Why Older Adults Need a Yearly Eye Exam

August 31, 2021

Older adults largely understand the importance of getting annual physicals. Unfortunately, the eyes often get overlooked when planning their checkup. Most seniors assume that if their eyeglass prescription is working well, they do not need regular eye exams. 


Eye examinations are an essential part of ensuring the maintenance of good overall health. Older adults need to get annual eye exams that do more than simply check their vision. It is important to understand why older adults need yearly eye exams. 




Detecting Eye Problems



The risk of experiencing serious eye problems increases with age. As people get older, the eyes may begin to experience age-related conditions that can affect vision. The yearly visit to the eye doctor can detect minor issues before they become big problems. 


The exam can detect signs of health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Scheduling yearly visits with the eye doctor can protect the vision as well as the overall health.




Treating Cataracts



A good reason to get yearly eye exams is to deal with the common problem of cataracts. Age is a major risk factor for developing cataracts. They occur due to the eye lens becoming less flexible. Cataracts are characterized by symptoms such as foggy or blurred vision and sensitivity to light. If not treated, cataracts can result in vision loss. Fortunately, they are easy to treat using a simple outpatient procedure. Early detection and treatment are always advisable.




Detection of Glaucoma



Glaucoma is a serious vision problem that occurs due to the buildup of eye pressure. The pressure causes damage to the optic nerve, leading to loss of peripheral vision and even complete vision loss. 


Glaucoma is a complicated eye problem that does not usually present symptoms during the early stages. Patients do not experience any pain, and they may not even notice changes in their vision. The best way to detect glaucoma is through regular eye examinations. 




Diabetic Retinopathy



The leading cause of vision loss in adults is diabetic retinopathy. This eye condition does not exhibit warning signs or early symptoms. Diabetic retinopathy occurs due to damage of the retinal blood vessels. The damage causes the vessels to swell, and the fluid leaks out. During the annual eye examination, an eye doctor can detect signs of the disease through eye dilation.




Other Eye Conditions



Other serious eye conditions can be detected during the older adult’s annual eye exams. The conditions include macular degeneration, retinal tearing, hypertensive retinopathy, and cognitive decline. 


Most people do not realize that hypertension can cause damage to their vision. If not treated, high blood pressure causes damage to the blood vessels at the back of the eye. An annual eye exam can detect conditions that can cause vision changes. 


Aging increases the risk of developing eye problems that can lead to loss of vision. Older adults need to get yearly exams to protect their vision. The exams allow eye doctors to diagnose and begin treatment while a disease is still in the early stages. Early symptom management can slow the progression of serious eye illnesses. 




For more on eye examinations, visit Eye Associates of New York at our office in New York, New York. You can call (212) 650-4888 today to book an appointment.

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