Starlene Carter came into Dr Dawn Bearden’s Optometry office near Fort Lauderdale in January 2001. She was in the area and decided to stop in to schedule an eye examination for herself the following week. She was not intending to get an eye exam that day – her plans were to spend that day shopping!
Our office staff convinced Starlene to go ahead and get her eye exam that same day since the office was not busy and the Doctor (Dr Dawn Bearden) would be able to see her right away. Starlene agreed but, was insistent that she would NOT have her pupils dilated that day. Her shopping was waiting and she did not want to “mess up her day” with that “dilation thing”. Our staff members told her that the Doctor would talk to her during the exam about the importance of dilation. Still Starlene would just not be convinced….
When Starlene met Dr Bearden for the first time – Dr Bearden began to explain and stress the importance of pupillary dilation. Dr Bearden explained that this was Starlene’s first eye exam in our office, there could be a multitude of eye diseases or problems that Starlene may be unaware of (because most eye problems do NOT cause any symptoms like blurry vision, headache, eye pain etc) and that Dr Bearden may NOT be able to detect these issues if Starlene did not allow the Doctor to dilate her pupils. Dr Bearden also explained that Florida laws requires your Optometrist to dilate your pupils on the initial eye exam when you have an eye exam with a new Optometrist. Reluctantly…..VERY reluctantly….Starlene finally agreed.
This simple decision absolutely saved Starlene’s vision.
During the eye exam, all seemed very normal. Starlene had no family history of eye disease, she was able to see 20/20 in each eye with her new glasses prescription, she had NO eye pain, NO headaches, NO discomfort, her eye pressures were normal, her blood pressure was normal, good color vision etc. But, when Dr Dawn Bearden dilated Starlene’s pupils – she saw 2 very LARGE retinal tears (retinal detachments) in Starlene’s right eye that posed a HUGE threat to Starlene’s vision in her right eye. These tears could have eventually caused blindness in her eye had they not been detected during the dilation and then properly treated.
Immediately, Dr Bearden called Dr Jay Levy – who is a local ophthalmologist who specializes in surgery of the retina. Dr Bearden sent Starlene to see Dr Levy – who did surgery on Starlene’s right eye to repair the retinal tears in her right eye.
Starlene is now a loyal patient of Dr Dawn Bearden’s. She is still able to see 20/20 in each eye and has had no further problems from the retinal tears that were surgically repaired by Dr Levy. Each and every year during her routine eye exam with Dr Bearden, you can find Starlene out in the waiting room telling her story to ALL of the other patients in the office. She does a GREAT job in educating people and everyone that she comes in contact with about the importance of yearly eye examinations and the VITAL importance of pupillary dilation.
It saved Starlene’s vision…..and it can do the same for you and for the people in your life who come in for their annual eye exam!