Reasons why everyone should have regular eye examinations
Just 30 minutes every 2 years can keep you and your eyes healthy.
On average it is advisable to have a comprehensive eye examination every 2 years. Most people think that the purpose of an eye examination is to check if they can focus clearly. This is only a part of the story. Your eyes are the windows to your soul however, they also display a reflection of your general health.
A thorough eye examination can detect many conditions prior to any symptoms becoming evident. These conditions include eye conditions and other conditions. It is important to note that if any of these conditions are detected during your eye examination, appropriate referral to the appropriate doctor/specialist will be arranged whether that is your GP, eye specialist or other medical consultant. In all cases if detected early the conditions can be treated and managed and sight loss can be prevented.
These occur when the lens becomes less transparent causing the vision to become blurred or dull.
This condition occurs when the pressure inside the eyes becomes raised above the normal pressure range, putting pressure on the nerves at the back of the eye, leading to loss of peripheral vision gradually. If left untreated the vision loss will result in tunnel vision with no vision left to the sides/periphery and eventually complete blindness.
Loss of pigment at the macula, where our best vision comes from caused by aging, smoking, poor diet and over exposure to ultra violet light (sunlight) causes loss of central vision and distortion in vision that cannot be corrected with spectacles.
High blood pressure
It is not unusual to be unaware of having high blood pressure. If it is left untreated it can put a strain on your heart and damage your eyes. If your blood pressure is high the blood vessels at the back of the eye (retina) become narrowed and in severe cases bleeding of the retinal vessels can occur affecting the sight.
MS is often associated with pins &needles and muscle weakness, however in 50% of cases optic neuritis is the first sign, which is an inflammation of the optic nerve, causing blurred vision usually in one eye. One attack of optic neuritis can be a sign of MS, but it can also be caused by a viral infection.
Malignant Melanoma of the Eye
This is a rare cancer of the eye affecting the choroid layer of tissue which lies between the white of your eye and the retina. You may not have any symptoms, but it can be seen when your optometrist looks into your eyes with their ophthalmoscope. This type of cancer can be fatal as if left untreated it can travel along the optic nerve to the brain.
Your optometrist may notice a white ring around the cornea of your eye. There is a similar white ring that forms with aging and is different. Also some lesions or bumps around the eyes may also indicate high cholesterol levels. Also, little plaques of cholesterol can get lodged in the retinal vessels potentially causing sight loss.
Whenever an optometrist examines your eyes, they are looking for signs of type 2, late onset diabetes because it is not unusual to be diabetic for some time before being diagnosed. High blood glucose levels can cause the retinal vessels to leak fluid or to bleed and this can be sight threatening. Diabetics are also prone to cataracts and also have higher risk of developing glaucoma secondary to their diabetes. Other signs of diabetes include increased thirst and tiredness.
Swollen eyelids and bulging eyes can be a sign of thyroid malfunction along with weight loss, shaky hands and a fast heart rate- this is the case for overactive thyroid disease.
If the whites of your eyes are yellowed, jaundiced, this can suggest a liver disorder.
It is incredibly rare for an optometrist to detect a brain tumour so you should not panic. If there is any indication that you may have a brain tumour, your optometrist will refer you immediately to a specialist. Symptoms could include headaches, blurred or double vision, vomiting. The severity of the symptoms depend on where the tumour is in the brain and the type of tumour. Some tumours can cause swelling of the optic discs in the eyes, which is a sign of raised pressure within the brain. This swelling can lead to a very slow deterioration in your vision which you may not notice until the loss is profound. This swelling of the optic nerve is treated as an emergency.
Inflammation of the iris which is the coloured part of the eye known as anterior uveitis can be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis, but it can also be caused by a virus or a fungal infection. With this inflammation complications such as raised eye pressures and cataracts can occur.
You are at risk of hardened arteries if you smoke, have high cholesterol, high blood pressure or are diabetic. When your optometrist looks into your eyes they are assessing the health and integrity of the blood vessels, arteries and veins. If the vessels are not healthy looking, you may be referred to have more tests done via your GP to assess your blood flow.
Call us on 045-484643 to schedule an appointment with your local independent optician in Kilcullen