Test Your Eyes: 11 Signs Your Vision Might be Failing
What’s the best way to protect your eyes from damage and diseases that accompany aging and why is it important? There are important signs you should look for to know when it is time to see your eye doctor.
May is "Healthy Vision Month". Going to the eye doctor and having your eyes dilated is important. Now doctors can spot 7 diseases with a simple eye exam and dilation.
The National Eye Institute wants to get the message out that millions of Americans suffer eye problems each year, some of which can lead to blindness.
Loss of vision has an impact on quality of life in addition to raising the risk of injuries from falls and inability to avoid hazards in and out of the home.
Common causes of vision loss that you should be checked for, especially if you are over age 65 include:
- Glaucoma – causes loss of peripheral vision
- Age-related macular degeneration
Vision problems can occur among younger people as well from:
- Retinitis Pigmentosa
- Near or far-sightedness
- Serious underlying diseases
Getting your eyes checked regularly can help with early diagnosis of underlying disease. The health of your eyes can tell much about overall health.
Sometimes eye symptoms are the first to appear when a systemic disease is present. For example, dry eye is often a signal for autoimmune disease. Inflammation of the optic nerve might be a sign of multiple sclerosis and diabetes can cause major changes in the blood vessels of the eyes.
7 disease doctors can find with a dilated vision exam include:
- Eye complications of diabetes
- Detached retina
- Macular degeneration
- Retinal vasculitis
Any change of vision warrants a visit to the eye doctor; recommended by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Start early for a lifetime of eye health
Even teenagers should think about how to protect vision. Spending time in the sun without proper sunglass protection can raise the risk that you will develop cataracts later. Lack of exercise early in life can also mean later eye problems and poor heart health in adulthood from damaged blood vessels.
Not getting enough exercise throughout life can lead to weight gain and diabetes which is a leading cause of blindness. Smoking also contributes to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Smoking cessation alone can reduce the risk of AMD - it is never too late to quit.
Diet is also important for maintaining healthy vision. Leafy green vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, peaches and other fruits with beta carotene, omega-3 fatty acids in tuna, salmon and oily fish, eggs, nuts, beans and citrus are all good for helping us see clearly and sharply.
Use this checklist to see if it’s time to visit your eye doctor. If you answered yes to any of the questions, schedule an exam:
- Eyeglass or contact prescription is out of date
- Trouble focusing on the computer
- Headaches with no known cause
- Blurred vision
- Dry eyes
- Diminished peripheral vision
- Floaters or flashes of light
- Eye pain or fatigue
- Frequent squinting
- Itching, pain or redness of the eye
If you have any of the above symptoms, see your eye doctor. Putting off your vision exam can lead to serious consequences including loss of independence and decreased quality of life. The health of your eyes can reveal more than you might think.