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The “average person” will probably not recognize what the image above shows. But the “average person” is exactly who needs to understand the importance of what is happening.

A couple of days ago, I had 19 year old healthy young man come to see me for an eye exam simply because he was noticing a little bit of blurriness in his distance vision. Everything else seemed fine. No pain, no redness, no injuries, no medications.

A quick refraction (the “which is better, one or two?” test) provided a very simple prescription for glasses and we discussed the fact that my friendly patient’s vision was actually better than 20/20 with the glasses. As far as he knew, he was good to go.

In fact, if this patient had gone to an optician for a sight test, he would’ve been. That would’ve been the end of the process and the patient would be on to buying glasses.

But our next step was to examine the health of our patient’s eyes. And that’s where this image comes in. What you see here is an image of a large retinal tear and detachment in this patient’s right eye (green areas along the bottom and right side of image). A condition that can easily lead to permanent loss of vision if it is not dealt with in short order.

It’s very difficult to convey in words the significance of this very real scenario. This is the “average person”. This is the person who “just needs glasses”. This is the person who’s vision has been stable for years so he buys a new pair of glasses or contacts online using his old prescription. Or the person who says “my vision has always been good, so I don’t need any eye exam”. This could be anyone. And this person could’ve been blind tomorrow.

Deregulation in BC has made it possible for any Tom, Dick, or Harry to sell glasses and contact lenses. This was done under the ruse of “consumer benefit”. Tell me which consumer benefits from an undiagnosed retinal detachment or glaucoma or any number of eye conditions that can quietly lead to permanent vision loss.

Having regular eye exams is not just about keeping your glasses or contact lens prescription updated. It’s about keeping your eyes healthy for the long term. And in some cases, it might even be about saving your vision.


Written by Dr. Harbir Sian

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