See that? That’s my retina.
Look deeper. Do you see my macula? How about my optic nerve?
Last night, I had the pleasure of attending an event co-sponsored by BlogHer and LensCrafters in New York City. (And not only was I lucky enough to attend, they’re actually paying me to review it. Go me!)
The main goal of the event was to stress the importance of annual eye exams, as well as get the word out about how eye health is closely tied to overall health.
First, let me tell you, those BlogHer and LensCrafter folks know how to make a girl feel welcome. Within 10 seconds of walking through the door, I was holding a wonderful raspberry lemonade with fresh basil leaves in it, which was completely awesome given that I’d just come halfway across Manhattan with a bus driver who was trying to reenact key scenes from Speed.
Feeling more relaxed, I took a stroll around LensCrafter's big, clean flagship store at 5th Avenue and 45th Street. The store has an impressive inventory of frames to fit all styles and budgets.
Before long, the LensCrafter people talked to the crowd about the importance of eye exams. I wear corrective lenses, so I’ve known for a while that eye exams help detect diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration, both of which can cause blindness if left undetected.
But what I didn’t know is that your eyes aren’t only the windows to your soul, they can also be the best windows to your health. By examining your eyes, an optometrist can often spot diseases like diabetes, as well as medical conditions like high blood pressure. Apparently, changes to the blood vessels in your eyes are very good indicators of a number of health conditions. So if it's been more than a year for you, go out and get your eyes examined ASAP.
Dr. Sherry, who conducted my eye exam, explained to me that eye diseases are painless and sometimes the symptoms aren’t that noticeable. She said by the time you start feeling pressure from glaucoma, you may literally be hours away from losing your sight. Scary.
Another thing Dr. Sherry said is that it really is important to get your eyes dilated every couple of years. I know, I know. It’s a huge pain the arse to get your eyes dilated and spend the next four to six hours recoiling from the light like a mole or vampire (and those groovy wrap-around sunglasses are so fashionable too), but dilation, where a doctor uses drops to enlarge your pupils, allows for a more thorough examination of the inside of your eyes.
Dr. Sherry said she had a patient who actually had a tumor in her eye (yes, I actually threw up in my mouth a little when I heard this) that wasn’t found until the patient finally had her eye dilated. She was lucky – the cancer didn’t spread to her brain, but she did unfortunately lose her eye.
Sorry for the scare tactics, but I am a mother and regrettably, scare tactics are a part of my daily life.
Don’t touch that or you’ll get sick. That has germs. Do not put that in your mouth, you may choke. Do you really want to go to the E.R. today and have to lie on a gurney while a doctor sews up half your head?
You see? It comes very naturally to me.
Any way, I digress.
I asked Dr. Sherry when children should have their first eye exam and so long as there is no family history of lazy eye, she recommends 4. Which, since neither of my children (ages 5 and 3) have had an eye examine, I'm only half a suck mom. Whew. It could be worse.
Even better, Dr. Sherry told me that though I’m blind as a bat, my eyes are in perfect health.
My favorite part of the night was trying on frames with Robert, a professional stylist, as my guide. I have glasses, but I only wear them right before bed and for about an hour in the morning. Otherwise, I wear my contacts. Why? Because I look like a huge dork in my glasses.
However, after about 10 seconds with Robert I learned something librarians all around the world have known for decades: Glasses can be hot!
Robert shows me the great frames at LensCrafters
As it turns out, I've been wearing the wrong shape for years. Years! How could I have been so, well, blind? I need Robert to come shopping with me. Maybe I'm actually a six-foot supermodel who's been wearing the wrong clothing her whole life? One can dream, right?
Seriously though, LensCrafters has some absolutely gorgeous frames! Robert showed me some spectacular frames by Versace, Ralph Lauren, Bulgari, Chanel and Tiffany & Co. and trying them on was so much fun. He explained, as he selected a pair of $500 Chanel frames, that there’s no need to have only one pair of eyeglasses, and that eyeglasses can be an extension of your mood, a compliment to your outfit or a way to express yourself.
Robert telling me everyone should own more than one pair of glasses. Do I look convinced? I am, but my wallet's not.
Robert, as you may have guessed, is a young, stylish city type who currently has no worries about future big ticket costs like braces or college tuition. Which is probably part of why he does his job so well – his brain is free to meander happily in designer shops and galleries while mine is all about, What do you mean you just shoved a crayon up your nose? Why?
As a bonus, I got to meet some really cool fellow bloggers. This was my first BlogHer event, and it was great to chat up a few smart women with common interests.
Hopefully I’ll get to see my new friends again soon. And when I do? I’m going to be sure to ask them if they’re up to date on their eye exams. Again, it’s the mom in me. I just can’t help it.
Check out what other reviewers had to say about the event. And be sure to visit me at my regular hangout The Gav Menagerie.