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Keeping an eye out for potential vision problems

January 17, 2012
By KELLY FOSNESS , Houghton Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - Whether you need prescription glasses or not, experts say an annual eye exam is a healthy habit to stick to.

"Even if you don't feel like you need glasses or anything like that, it's still a good idea to make sure that your eyes are healthy," Houghton Shopko Eyecare Center Optometrist Erin Schoone said. "The AOA (American Optometeric Association) recommends an exam before the age of 1, around age 2, before entering kindergarten, and then every year after that. It's really the best method."

During a regular exam, Schoone said they look to see if the patient is experiencing any refractive problems, if the eyes are near- or far-sighted, and they're looking at the overall health of the eyes.

Article Photos

Houghton Shopko Eyecare Center optometrist Erin Schoone uses a phoropter.

"(For example), if you have dry eye issues, eye comfort issues, even binocular vision problems, like problems with seeing 3-D and things like that, which is important for kids," she said. "(We're looking for signs of) glaucoma, macular degeneration, and we can actually check for signs of high blood pressure and diabetes."

Conditions like high blood pressure can be detected by looking at the blood vessels in the eye, Schoone said.

"When you look inside and you can see how they cross over each other, you can see hardening of the arteries or effects of high blood pressure on the eyes," she said. "As you get older, in your 40s and 50s, we worry about high blood pressure."

As for children, concerns relate to proper prescriptions for their eyes.

"(We're looking at) are their eyes working together well as a team?" she said. "There's definitely differences in what we look for. As you get older, then we start worrying more about glaucoma and macular degeneration."

If a prescription is necessary, it's up to the patient whether they choose glasses or contacts, Schoone said, although lifestyle does factor in to what works best.

"There's no reason why younger kids can't be in contacts, other than personal responsibility; they have to be able to take care of them," she said.



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