responsibly. As a contact lens wearer, patient’s are exposed to a risk of eye infections and trauma. To minimize these risks, the patient must have their eyes checked regularly to assure proper eye health. Dr. Baron stresses that you must also follow directions for wearing time, solution use and replacement of lenses. Wearing lenses longer than they are designed, significantly increases the risk of sight-threatening ocular infections.
Highly nearsighted patients:
Oftentimes nearsightedness is caused by a larger eyeball. This extra length of the eye may cause the retina (the seeing part) to be stretched, pulled and thinned. This stretching places these patients in a higher risk group for retinal detachment which may cause blindness. To minimize the risk of this occurring, these patients must have regular checkups to have their eyes examined for the health of the retina. If discovered early enough, loss of vision may be prevented.
Glaucoma & Glaucoma suspect patients:
Glaucoma is often called the “silent thief” since it slowly steals your vision without you even realizing it, until it is far too late. These patients must minimize their risks by having appropriately timed and proper tests monitored to detect any changes which could lead to vision loss. If detected early loss of vision can be prevented by a variety of means.
Diabetes often causes the “leaking” of blood vessels in the eye which depletes the tissue of necessary oxygen and nutrients. With this depletion comes the death of the tissue and ultimately loss of sight. If monitored regularly, we can discover any leaking blood vessels and have them sealed by the use of a laser, thus allowing the normal flow of blood to the tissue.
These patients must have regular checkups to evaluate the growth of the cataract and to evaluate the health of the back of the eye before the cataract becomes so dense that the back of the eye can not be seen.