Celebrating National Eye Exam Month
Regular eye examinations are key to keeping your eyes healthy for longer. The three leading causes of blindness in the world - macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma - can all be detected as part of high level eye screening exams.
Our eyes change over the years and our vision requirements change too. We may need glasses for reading or computer work, or for driving. Contact lenses can help boost confidence and allow us to participate in sports more easily than when wearing glasses.
Your vision history
Regular eye exams provide a complete history of your vision, so you and your ophthalmologist can monitor your eye health over many years. Thanks to advanced techniques such as retinal scans and imaging, we can now ‘see’ into the eye better than ever before.
Conditions that previously show no visible symptoms, such as macular degeneration, can now be detected through changes in the structure and surface of the retina. Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) scans can even create cross-sectional images of the retina.
Age-related macular degeneration
For our senior Residents, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the conditions regular eye exams can pick up on as it appears. Most people under the age of 60 are not affected by AMD, but by the the of 90, one person in five is affected. The macula is a small depression at the back of the eye, and contains a high concentration of photoreceptor cells. The macula is responsible for much of our central vision, colour vision and the fine details. Degeneration of this area results in loss of central vision and overall blurred vision.
How to reduce your AMD risk
Whilst age is the major factor involved in raising your AMD risk, there are ways to reduce it too! Not smoking, maintaining normal blood pressure (as opposed to high) and wearing good quality UV filtering sunglasses can all help. So can a healthy diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, as these contain antioxidents.
There is evidence that oxidents in the body speed up cell degeneration. Antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C and E and carotenoids reduce the effect of oxidents. Two important carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, can be found in dark green leaf vegetables such as spinach and kale - another great reason to enjoy your greens!
Glaucoma pressure tests
Equally, regular eye exams can pick up on early signs of glaucoma through pressure tests for the inner eye. Glaucoma is a disease that can damage your optic nerve and result in loss of vision. Glaucoma occurs when the pressure inside your eye rises due to natural eye fluid drainage not happening correctly. Hence the use of pressure tests (tonometry tests) on your eyeball to detect it - this is usually the ‘puff of air’ test you may be already familiar with if you have a family history of glaucoma.
This test might also be combined with a visual field test, or perimetry test, that maps your vision as you observe tiny flashing lights. Early detection can help reduce the risk considerably, and in most cases, medicated eye drops can reduce the risk of the most common type, open-angle glaucoma, by at least half.
Help with the cost of eye care
Sadly, many seniors neglect their vision in the US due to the cost of eye care. However, help is at hand. EyeCare America is a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) offering free eye care to eligible US seniors for over 30 years. You might be eligible if:
- you are a U.S. citizen or legal resident
are age 65 or older
have not seen an ophthalmologist within the last three years
do not belong to an HMO
do not have veterans' vision care
Come up and see us
We’d love you to see our senior living community with your own eyes. Whether you’re looking for independent living or more assisted living for yourself, an ageing relative or a parent, just book a personalized tour for an inside view of The Manor Village Scottsdale.
We’ll show you all our facilities and generous senior accommodation suites, and you’re welcome to ask as many questions as you like. Simply click below to book online, or call us at 480-767-7646.
It’ll be great to see you!