Preventative Eye Care

Preventative Eye Care

Although your vision may be good and you may not be aware of any changes taking place, it is important to have an eye examination every 18 months to two years.  Do not wait until your vision has deteriorated to have an eye test.  It might be too late.  Most sight loss through disease is preventable, however early diagnosis is vital.


Most people assume that an eye test is just to determine any changes to your prescription and the most common myth is that using glasses or contacts will weaken the eyesight, and the eyes will eventually become dependent on them.


Fact is: Your eyes will not grow weaker as a result of using corrective lenses. Your prescription may change over time due to aging or the presence of disease, but it is not because of your current prescription.  In fact your eyes will take strain and possibly deteriorate faster than they normally would if not using the proper prescription.


Why are regular eye tests important?

The optometrist do not just test if your prescription has changed but check the health of the eye.  The optometrist will look into the back of the eye and detect changes that could indicate diseases such as diabetes or glaucoma.  Early detection and treatment could be detrimental to saving loss of vision.  Most sight loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented, but it is vital it is diagnosed early.  You may not realise you have anything wrong with your eyes until it’s too late.


Uncontrolled diabetes can very very quickly spiral and cause huge health issues and problems with your vision. Yesterday we had a gentleman who knows that his fasting sugar levels are about 10 (normal is 6 or less).  He complained of his vision deteriorating although his specs are being updated regularly.  The bottom line is that his vision will most likely keep on deteriorating until he starts controlling his sugar levels.  HOWEVER the damage done is irreversible!!The earliest phase of the disease is known as background diabetic retinopathy.  In this stage, the arteries in the retina become weakened and leak, forming small, dot-like hemorrhages.  These leaking vessels often lead to swelling or edema in the retina and decreased vision.  The next phase is the proliferative diabetic retinopathy; in this stage circulation problems cause areas of the retina to become oxygen-deprived or ischemic.  New, fragile, vessels develop as the circulatory system attempts to maintain adequate oxygen levels within the retina.  This is called neovascularization. Unfortunately, these delicate vessels hemorrhage easily.  Blood may leak into the retina and vitreous, causing spots or floaters, along with decreased vision.


In the latest stages of the disease, continued abnormal vessel growth and scar tissue may cause serious problems such as retinal detachment and glaucoma.  Glaucoma can also be detected in its early stages through a comprehensive eye exam before vision loss occurs.  People in the higher risk categories should not wait until they notice a problem with their vision to have an eye exam.  Primary open-angle glaucoma often has no symptoms in its early stages, so people may not know they have glaucoma until they start to have noticeable vision loss.  While anyone can get glaucoma, people at higher risk include adults over the age of 60 and people who have a family history of the disease.  Glaucoma is a major cause of vision loss and it is becoming more prevalent as our population ages.  Several large studies have shown that eye pressure is a major risk factor for optic nerve damage.  In open-angle glaucoma pressure inside the eye rises to a level that may damage the optic nerve. When the optic nerve is damaged from increased pressure, vision loss may result.All of this can be prevented by regular eye tests and  checkups.  We recommend regular eye checkups every 18 Months to two years to monitor and treat if  necessary before it’s too late.



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