By Enyeribe Ejiogu
It is not for nothing that in Psalm 17:8, King David, in his prayer of thanksgiving described himself as the “apple of God’s eye,” adding, “Just as light is reflected on the shiny skin of an apple, and images are reflected in the eyes of a human beholder, God always and constantly let my image be before You and use your power to protect me.”
Essentially, David was referring to the pupil of the eye through which light passes into the eye to fall on and imprint images on the retina, thereby making vision possible. It is this function performed by the eye that is the basis for describing it as the window through which the body sees the world.
Naturally, it follows that such a vital organ must be carefully protected and nurtured. This explains why David prayed that God should treat him as the apple of His eye.
Now consider former United States President Donald Trump, who has always been obsessed with his looks, and very passionate about projecting an image of perfection at all times, from the unique coiffure of his blond hair to the well set dentition and his golden brown tan. All through the four years he spent in the White House, he studiously avoided being photographed wearing reading glasses. In a picture he took in his new office at Mara-a-Lago, where he now lives, he carefully tried to hide his reading glasses which he had just been wearing while reading a newspaper displayed in the picture, but the camera still picked up the reading glasses and the half-finished bottle of coke, also hidden behind the desktop phone.
In public, Trump was often seen looking at a people with a squint – a tell-tale sign that one has vision challenge. Long before he became the US president he was photographed a number of times wearing reading glasses in public. Apparently, as President he considered it not “macho” and contrary to his sense of style for the public to see him wearing reading glasses. Generally vision, when unaided with corrective glasses, begins to go down as one gets older. For Trump it was probably a no-no.
Ophthalmologists, and optometrists too, always advice that people should go for regular eye examination, especially when one is 40 years and older. The importance of annual eye exams goes well beyond just making sure your vision isn’t blurry. Below are five reasons why eye exams are important, and also give an early indication of vision problems.
1. Eye exams help children succeed in school
Generally, more than 80 per cent of learning done by children in and outside the classroom requires good vision. This is a fact that has been known for a very long time. Given the increasing time that children now spend, so close to television, computer and tablets screens, it is logical that incidence of vision-related issues is worsening among them.
An annual eye exam is the only way to ensure your child is seeing clearly and comfortably to succeed in the classroom. It’s also the only way to know for sure if kids are seeing their best for sports and other activities, too.
To assist parents in this regard, Bisniy Private Schools, Egbe-Idimu LCDA, Lagos, regularly organises eye examinations for its pupils, to ensure that the children’s eyes are the best state of health. It was through one of such eye examination sessions that the vision challenge of the brightest pupils (name withheld) was discovered. The child in question is now an undergraduate at a federal university in the Southeast, where he is studying Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
2. Myopia is becoming an epidemic
After a comprehensive exam, your eye doctor will discuss the findings and offer treatment options best suited to your needs. The number of children who are developing myopia (nearsightedness) is growing faster than ever. And more kids are getting nearsighted at a very early age. This is a very big concern.
Children who become nearsighted very early in life tend to experience a worsening and progression of nearsightedness that continues throughout childhood — and this puts them at a significantly greater risk of very serious and potentially sight-threatening eye conditions later in life, including cataracts, glaucoma and retinal detachment.
Scheduling annual eye exams is the best way to assess your child’s risk of myopia. When detected early, myopia control measures can be taken to slow the progression of myopia and reduce your child’s risk of serious eye problems later in life.
3. Vision screenings are no substitute for an eye exam
Too often, parents are led to believe their child is seeing perfectly well because she passed a school vision screening. Or adults think they see perfectly because they pass a vision screening at the motor vehicle department. Frequently, neither of these assumptions is correct.
Vision screenings are just that — they screen out individuals who have serious (and usually quite obvious) vision problems. Screenings can identify apparent problems a person might have with specific visual tasks, such as seeing a chalkboard clearly in the classroom or recognizing road signs and other objects from behind the wheel.
Only a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist can ensure your vision is as clear and comfortable as possible — and that you’re free from potentially serious eye diseases that don’t have obvious early symptoms, including glaucoma and even eye cancer.
Of all serious eye diseases, glaucoma is probably the sneakiest. That’s because there are no discernable symptoms in most cases of early glaucoma — nothing to alert you that something’s going wrong.
People who fail to have routine eye exams and develop glaucoma typically become aware of it only after they’ve sustained permanent vision loss from the disease. And by that time, controlling glaucoma to prevent additional vision loss can be very difficult. Without successful control with medical treatment and/or glaucoma surgery, the disease can lead to blindness.
Early detection of high eye pressure and other risk factors for glaucoma is possible only with routine eye exams. Vision screenings do little to nothing to identify or prevent glaucoma.
5. Annual eye exams can detect other serious health problems
Many people learn about some serious health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even cancer for the first time during a routine eye exam. During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor can observe and evaluate the health and condition of the blood vessels in your retina, which are a good predictor of the health of blood vessels throughout your body. Conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia all are visible by changes in the appearance of the retinal blood supply and blood vessels.
Annual eye exams are especially important for anyone with diabetes or who might be at risk for the disease (due to obesity, family history or other reasons). People with diabetes and prediabetes are at risk for developing diabetic eye disease, which is the leading cause of blindness among adults. In its early stages, diabetic eye disease has no visible symptoms; only a comprehensive eye exam can detect signs of the disease so treatment can begin soon enough to prevent vision loss.
Go for eye examination
Most people, especially men, tend to delay going for regular medical check-up. Please do not put off going for eye examination. Visit an ophthalmologist today, to have an eye examination done. Even if you think you have perfect vision, an annual eye exam can be one of the best things you can do to protect your overall health and wellness and those of your loved ones.