Optometrist Dr. Brad Bodkin’s (right) suite of offices branch off a beautiful sunlit atrium, but what you notice before anything else, is the friendliness of the staff member who, in this Covid period, opens the door for you once you’ve phoned to announce your arrival at the Vision Center at Seaside Farms, located at 1296 Long Grove Dr., Mt. Pleasant.
Seated in the exam room after several pre-tests, you then meet with Dr. Bodkin. He is impressive in the calm, focused interest he shows as you describe what has brought you to the office. Even if you believe this is just a routine annual visit, he notices and follows up if you mention a quirk that may actually be linked to a potential problem that could be prevented from worsening by early diagnosis. On the soft touch side of things, Dr. Bodkin knows it may be hard for a patient to explain an eye issue that’s bothersome, for example, but comes and goes. So, he listens. "I never get upset or frustrated. It doesn't do the patient any good or help us come to a resolution."
Turning to high tech for powerful diagnostic tools, Dr. Bodkin explains that this equipment provides precise information that defines the glasses prescription the patient requires. Technology is an expensive investment, but in the hands of a skilled and experienced optometrist, it removes the reliance on intuition or guessing and can reveal abnormal or damaged tissue the specialist suspects is there.
There are three key technologies used in Dr. Bodkin's office:
One is the electronic phoropter, the machine the optometrist uses while asking patients is image #1 clearer or #2. "I use it as a starting point to work my way to a prescription and then I am able to directly compare the new prescription to the old with the push of a button." A second key technology in his exam room, Dr. Bodkin said says, is the optical coherence tomography(OCT)machine which takes 3D scans of different structures of the eye. This is an invaluable screening tool used to assess the occurrence and progression of ocular diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. A third essential, advanced tool is the Optomap which produces wide-field images of the back of the eye, without dilation, and is useful for identifying and monitoring abnormalities of the retina. Looking toward the future, Dr. Bodkin says it would be great to have a machine capable of real-time angiography. A technology of this type would produce more information than the current static angiographic images produced by the OCT machine.
These technologies currently in use have been around for only the past ten years or so, with current updates within the past year or two. Patients appreciate having their eyes examined as noninvasively as possible. They are not fans of uncomfortable procedures like those that involve puffs of air applied to the eyes. "We never do that," says Dr. Bodkin. "We check eye pressure with eye drops and a blue light that reacts with the drops to fluoresce, which allows us to measure pressure and assess other possible eye diseases." About the use of technology that makes diagnoses more precise and comfortable, Dr. Bodkin says, “We love it. The patients love it.”
When asked for tips to avoid serious eye and vision problems, Dr. Bodkin suggests:
1) Get your eyes checked every year; 2) Wear UV blocking eyeglasses; and 3) increase your Omega 3 intake.
While still in college Dr. Bodkin knew he wanted to be in a profession that helps people. He considered becoming a pharmacist or a dentist, but after deciding on the field of optometry, "I knew I made the right decision," says Dr. Bodkin. He and his wife came from Boston to Charleston 13 years ago, looking for warmer winters and closer proximity to the beach. They loved what they found and have settled here with their young son and daughter. Mt. Pleasant knows it’s lucky to have Dr. Bodkin in the neighborhood. He has been voted "Best Eye Doctor" by Mt. Pleasant Magazine for every year since 2013.