Why eye examinations are so important

Regular eye examinations are very important, as it can detect a number of serious eye conditions which can lead to vision loss. Below is a list of these conditions:

Cataracts – When things start to look blurry or less colourful, you might have a cataract. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Ageing is the most natural cause and may occur from the age of approximately 40, which is when you will generally start to experience some eye changes. It is however only in later years that you might start to develop cataracts. Apart from age-related cataracts that develop slowly, there are other causes of an earlier onset in younger people, especially if you have a family history of cataracts, diabetes, have had an eye injury or previous eye surgery and corticosteroid medication. One factor that may lead to cataracts and that can be controlled is spending too much time in the sun without appropriate ultraviolet ray (UV) protection. Therefore, when spending time outdoors, always choose sunglasses with UV400 protection which effectively blocks UV radiation.

Zeiss is currently the only manufacturer of spectacle lenses that effectively blocks UV rays up to 400 nm in clear spectacle lenses. This ensures sunglass level protection in your everyday pair of glasses.

Macular Degeneration – Also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), this is one of the leading causes of vision loss. It is the result of long term damage to a small spot near the centre of the retina, the part of the eye needed for central vision.

AMD is one of the results of the sun’s high-energy visible (HEV) radiation, also known as blue light. Unlike UV radiation, HEV rays are visible and people with low levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants are more likely to suffer from retinal damage and AMD from HEV radiation.

Glaucoma – Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes damage to the eye’s optic nerve. If left untreated, it can lead to permanent vision loss. This condition occurs when fluid builds up in the eye. It increases pressure in the eye and damages the optic nerve which connects the eye to the brain. In its most prevalent form, vision loss is slow and progressive. It typically affects side vision (peripheral vision) first and eventually central vision is lost. Regular visual examinations are therefore necessary. During an eye examination, your optometrist will measure the eye pressure and refer you to an ophthalmologist if necessary.

Diabetic retinopathy – People with diabetes may develop this eye disease which can cause vision loss. This is when high blood sugar levels cause damage to the retina’s blood vessels. These blood vessels can swell, leak or close, stopping blood from passing through to the retina.

Retinal tear and detachment – This occurs when inflammation, vascular abnormalities or injury cause fluid to accumulate behind the retina, causing the retina to pull away. This can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated. There is a 72-hour window period in which the retina must be re-attached. The sooner you seek help, the better your chances of recovery with very few side effects.

A regular eye examination should therefore never be postponed. It will ensure optimal vision and that your eyes are healthy. Should a problem be detected, early diagnosis could save your vision. Book your eye examination now.

Not sure how often you should go for an eye examination? Click here for helpful tips.