Had an eye exam lately?
Dr. Luis Navarro, president, CEO, and owner/operator of Edinburg Vision Center (EVC), says you could be putting your eyes at risk if you forgo or skip routine eye exams. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirms this. According to the CDC, 61 million Americans are at high risk of losing their eyesight, yet only half that number had their eyes checked in the previous year.
Dr. Navarro is licensed by the Texas Optometry Board as a Therapeutic Optometrist and Optometric Glaucoma Specialist, the highest level of licensing at which optometry can be practiced in the State of Texas. Dr. Navarro is also board certified as a Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry.
From the moment patients walk in the door, EVC wants them to know they came to the right place. “We never shy away from treating any type of eye disease. And to ensure our patients receive the very best eye care, we continue to use the most advanced medical equipment available today for diagnosis and treatment,” he notes.
He strongly recommends parents bring in their children between the ages of 1 and 3, regardless of how healthy they appear to be.
“Some children may have amblyopia or lazy eye. By identifying the problem early on, we can correct that child’s vision which we may not be able to do at a later age,” he says.
Persons wearing glasses or contact lenses should have their eyes checked once a year to renew their prescription eyewear and ensure their eyes are still healthy. Edinburg Vision Center operates a full surfacing lab. This enables them to make most prescription eyewear in-house. In most cases, patients can get their eyewear the same day rather than days or weeks later.
Unfortunately, many people with good vision often believe their eyes are doing just fine, so they don’t see the need for an exam. Dr. Navarro says that’s a big misconception.
“You could be seeing 20/20, yet there could be something very wrong with your eyes, such as a disease you’re not even aware of,” he warns. With more people living longer, the chance for eye problems increases. Persons 65 and older, therefore, should have their eyes checked annually. Younger people who don’t wear prescription eyewear should have their eyes checked every two to three years.
Many eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy – the leading cause of blindness among U.S. adults – often don’t have any noticeable symptoms until after the disease causes irreversible damage.
“Caught early, we can treat many eye diseases before they do permanent harm,” says Dr. Navarro.”
Of all the eye diseases Vision Center doctors treat, dry eye is the most prevalent. It’s a condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye, so people complain of eyes that are red or feel dry and sandy.
Why the increase in dry eye complaints?
Dr. Navarro believes it’s a combination of the chemical-laden foods we eat, environmental changes, and a greater consumption of medications. Also, increased contact lens over usage, Lasik, and hours staring at a computer or other type device where people blink less can cause dry eye.
Keep Eyes Healthy
Anyone who has a parent or sibling with macular degeneration, diabetes, glaucoma, or other eye diseases is likely to get the same disease in their lifetime. To lesson the chance of developing an eye disease, Dr. Navarro recommends:
- Eating green and orange vegetables daily
- Exercising regularly
- Avoiding tobacco products since they can lead to damaged blood vessels of the retina and increase the risk of diseases
- Scheduling regular eye exams
For people who struggle with eating enough vegetables, Dr. Navarro suggests taking nutritional supplements. But not just any. It’s important to get pharmaceutical-grade supplements and nutraceuticals.
“You can find an infinite number of vitamins in the drugstore, but do you know which ones will truly deliver the best health benefits? I recommend people talk to their eye care provider who can direct them to the highest quality products. That’s a service we provide at EVC,” he says.
Established in 1968
Dr. Gary Ahlman opened the Edinburg Vision Center in 1968. Dr. Navarro joined EVC in 2007 and, when Dr. Ahlman retired after 41 years of practice, he purchased the practice from him on July 20, 2009. Dr. Navarro has worked tirelessly to continue Dr. Ahlman’s legacy of providing the very best eye care possible to the community. “Our employees are clearly the number one reason why EVC continues to be the longest established eye care practice in Edinburg and has been successful for years,” Dr. Navarro said proudly of his employees.
He also has continued Dr. Ahlman’s work with the Lions Club of Edinburg, an organization that for years has helped people who have no insurance and cannot afford an eye exam or eyewear.
“The Lions Club gives under-privileged people vouchers and refers them to EVC. Although the organization reimburses us for the eye exams, it doesn’t cover the total cost of time and materials. We don’t see that as an issue because we’re glad to help provide a service for people who can’t afford it.”