The Importance of Routine Eye Maintenance
Article contributed by Dr. James Budd
There are certain things in life that must be done on a regular basis to maintain a level of quality and safety. Cars must be inspected yearly, computer software must be upgraded, clothes must be washed, roads and bridges need routine maintenance, walls must be painted and repaired, homes must be cleaned; the list goes on and on. If routine care is not performed, things can quickly get so out of hand that it becomes difficult if not impossible to reverse the situation.
Now apply this fact to your own body. Even if you feel fine, it is important to monitor and maintain the health of your body on a regular basis, not only to be sure you are currently healthy, but also to detect and treat potential problems before they become more serious problems.
A person with a hearing disability may be hesitant to make appointments for routine physicals, eye examinations, podiatry visits, dental care, or other health-related exams because of the difficulty communicating with the doctor. Although such exams can be more difficult, doctors want to help you with your concerns, and so good communication is important to address any problems.
If you have a hearing impairment, you can help your exam go as quickly and smoothly as possible if you write down several items before your examination: the reason for your visit, how long you have had the problem, any past medical history, family history, medications being taken, and any questions you may have.
Optometrists frequently do eye exams on people who have physical disabilities. Part of an eye exam requires some responses (which is better, 1 or 2?), but if there is difficulty communicating, it is quite possible to do an eye exam without any responses from the patient. If an individual can read and write, I have several printed cards made up that explain the tests I am doing and any questions I may have. I also keep a tablet close by so responses may be written.
Naturally, an interpreter can also be very helpful. Since people with hearing impairments depend more on their eyesight than those who can hear, it is important to make sure not only that visual clarity is as good as it can be, but also that the eyes are healthy and potential problems are dealt with as soon as they are detected.
If you or someone you know has a hearing los or is Deaf and has not had a routine physical or eye exam in the last 2 years, please be aware that doctors want to help you to stay healthy. Good preparation and good communication can help an exam go as quickly and efficiently as possible.