Most seniors understand the importance of seeing their doctor for an annual checkup. It is the best way to detect health issues before they become severe. It is just as vital to visit an eye doctor for regular exams. The risk of developing vision-threatening eye diseases increases with age. Eye exams help identify eye health problems while they are still treatable.
Many eye diseases do not exhibit obvious symptoms in the initial stages, which is when they are easy to treat. Treating eye conditions in the initial stages can prevent vision loss or maintain good vision.
Regular eye exams provide the best opportunity to detect conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy early. For good eye health, seniors over 60 need annual examinations of the retina and optic nerve.
Eye exams do more than evaluate visual clarity or check eyesight. During a comprehensive eye exam, the eye doctor will examine the inner eye structures, looking for anything unusual. The tests can check for everything, from allergies and dry eyes to diseases such as ocular cancer.
A dilated eye exam enables the doctor to get a better view of the eye. Examining the inner eyes can detect signs of health conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Dilating the eyes allows doctors to examine the back of the eye effectively. Several tests are used during eye exams for seniors. The tests include:
Evaluation of color vision, depth perception, pupillary light response, and eye muscle movements
Visual acuity testing to measure both eyes for near, intermediate, and distant vision
Refraction testing to determine an optical prescription for sharp and clear vision at all distances
Slit-lamp exam produces a magnified view of the outer and inner eye structures. These include eyelids, tear ducts, tears, cornea, lens, retina, pupil, and iris
Tonometry or eye pressure testing to check the pressure in the inner eye to detect or rule out glaucoma
Digital retinal imaging creates high-resolution images of the retina, optic nerve, and blood vessels at the back of the eye
Ophthalmoscopy provides a magnified examination of the back of the eye using a bright light. It can help detect cataracts, AMD, optical nerve damage, and retinal detachment
Eye doctors recommend annual eye exams for seniors. Those with existing eye conditions, diabetes, and other health conditions require more frequent exams. Individuals with a family history of eye diseases should be examined more frequently. Regular eye exams allow seniors to enjoy good vision and healthy eyes in their golden years.
While Medicare does not usually pay for routine eye exams, there are vision exams that may be covered. Your doctor can provide the information you need.
There are also local nonprofit organizations with funding or programs available to cover some expenses for seniors. Even people who do not wear corrective lenses need annual eye exams. Eye exams help identify potential problems and provide early intervention.
For more on the importance of regular eye exams for seniors, visit Advanced Vision Care in DeSoto, Fort Worth, or Mansfield, Texas. Call (972) 223-5354, (817) 370-2100, or (817) 631-1900 to schedule an appointment today.