October 1, 2019

Eye Exams: Is your Eyesight at Risk?

Looking after your eyes is just as important as looking after any other part of your body. To keep your eyes in optimum condition, and to identify any potential problems before they become serious, you should try and book yourself regular eye examinations with your local optometrist. An optometrist will be able to advise on any potential issues, refer you to a specialist and prescribe glasses and eyewear that you may need.

If you already wear glasses, you probably already do go back to the optometrists regularly. However, it can be surprising how much your eyesight can change between visits. There is no harm in booking an appointment earlier than scheduled if you notice a difference in your vision or you feel something isn’t quite right.

Another thing that you can do to help keep on top of your eye health is to familiarize yourself with some common eye conditions. Knowing what the symptoms of conditions like floaters and cataracts are will put you in a position to be able to see an optometrist and tell them exactly what you are experiencing. It will also help the optometrist to make a more informed decision about the condition you think you may have.

Common Eye Conditions and Their Symptoms

There are many different eye conditions that you might be able to identify yourself based on the symptoms they present. Some of the more common eye conditions that people experience are listed below. If you do experience any of these, you should book an appointment with an optometrist right away and not let the problem persist and get worse before you do something about it.

Eye Floaters

Many people experience eye floaters, although they tend to be more common in middle-aged and seniors. Eye floaters are caused by the breakdown of cells at the back of the eyes, the shadows of which are projected into your vision. Generally, eye floaters are not a problem, and over time your brain will learn to filter them out of your vision. They can, however, be annoying when you first notice them which is likely to be when it is bright or when you are looking at a screen.

One symptom that you do need to be aware of that can be a sign of a more serious are if you notice flashes or dots in your vision. These often look like little fire crackles or flashes of lightning. If you experience these, you should get to an emergency room right away as it could be a sign that the retina has detached from your eye.

Dry Eyes

If you are experiencing dry eyes, then some of the symptoms that you are likely to notice are that your eyes are itchy, red, blurry, or more sensitive to light than usual. Dry eye is very common among people over the age of 50 and people who spend long periods of time looking at computer screens. Generally, dry eyes aren’t a sign of something more serious on their own; however, if you have any changes in your vision or you notice changes to the shape of your eyelids, then you should book yourself an appointment with a doctor or visit the optometrist.

If in the first instance, you are fairly sure that you have dry eye, then there are few ways that you can treat dry eye yourself. You should always try to keep your hands clean and avoid touching your eyes where possible, especially at night when you are tired. Another thing that might help is to take breaks away from the screen and if you wear contact lenses or glasses, to take them off to give your eyes a rest.

Red Eye

It’s fairly obvious to tell when you have the symptoms of red-eye. Although generally, your eye may be bloodshot or red in color, it can appear in a few different ways where the whole eye is red or pink, the eye is bloodshot, or a few dull red lines appear in the corners of your eye and branch out toward your pupil. You may also experience irritation, burning, dryness and blurry vision.

Red-eye can be caused by a few different things, but the most common causes are allergy and fatigue. In some cases, it can be a sign of something more serious like an infection, so you may want to get it checked out if it lasts for more than a few days or you start feeling itchiness or soreness in your eye. You should book an appointment with a professional before you try and diagnose yourself as you don’t want to make the condition worse or be treating the wrong condition.

Cataracts

One of the more serious conditions on this list is cataracts. These occur when light is stopped from reaching the eye properly by cloudy patches that develop in the clear lens that is inside your eyes. Usually, cataracts are associated with older age, although there are a number of different factors that can increase your risk of developing cataracts. These factors include not eating a healthy, balanced diet, being a smoker and overexposure of your eyes to UV light.

In mild cases where cataracts are not dramatically impacting your vision, eyeglasses can be prescribed to help manage them. In more serious cases, the only way that has been proven as an effective way to provide long term treatment is cataracts surgery. This is usually carried out under local anesthetic and most people are back in their usual routine 24 hours afterward.

Looking After Your Eyes

One of the easiest ways to look after your eyes and to get conditions treated quickly is to have a regular check-up with your local optometrist. If you do this, they will be able to identify any problems before they become too serious and advise you on the best route forward. As well as doing this, eating healthily, doing regular exercise, and not smoking are all ways to help keep your eyes healthy.

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