The wisest way to maintain your eyesight is to commit to a regular eye exam.
You know without my glasses I can't see a thing. When's the last time you had your vision checked? There's a pretty good chance it's been too long and that's especially true if you're over 40. When you reach that age it's time to really focus on the health of your eyes.
Eye exams are important at any age but as we get older we need to become more proactive about our vision.
Ophthamologist Dr. Hampton Roy believes we should make it a regular priority once we reach our 40th birthday.
“Probably a yearly exam is a really good idea to look for the four or five major things that can go on with the eyes after 40,” Dr. Roy says.
That's sound advice because 43 million Americans face significant vision loss, even blindness due to age-related eye diseases. The good news is many are treatable, even curable if diagnosed promptly. So it's likely your doctor will ask some questions.
“Is there macular degeneration in the family? Are there cataracts in the family? Is there glaucoma in the family? Because all of those things can be inherited,” cautions Dr. Roy.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness for people 60 and over.
If your vision becomes cloudy, it's likely you've developed a cataract. These commonly affect distance and night vision. Cataracts usually develop slowly and can be treated with corrective lenses up to a point but eventually surgery may be required.
Four million of us have glaucoma, but only half of us are aware of it.
“Glaucoma is where the pressure inside the eye is too high,” Dr. Roy says.
It's usually painless, but eventually outer vision is greatly diminished.
“It's like looking down a gun barrel and all the rest of that side vision is lost,” describes Dr. Roy.
Remember right now glaucoma isn't cureable, it's only treatable.
“The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed the better the outcome that people have,” Dr. Roy says.
Getting that baseline screening at 40 and at regular intervals after that will help prevent problems from becoming more serious. So if you haven't had an eye exam recently, make an appointment because it's always better to see problems coming early than to wait until you can't see at all later.
Don't make the mistake of assuming your declining vision is just due to advancing age. The problem may be more serious, but it also may be easily correctable. Only an eye doctor can tell you.