Why Seniors Should Get an Annual Eye Exam

Taking good care of your health means eating nutritious foods, spending time outdoors and getting plenty of rest. It also means keeping up with annual doctor appointments – which should include a regular visit to your eye doctor (also known as an optometrist). As we age, the risk for various eye problems increases. If you’re over the age of 65, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends an eye exam for seniors every one to two years. From routine vision checks to early detection of bigger health concerns, here are a few reasons why an annual eye exam for seniors is so important.

Vision In Your Senior Years

If you’ve found yourself struggling to read fine print in your senior years, you are not alone. This phenomenon is due to a common condition called presbyopia, which starts to affect adults around age 40. Other symptoms of presbyopia include loss of contrast sensitivity (ability to differentiate an object from a background of the same color) and difficulty adjusting between bright and low lighting.

Presbyopia, while inconvenient, is considered a normal part of aging. Your annual eye exam is a great time to report any symptoms of presbyopia you may be experiencing with your optometrist. Treatment includes eyeglasses (prescription or simple reading glasses, depending on severity), contact lenses and refractive surgery.

Early Detection

Beyond presbyopia, there are a number of conditions that commonly affect the vision of senior adults. It’s important to detect these as soon as possible, which is why it’s a good idea for seniors to get an annual eye exam.

Four of the most common eye conditions in seniors include:

Diabetic retinopathy: An eye disease caused by diabetes that can eventually cause vision loss.

Glaucoma: A buildup of fluid in the front of your eye that can damage the optic nerve.

Cataract: A condition in which the lens of your eye becomes cloudy.

Age-related macular degeneration: An issue with your retina, this condition can cause you to lose central vision. It’s one of the most important eye conditions to detect early, as treatment aims to slow down its progression. It can only be detected through an eye exam.

Having a regular eye exam is the best (and in some cases, only) way to detect potential issues and discuss treatment with your optometrist.

Other Health Issues

As if vision health wasn’t a good enough reason for seniors to schedule an annual eye exam, these exams can also help your doctor detect other health issues. According to the AAO, conditions including aneurism, brain tumor, some forms of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and more can sometimes be detected through a routine eye exam.

To help your optometrist best detect any underlying health issues, it’s important to paint a full picture at your eye exam. Fill them in on any existing health conditions, medications or supplements you are taking, your quality of sleep and whether you are staying active.  This is all helpful when making an evaluation and detecting health issues – vision related or otherwise.

When it comes to taking care of your health, early detection and treatment is incredibly important – and your vision is no exception. That’s why annual eye exams for seniors are so important, particularly over the age of 65. Making yourself and your health a priority is a key part of living your senior years to the fullest.

At Advent Christian Village, we are dedicated to providing our residents with the resources they need to thrive. To learn more about our senior living community, give us a call today at 1-800-647-3353 or click here to send us a message. We’d love to show you everything our community has to offer!

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