Keep Your Eyes Healthy With Regular Exams!
It doesn’t matter whether you had excellent eyesight growing up or, if you wore corrective lenses, every senior should get regular eye exams. After the age of 60, you have an increased likelihood of suffering from an eye disease that may permanently affect your vision. The best way to prevent this? Regular eye exams from an optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye doctor).
Did you know that many common eye diseases have no early symptoms and can develop painlessly? You may not even notice changes to your vision right away!
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For this reason it is crucial that you talk to a doctor if you, or your loved one, experience any changes in vision. Seniors may also want to know some of the more common eye ailments, such as these:
- Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that occurs in people with diabetes. It is the result of progressive damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina. These damaged blood vessels leak blood and other fluids that cause retinal tissue to swell and cloud vision. The condition usually affects both eyes. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. At its most severe, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness.
- Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases characterized by damage to the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss. People with a family history of glaucoma and older adults have a higher risk. Glaucoma can be painless, with no symptoms. It can take away peripheral (side) vision.
- Dry eye is a condition in which a person produces too few or poor-quality tears. Tears maintain the health of the front surface of the eye and provide clear vision. Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in seniors.
What Else Should I Know?
So you made an appointment with an eye doctor, what now? During your eye exam, visual acuity (sharpness), depth perception, eye alignment, and eye movement are tested and special eye drops are used to make your pupils larger so your eye specialist can see inside your eyes.
Be sure to bring a pair of sunglasses if you know that you will get your pupils dilated as the drops may make you sensitive to light.
Some other health conditions your doctor may be able to spot can include:
- Hypertension: Blood vessels in the eye may exhibit bends, kinks, or tears, which may indicate high blood pressure, a known risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and other illnesses, including blindness.
- Autoimmune disorders: If the eye is inflamed, this may be a sign of Lupus or another disorder.
- Tumors: You will be checked for blurry vision, improper pupil dilation (one eye dilating more than the other or remaining fixed), and optic nerve color. If something seems irregular, you may be referred to a neurologist.
- Mental Health: People with mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder usually have different eye tracking patterns. Eye specialists can now map those movements through technology.
- Vitamin A Deficiency: If you're not getting enough fruits and veggies (from foods like sweet potatoes, greens, cantaloupe, and carrots), you may develop night blindness and vision loss. Your eye specialist will check the surface of your eye for damage. Mention if you're having trouble seeing at night.
If you’d like to learn more about how eye exams can prevent eye ailments, how our caregivers can help make your golden years shine even brighter, or if you’d like to schedule your free in home consultation please, contact us online anytime or call us at (904) 337-6039.