A thorough eye exam does take time; if convenience is chosen over quality, problems could be missed, and the window of early detection gone!
By: Ryan Bauer, O.D.
Today’s advanced technology allows many of the things we do in our life to be faster and more streamlined. Meals can be ready in minutes. You can place your order at the drive-through and two minutes later your meal is ready at the window. How could it get any more convenient? Didn’t have time to pick up that one item you needed after work or were just too tired, why not order it online from the comfort of your bed and have it delivered to your home in a couple of days? This all sounds great but many studies have shown that quality can suffer and be compromised for convenience; not to mention the loss of revenue to your community when you don’t spend your money locally. We have all witnessed what happens when compromise wins, local businesses have fewer jobs available, less inventory to provide to the public, or unfortunately, are even forced to close the brick and mortar stores. We all have to make the conscious decision about how much we are willing to sacrifice for speed and convenience, whether it be food, products and services, or even healthcare.
In the world of eye care when businesses offer a reduced cost or a “free” professional eye exam, you have to wonder if they are sacrificing quality for convenience. In most cases, you are just getting an eyeglass prescription and not a true full eye exam. Many eye diseases and conditions have no early symptoms and the only way they can be detected early on is from an eye exam. You are probably thinking, “What constitutes a full eye exam, what should it include?.” The eyes are the only part of the body where we can take a look inside and get generalized information on how healthy the body is. Make sure your eye doctor takes into account the status of your systemic health along with the medications you take for any existing conditions. You need to realize that what can affect your systemic health can affect your eye health and eventually your vision. Each eye has six external muscles that direct our eyes and align them in the direction of our choosing. An evaluation of eye alignment needs to be performed to ensure that improper alignment is not causing any symptoms or discomfort that you may be having. Once alignment is confirmed, your prescription determination is critical; taking extra time during this process will ensure that seeing with your new eyewear or contact lenses helps you see to your full potential. More importantly, make sure your eye doctor evaluates your external eye health. An external eye exam checks for dry eye, eyelid and corneal conditions, as well cataracts which can all affect vision. Lastly, don’t forget about the back part of your eye as it needs to be evaluated for the more serious conditions like glaucoma, macular degeneration, cancers, hemorrhages, and other retinal issues; thus dilation of your pupils or the use of Optomap retinal imaging is critical. A thorough eye exam does take time; if convenience is chosen over quality, problems could be missed, and the window of early detection gone!
If the quality of eye care is an area of life that you are willing to compromise, your healthcare will be compromised as well – they are one in the same.
Being unaware of the standards of quality regarding eye care services could make all the difference in your overall wellbeing. The degree in which we accept an inferior product or service is a personal decision, but if we accept inferior quality, it soon becomes a new standard of lower expectations. I often hear, “They don’t make it like they used to,” and “Well I guess you get what you pay for.” We have seen that cheaper and faster is not always better, so be cautious of being in such a rush that you end up sacrificing health for convenience. Do not choose “Fast Food Eyecare,” but choose to “Live Well, Colorado!”