We can never stress it enough: it is important that you see the optometrist every year if you are under 18 and over 65 years old, and at least every two years if you are between 19 and 64. During the exam, your Optometrist will be able to ensure that your eyes are healthy as well as be able to monitor your vision and provide you with the appropriate correction option for you to experience better vision. We know the importance of eye exams for our eyes, but did you know that during an eye examination, your Optometrist can also detect certain diseases that are related to your overall health?
Our eyes truly are a window on our overall health. During an annual eye exam, the Optometrist observes and evaluates the health and overall condition of the blood vessels behind the retina. These blood vessels are actually very good indicators of the health of the rest of the body's blood vessels. For example, if the Optometrist notices that something is wrong, they will probably advise you to see your family doctor to make sure you do not have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Having an annual eye exam is even more important for people with diabetes and those at risk of contracting the disease because of factors such as family history and obesity, for example. Diabetes can cause one of several diabetic eye diseases. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataracts and glaucoma. All forms of diabetes-related eye disease can lead to severe vision loss and blindness. In its early days, diabetic eye disease has no visible symptoms; only a complete eye exam can detect the signs of the disease, allowing treatment to begin early enough to prevent vision loss.
Scientific research will also soon enable us to detect the first signs of Alzheimer's disease. Indeed, scientists are developing an eye test to identify your risk of contracting Alzheimer's disease that could soon be achieved during a comprehensive eye exam.
As our population ages, the number of blind and partially sighted people in America is expected to rise sharply by 2030. Encouraging people to take care of their vision as part of their health and well-being could significantly reduce numbers and improve the quality of life for millions of people.