When it comes to eye health, going to the optometrist is only part of the process. You also have to find a pair of glasses that will reflect your style. According to Dr. Melanie Mook of Beckman Optometry, finding the perfect pair of glasses for her patients is an art form.
“We try to marry state-of-the-art medical care with really putting a lot into making sure the patient has a good pair of glasses that fit well and look great,” she said.
For Mook, it’s important to find the right pair of glasses for her patients because not only do they experience the world through their glasses, but the glasses are also a cosmetic statement.
“We try through trial and error and respect what the patient likes,” she said. “We’re not going to make you get a frame that we like and you don’t like. We want to work together to find a frame that looks great on you, that you also feel is comfortable and looks good.”
Mook feels that everybody can benefit from a pair of glasses, even if they see well.
“Even people with good vision usually have some little aspect that can be improved with a pair of glasses, so first and foremost, I always make sure that all my patients have the best vision possible because not everybody knows that they even need glasses,” she said. “You don’t know that you’re not seeing great because that’s just how you see. That’s one reason it’s really important to screen young children at an early age.”
According to Mook, the American Academy of Optometry recommends children have eye screenings before 12 months of age. However, for most children, the first time they get their eyes checked is for the wellness exam for kindergarten, Mook said.
“That misses a lot kids that could benefit from an early pair of glasses to improve their vision,” she added. “Parents will say ‘well, they didn’t tell me their vision wasn’t good,’ but the problem is kids don’t know that their vision could be better.”
Mook has been practicing optometry in Lodi for six years, providing comprehensive eye exams, retinal exams, contact lenses and lasik and refractive surgery and treating individuals with reduced vision. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Optometry and completed a low vision and primary care residency at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in Palo Alto.
Refractive eye conditions such as being farsighted, nearsighted or having astigmatism are the most common issues Mook sees amongst her patients. Dry eye is also very common.
“I suffer from dry eye myself, and I also take a very personal interest in dry eye,” Mook said. “A lot of my patients, whether they know it or not, especially if you’re a woman over 40, you have dry eyes. I definitely try my best to help people with dry eye conditions.”
According to Mook, dry eye is even becoming common in younger people due to a high rate of cell phone usage.
“What happens when you look at your phone or any digital device is it reduces your blink rate. It slows your blink rate about 50 percent.”
Mook said she is the only doctor in the area that uses intense pulse light to treat dry eye.
While many patients are treated for refractive conditions and dry eye, Mook also sees quite a few patients with glaucoma, macular degeneration and various other eye diseases.
Mook uses state-of-the-art equipment, such as an optos and an ocular coherence tomography machine, to treat and diagnose eye diseases.
While some eye conditions and diseases are genetic, Mook there are still some measures you can take to maintain the best eye health possible.
She suggests protecting the eyes from the sun by getting a good pair of sunglasses and maintaining a good diet. According to Mook, eyes undergo a lot of stress — especially from sun exposure — so a diet high in fruits and vegetables provides the body compounds that it can’t make on its own to repair damage done to the eyes.
Physical fitness and exercise is also necessary for maintaining good eye health, Mook said. She also stressed the importance of regular eye exams and warned that smoking is bad for the eyes and contributes to macular degeneration.