Eye health can be easily neglected, and serious problems can go undetected for far too long. We can easily become accustomed to eye discomfort or minor changes in vision. Any fluctuation in eyesight could indicate a more serious issue, something that should be examined by a medical professional straight away. In order to catch any potential problems early, it is essential to attend an eye examination at least every two years.
It’s so important to be able to see clearly, to enable you to appreciate your surroundings, maintain independence and enjoy a good quality of life. Eye tests can detect the early onset of cataracts and glaucoma as well as age related macular degeneration, all of which will lead to sight loss if left untreated.
It’s not just older people who need to check their eye health. Children should have their eyesight monitored to correct problems early in life. A squint or turn in the eye (strabismus) or short-sightedness (myopia) can be easily treated. A child’s sight test only takes around twenty minutes, opticians use toys, tricks and hidden pieces of equipment to make the process much more enjoyable.
It’s not just your vision that can be monitored during an eye exam, there are other significant health problems that can be detected.
Tiny breaks on blood vessels can be caused by coughing or sneezing too hard, but they can also be an indication of high blood pressure. Swelling within the eye can be caused by hypertension, eye health professionals are trained to detect any significant problems.
Your eye exam can also detect a number of cardiovascular conditions. Heart disease is apparent when opticians spot a build-up of plaque deposits. In this situation, an ophthalmologist’s immediate action could also help prevent a stroke, something which can happen if plaque blocks a blood vessel in the brain.
Diabetes can be detected through the use of retinal imaging devices which can show several signs of retina damage long before a patient has any other indication of the disease. Fluffy white patches, known as ‘cotton wool spots’ can indicate the start of diabetes.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that can effect the sclera in the eye. This thin white outer layer of the eye is composed of collagen and inflammatory conditions affect collagen, the main component of connective tissue in the body.
Multiple sclerosis is also an inflammatory illness, where the immune system attacks healthy nerve fibres by mistake. Opticians can spot problems within the optic nerve during a routine eye exam and increase the chance of early intervention.
A huge amount of visual problems could be prevented. It’s vital to take care of your eyes and protect the gift of sight. Eye tests should become part of your family’s whole health check-up. Make sure you monitor any changes in between regular appointments and ‘keep an eye’ on your vision!