Retina tests are affordable and can save your vision

Updated: Oct. 6, 2016 at 4:16 PM CDT
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(WAFF) - Many of us don't visit an eye doctor until we have a problem, but finding a potential sight problem early could save your vision.

A recent diagnosis from two eye tests has Decatur resident Lona Johns a little nervous.

"It definitely scares me because there is no pain. You do get blurry vision. You do see floaters," said Johns.

Johns said those tests revealed two big problems. She had a macular hole and a retinal tear that will require surgery to repair.

For Johns, these tests were extremely important.  In fact, these tests saved her vision.

Optometrist Chris Teichmiller said the first one gave a picture of the retina in the back of the inside of the eye.

"I can get about 80 percent of that view so we can pick up any problems or signs of eye disease that are visible when I look inside the eye," Teichmiller said. "The OCT actually measures the depth of the retina and it picks up early fluid leakage or any changes going on in the retina due to diabetes or macular degeneration, like she had a epimacular membrane that is a membrane due to a vitreous detachment over time."

Ironically, insurance will not pay for either test.

"I know a lot of people will say they can't afford it.  But they cost $45. And when you have this retinal exam, it looks into the back of your eye. And my problem would not be found had I not had these two tests," Johns said.

Johns must have surgery to correct the problems found. And she expects the recovery to be a long process.

"I will have to keep my head down for five to 10 days. That's all the time day and night. You even have to sleep on your stomach. You cannot roll on your side. It's going to be an ordeal," she said.

Teichmiller said both problems are tough to detect and insurance doesn't pay for many preventive tests like these. But the earlier they are caught, the quicker the treatment and better the prognosis for the patient.

Now Johns says her hopes are high to have her complete vision back in six months to a year.

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