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Preventative Maintenance of your eyesight with regular Eye Exams

One of your most significant senses is your eyesight, and so, by taking care of your eyes, you can lower your chances of blindness and vision loss while avoiding developing eye disorders like cataracts and glaucoma.

Preventative Maintenance of your eyesight with regular Eye Exams

Regular eye doctor appointments can be considered as a preventative maintenance measure for the rest of your body. The eyes are the body's windows. They are the only area where you can see your blood vessels naturally without surgery. Optometrists can detect various health disorders and vision problems simply by looking into your eyes using this visual inspection of the blood supply. Aside from providing access to vision correction such as glasses or contacts, an eye exam provides insight into other healthcare issues.

It will not only assist doctors in detecting eye health issues such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration in advance, but it will also assist them in diagnosing other issues like high cholesterol, diabetes, diabetic retinopathy, liver disease, and even brain tumors.

Here are some of the eye care tips you can follow to maintain your eye health in between exams:

  • Consume plenty of vegetables, preferably dark leafy greens. Add some spinach or kale to your lunch for an extra dose of vitamin A.

  • Are you participating in a sport, swimming, or working in an environment where anything could get into your eyes? For these tasks, proper eye protection is essential.

  • UVA and UVB rays are equally harmful to your eyes as they are to your skin. Wear sunglasses that are best rated to block harmful radiation to protect your vision.

  • Before touching your eyes, wash your hands. Whether you're putting in contacts, trying to extract a stubborn eyelash, or simply having a little discomfort, it's critical to thoroughly wash your hands before making physical contact with your eyes.

  • Nowadays, everything is displayed on the screen of gadgets like phones, laptops, televisions, etc. You can use the 20-20-20 rule to make sure that your eyes get enough rest from work, as well as from the gadgets that you use. Every 20 minutes, as an exercise, you have to look away around 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This can help you avoid straining your eyes and may even help with other issues like headaches and migraines.

  • According to experts, you must get your eye test done at least once every two to three years from an experienced optometrist to avoid experiencing eye problems like glaucoma, macular degeneration, etc.

Recommended Intervals Between Eye Exams

The current ocular health of the patient determines whether a patient requires merely a visual acuity test or a thorough eye examination and how frequently they need it. On the other hand, children need less regular, comprehensive eye tests than adults, who should be evaluated at least once every two years for total ocular function. Doctors advise more frequent eye exams for elderly adults. Individuals whose jobs need a high visual engagement are encouraged to have their eyes tested more frequently than once every two years.

What exactly is the meaning of low vision?

Low vision is a condition of vision loss that cannot be corrected by prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery. This form of vision impairment does not include total blindness because some sight remains and can occasionally be improved with visual aids. The low vision condition encompasses varying degrees of visual loss, ranging from blind spots, poor night vision, and glare issues to total blindness.

Who is the most vulnerable to low vision?

Low vision can impact anyone because various illnesses and accidents lead to low vision. Low vision is more frequent in individuals over the age of 45 and even more common in adults over 75 due to age-related illnesses such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. For example, one in every six adults over 45 has impaired vision, and one in every four adults over 75 has low vision.

What are the probable causes of low vision?

One or more factors can cause low eyesight. These are frequently the result of eye illnesses or injuries or a disorder affecting the entire body, such as diabetes. Age-related macular degeneration, diabetes, and glaucoma are some of the most prevalent reasons for impaired vision. Diseases like eye cancer, albinism, brain injury, or genetic eye problems such as retinitis pigmentosa can also give rise to impaired vision. If you have certain conditions or are at risk for them, you are more likely to become visually impaired.

Types of visual impairment

Visual or vision impairment is a reduced capacity to see that is usually connected with aging and cannot be treated by prescription glasses, other medications, or surgical procedures. The term blindness refers to the situation in which all vision is lost. The degree of visual impairment varies from mild to severe. Uncorrected refractive problems, cataracts, and glaucoma are the most common causes of visual impairment worldwide.

Various types of visual impairment; refractive errors create conditions such as near and farsightedness, presbyopia, and astigmatism. Cataracts are the cause of blindness. Visual impairments are frequently associated with advancing age and its problems. Other conditions that might cause vision impairment include age-related macular degeneration, corneal clouding, and diabetic retinopathy.

Blindness Caused by Diseases and Health Conditions:

These are the primary age-related health conditions and eye diseases that cause blindness:

Glaucoma

Glaucoma, often known as a disease that impairs peripheral vision, is difficult to diagnose because there are no visible early-stage symptoms. Because of backed-up fluid behind the eye, this chronic eye illness produces increased ocular pressure. This pressure can severely harm the optic nerve, and the intensity of the pressure helps determine the type of Glaucoma a patient has. Glaucoma is hereditary, which means it passes on through family lines.

Stroke

A stroke can cause double vision and impaired vision. The influence of a stroke on a person's visual field is determined by the part of the brain injured by the stroke. Visual abnormalities produced by a stroke can improve in certain circumstances if detected and treated early. Although lasting problems may still exist depending on the type and severity of the stroke, the earlier it is treated, the more likely any unfavorable effects can be reversed.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes can cause blindness as the patient is at risk of losing eyesight with age. High blood sugar levels in these people can damage blood vessels in the retina. Many diabetics have non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), the first stage of the disease. The advanced form of this illness is known as Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR). Because there are no symptoms in the early stages, the ailment remains undiscovered until vision is impaired. Immediate medical attention following diagnosis is required to avoid permanent eyesight impairment.

Retinal Detachment

A retinal detachment for patients can happen at any age. However, it is more likely in people over 40 years of age, those with a family history of the ailment, those with myopia (severe near-sightedness), or those with other eye disorders. Floaters and light flashes are symptoms of retinal detachments. This is a medical emergency that, if not addressed promptly, can result in permanent visual loss.

Cataracts

Cataracts overshadow the eye's lens, and they are usually associated with age (though they can occur in toddlers and newborns). Cataracts affect more than 22.3 million persons in the United States. While not painful, symptoms include blurred or double vision, a milky or yellowish patch in the sightline, or a continual shift in eyeglass prescription with no noticeable change in vision. Trauma or some drugs can also cause cataracts.

The Importance of Eye Exams

Eye examinations assess visual function for both proximal and distance vision. The basic visual acuity assessment determines whether or not someone will need to start wearing glasses for the first time. It also illustrates the regular modifications that are required based on the improvement or deterioration of visual function. Optometrists examine for any other ocular symptoms in addition to near-sightedness and far-sightedness. Even though astigmatism is relatively prevalent, it can be very bothersome in everyday life. Optometrists identify the need for cylindrical power during such examinations.

Well over 75% of cases of blindness are avoidable if detected early. While eye exams have many benefits, they are ineffective if not performed regularly. Once fully formed, many eyesight disorders are permanent or extremely difficult to cure at a later stage. As a result, a comprehensive examination of the lens, retina, and optic nerve are critical components of a routine full eye checkup. A cataract is a condition that causes the eye's lens to become opaque, resulting in blurred vision. A timely diagnosis of cataracts by eye care consultants and lens replacement surgery are required to restore normal vision.

Treatment for low vision

Treatment for low vision

Some vision abnormalities, such as diabetic retinopathy, can be treated to restore or maintain eyesight. However, low vision is permanent for these patients if treatment is not possible. On the other hand, many persons with low vision find visual aids useful. Among the most popular low vision aids are:

  • Telescopic spectacles

  • Light-filtering lenses

  • Magnifying glasses 

  • Hand magnifiers.

  • Closed-circuit television.

  • Reading prisms.

Some retinitis pigmentosa patients with no functional vision may be treated with Argus II retinal prosthesis. This technology helps individuals who have lost sight regain some of their vision.

Optical Devices for Low Vision

Low vision optical devices encompass many useful visual aids, such as a stand and hand-held magnifiers, powerful magnifying reading glasses, loupes, and small telescopes. These devices differ from normal spectacles and magnifiers as they can deliver significantly greater magnification capabilities and higher-quality optics (implying the way the lens bends or refracts light). Most of the time, they require professional training to be used efficiently.

Non-Optical devices for Low Vision

Non-optical low vision equipment includes reading stands, supplemental illumination, absorptive (or glare control) sunglasses, type scopes, and tactile locator dots. They can be used along with poor vision optical devices to assist with reading and other daily duties.

How to Get a Low Vision Device?

Low vision devices are frequently prescribed as part of a low vision medical evaluation. A low vision exam performed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist who has credentials or specialization in low vision testing, diagnosis, and treatment — is the best way to determine which type or types of devices are best for you, in accordance with your eye condition and your daily living needs. 

Optometrists are trained and experienced experts who can collaborate with other healthcare professionals such as general practitioners, nurses, and pediatricians to provide the best possible care to patients. Like other health care providers, optometrists receive specialized training before treating patients. They earn a Bachelor of Science degree before enrolling in a four-year Doctor of Optometry program at an authorized university.

Understanding the actual role of Optometrists

Understanding the actual role of Optometrists

Optometrists are professionals who play a critical role in their patients' eyesight, eye health, and overall wellness. They are taught to:

  • Treat, manage, and correct abnormalities and diseases of the visual system, the eye, and the surrounding tissues.

  • Recognize and manage linked systemic illnesses as well as ocular signs.

  • Binocular and perceptual vision abnormalities are diagnosed, treated, and managed.

  • Removal of superficial foreign substances from the eye in or beneath the corneal surface.

  • Helping in the management of glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy 

Regular vision screenings can help determine whether you have a vision impairment. If any anomalies are discovered, you will be requested to undergo a full eye examination to determine your vision problem's underlying cause. Based on the results, the doctor will propose a course of therapy, which may include prescription lenses, eye drops or ointment, and, in severe cases, surgery.

Uncorrected refractive defects are the leading cause of vision impairment, according to estimates from the World Health Organization Prevention of Blindness Programme. Avoidable blindness due to refractive problems can be cured by checking your eyesight frequently. Senior citizens are more likely to acquire degenerative age-related eye issues such as dry eyes, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract, and diabetic retinopathy, which can impair vision and interfere with everyday life. Regular eye exams are therefore critical for diagnosing these common causes of vision loss associated with the aging process in elderly adults.


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