A Yearly Eye Exam Can Identify Potential Eye Diseases
August 2023 is National Eye Exam Month and this is a timely reminder that checking your eyes regularly is an essential part of your annual healthcare routine. Many vision diseases and conditions progress slowly over time and may even be asymptomatic and not obvious until sight begins to diminish. Yearly exams become increasingly essential after age 65 when diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma become more common. A yearly eye exam allows your eye doctor to monitor your vision and eye health over time and can help detect signs of medical conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure. Comprehensive eye exams with your doctor of optometry are one of the most important, preventive ways to preserve vision. They are also the only way to accurately assess eye health, diagnose an eye disorder or disease, and determine the need for corrective lenses. Yearly exam protocols by age are:
- 20 to 39 every 5 years
- 40 to 54 every 2 to 4 years.
- 55 to 64 every 1 to 3 years.
An eye exam can provide insights into more than your vision. It can provide critical information about early signs of diseases or health issues like diabetes, risk of heart disease, and even indications that you may have cancer. Preserving your eye health is just as essential as protecting your health. Having your eyes examined every year by a licensed ophthalmologist provides many benefits and can keep your eyes healthy for many years to come. Continue reading below to discover the importance of yearly exams, and all they can do for your vision and overall health.
An Eye Exam Can Reveal The Following
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Strope; blood clots in the back of your eye or blood vessel damage due to high blood pressure, you could be at high risk for stroke
- Arthiristics: rheumatoid arthritis is dry eye syndrome
- Thyroid Disease: Hyperthyroidism is associated with an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease,
- Multiple Sclerosis: A degenerative disease that affects your entire nervous system. As the disease attacks your eyes, your optic nerves swell and your vision begins to blur, a condition called optic neuritis.
- Cancer: Brain, and Skin
How Do You Know If You Have Healthy Vision?
- Pain reoccurring around the eyes
- Severe and sudden eye pain
- Seeing a “curtain” coming down over your eyes
- Seeing rainbows or halos around lights
- Floating “spider webs”
The American Acadamy Of Ophthalmology has identified 14 steps to a lifetime of healthy vision (https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/healthy-lifestyle-now-good-vision-later)
- Know your family history: It plays a big role in your vision
- Watch children’s eyes carefully as they grow.
- Eat well and exercise
- Stop smoking
- Keep our health conditions under control
- Wear sunglasses when outdoors
- Minimize eye strain at work
- Sports eye injuries can happen at any age
- Care for your contact lenses
- Do not share makeup, may spread infections
- Expect eye changes during pregnancy
- Pack sunglasses, prescription glasses, and other eye care necessities when traveling
- Pay close attention to vision changes if you are 65 or older
- Do not assume that vision change is an inevitable part of getting older, it is not
Your eye doctor can do a comprehensive dilated eye exam that focuses on visual sharpness, depth perception, eye alignment, and eye movement to determine if there are any eye diseases in the early stages. Early detection of diseases with treatment is the most effective and can prevent vision loss. Some of the vision problems are blurred vision (called refractive errors), glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataract, and age-related macular degeneration. The three most common vision problems are myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.
Blurry vision may occur due to a wide range of issues ranging from dry eyes and eye strain to hereditary focusing problems. Chronically dry eyes may make the visual field appear blurry, as well as not being able to focus in the cornea or lens known as astigmatism. In some cases, patients recovering from eye surgery may experience blurry vision path perception,
Double vision is the perception of two overlapping images that occurs when the two eyes cannot bring their separate images into a straight line. It may be the result of dry eyes, cataracts, eye surgery complications, or other issues. In some cases, a nerve injury or disease may create double vision.
These visual symptoms occur when some irregularity in the lens, cornea, or other parts of the eye interferes with the normal passage and refraction of light. Cataract sufferers, for instance, typically see halos around automobile headlights at night. Other aberrations may include starburst patterns, poor night vision, blurring of images, and uncomfortable glare.
Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is the inability to view close objects in focus. It is usually the result of an abnormal eyeball shape that causes incoming light to reach a focal point that would extend beyond the back of the eye.
Nearsightedness occurs when the distance between the front and back of the eye is too great or the cornea has too much curvature. This causes incoming light to reach a focal point before it hits the retina and causes distant objects to appear out of focus.
Peripheral vision loss
Loss of vision around the outer edges of the visual field may occur due to glaucoma, nerve damage, a detached retina, concussions, strokes, and other conditions.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
“Lazy eye,” occurs because one eye does not develop its keen sight as thoroughly as the other. It is a common childhood issue and can often with therapies can strengthen the eye.
It is imperative that Contact us immediately if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms. We are here to help you protect your eyes and maintain your quality of life.