For adults, a regular eye exam is an important part of maintaining your overall health and making your vision last a lifetime. Without an eye exam, critical health issues can be overlooked until it’s too late.
Our eyes change as we age. In particular, people over the age of 40 may be at an increased risk for age-related eye conditions, some of which may have no visible symptoms until the condition is advanced and difficult, or even impossible, to treat.
The most common eye problems among adults include:
- Presbyopia: A natural effect of aging in which the ability to focus on close objects decreases over time. Presbyopia can cause headaches, blurred vision, and the need for more light or sore eyes.
- Cataracts: Distorted or cloudy vision caused by the lens inside the eye losing its transparency over time. Cataracts can require changes to your glasses or surgical removal.
- Diabetic Retinopathy: A weakening or swelling of the tiny blood vessels in the retina of your eye, and the growth of new blood vessels resulting in blood leakage and other changes. If left untreated, blindness can result.
- Macular degeneration: A disease that results in degenerative changes to your central vision, and is a leading cause of vision loss among older adults.
- Glaucoma: A silent thief that often has no symptoms until significant damage has occurred. Glaucoma is caused by elevated pressure within the eye, and can lead to serious vision loss if not detected and treated at an early stage.
Your eyes are also windows to your overall health, and an eye exam can uncover underlying and life-threatening health issues, such as Type 2 diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, certain vascular diseases and brain or eye tumors.
Adults aged 19 to 64 should have an eye exam at least every two years, and people with diabetes should have an exam at least once a year. Other health conditions assessed by your doctor of optometry may also warrant more frequent eye examinations.