Better Vision Health For Your Family
Prevention and Treatment Sharlene Hayek, interior designer and busy mom of two, was a pro at balancing work and family life. Her balancing act came to an abrupt halt when she was diagnosed with glaucoma during an impromptu eye exam.
“Both of my sons are heavily involved in sports, it’s a big part of our lives outside of school,” explains Hayek. “None of us had had an eye exam before, and it wasn’t until my eldest son complained of vision problems affecting his performance that I booked us all appointments with a Doctor of Optometry.”
At the doctor’s office, Hayek went first to ease the nerves of her two boys. She was not worried as she’d always believed that she could see clearly. During the exam, her Doctor of Optometry detected glaucoma, an eye disease that has no obvious symptoms and can lead to blindness if left untreated. She had no visual symptoms and no family history of the disease. Hayek was left in disbelief as she discussed the possibility of “blindness” with her Doctor of Optometry.
Losing your sight
“I was very panicked, I started thinking about what life would be like without my vision, something I’d never considered before,” she recalls.
As much as 80 percent of vision loss can be prevented or treated if caught early... The best way to reduce the risk of vision loss is to have regular, complete eye exams from a Doctor of Optometry.”
“The reality is most permanent vision loss is preventable,” says Doctor of Optometry Kevin Woodard. “It’s extremely hard to tell someone that they have permanent loss. This is magnified when you know routine scheduled eye examinations would have diagnosed, treated, and preserved vision.”
According to Woodard, most vision loss is caused by five treatable eye conditions: Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Cataract, Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma, and Refractive Error. Early detection of these eye diseases can significantly lower risks of vision loss.
Prevention is the key
“As much as 80 percent of vision loss can be prevented or treated if caught early,” says Woodard. “The best way to reduce the risk of vision loss is to have regular, complete eye exams from a Doctor of Optometry.”
This message is something Sharlene Hayek wants everyone to understand. After her diagnoses, Hayek had laser eye surgery, which has slowed the progression of the disease significantly. But the glaucoma has left a lasting legacy for her. Not only does she actively encourage her friends to go for regular eye exams, Hayek no longer takes her vision and eye health for granted.
“I enjoy everything more now,” she says. “I find myself taking little pictures in my brain of special moments — a smile on one of my boy’s faces or a beautiful sunset. I now look at things a little bit longer than I would have ever done before.”