Fort Worth resident Jamarcus Williams, 17, sat in front of a wooden wall. Through his virtual reality glasses, however, he explored the inside of an eyeball.
“It’s pretty cool. At first, I was kind of nervous, but then excited,” Williams said. “You can see the inside of the eyeball. It shows you everything. It was fun learning about how your eye works.”
Williams participated in Alcon’s eye screening tent on Main Street on April 8. The tent provided visual acuity tests, intraocular pressure measurements, or eye-pressure readings, and retinal imaging that are meant to evaluate eye health.
Alcon performed screenings from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 8 at the intersection of Main and 5th streets.
Volunteers from Community Eye Clinic, Prevent Blindness Texas and the North Texas Eye Research Institute helped with the non-invasive eye health screenings. Usually, eye screenings dilate the patient’s pupils, which blurs the vision temporarily.
Sean Powell, the director of professional development at Alcon, said the visual screenings at the festival took only a few minutes and allowed people to go right back to the arts festival without any blurry vision.
“It’s the perfect setting to remind people how precious their eyesight is and the steps that they need to take to protect it,” Powell said.
The eye-pressure measurements allow doctors to identify glaucoma and take the proper steps to prevent it from spreading.
“We call glaucoma the silent thief of sight because it doesn’t create blurry vision. It doesn’t hurt and it takes a person’s vision from the outside in. So, before they even realize there’s a visual problem, they’ve already lost a significant amount of vision,” Powell said. “It can’t regenerate. So, once you’ve lost that vision, you’ve lost it forever.”
Williams went through all three stations and the virtual reality eyeball tour. He said he will check his eyes more often.
Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.