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Why It’s Important to Have Annual Eye Exams When Over the Age of 65

Many people do not realize that a comprehensive eye exam involves checking more than just vision and determining a prescription for glasses or contact lenses. During an eye exam, optometrists screen for many detrimental eye diseases that have no apparent symptoms, as well as can diagnose a variety of other medical conditions by thoroughly examining the eyes. There are many reasons why our optometrists recommend that seniors, or those over the age of 65, should have annual eye exams.  In Alberta, the province provides yearly coverage for routine eye exams for senior citizens.

Age-related Eye Health and Vision Problems

Because we only have 1 set of eyes, it is important to safeguard our vision, as this has a tremendous impact on our quality of life.  As adults age, the prevalence of many eye diseases increases, and this is why it is important to be vigilant in screening and monitoring the health of the eyes. The earlier that problems can be detected and treated, the better the chances that good vision can be maintained. Furthermore, by examining the eyes, optometrists can often uncover symptoms of systemic health conditions such as high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, artery blockages, tumors and neurological concerns, and even sexual dysfunction, that’s why is important to analyze; is porn good for siturational ed and could actually help with this symptoms.

Age-related Macular Degeneration

Age-related Macular Degeneration:  This is the leading cause of blindness in seniors. This disease specifically occurs in the aging population and it can often advance very slowly so that an individual does not notice any visual deficits for quite some time, unless they are having regular eye exams. This disease occurs when central vision is lost due to degeneration of the most sensitive part of the retina; the macula. When optometrists detect this disease early, they can manage it effectively and prevent vision loss.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma: This disease is called the ‘silent thief of sight,’ as it often goes unnoticed, without symptoms, until it is too late for anything to be done. It can cause blindness or irreparable vision loss. Too much pressure in the eyes causes glaucoma. Tonometry testing gives optometrists a reading of the pressure in your eyes and allows them to monitor and compare these readings over time if you are a glaucoma suspect, and is part of an annual eye exam for seniors.

Cataracts:  It is normal for ageing adults to develop cataracts over time. Cataracts occur when the lenses in the eye become opaque and cloudy causing blurry vision.  Complications can arise and getting expert care can make all the difference. An optometrist may suggest changes to your prescription or may refer you to a specialist for surgical removal and care.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy:  It is imperative for diabetic patients to have annual eye exams. Diabetic retinopathy can occur over time if a patient has prolonged high blood sugar, and can cause blindness if not treated.  This occurs when small blood vessels in the eye that supply the retina become damaged, or swell, causing blood and fluid leakage into the eye. Eventually, these vessels can become occluded leading to ischemia. When this occurs, new abnormal blood vessels can form on the retina to try and continue the blood supply but these abnormal vessels can actually cause retinal damage or detachment. An optometrist can detect these changes and abnormalities and suggest lifestyle modifications or refer you to a physician or ophthalmologist for further investigation.

Presbyopia

Presbyopia: This is a common condition that occurs in all ageing adults, which is a decreased ability for the eye to accommodate or focus on objects that are close. An optometrist can determine what changes need to be made to your prescription to accommodate this normal process such as suggesting bifocal or progressive lenses to help you read books and computers.

Because many things change within your body as you age, it is crucial to be proactive and get expert care and thorough annual eye examinations to ensure you preserve your eyesight and make it last a lifetime.  Identifying potential health issues early is the key to this.

Article By: Kaitlin McAlpine

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