Why Is It Important To Get Your Eyes Checked Every Year?

eye glasses on eye exam chartTaking care of your eyes is just as important as, say, losing weight or eating healthy food. However, the number of people with vision problems in the United States is increasing every year. According to a study dubbed “Vision Problems in the US” published by the National Eye Institute, cases of vision disorders across the nation have increased by 23% since the year 2000. In addition, most of the people suffering from vision impairments tend to be 40 years of age or older. For example, figures published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show 3.3 million Americans 40 years or older are legally blind. Here are some eye disorders and diseases that a qualified eye doctor in Chelsea NYC would be able to identify accurately and with relative ease. Click this link for tips on how to find a good eye doctor.

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is a disorder that usually affects the part of the eye responsible for acute vision. As a result, one finds it hard to carry out activities such as driving, reading, or operating machinery. Statistics published by Prevent Blindness America and the National Eye Institute show more than two million Americans 50 years or older have AMD. Risk factors that increase one’s chances of developing AMD include age, obesity, smoking, exposure to ultraviolet rays, and high blood pressure. If you believe you are suffering from AMD, it is advisable to book an appointment with an optometrist immediately.

Reduce the Risk of Developing Uveitis

Uveitis is an inflammation of the middle layer found in the eye (uvea). The work of uvea is to protect the internal structures of the eye from foreign bodies. It also plays an important role in nourishing the eye. The three types of uveitis are:

  • Anterior uveitis is quite common and causes inflammation of the iris and surrounding tissue.
  • Intermediate uveitis causes inflammation of the ciliary body.
  • Posterior uveitis affects the eye’s choroid and is the most difficult form of uveitis to treat.

The good news is uveitis is a treatable condition and patients can lead a normal life afterwards. The bad news is uveitis can cause irreversible blindness if left untreated for long. Treatment strategies that optometrists use include prescribing eye drops, administering periocular steroid injections, and oral administration of anti-metabolite or immunosuppressant medications.

Bulging Eyes

If you notice that your eyes are starting to bulge and protrude from their sockets, you should see a Chelsea doctor of optometry as soon as possible. In most cases, the culprits responsible for bulging eyes or protosis include muscles and fat muscles that swell behind the eye. This exposes the cornea to air causing it to dry out. At the same, pressure applied by the mass of swelling behind the eyes can damage the optic nerve causing loss of vision. Treatment depends on proper diagnosis of the underlying condition responsible for muscle and fat to swell.

Prevent Ocular Hypertension

annual eye examsOcular hypertension occurs when pressure in the eyes rises above the normal figure of 21 mm Hg. Unlike glaucoma, people suffering from ocular hypertension do not experience any detectable symptoms. This makes intraocular pressure dangerous because it is impossible for patients to notice high levels of intraocular pressure on their own. The rule of thumb is to visit an eye care specialist for proper examination and diagnosis. Eye doctors use a device called a tonometer to measure pressure inside the eye. If the tonometer shows that intraocular, pressure is well above 21 mm Hg, doctors start treatment such as prescribing medication to reduce elevated pressure.

Prevent CMV Retinitis

CMV retinitis is an infection that affects cells that sense light in the retina. If one does not seek treatment early, it can lead to complete loss of vision. Unlike other eye diseases and conditions, the virus responsible for CMV retinitis (cytomegalovirus) can remain dormant in the body for years without exhibiting any symptoms. The viral infection only flares up when the body’s immune system becomes weak (T cell count drops below 40). This is why the infection is quite common in people living with HIV/AIDS. The good news is eye specialists can prescribe medications to treat and minimize the effects of cytomegalovirus infection.

Diagnose and Treat Low Vision

In general, low vision refers to visual acuity that lies between 20/70. In some cases, low vision does not improve even if one wears glasses or contact lenses. Lack of treatment leads to further deterioration of visual acuity and eventually loss of vision. Low vision causes include diabetes, cataracts, aging, eye injuries, and glaucoma. Currently, it is not possible to reverse effects of low vision. However, optometrists advise patients to buy special glasses that magnify words or devices that turn print material into spoken words.

Diabetic Macular Edema

People suffering from diabetes should have their eyes examined to find out if they have diabetic macular edema. This eye condition causes fluid to accumulate in the macula interfering with vision. According to Prevent Blindness America (PBA), more than seven million people ages 40 and older have diabetic retinopathy. If a person suffering from diabetic retinopathy does not seek treatment, the condition can develop into diabetic macular edema, which is quite prevalent in people who have had diabetes for 20 years or more. A doctor of optometry will be able to treat the disease using surgical procedures such as laser treatment for diffuse DME or laser treatment for focal DME.

If you are among the millions of Americans suffering from vision related complications, it is wise to consult and seek treatment from a professional in eye care. You should also go for an eye examination even if you feel fine. Some of the eye diseases that an eye specialist can diagnose and treat include age related macular degeneration (AMD), CMV retinitis, diabetic macular degeneration, and ocular hypertension.