Fly, Fight, Win and See!

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Douglas C. King
  • 452 Aerospace Medicine Squadron

For most, viewing the world around us is simply automatic and perhaps, at times, we may even take our vision for granted.   Those of us requiring spectacles or contact lenses to see clearly may consider the gift of vision more frequently. 

            Our vision will change throughout our lives. To some, eyesight will adjust sooner and to others later but it will change.  Regular visits to your optometrist or ophthalmologist can help assure the sharpest vision possible and to rule out eye disease that can lead to permanent vision loss.  But do I need to see an eye doctor if I have no problems with my vision?

            I’ll admit most of the time those individuals in my practice who have no visual difficulties often have healthy eyes but there are some occasions where doctor and patient are surprised to learn that there are early or late signs of ocular disease even with 20/20 vision (and that’s pretty good vision). 

In my practice I often see people with a combination of poor vision and healthy eyes or even great vision with early or late signs of eye disease.  Some eye diseases can be a manifestation of systemic health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, numerous autoimmune diseases or even cancer.  Many things contribute to these health concerns including our lifestyles (smoking is a big one), our nutritional intake (or lack thereof), genetics, and even things that can’t always be identified.

So therefore I encourage all to see an eye care professional for a full dilated eye examination on a regular basis (roughly every 2 years) even for those who don’t experience vision problems.  Also, we should make sure our families have similar care especially our children.  With children recommendations for their first eye exam start at ages 6 months to 1 year, then at preschool ages (3-5 years) then annually from ages 6-18 as vision can change rapidly during the growing years.  Children without good vision don’t always know it and may be difficult for parents to identify these problems as they can interfere often with school.  Some vision problems may be mistaken for a learning disability.  Make sure the doctor is okay seeing younger children as not all are willing to do these exams.

What’s good for your eyes is what’s good for your body.  Good nutrition, adequate sleep, regular exercise and healthy lifestyles all contribute to good ocular health along with UV blocking sunglasses for those who spend much time outside.  As members of the US Air Force having good vision is paramount to Fly, Fight, and Win our nations battles.  So take as much control of your vision as possible.  After all, it will be difficult to engage an enemy if you can’t see them.