Do as I say, not as I do.

Most of us have bad habits, most of us do things we shouldn’t do, eat too much chocolate, or have one too many glasses of wine at the weekend. Most practicing Optometrists spend our days giving out advice and best practice to patients hoping that it will be followed.

Always wash your hands before touching your contact lenses
You should try and stop smoking, research has shown smokers to be 5 times more likely to develop wet AMD

I, like most of us, give out these words of wisdom and advice on a regular basis. However when the advice was given back at me by a patient in a joking way, I suddenly had a realisation that I don’t always follow my own.

This realisation came about after the patient, a dentist, spotted me cleaning my specs discretely on the nearest soft cloth available, my tie. After jokingly telling me I’ll scratch my lenses doing that, she asked when I last had my eyes examined.

The cogs started turning and the brain started crunching as I realised it was 3 years ago. Since then, I’ve sat in the black chair, covered one eye then the other, had the 0.25 flipper in my hand and twiddled the cyl axis myself. But a proper fundus examination/ocular motor balance assessment, well that’s not so recent.

I asked my patient the same question, when were her teeth last examined, to which she replied ‘um, a long time ago.’

So we wondered why? Is it that because we know the symptoms to look out for, we don’t worry until we notice them? Or is it because we feel that because we work as the professional, we won’t suffer from any ocular condition (or oral condition in my Dentists case)?

Myself, I try and refract myself, I used the new fundus camera when it arrived but my peripheral retina’s been rather neglected. Yet I sit there, informing patients about the importance of regular eye examinations and encourage them to return yearly or two yearly.

So, be honest. When was your last eye exam? Are you like me not following your own advice? Why?

Maybe I need to start supervising trainees. At least that way I could be tested annually whilst assessing their ability!


  1. My last eye exam was Monday. Excepts it was a quick refraction done by a colleague in between CL patients. Excellent refraction but it made me think that I have not had my fundus checked for about 7 years.. You got any slots free this afternoon?!?

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