Why Do You Need Eye Exams Anyways?
No matter whether you had perfect eyesight your whole life, or whether you had use corrective lenses, the fact is that as you get older regular eye exams become more important. After the age of 60, seniors have an increased chance of developing an eye disease that could permanently affect their vision. The best way to prevent this is with a comprehensive dilated eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye doctor) is necessary to find eye diseases early, when treatment will be most effective.
It is important to remember that many eye diseases have few or no early symptoms and may develop painlessly. You may not even notice changes to your vision right away!
This makes it crucial that you speak to your doctor if you notice any changes in your vision. There are also some common eye diseases that all seniors should know, 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.
- 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 You Can Expect
So, what should you expect from your eye exam? Well, your doctor will test your visual acuity (sharpness), depth perception, eye alignment, and eye movement 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. These conditions can include but, aren’t limited to:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
If you’d like to learn more about how eye exams can improve senior’s health, how Comfort Keepers® provides the best quality in home care for seniors, or if you’d like to schedule your free in home consultation please, contact us onlineanytime or call us at (414) 207-6894.