For those who have never had an eye exam or who have not had a checkup in a long while, a visit to the eye doctor can be an intimidating experience. Some people put off a visit to the optometrist if there are no known issues with their vision, but even those with excellent eyesight…
What Is Routine Preventive Vision Care?
Proper vision care can be the first step in the detection of conditions that can affect the overall health of a patient. Diseases like diabetes and hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can cause issues with vision. By visiting an eye doctor on a regular basis, these conditions can be caught before they do permanent damage to the eyes.
What is preventative vision care?
In the world of medicine, preventative care consists of regular exams that allow a doctor to detect and document any early signs that signify the beginning of a disease process. While many common diseases can be noted on an eye exam, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that about only half of patients at risk for vision disorders will actually receive a comprehensive eye exam.
What is part of a preventative exam?
While insurance companies may have differences within offered policies, most should cover the three main portions of an annual eye exam. These components comprise comprehensive vision care:
- Vision testing
- Glaucoma testing
- Wellness examinations
When should preventative care be started?
Preventative exams should be started in children between the ages of three and five. Children of this age are at the highest risk of developing amblyopia. Also known as lazy eye, amblyopia occurs when one eye has stronger vision than the other, and it is the most common childhood condition that causes vision loss.
Healthy adults should have eye exams every two years, but visits for vision care are recommended annually for patients with higher risk. Those patients suffering from diabetes, African Americans over 40, any adult over 60 and anyone with a family history of eye disease should have preventative exams performed annually.
What diseases can be diagnosed with preventative care?
According to the CDC, the leading cause of complete loss of vision in adults is a condition called diabetic retinopathy. When a diabetic patient’s blood sugar levels rise too high, this can damage the blood vessels in the back of the eye. Over time, as the back of the eye receives less blood flow, a patient becomes blind. Other conditions detected with routine vision care are cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related degeneration of the tissues within the eyes.
Can preventative care be done at home?
While annual or biannual exams are important to vision care, patients can start by protecting their eyes at home. Healthy diets full of omega fatty acids and vitamins A, C and E can support the development and health of the eyes. Sunglasses should be worn outside to prevent exposure to damaging UV rays. Overall, by monitoring weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, a patient can improve vision health.
Called the windows to the soul, eyes can also be the key to detecting the early stages of certain diseases. Wellness exams for vision are just as important as the overall wellness exams performed by a general practitioner. By scheduling a comprehensive exam and taking preventative measures at home, a patient can increase the longevity of their eyesight.
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