It was a day like any other when retired Air Force Maj. William Best discovered something new about his health Oct. 12 at the Men’s Health Expo on Luke Air Force Base.
The 56th Medical Group held its first-ever MHE with the goal of touching base with men in regard to their health, said Staff Sgt. Benjamin Lemus, 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry technician.
“The goal was to increase men’s awareness on health, provide education and at the same time have fun,” Lemus said.
Prior to attending the expo, Best didn’t expect to find out anything new about his wellbeing.
“I attended the event to see if there was something new I could learn about managing my health,” Best said. “I didn’t expect anything else.”
But there was something significant found when he was checked out at the optometry clinic booth, named the “Test Your Blinkers” pit stop, which was in line with the classic car show theme of the event.
“When Best stopped by I asked him several questions,” Lemus said. “His answers led me to believe he might have a retinal detachment.”
Lemus immediately made a referral to Capt. Funmilayo Aranmolate, 56th AMDS optometrist.
“When the patient came into the clinic, his vision in the affected eye was 20/400, which means he had difficulty seeing the big ‘E’,” Aranmolate said. “After completing a dilated eye exam, running additional tests and taking photos I was able to confirm Lemus’ suspicions and made a same day referral to ophthalmology.”
The discovery was made just in time. Without Lemus’ actions, Best could have lost site in that eye.
“A retinal detachment is the separation of the sensory tissue from the underlying layer of retina,” Aranmolate said. “The retina contains photoreceptors which allow you to see in light and dark conditions as well as the ability to see color.
Therefore, not having a healthy and intact retina can result in blindness.”
Following Best’s visit to the clinic, he was seen by two ophthalmologists, who treat diseases of the eye with surgery, and was scheduled for surgery to take place five days later.
“Fortunately, Best will not go blind,” Aranmolate said. “The final outcome is pending, but Best’s vision is better than it was prior to coming to the expo. His vision will slowly improve over the next three months.”
The future is now brighter for Best’s vision and health.
“I want to thank the 56th Medical Group’s optometry clinic staff for the wonderful, professional care they provided me,” Best said. “Their actions were insurmountable in getting me the care I needed.”
Although it is Lemus’ duty to care for other’s health, he doesn’t see his deed as anything extraordinary.
“I don’t believe I did anything special, but I’m glad I did my job well,” he said.