The Importance of Routine Eye Exams | It is said that eyes are the windows to the soul; while your eyes may not tell that much about you, their condition plays an important part in your overall health and wellness.
Do you know how important taking care of your eyes really is?
Keep reading to learn about the importance of preventive health and eye care.
The Rate of Myopia is Rising
Looking at studies conducted over the last few decades, myopia (nearsightedness) is increasing. Furthermore, these analyses show myopia will likely stay on this upward trajectory. This condition happens when a person’s eyeball is longer than it should be, causing poor distance vision.
The number of Americans with myopia has increased from 25% to around 41% since 1971. While there is no way to prevent nearsightedness, increasing the time spent in daylight might slow its progression. A low-dose solution of atropine eye drops could slow progression, but the side effects could outweigh the benefits.
The most effective treatment for myopia is visual correction. This means wearing prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. Kids should have eye exams before first grade where a doctor can test their distance vision. Kids’ eyes change as they grow, so school-aged children should have annual exams.
Discover Early Warning Signs of Degenerative Conditions
Even if you have 20/20 vision or no history of eye problems, you should still have regularly scheduled appointments with your ophthalmologist as a part of your other preventative health care screenings. An eye doctor can look for early warning signs of degenerative eye conditions during an exam. This is especially important if you have a family history of the conditions:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Night blindness,
- Retinitis pigmentosa
- Macular degeneration
These diseases are common causes of vision loss or blindness. Additionally, a personal history of diabetes and/or hypertension puts you at a higher risk for loss of eyesight. Always be transparent with your ophthalmologist when discussing your medical history.
Start Preventative Treatment to Reduce Your Risk of Eye Problems
Preventative treatment includes making lifestyle changes like reducing your consumption of alcohol. Excess drinking can increase a person’s risk for diseases like heart disease or cirrhosis and impact eye health over time. It is also linked to optic nerve damage.
Similarly, smoking cigarettes may increase your risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Smokers with other conditions like diabetic retinopathy have even higher incidence rates of vision loss than non-smokers.
Some forms of glaucoma are preventable, or you can take steps to prevent it from worsening. The first step in prevention is scheduling an eye exam. Your eye doctor will evaluate your eye health, ask you questions about any symptoms, medication, your family history, work environment, and so on.
From there, you will have tests to measure the performance of each eye. If you have early signs of glaucoma, your doctor will review all of the prevention and treatment options available to you. Do not hesitate to ask questions during your eye exam about how to take the best care of your eyes.
Can You See the Importance of Preventive Health and Eye Care?
Preventive health exams and vision tests are essential for detecting myopia and degenerative diseases. Discuss your family and personal medical history during your exam. Ophthalmologists can explain how to preserve your vision and take the best care of your eyes.
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