Ill Huff, And I’ll Puff

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By Stephen Cohen, O.D. – 

“Which is better? One or Two?” This question has been associated with eye exams for years, and been the basis for more than one comedy routine. Most people fret over this question (of which, by the way, there is no correct answer!). The other area that people often fret about is the “air puff” test. To this day, I still have long-time patients ask about this test, even though I have not even used that piece of equipment since 1988! Many even put off their eye exams entirely because of the anticipation of this single test, but the air puff test is no longer considered the standard of care for glaucoma testing. Current tests are quick, more accurate and less bothersome.

Technological advances have played a significant role in improving our diagnostic ability. Digital refracting systems help achieve the sharpest and most accurate glasses prescription, and digital photography can document any part of the eye. Non-invasive scanning lasers quickly screen for the earliest signs of glaucoma, up to five to 10 years before other tests. Peripheral vision testing can accurately find even the most subtle changes that might be caused by glaucoma or neurological changes. Topographical mapping measures thousands of points on the surface of the eye in just seconds to more accurately fit contact lenses, prepare for LASIK surgery or pick up early diseases of the cornea, the clear front of the eye.

With March being National “Save Your Vision” month, an ounce of prevention can provide a lifetime of healthy vision for you and your family (for your children or grandchildren, remember that a school vision does not replace a comprehensive eye exam). When it comes to your eye exam, nobody will huff or puff, and you don’t even have to study for the “one or two” question!


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