BETTER VISION: What did you do differently for this particular patient?
Dirk Siemsen: Truth be told, this patient was not a special case for us at mahrt und hoerning. The crucial question with every one of our patients is: what makes their vision needs unique? As much as possible we want to optimise each patient's vision using every optical tool at our disposal to obtain maximum acuity. We invest a lot of time in this process.
We begin by taking a very thorough medical history. We ask patients about their visual habits, both at work and in their free time. We find out what vision problems they have. We also ask if they suffer from certain illnesses which can affect vision, if they've been under a lot of stress or if they've noticed headaches or muscle tension. And, if so, how something like a headache manifests itself. We then analyse the patient's visual performance using the i.Profiler, examine the back of the eye with the fundus camera – especially the optic nerve head – and check if the patient has cataracts… Of course the ophthalmologist is responsible for treating eye illnesses. For us, getting an impression of the transparency and performance of the eyes is the preparatory stage for the refraction procedure. Working closely with ophthalmologists is really important to us.
It's also crucial that we observe the patient's posture. This is easy to do in the refraction room during an eye examination. Could certain head and body movements be influencing the patient's vision? This allows us to draw our first conclusions. And this is exactly how it was with the patient we were just talking about.
BETTER VISION: What did you notice about the patient specifically?
Dirk Siemsen: When discussing her medical history, she talked about having frequent headaches. I also noticed that she tilted her head a certain way when focusing on the eye charts in the refraction room. She often felt that she suffered from glare and was very sensitive to light during the day.
As with all of our patients, I checked her binocular vision, i.e. how her two eyes worked together. We used the i.Polatest and the different tests that come with it. At first the patient saw our 3D tests in one dimension only. The leading eye took over. The image was just not being properly projected by the two eyes onto the same position on the retina. When they overlapped, the two images on the retina seemed to have different heights. The patient's brain could not interpret this image in 3D. It was flattened and one dimensional.
BETTER VISION: What's important for you in your work as an optician? How would you sum it up?
Dirk Siemsen: First and foremost we're interested in each of our patient's individual vision needs. We do everything possible to keep their visual performance high and, if needed, to reduce strain. Thus we take plenty of time to discuss the patient's medical history, to perform the refraction and to advise our patients after they've made their purchase.
Our eyes are our most important sense organ. And since each eye is as unique as a fingerprint, it requires a customised visual analysis at your optometrist.
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