One of the challenges with visual impairments and visual deficits is that it's difficult to detect them just by looking at someone outwardly. Therefore, it often boils down to how comfortable that individual feels sharing about their vision.

What makes diagnosing vision problems in children so difficult?

It is often the case that children don't think to tell their eye doctor or parents when they have certain symptoms because they tend to assume everyone sees things the same way they do. Dr. McBryar once gave a lecture in a school about double vision. After attending the lecture, a boy went home and casually mentioned to his parents that he sometimes didn’t know which football to catch. Apparently, he'd been experiencing double vision intermittently and had assumed it was nothing to worry about. He never said anything, because he thought everyone else experienced the same thing, that everyone saw double!!!

Why is it so difficult to diagnose vision problems in the elderly?

It is common with the elderly population that they may not say anything if they are experiencing symptoms of a vision problem, because they just assume that it is part of the aging process, when in fact, it could be something that could be treated, or better managed if caught early on.

Another scenario is when there is a known visual condition, but the subsequent symptoms that a person experiences are unknown, so they do not feel comfortable discussing them.

What can make Charles Bonnet syndrome difficult to detect?

There is a possibility that the patient may have Charles Bonnet syndrome. Those suffering from glaucoma or macular degeneration may experience visual hallucinations. In these cases, the brain fills in the missing visual space. It could be filled in with people, animals, or things that aren't there. This could make things appear distorted. A person may experience colors or geometric patterns. Often they are reluctant to tell their friends or family members about these experiences because they think it makes them seem crazy.

Dr. McBryar therefore asks her patients, when she has them in the exam room, if they ever see anything or anyone that isn't actually there. She can help them understand this is part of what's happening with their vision, and their family members can now understand what their loved ones are experiencing as well.

Schedule an appointment at Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga

Dr. Heather McBryar is a passionate and experienced optometrist with a focus on low vision and functional vision. She works extensively with patients of all ages and levels of development. Her primary focus is patients that have a functional vision problem that is not detected or has been left untreated by general optometrists. She works extensively with patients who have permanent vision loss from eye diseases such as Macular degeneration and glaucoma, visual disturbances following a traumatic brain injury such as a concussion or stroke, and children who have developmental delays that impact their ability to perform at grade level. Dr. McBryar and her staff would be happy to care for your or your loved ones and help them regain their visual function and improve their quality of life.

Get superior care when you schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam at our trusted optometry clinic in Hixson, serving patients from the surrounding areas including Chattanooga, Cleveland, and Middle Valley. Call (423) 321-8233 or fill out this form to make an appointment today.
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