William Beaumont Army Medical Center optometrists held a Save Your Vision Open House at the Spc. Hugo. V. Mendoza Clinic, March 21, consisting of several informational posters designed and created by optometrists and their staff to inform patients and visitors of proper eye care for Vision Awareness Month.
The ins and outs about everything ocular were demonstrated on several posters and had a professional eye technician or optometrist ready to inform any curious bystander. Everything from glaucoma to refractive surgery and blue light damage was talked and demonstrated.
Maj. Steve Schlegel, WBAMC optometrist and senior officer in charge of the open house, expressed that along with eye protection, knowing signs and symptoms of eye damage can lead to saving a person's vision if care is sought quickly.
"There's things people may experience and blow off like it's just nothing," said Schlegel. "It probably is no big deal, but then again, it may not be. With the visual system, some things may be very minor if at all, but potentially could be something huge if not checked out."
For example, there are no signs or symptoms for glaucoma, a leading cause of preventable blindness. People may never know they have it unless they get an eye exam, said Schlegel.
"Vision is a gift and we shouldn't take it for granted," continued Schlegel.
Schlegel stressed that being vision ready, is being mission ready because losing your vision on the battlefield could lead to being a huge risk factor. No sight means no driving a vehicle, no firing a weapon, not even work at a computer.
Eye protection is not just for the battlefield. Soldiers are encouraged to think summer safety and wear eye protection when working in the yard, lighting fireworks, working under the car or riding a motorcycle, said Schlegel.
Pvt. Taylor Michael, 127th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade came to the open house and had questions about refractive eye surgery. Joey Sepulveda, eye technician answered all the New York native's questions.
"He was very knowledgeable," said Michael. "He got me intrigued in doing the refractive surgery for my eyes."
The Save Your Vision Open House is one of the many ways WBAMC provides readiness through patient-friendly access to high-quality healthcare for their beneficiaries. Vision Awareness Month is celebrated in March annually.