Have you had your Eye Checkup?


Have you had your Eye Checkup?

Ophthalmologists Recommend a Check to Establish a Baseline of Eye Health

by Dr Ummi Kalsom Mohd Ali


In a year where an estimated 2.8 million baby boomers will celebrate their 60th birthday, age-related eye disease has become an important health issue.

Who are the Baby Boomers?

To be considered a babyboomer, you need to be born between 1946 and 1964. They are called babyboomers because there was a boom in the number of births after World War II.

Today's 60-year-olds are more health conscious than 60-year-olds 20 years ago. Being better informed about health risks, improved technology and treatment options has not necessarily translated into including regular eye examinations into their health care routine.

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Some eye diseases have no symptoms in the early stages, when it is most critical to help slow the progression of vision loss.

Here is a Checklist for Healthy Vision.

Are you:
  • Someone with diabetes, hypertension or any other systemic or chronic disease?
  • At risk for certain systemic or eye diseases because of family history or other factors?
  • Having more difficulty reading smaller type, such as books and newspapers?
  • Experiencing frequent head-aches after working on a computer?
  • Doing a great deal of reading and other close work?
  • Rubbing your eyes frequently or having tired or burning eyes?
  • Losing track of a person or objects in your peripheral (side) vision?
  • Avoiding close work?
  • Having difficulty driving at night?
  • Experiencing frequent near misses, accidents or difficulty parking?
  • Handling or using chemicals, power tools or lawn and garden equipment?
  • Playing eye-hazardous sports such as racquetball, softball or tennis?
  • Experiencing difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination?
  • Playing sports and having trouble judging distances between you, the ball or other objects?

If you answered yes to any question on the checklist, be sure to make an appointment for a comprehensive eye examination. Even if you didn't answer yes, don't forget that symptoms of vision problems aren't always apparent.

A comprehensive eye exam can help prevent vision loss. The Ophthalmologists recommends that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40 ! the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. Based on the results of the initial screening, an ophthalmologist will prescribe the necessary intervals for follow-up exams.

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For individuals at any age with symptoms of or at risk for eye disease, such as those with a family history of eye disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, it is recommended that individuals see their ophthalmologist to determine how frequently their eyes should be examined.

The recommendation does not replace regular visits to the ophthalmologist to treat ongoing disease or injuries, or for vision examinations for eye glasses or contact lenses. Much like mammograms at 40 or colon screenings at 50, this eye disease screening is a reminder to adults as they age that they need to maintain their eye health.

A baseline evaluation is important because it may detect eye diseases common in adults aged 40 and older. The evaluation creates greater opportunity for early treatment and preservation of vision.

A thorough ophthalmologic evaluation can uncover common abnormalities of the visual system and related structures, as well as less common but extremely serious ones, such as eye cancers. This evaluation can also uncover evidence of many forms of systemic disease that affect the eyes, like hypertension and diabetes. With appropriate intervention, potentially blinding diseases such as glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy often have a favorable outcome.