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  • Jim Hutchins, OD, FAAO

    Very important. Important to get across to the patient that if they have a visual field issue, they won’t have a clue. They’ve had a “normal” blind spot (caused by the fact that the optic nerve has no light receptors) right in front of their face the size of their fist at arms length all their lives, and they aren’t even beginning to suspect it, and if they have an abnormal area of decreased vision sensitivity, they won’t have a clue about that either. Important to get across the reason we are doing the test (and calling it a “side vision” test confuses them more than it enlightens them, after all, they already “know” that they have “good side vision”, and often don’t understand why we are doing the test. They need to understand that it is a very important neurological test that can detect glaucoma, brain tumors, and strokes, even though every thing seems fine and dandy to the patient, and they have no noticeable symptoms whatsoever. This is a totally alien concept to 99.99% of the lay population. Our biggest enemy in ALL of this stuff is the myth “I’ll know something is wrong right away, just like I know I’m coming down with a cold or the flu, and I’ll run to the doctor!” They have never been taught that chronic diseases (and there is absolutely no excuse for this- it would take five minutes in a health class in high school to get this across to virtually everybody), unlike acute communicable diseases, almost NEVER have symptoms. Their common sense will never get them to realize this on their own in a million years. 

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