Eye exams are often overlooked when it comes to the things you check up on periodically. Unfortunately, many eye problems spring up with little-to-no prior warning, which is why seeing your doctor every couple of years is so important. The visit needs to be to an eye doctor, because your family physician is unlikely to have the equipment necessary to diagnose problematic conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Taking Steps Against Vision Loss
Whether the impending disease is macular degeneration, cataracts or glaucoma, the gradual nature of their development is their most insidious aspect. It takes sensitive, very accurate measurements of the fluid pressure in your eyes to catch them early.
In the case of macular degeneration – which is, specifically, age-related macular degeneration – important vision-related cells in the macula perish. There is no pain, but you will slowly lose the ability to perceive fine details in objects and scenery. It takes an eye examination to determine the best course of treatment, because as of 2015, there is no cure. With this said, there’s a lot of hope for people with macular degeneration; an eye examination can lead to a course of vitamins and minerals that have been shown to positively improve the prognosis. As for clinical drugs, there are some powerful alternatives on the market, as well as some going through trials. Other options include photodynamic therapy, surgery and laser surgery to improve vision.
Glaucoma, in particular, is right behind diabetic retinopathy as a cause of blindness in American adults, with the instances of much higher in African Americans and Hispanics. The rise in fluid pressure is so gradual that you won’t notice it at first, but it will start damaging the optic nerve eventually – without treatment. Along with retinopathy, an eye exam can start the road to blindness prevention through the multiple avenues of treatment available.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure
One proactive step you can take before considering an eye exam is to measure your blood pressure, because chronically high blood pressure can be an indication that you’re susceptible. The eye exam, itself, can tell you whether or not you have diabetes, as well as the asymptomatic macular degeneration and glaucoma.