One of the top twenty things worst for your eyes is missing a routine eye exam. Only around one-third of adults (37%) are aware that you do not always experience symptoms before you lose vision to eye diseases and that’s why a dilated eye exam is so important.
According to the CDC, there are approximately 12 million people 40 years and over in the United States that have vision impairment. While many will schedule routine exams with a physician, over half choose to skip an eye exam. What many may not realize is that eye health is connected to overall health and wellness.
“I have informed several patients of elevated blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases during a comprehensive eye exam,” says Dr. Stewart Shofner.
During an eye exam, we can view the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue in your eyes. These tissues cannot be viewed in any other area of your body without invasive tests or scans. While the appearances of these tissues help us detect eye problems, they also help detect illnesses affecting your entire body. Serious health conditions that are detected in an eye exam include: high blood pressure, aneurysm, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, and certain types of cancers.
Why do so many people skip annual eye exams?
Many feel that if they have good eyesight or don’t notice any sudden vision changes or their vision hasn’t changed enough to need a new prescription, they will simply go without an eye exam. Your brain adapts to vision loss, making it difficult for many to notice the decline or vision changes.
Others claim they just don’t have time, but a comprehensive eye exam typically takes less than an hour. Early detection of eye diseases can also be diagnosed during a comprehensive such as glaucoma, which has no warning signs. People with diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy which if not treated can cause eventually cause blindness.
Make your eye health a priority. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends all healthy adults get a baseline eye exam with an ophthalmologist by age 40 and have their eyes checked every year or two at age 65 or older. Your ophthalmologist can then help recommend the best follow-up plan for you based on your individual health and risk factors. If it’s been over a year since your last eye exam, schedule your appointment today. Shofner Vision Center is accepting new patients, book an appointment online or call (615) 340-4733.
Image Credits - Emptied retinal venules due to arterial branch occlusion in diabetic retinopathy (fluorescein angiography).