More than meets the eye

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Yvonne Morales
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
The expression "twenty/twenty" is what optometry doctors call a person with normal vision. However, the doctors and technicians at the Vandenberg Optometry Clinic don't settle for the norm.

The clinic offers more than meets the eye and top if off with exceptional health care service to the base.

"Our service members need access to comprehensive healthcare to ensure they are in the best condition possible to complete the mission," said Capt. Richard Reinert, 30th Medical Operations Squadron optometry element chief. "Optometry is an integral part of comprehensive care."

Visiting the clinic for an annual exam not only helps determine how your vision is doing, it can also help detect other illnesses.

"Signs of numerous systemic illnesses can show up in the eye and be found during routine eye exams, including diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, and brain tumors," said Reinert.

The clinic offers basic comprehensive eye care, including treating infections, glaucoma, and diabetic eye exams.

"I had a patient who became legally blind due to diabetes complications," said Reinert. "The patient did not follow our advice and did not return for appointments when asked; but then would show up weeks or months later with complaints of worsening vision. The patient eventually suffered permanent vision loss."

Prescriptions and other illness detections would not be possible without the knowledge and high tech equipment the clinic uses.

Various equipment is used to determine the patient's prescription and to evaluate their ocular health. Dilation allows the doctor to see the posterior layers inside of the eye, to include the optic nerve and retina, and evaluate the ocular health. For some patients, dilation is necessary to determine their prescription.

The small team of optometrists and technicians at Vandenberg prove to be a vital part of the health and well-being of service members and their families. Overseeing more than 4,600 patients a year, the unit stays busy providing Team-V the best patient care possible.

"I love my job," said Staff Sgt. Fred McCree, 30th MDOS optometry technician. "To do a job like this you've got to have a passion for it. Having the passion and love for what you do will keep you moving forward even when difficult times come."