Your Eyes Need To be Examined!
Whether you’ve always been able to see perfectly, or you’ve had to wear corrective lenses, the fact is, eye exams are crucial to your health. After the age of 60, your likelihood of developing a serious eye disease that can permanently affect your vision increases. The best way to avoid this is by making regular eye exam appointments with an optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye doctor).
There are many common eye ailments that have few or no early symptoms and will develop painlessly. You may not even notice changes to your vision right away!
For this reason it is important to always talk to a doctor if you or your loved one experience any changes to your vision. You may also want to learn about some of the more common eye diseases such as:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Okay, Now What?
Now that you’ve schedule your eye exam, what should you expect? 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.
If you know your doctor will be dilating your pupils, bring a pair of sunglasses with you as you may be sensitive to light for a few hours after.
Your doctor may also be able to diagnose other health complications, including but not limited to:
- 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.
- 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.
- Thyroid disease: One of the signs of thyroid disease are bulging eyes or protruding eyeballs. This condition is also known as Graves Disease.
If you’d like to learn more about how regular eye exams can positively impact you or your loved one’s health, how Comfort Keepers® can help seniors with vision impairment, or if you’d like to schedule your free in home consultation please, contact us online anytime or call us at (701) 335-8769.