I had been in the eye care profession for over three decades. The excitement and astonishment from examining patients’ eyes and looking into their “windows to the soul” have never waned. The eye is such a marvelous organ. It’s one of the smallest organs in the human body—the average size of an adult eyeball is approximately two-thirds the size of a ping-pong ball—yet it controls the majority of our learning, thinking, feelings and daily activities.
Through the years, there were several occurrences that saddened my heart because many a detrimental eye condition could be easily reversed and managed if the patient would have come in earlier to have his/her eye checked. The idea of writing a book regarding the urgency of regular comprehensive eye exams via telling stories, instead of hard-selling, had been brewing within me for a long time. Since we sold our practice one year ago, I finally found the chance to fulfill it.
An eye exam is not only to update the prescription for your eyewear, glasses and/or contact lenses; it also checks the anterior and posterior segments of your ocular health. In such a small organ as the eyeball is, there are tremendous delicate elements neatly arranged within it. The anterior portion of your eyes comprises the cornea, iris, pupil, conjunctiva, ciliary body, anterior chamber, aqueous humor, trabecular meshwork, and crystalline lens. The posterior of the eye includes the vitreous, sclera, choroid, retina, macula, optic nerve, central retinal artery, and central retinal vein.
A comprehensive eye exam consists of a dilated fundus exam (DFE). The fundus of the eye is the interior back surface of the eyeball. DFE can detect early glaucoma, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, unusual fundus pigmentation (a precursor to eye cancer in some cases), peripheral retinal thinning, other fundus abnormalities, and systemic eye-related diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, hypertensive retinopathy, or ocular manifestations caused by multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disorders.
Since our eyes are an integral part of the body, they are like a small mirror that candidly reflects much about a person’s hidden history, as well as most of the body’s systemic conditions. One of the most thrilling moments was after I did a comprehensive eye exam, took digital retinal photos, and showed the images displayed on the monitor screen to my patient.
“Wow, is that what the back of my eyeball looks like?” Most of my patients were intrigued.
I am writing this manuscript in an easy-to-read style to share with my readers the most memorable cases, span pediatrics to geriatrics, from my years as an eye care professional and to illustrate the value and relevance of a comprehensive eye examination. My goal is to encourage you not to take your eyesight for granted and to treasure that marvelous organ—the eyeball!
I sincerely hope that every reader will find some invaluable information in Your Precious Sight while being amused.