Four reasons that you should be getting a regular eye exam.
August is National Eye Exam Month, and in its honor we’ve decided to keep you informed as to why you should be getting regular eye exams. Many of us who don’t have 20/20 vision already have regular appointments with our eye doctors, but even if you aren’t having any trouble with your vision, there are plenty of reasons to get a regular eye exam. Here are a few of the most important reasons for you to regularly schedule an eye exam, regardless of your vision.
- High Blood Pressure
You might think that your physician would diagnose this, but not everyone sees his or her doctor regularly. Hypertension can be affecting your retina even when there are no symptoms, and this can be seen during an eye exam. So your eye doctor could actually be the first one to catch your high blood pressure.
Diabetes is another illness that can be caught by an eye exam, even when there are no visible symptoms. It is estimated that one-third of Americans with diabetes don’t know they have it, and diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults in the U.S. Diabetic retinopathy refers to changes in the blood vessels of the retina. Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes, and while it may not be noticeable at first, over time it can cause vision loss and blindness. Anyone with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated exam once a year to check on this.
Even if your regular physician looks into your eyes with an ophthalmoscope, they won’t be able to detect glaucoma unless it is already quite advanced. Glaucoma is a condition in which increased pressure on the optic nerve causes damage leading to vision loss. The biggest risk factor for glaucoma is age, as it usually develops in people over 40. Glaucoma develops slowly over time, and usually without any symptoms. The only way to diagnosis it is with a comprehensive eye exam. Getting a regular exam is important, because you are still at risk for glaucoma even if you have 20/20 vision. Once vision is lost, it cannot be restored, so make sure you are getting your eyes checked regularly as you age.
- Macular Degeneration
Another condition that can be diagnosed through regular eye exams is macular degeneration. This is the deterioration of the central part of the retina, the macula, and it can cause blurred vision and blind spots. Macular degeneration does not cause blindness, but it can affect quality of life because of all the daily activities that require clear vision. This generally affects those 50 and older, and is more common in smokers, women, Caucasians, and the severely overweight.
This August, make it a point to schedule an eye exam for yourself or your loved ones. Even if you aren’t having trouble with your vision, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t at risk. If you have any questions, please contact our vision specialists today.