Seeing vs. Seeing As Well As You Can

Google Glasses are in the news. These are eyeglasses with a smart pad embedded in the frame. They’re clever, expensive and available to select trendsetters.  But I think that  what should be in the news is that there are millions of Americans who go to school, work or drive with sub-optimal vision.

The saddest moments in my practice occur when I examine people no longer capable of clear vision because of eye disease or injury. The happiest moments occur when a patient picks up new glasses or contact lenses and sees clearer than they have in a long, long time.

But in between the people who may never be able to see clearly again and the people who are thrilled with their amazing  new vision correction, are a whole lot of people who are “seeing” — but not “seeing as well as they can”. This can include people who:

1. Have not had an eye exam in a long time

2. Have their eye exam performed by a doctor who makes minimal effort to fine tune the prescription or discuss current lens technology

3. People who increase the font, purchase over the counter reading glasses, or get bigger tv’s. Seeing magnified images may enable them to do a task like work on a computer or watch tv. But it does not provide the same comfort level as seeing a properly focused image through the best possible vision prescription. It’s amazing how much vision compromise people put up with because they just don’t realize how much clearer their world can be!

4. People who have had Lasik or Cataract Surgery several years ago. Their vision may have gradually changed but they have gotten out of the habit of seeing an eye doctor.

Passing a DMV or school screening means the person simply has MINIMUM required vision. Now wouldn’t you rather share the roads with people who see 20/20 and not just the minimum that DMV requires? And wouldn’t you rather have your doctors, plumbers, accountants, teachers, bus drivers or anyone else whose services you or your family use have perfect vision rather than “minimum” clarity? If an attorney is charging by the hour, I sure hope his or her vision is as efficient as possible. And if a contractor is reading a blueprint, I sure hope he is seeing all that tiny print really well.

I recently had the disconcerting experience of being in a doctor’s office where it was evident the doctor made an error because his vision was not as clear as it should be. When I mentioned he needed an eye exam, he just sort of said that he was ok because he has one eye that sees well at distance and the other eye works for reading and close vision. This doctor was confusing “seeing” with “seeing as well as he can”. He should have known better – but after many years as an eye doctor, I know how often I see people who have spent years not seeing as well as they can.

Vision is precious. Enjoy clear vision by having regular eye exams and utilizing today’s amazing frame, lens and contact lens technology. Be the best that you can be by seeing the best that you can see!

Dr. Ally Stoeger provides annual eye examinations, medical eye care, contact lens examinations and Lasik/refractive surgery co-management in the Gainesville-Haymarket area of Virginia.  GH Eye also has a superb collection of   high tech lenses and the latest in fashion frames.