The Importance of an Annual Eye Exam Goes Beyond Your Ocular Health
In life, you reach a certain age when you have to start paying closer attention to your health. Many of your bodily functions begin to decline, and you have to schedule more checkups and be more conscious of your daily habits.
Your vision is on that growing list of things you must look after. When your eyesight starts to decline around your mid-40s, regularly visiting an eye care professional is the best thing you can do for your eye health and maintaining your vision[Hb1] .
That includes getting regular exams to check for eye diseases. Here are a few eye diseases your doctor can detect during a routine exam:
· Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – This disease affects one's central vision, damaging the retina and making it harder to see things in detail. It is the leading cause of vision loss for people 60 and older. There is no cure, but you can slow AMD's progress through certain treatments.
· Cataract – This is a clouding of one or both of the eye's lenses. While it may be the leading cause of blindness worldwide, 90% of people see better after surgery to remove the cloudy lens.
· Diabetic Retinopathy – This is when unmanaged glucose levels in the bloodstream damage the blood vessels in the retina. There are treatments to repair the damage or shrink the blood vessels.
· Glaucoma – Often a disease that runs in families, glaucoma comes from high fluid pressure that damages the optic nerve, leading to vision loss or blindness, and it can be very painful.
These are just a few of the many eye diseases eye exams detect. However, the importance of getting an eye exam surpasses just staying on top of your ocular health, as there are many more issues they can uncover throughout your body.
Serious Health Conditions Eye Exams Can Detect
Many of these conditions can lead to long-term health problems or even threaten your life. But if warning signs of an illness or disorder are found and diagnosed by a medical professional quickly, you can be prepared and have a better chance at treating it adequately.
Here are some of the most severe diseases, disorders, deficiencies and ailments for which an eye exam can catch warning signs:
· Brain tumor
· Giant cell arteritis
· Heart disease
· High blood pressure
· High cholesterol
· Lyme disease
· Medication toxicities
· Multiple sclerosis (MS)
· Myasthenia gravis
· Rheumatoid arthritis
· Sexually transmitted diseases
· Sickle cell disease
· Sjögren's syndrome
· Thyroid disease
· Vascular disease
· Vitamin A deficiency
However, we want to reiterate that an eye exam does not officially diagnose any of the conditions listed above. An eye exam may indicate something is wrong, and your eye care professional will likely advise you to seek additional testing. Furthermore, we want to make clear that just because an eye exam identifies you may have something wrong does not mean you do.
Do you get an eye exam annually? When was the last time you saw an optometrist or ophthalmologist? If you haven't been consistent, it might be time to contact your eye care professional today and schedule an appointment. It could save you a lot of pain and even your life.
The Healthy Vision Association (HVA) is dedicated to helping its members see well and be healthy by providing access to products, services and information that promote vision and overall health. To discover more vision tips, visit healthyvisionassociation.com.
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