At VSP, we hear a lot of stories about how a routine eye exam can lead to other discoveries about one’s eyes or their overall health. These stories continue to remind us of the importance of that annual comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist. Our friend Rebecca Plumb shared her recent experience at the eye doctor, and we knew it was something others might also learn from. We sat down with her to learn about her discoveries, and how they are impacting her life.
VSP: Can you tell us about your experience each morning with your eyes?
RP: Yes! My eyes had been bothering me for a couple of years, but for some reason, I really didn’t think much of it. It was one of those things that I just brushed aside for one reason or another. I have a small child, run my own business, and have been really busy. I just wrote it off as one of the many postpartum changes. That or turning 40 … or maybe both, as I did them at the same time.
VSP: So what exactly happens?
RP: When I wake up, my eyes hurt and are incredibly dry. It takes about 10 minutes for any moisture to return, and when it does, the tears come flowing and I’m a mess! Again, I just thought I was exhausted, but when I went in for my routine eye exam, my optometrist told me otherwise. By the way, I totally have VSP, so thanks for that!
VSP: That’s great! But wait, so you didn’t go into the optometrist for this specific reason?
RP: No! I just went for my annual eye exam and that’s when he told me I had something called an “incomplete blink.”
VSP: Good thing you went in! Wow, what did he tell you?
RP: He noticed a strip of redness across the center of my eyes and said these were signs of an incomplete blink, where my eyes aren’t shutting all the way—gross, right?
VSP: It’s ok. We’re around this stuff all the time; go on.
RP: The muscles in my eyelids aren’t fully closing. Of course, once I told him about my little morning routine, it all made sense to him. The dryness, the tears all didn’t have anything to do with fatigue, but with this blinking issue.
VSP: Interesting. So what kinds of solutions did your optometrist offer?
RP: Well, first, I’m starting to wear reading glasses, which is new for me. This takes a little strain off my eyes, which is helpful. In my line of work as a creative, I’m on the computer a lot all day and so we talked about taking breaks to rest my eyes. Every now and then I look away and take an intentionally hard blink. This has actually been a good mindfulness practice for me as well, to step back and breathe in the world around me. I can get easily lost in the screen.
VSP: Any medications?
RP: I got some preservative-free eye drops to take during the day when my eyes feel dry. He also has me using some gel on my eyes at night and I cover them with a mask, which is hard to get used to because of how blind it makes you feel. He also recommended a humidifier. Needless to say that this whole new setup makes my sleeping situation pretty interesting. You’d laugh if you saw the laboratory that is now my bedroom at night. He also mentioned surgical options, but I’m not at that point.
VSP: Sounds like a lot of adjustments.
RP: It is, and you know as a creative person it’s sometimes scary to think about something like your eyes being in jeopardy. I’m grateful that I go into the optometrist because I think that in my case, I didn’t realize I wasn’t seeing clearly. I knew my eyes were hurting in the morning, but the fact that there was more to the story was something I wasn’t aware of. I think we just tend to compensate quickly to not seeing well without understanding how much better we could be seeing with assistance from glasses or contacts. In my experience, I recommend that everyone make it into the optometrist every year because you never know what you might discover. It could be simple tweaks to your daily routine that can make a big difference to your health in the long run.
About Rebecca Plumb:
Rebecca Plumb is a multi-disciplinary designer and owner of Studio Plumb She believes that design should reflect the people using it, whether it’s a home, commercial space or personal branding. Combining vintage classics with modern pieces and meaningful objects, she strives to bring personality and character to each of her projects. Rebecca is the founding host of CreativeMornings Sacramento and is inspired daily from both the local and global community she’s met there.
She lives in Sacramento, CA with her non-designy husband, opinionated 3-year-old and sneaky Labradoodle. You can follow her work on Instagram @studioplumb.
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