What Can Eye Exams Do For You?
Whether you had perfect eyesight all your life, or needed corrective lenses, the fact is, after the age of 60 eye exams will become increasingly important. As we age, we become more likely to develop eye diseases that can potentially cause permanent damage to our eyes.
Did you know that many common eye ailments have few or no early symptoms and will often develop painlessly over time and seniors may not notice changes to their vision right away?
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The best way to prevent this is by getting comprehensive dilated eye exams from an optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye doctor) and making sure to inform them if you notice any changes in your vision. There are also some common eye diseases that seniors should be aware of, including:
- Retinal detachment is a tearing or separation of the retina from the underlying tissue, and most often occurs spontaneously due to changes to the gel-like vitreous fluid that fills the back of the eye. Other causes include trauma to the eye or head, health problems like advanced diabetes, and inflammatory eye disorders. If not treated promptly, it can cause permanent vision loss.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that affects the macula (the center of the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye) and causes central vision loss, while peripheral (side) vision remains unaffected. The macula allows us to see fine detail and colors. Activities like reading, driving, watching TV, and recognizing faces all require good central vision.
- 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.
What More Should I Know?
Now that you’ve learned a bit about why you should have eye exams regularly, what can you expect when you get there? Well, during your eye exam, your doctor will test your depth perception, eye alignment, visual acuity (sharpness), and your eye movement. They will also use special eye drops to dilate your pupils (make them larger) so that they can see the inside your your eyes.
Tip: be sure to bring an extra pair of sunglasses if you or your loved one know that they will be getting their pupils dilated.
Other diseases that your eye doctor may be able to spot include:
- 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.
- Multiple Sclerosis: Most eye tics are benign, but can also be an early indicator of neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s. Your eye specialist can help with early diagnoses by checking for anomalies in your retina and optic nerve.
- Aneurysm: Tell your eye specialist if you're experiencing blurry vision, eye pain, headaches, or loss of vision. You will also be checked for drooping eyelids (a sign that a blood vessel may have ruptured or is leaking), increased pressure in your eye, bleeding in the retina, and swelling of your optic nerve. Crossed eyes can be a sign of bleeding in the brain, possibly from an aneurysm, or even a stroke
- Autoimmune disorders: If the eye is inflamed, this may be a sign of Lupus or another disorder.
If you’d like to learn more about why seniors should prioritize their eye health, what makes Comfort Keepers® caregivers exceptional, or if you would like to schedule your free care consultation please, contact us online anytime or call us at (248) 236-5627.