Eighty percent of what most individuals perceive comes through sense of sight. Luke Air Force Base Optometry Clinic airmen are professionals who help their fellow airmen maintain eye health and enable mission success.
Two optometrists and two technicians treat more than 4,000 patients annually through routine checkups, glasses deliveries and glasses adjustments.
Approximately 26 active-duty, foreign nationals and retired military patients are seen daily for annual routine eye exams. Optometry clinic professionals check the overall health of the eye and issue or update glasses and contact prescriptions.
During the exam, the technician checks for visual acuity on a lens chart with or without glasses. They use various machines to find the prescription pressures of the eye and different tests to find the peripheral strength of the eye, said Airman 1st Class Royal Davis, 56th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron optometry technician.
After the patient visits with the technician, the optometrist performs a slit lamp (microscope with a bright light attached) examination, checking the patient’s eyelids, iris, lens, cornea and more. The optometrist also uses a phoropter, which has different lenses to measure a patient’s prescription.
The optometry clinic provides more than 50 customized and military standard issue glasses to active-duty and Luke foreign national members to choose from. Retired and reservist members are provided standard glasses. To receive customized glasses, reservists must be on active-duty orders for at least 30 days.
“If a pair of glasses is lost or broken, we keep replacement pairs in the back,” said Staff Sgt. Alex Jensen, 56th OMRS optometry noncommissioned officer in charge. “As long as your lenses are fine and you only broke your frame, you can bring in your military-issued frames, not civilian frames, and as long as we have the same frame in stock we will swap it out same day.”
The customized glasses are issued annually and if they are broken, they will be replaced with a standard issue pair.
The clinic also issues contact prescriptions, although contacts can’t be purchased through the clinic.
“We fit contact lenses and prescribe prescriptions for people who currently wear contacts,” Mr. Jensen said. “For someone that has never worn contacts but is interested in it, they’ll have to get that [prescription] off-base. But if you’ve already worn contacts then you can bring in an old prescription or box that shows the brand worn. The doctor can then update that contact lens prescription for you with an exam.”
Paying attention to detail is essential in completing the mission. Luke AFB airmen can’t do that if they can’t see clearly. The optometry clinic keeps airmen’s vision up to the standards needed to perform their job.
Editor’s note: Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder is with the 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs office at Luke Air Force Base.