I opened two gifts this morning—my eyes.

 

We experience life through our eyes, travels, connections with others, celebrations, sorrows, big events and tiny details. We collect images and create memories we can replay for a lifetime through our eyes.

 

Your eyes. It's easy but essential to take good care of these complex, irreplaceable organs. By practising good eye health, you can maintain clear vision and avoid, reduce or delay the progression of eye conditions that, if ignored, can have a lasting impact on your sight.

 

Make an annual appointment with an eye doctor.

 

The optometrist will check your sight during a complete eye examination and prescribe the proper corrective lenses, should you need them. Expect to spend about an hour to allow for various tests, imaging and a thorough examination of the eyes. Your eye doctor will look for signs of cataract, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other eye health issues. Often these eye conditions don't have noticeable symptoms, so make sure an annual eye examination is part of your health regimen.

 

Cataracts

A cataract decreases the transparency of the eye's crystalline lens, which results in progressive and painless loss of visual acuity. A healthy lifestyle, sun protection, antioxidant-rich foods, along with the luck of good genes, can postpone the onset of cataracts. Still, most of us will experience this frustrating but treatable vision condition. 

 

Some of the signs of cataracts include:

  • Vision is noticeably poorer, cloudy, blurred
  • Night driving becomes difficult
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Difficulty reading in low light
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Colours may appear faded
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription

 

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is a common eye condition that is the leading cause of vision reduction/loss among people age 60 and older. AMD affects the macula, a tiny part of the eye located near the retina's center needed for sharp central vision. It allows us to see objects that are straight ahead. Early detection can help to slow the progression of this condition.

 

Some of the signs of AMD include:

  • Reduction in central vision
  • Distortion of straight lines in your field of vision
  • Vision is poor in dimmer/low light conditions
  • Blurred vision

 

Diabetic Retinopathy

This condition is a complication of diabetes, both types 1 and 2, that impacts the eyes. It's caused when high blood sugars damage blood vessels in the retina. It can lead to fluid build-up and other problems affecting the retina. Diabetic retinopathy is treatable, but it's essential to practice regular vision care to avoid irreversible damage. 

 

Some of the signs of diabetic retinopathy include:

  • Vision worsening gradually
  • Sudden vision loss
  • Floaters in your field of vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain or redness
  • Difficulty seeing in the dark

 

All three of the conditions above share some symptoms. These symptoms can be subtle, develop slowly and be difficult to notice, easy to ignore. Be proactive. An annual eye examination is recommended for adults over 60. Should you experience any changes in your vision, contact your optometrist immediately for an eye health check.

 

You can book your appointment on iris.ca.