Spring 2018
Watercolored illustrations of Spring 2018's talking heads Spring 2018

Myth Busters
Patients often come to their optometrists with misinformation. ICO alumni have been confronted about astronomy, astrology, crystals, alternative medicine, and more. It is important for doctors to be educated and informed in the face of “alternative facts.” What are some myths about eyes, vision, and optometry you’ve encountered during your career?

Arol Augsburger, OD

‘Doctor, is it true that wearing glasses will make my eyes grow weaker?’ All of us who practice optometry have heard some version of this recurring myth. Optometrists are eye care professionals who serve the public. Historically, we maximize patients’ vision performance by prescribing lenses that increase the quality of life. Properly prescribed lenses only add to a patient’s visual effectiveness; in no way do they ‘make the eyes grow weaker.’ Yet, the myth persists! It is incumbent on all optometrists to continually educate our patients- and the public- about the phenomenal benefits of sharp, comfortable vision. Healthy eyes and bodies help all of us be successful in our increasingly technological world.

Naghmeh Thompson, OD ’12

Since graduating, I have encountered a few ocular related myths. I can’t help but smile when I have the odd patient who eagerly insists that they should be prescribed marijuana because it can treat glaucoma. One of the more common myths is that sunglasses do not need to be worn if it isn’t as bright outside as it is in the summer. Therefore, sunglasses become a distant memory for many during three out of the four seasons of the year. I try to stress the importance of UV protection to patients, especially my younger school-aged patients and their parents. It is certainly important to take this opportunity to educate our patients and manage expectations so that we can work together in caring for their eyes.

Les Alsterlund, OD ’99

There is a myth out there that 20/20 eyesight is perfect vision. The conversation with parents goes something like this: ‘We had Johnny’s eyes checked and were told he has 20/20 vision! …But we still can’t understand why Johnny can’t keep his place, skips words, covers one eye when reading, and complains of headaches and fatigue.’

All we need to do is take the time to listen. Ask, ‘What kind of vision problem is your child struggling with?’ The tests are not complicated and do not take long to perform. Look at their eyes when you do pursuits and saccade testing. Did they move their head? Did they lose fixation? Do an NPC- more than once. Do a cover test. Do a visual efficiency evaluation. If you don’t do this, then refer to a developmental optometrist who does, rather than spreading the myth. You might just change the direction of that kid’s life, and that is pretty cool.

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