Why Do I Need To See An Eye Doctor Regularly?
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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Cataracts are cloudy or opaque areas in the normally clear lens of the eye. Depending upon their size and location, they can interfere with normal vision. Usually cataracts develop in both eyes, but one may be worse than the other. Cataracts can cause blurry vision, decreased contrast sensitivity, dulling of colors, and increased sensitivity to glare.
Is That Everything?
So you made an appointment, 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. In addition to eye health, he or she may spot other health conditions, too.
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:
- Thyroid disease: One of the signs of thyroid disease are bulging eyes or protruding eyeballs. This condition is also known as Graves Disease.
- High cholesterol: The cornea may have a yellowish appearance or a yellow ring around it which can be a sign of high cholesterol. There also may be plaques in the blood vessels of the retina, which could indicate elevated cholesterol.
- Diabetes: Diabetes affects the small capillaries in the eye’s retina. These blood vessels may leak blood or a yellowish fluid, which may be discovered in an eye exam. If your eye specialist notices this, you may have a condition called diabetic retinopathy.
- 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.
If you’d like to learn more about senior eye care and exams, how Comfort Keepers® can help your loved one with transportation to important doctor appointments, or if you’d like to schedule your free in home consultation please, contact us online anytime or call us at (701) 297-2431.