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Why eye examinations & your ocular health are important

A comprehensive eye examination is a far-reaching exercise that goes beyond prescribing spectacles to make you see better. There are many other visual disorders that can affect one’s performance in sport, work and studies. The fact that an ocular anomaly exists is not always obvious, but an optometrist will conduct a battery of tests that will identify any abnormalities.

Eye Examinations for Eye Health

Many vision threatening eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy have no, or minimal symptoms until the disease has progressed. Once damage had been done, it is irreversible. Early diagnosis can therefore not be overemphasised. Your Eye Care Professional can pick up very early signs of these diseases. Treatment can be very successful provided an early diagnosis is made.

Annual Eye Examinations

Yes, you must have an eye exam each and every year. Early diagnosis of eye disorders and disease is vital. Should you develop problems such as red eyes, eye allergies, dry eyes, eye swelling, eye pain, always seek an optometrist as your first port of call since they will be able to deal with the problem or refer to an ophthalmologist if necessary.

Eye Examinations and Children

Kids often don’t know that the vision they have is abnormal. Instead they may become frustrated because they are not coping on various levels in the classroom. When there are developmental delays or problems at school, the first consideration should be an underlying vision problem. Reading, motor development, and many other skills are dependent upon good vision, but also focussing ability, teaming of the eyes and eye movements. Many conditions are much easier to treat when they are caught early while the eyes are still developing, so it is important to diagnose any eye health and vision issues as early as possible.

Eye Examinations Over 40

Just like grey hair and wrinkles, the focussing ability in our eyes deteriorate with age. When this happens, our near vision becomes blurry. This is called presbyopia. As we age, at some point everybody will need some type of visual correction. The incidence of ocular disease also increases with age. This underpins the importance of regular eye exams in the over-forty age group.

Eye Exams can identify health problems

An Eye Care Professional, will closely scrutinise your retina during every comprehensive eye examination. The condition of blood vessels in the retina can indicate serious health problems.
Below are ocular signs, often first picked up by an optometrist, which may be indicative of health issues.

  • Diabetic retinopathy is identified by blood vessels in the retina of the eyes leaking blood or yellow fluid.
  • Glaucoma can be diagnosed by distinct abnormalities of the optic nerve cupping where it enters the eye, as well as with very sophisticated equipment readings these days.
  • Abnormalities in blood vessels in the eye may identify high blood pressure.
  • A yellow tint or ring around the cornea, common in older people, may suggests high cholesterol in younger folk.
  • Bulging or protruding eyeballs, may be a sign of thyroid problems.
  • Eye inflammation can be a sign of an autoimmune disorder such as lupus.
  • Unusual eye structure can be a sign of ocular melanoma (eye cancer), and close observation of the eyelids can detect basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer).
  • Pupil shape, size or reaction to light may indicate neurological disorders.
  • Irregular shaped pupils or droopy eyelids could signify a neck tumour or an aneurism.
  • Poor vision should not be the only indicator for an eye examination. Early diagnosis, and therefore regular eye examinations are imperative.

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/ Eye Care Awareness

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