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Eye Health

Q&A with Ophthalmologist Dr. Mark Torres Article Provided by Bonner General Ophthalmology

Second, only to the brain, the eyes are the most complex, powerful organ in the human body. Our vision is responsible for about 80 percent of what our brain processes, making proper eye care a vital component of our overall health. Ophthalmologist Dr. Mark Torres shares the importance of proper eye exams and when you may need an eye specialist.

Do ophthalmology and optometry work together? Absolutely. In many instances, optometrists are the first line in identifying patients needing ophthalmic care. In a rural setting such as North Idaho, those specialists are experienced in identifying and managing eye conditions. In addition, they are experts at prescribing and fitting glasses and contact lenses. For a patient needing advanced care from an ophthalmologist, optometrists can easily and efficiently make the referral for a patient. Sandpoint is fortunate to have several highly skilled and talented optometrists.

What about kids and teenagers? I firmly believe that children should get a comprehensive eye exam as early as feasible, especially as they reach preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school. Adolescents should also have an eye exam before participating in physical activities, sports and hobbies. Clear vision is an important factor in academic performance, physical activity and sports performance, and activities such as artwork, graphics and computers. If a child is struggling in any of these areas at an early age, parents should consider obtaining a good, comprehensive eye exam for their child.

The same goes for teenagers and young adults. The eyes can change quite a bit during the growth years, and clear vision is just as crucial for this age group. The same performance considerations apply to this age group—school, sports, hobbies and social interactions.

Once again, start with optometry. The solution may be as simple as a quality pair of glasses or contact lenses. This can go a long way to alleviating stress and concerns for parents, children, teenagers and young adults.

Does ophthalmology focus primarily on eye surgery? Not really. Only about a third of our patients are eye surgery patients. Most patients come to us to identify and manage other eye-related conditions that don’t necessarily require eye surgery, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, and many others. Furthermore, if patients need more specialized eye care, we can assist by facilitating and streamlining the process of finding an ophthalmology sub-specialist. This could be a pediatric ophthalmologist, a glaucoma specialist, or a retina specialist. Does ophthalmology interact with other medical specialties? That actually happens daily. The eyes are an organ system connected to the rest of the human body. They can be affected by such things as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, vascular disease, neurologic conditions, autoimmune diseases, and cancer. We have patients shared between our clinic and other medical specialists regularly and frequently, such as Internal Medicine, Family Practice, Neurology, Rheumatology, Oncology, and many others.

Dr. Torres joined the Bonner General Health team in 2020 after 30 years of active military service. He specializes in corneal and refractive surgery, diagnosis and treatment of conditions, injuries and diseases related to the eye. For more information about Bonner General Ophthalmology and a complete list of services, visit

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