The Clearview Blog
Why You Should Never Skip Your Eye Exam
June 25, 2015
Why do our eyes always take a back seat? We never think about getting an eye check-up unless we are having an issue. If our eyes are red or itchy, of course we will go see an eye specialist. If we suddenly are having some unexplained pain or suffer an injury, we can’t wait to see the eye doctor. But in truth most of us take our vision for granted. If we don’t notice any major visual issues, we just don’t give it high priority. Don’t be deceived! Just because you are not experiencing any type of visual symptoms, does not mean you do not have the beginning of a serious eye disease. Many such eye diseases which can threaten your sight do not have symptoms in their early stages. If you are still not convinced, we will explain why you should never skip your eye exam.
Not All Eye Exams are Created Equal
An eye screening just to check if your prescription has changed is fine, but everyone should have a comprehensive eye examination by age 40 according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Patients who have a family history of eye disease, diabetes or high blood pressure should have one even sooner. A comprehensive dilated eye exam consists of a number of painless tests. Your eye specialist will:
- Test your visual acuity
- Evaluate your optic nerve and retina
- Look at the front of your eye for any signs of scratches on your cornea or the early stage of a cataract
- Check the pressure in your eye
- Check for proper eye movement and alignment
- Review your medical history
- Check your glasses or contact lens prescription if applicable
- Check your peripheral vision
They may even do additional tests based on your family health history. It is not an exaggeration to say that a comprehensive dilated eye exam can save your vision. There are several eye diseases that have no early symptoms and if left untreated can cause visual loss. If not diagnosed and treated at a very early stage, the damage is done and it cannot be reversed.
According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. Glaucoma is a disease which develops very slowly with no obvious early signs. It damages your optic nerve so that visual information cannot be transmitted to your brain and vision is lost.
Glaucoma is caused by an increase in eye pressure known as intraocular pressure or IOP. This pressure occurs when the drainage canals in your eyes become clogged and the pressure increases to a point which damages your optic nerve.
One of the earliest signs of glaucoma is a loss of peripheral vision, but unfortunately most patients do not even realize this is happening until it is too late to stop the progression. A comprehensive dilated exam at Clearview Vision Institute can detect this silent disease and begin to treat and manage its symptoms. They will monitor your IOP over time and watch for any progression.
Another sight threatening disease which can be diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam is macular degeneration also known as Age Related Macular Degeneration or AMD. It is one of the leading causes of vision loss in patients over the age of fifty. It damages the macula located in the center of the retina affecting your central vision. Sometimes it can occur slowly and other times it happens very quickly. Patients experience blurriness in the center of their vision and objects seem less vivid. AMD affects many daily activities and can prevent a patient from enjoying a lifestyle of independence.
Patients with diabetes can experience several related eye diseases. The most common complication of diabetes is Diabetic Retinopathy, and it usually affects both eyes. Patients experience distorted vision and blurriness. It damages the blood vessels in the retina and they swell and sometimes leak causing a hemorrhage. In some patients new abnormal blood vessels grow on the retina. The eye care professionals at Clearview Vision Institute can diagnose, manage and treat this disease with special laser technology.
Diabetic Retinopathy is another eye disease with few early symptoms, so a patient with diabetes should never skip an eye exam if they want to preserve their vision.
Don’t allow a vision problem to sneak up on you. Take control of your eye health with regularly scheduled comprehensive eye exams. Call the experts at Clearview Vision Institute and never skip your eye exam again.