Why Are Eye Exams Important?
No matter how good your eye health has been in the past, after the age of 60, it becomes extremely important schedule regular eye exams with an optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye doctor). Seniors have an increased risk of developing eye diseases that can permanently affect vision and regular exams are the best way to catch them as they develop and are easier to treat.
In fact, many eye diseases will develop slowly over time, may not have any early symptoms, and you may not even notice changes to your vision right away!
For this reason, it is incredibly important that you talk to a doctor if you or your loved one have experienced any changes in your vision. Seniors should also know a few of the most common eye diseases, such as:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Give us a call at (703) 520-2189 to learn more!
What Else Is There To Know?
Now that you’ve scheduled your exam, what does that mean? Well, your doctor will test your visual acuity (sharpness), depth perception, eye alignment, and eye movement are tested. They may also use special drops to dilate your pupils in order to see inside your eye.
Tip: Bring a pair of sunglasses if you know your pupils will be dilated, as you may be sensitive to light for a few hours afterwards!
Your doctor may be able to see other health conditions as well, including:
- 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.
- 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.
- Thyroid disease: One of the signs of thyroid disease are bulging eyes or protruding eyeballs. This condition is also known as Graves Disease.
- 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.
- 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.
If you’d like to learn more about how eye exams are a crucial part of senior’s healthcare, how Comfort Keepers® caregivers can help your loved one with vision difficulties, or if you’d like to schedule your free in home consultation please, contact us online anytime or call us at (703) 520-2189.