When was the last time you visited your eye doctor for an eye exam? The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that all adults over the age of 65 visit their eye doctor for an exam at least once every 12 months. Let’s find out why.
As with most medical problems, the earlier an eye disease or issue is detected and treated, the more positive the outcome is likely to be for the patient. Many of the most common eye diseases do not manifest with any symptoms until they are quite well advanced, and this can make them much harder to detect – unless you attend routine eye exams.
Your eye exams are about much more than just determining what prescription you need (if any) to see clearly. When you attend routine eye exams, your eye doctor will be able to perform a variety of assessments to determine a comprehensive overview of the health and condition of your eyes. This will include how healthy each of the internal and external structures looks, whether or not you are developing the early signs of any eye diseases, or if you could be doing anything different when it comes to caring for your eyes. Your eye doctor can also look at the results of previous appointments and tests to establish whether your eye health is remaining the same, getting better, or getting worse. This will help them to decide which treatments to offer to help you maintain your eye health and vision going forwards.
Some eye conditions and diseases are more likely to develop in seniors. Some of these include:
Cataracts. Cataracts are a condition during which age-related changes to the natural lens of the eye cause irreversible clouding. This creates patches in your vision that make it difficult to see clearly and affect your quality of life. The only permanent solution is to undergo surgery to replace the clouded lens with an artificial alternative.
Diabetic retinopathy. This complication of diabetes causes damage to the blood vessels at the back of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy is also a leading cause of irreversible blindness. Fortunately, if it is spotted early enough, it can be treated, and your vision can be maintained for as long as possible.
Glaucoma. Glaucoma describes a group of diseases that occur when rising intraocular pressure (pressure inside the eyes) causes damage to the optic nerve, which is responsible for intercepting light and turning it into messages sent up to the brain. Glaucoma can lead to serious, irreversible vision loss. However, early detection and prompt treatment is highly successful in preventing the damage that it causes. Since the symptoms of most glaucoma develop very slowly, regular exams are the best way to detect the condition and ensure it gets treated before it harms your vision.
Macular degeneration. This very common age-related vision problem is caused by the cells of the macula – an area in the center of the retina – starting to break down with age. Although it doesn’t cause total blindness, it can significantly affect your ability to see details and enjoy things like watching television and reading. It can also make it harder to recognize different faces.
Retinal tear/detachment. Older people are thought to have an increased risk of experiencing retinal tears or detachment, especially if they have high myopia. This is where the retina develops a small hole or comes away from the surrounding tissue. Both can cause blindness if they aren’t detected and treated promptly.
For more on the importance of routine eye exams for seniors, visit Trinity Eye Care in Plano, Texas. Call (972) 895-9260 today to schedule an appointment.