Edward Mendelson, O.D.
Like many health care checkups, an annual comprehensive eye exam may seem easy to put off, especially if your vision is clear, and your eyes aren’t bothering you.
Don’t put off an annual comprehensive eye exam. It’s the best way to detect a serious eye disease, or occasionally, a systemic problem, that may not have any symptoms.”
That would be a mistake, says Edward Mendelson, O.D., an optometrist in the Department of Ophthalmology at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
“Eye health is more than just having good vision. Some serious disorders, like glaucoma, are symptom-free until vision is threatened,” says Dr. Mendelson. “On the other hand, blurred vision may mean something more than just needing a new pair of glasses. The only way to know for certain is to let me perform an eye exam.”
This is especially true for individuals with a family history of eye disease.
At UT Southwestern since 1986, Dr. Mendelson is often the first stop for patients coming into the Department of Ophthalmology, and the person who spots a problem requiring further medical attention.
“I view myself as the gatekeeper,” says Dr. Mendelson. “If I suspect a patient has eye disease, I will refer him or her to one of the ophthalmologists in the Department. With colleagues in every ophthalmic subspecialty, I know the patient will be well-cared for.”
Dr. Mendelson has even helped patients advance in their careers. When a color-blind patient feared he would fail a vision test to join the police department, Dr. Mendelson fitted him with special contact lenses to differentiate colors. The patient passed his vision exam.
“It’s wonderful knowing I helped a patient get to where he wants to be professionally,” says Dr. Mendelson.
Dr. Mendelson gains tremendous satisfaction from helping people who may not otherwise know they have a serious vision disorder. During an externship at Womack Army Hospital in Fort Bragg, N.C., in 1985, he gained his first experience in solving patients’ vision problems.
“I loved it,” he says.
At UT Southwestern, Dr. Mendelson’s clinical interests include specialty contact lens fittings, and computer ergonomics, whereby he helps patients avoid eye fatigue associated with computer vision syndrome from prolonged periods of looking at a computer screen.
“When patients come back to me and say, ‘Thanks,’ it’s good to know that a routine eye exam detected a sight-threatening disorder early enough to be treated,” he says.