Save Your Vision Month is an important time to reiterate how optometrists go beyond vision correction prescription by providing the delivery of essential health care. That the work optometrists do is critical to a patient’s overall health regimen, including preventive care.
Eye health and preventative care is of upmost importance to the School of Optometry and Vision Science (UWOVS). This is one reason we have a multi-clinic approach with locations in both Waterloo and Kitchener, as part of the School ’s strategic goals in ensuring inclusive access to all in the community.
While the main clinic at the Waterloo campus houses services like the George and Judy Woo Centre for Sight Enhancement, offering rehabilitation and therapy for low vision, the Kitchener clinic located in the Health Sciences Campus, has a focus on helping those who are typically underserved in the community.
"We have a wide range of patients, some of which include newcomers to our community, such as refugees," says Dr. Lisa Woo, clinic head at the UWOVS Health Science Optometry Clinic in Kitchener. "We also provide eye care to those who are precariously housed, especially because they may not have access to other forms of healthcare. We have all groups of patients, and we are very proud of being able to provide care to these different groups."
There are many reasons that impact your eye health that need to be taken into consideration to preserve your eyesight. That is why UWOVS promotes access to anyone who needs an eye exam. Comprehensive eye exams are important to maintaining not only the overall health of your eyes but is also a tool for early detection of conditions and diseases that lead to vision loss.
“For a complaint of blurry vision, there is so much more we need to know about this,” says Dr. Woo. “Was this a sudden change or was this gradual? Is this impacting seeing in the distance or up-close? Are there any other symptoms with it? How is the patient’s general health?”
Early detection not only of eye disease and conditions but also of other chronic disease and conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, leads to early management in slowing down the progression or preventing vision loss altogether. With that, it can also help slow down the progression of conditions and diseases that impact your overall health. That is why it is also important to get your eyes checked regularly starting at a very young age.
"We see patients as young as six months, sometimes even sooner if needed,” says Dr. Woo. “We make sure the eyes are aligned and that there are no abnormalities to the ocular health.”
Ideally, regular testing every one to two years is important, regardless of age. For children under 18, a yearly exam is the best to monitor refractive error changes that occur mostly during this age group. Also, for those over the age of 40, an annual checkup is necessary as your vision starts to change again, and you are at risk for various health conditions.
Comprehensive eye exams are not the only way you can save your vision. Eating healthy foods filled with nutrients can help lower the risk of eye problems. Ensuring you are protecting your eyes when out in the sunlight is a major factor as well. Preventing and treating dry eyes, a very common condition for all ages, are important steps for good vision and comfort. Additionally, limiting your electronic use, such as computers, smartphones, and tablets, can help reduce eyestrain.
If you are interested in booking any appointment at either our main campus clinic or our clinic located in downtown Kitchener on Victoria Street, you can do so here: https://wei.uwaterloo.ca/make-appointment