Optometry Airmen help T-bolts see clearly

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Photo by Senior Airman GRACE LEE

A crucial part of one’s overall job performance and morale is being able to see clearly, and that’s where the Luke Air Force Base Optometry Clinic Airmen step in.

“We have two doctors, two technicians and one NCO in charge,” said Staff Sgt. Carmen Hysaw, 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry clinic NCO in charge. “Technicians carry out preliminary tests, the administrative work, make sure supplies are stocked, order eye glasses and do specialty testing. The doctors perform eye exams and refractions.”

Prescriptions are given for eye glasses, as well as contacts if the individual meets the criteria.

“We see retirees, dependents, children ages 8 and older, and active-duty members,” said Senior Airman Alex Jensen, 56th AMDS optometry clinic technician. “We do eye examinations for prescription glasses and contacts for those who’ve previously worn contacts. Active-duty members are issued two pairs of eye glasses — a standard issue and a frame of choice. Retirees can receive free glasses as well but only the standard issue. Children and dependents are given a prescription to order glasses off base.”

Optometry clinic Airmen also monitor their patients’ overall eye health for certain diseases.

“We also perform glaucoma examinations and diabetic retinopathy examinations,” Hysaw said.

Glaucoma is a condition where there is pressure in the eye which can cause damage to the optic nerve if not detected early enough, Hysaw said. The optometry clinic Airmen monitor those with possible glaucoma and if out of their scope of practice, the patient is given a referral off base to an ophthalmology clinic for treatment. Additionally, diabetic retinopathy if not monitored can cause bleeding in the back of the eye. If a patient’s symptoms progress they are also referred to an off-base ophthalmology clinic.

Luke optometry clinic technicians also perform preoperation eye examinations for those who are interested in LASIK or photorefractive keratectomy surgery.

“If the patient qualifies and is approved for the surgery, the patient has to go to another military installation that offers the surgery such as Lackland AFB, Texas; Travis AFB, California; Keesler AFB, Mississippi; and others,” Jensen said.  “After the surgery is performed the patient comes back to us for aftercare.”

“If someone has questions or concerns, he should make an appointment through the 56th Medical Group clinic,” Hysaw said. “We are always here to help, and remember, corrected eyes safe skies.”

For more information, call 623-856-2273.