Even if you don’t wear corrective lenses, everyone needs to have his or her eyes examined regularly by an optometrist. Along with correcting how people see, optometrists can assist you in maintaining your eye health by catching eye diseases as they develop. They can also see indications of other medical conditions developing.

Disease of the Eyes

Some of the eye diseases an optometrist can diagnosis during an examination include glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and dry eyes.

Diagnosing these diseases in their early stages can prevent eyesight loss or damage to the cornea, in the case of dry eyes. A Midland optometrist performs several tests during an examination to look for eye problems and signs of health problems and to test focus by doing a refraction test. While most tests are done when the doctor looks into the eyes, he or she may do an eye pressure test by blowing a puff of air into a patient’s eye.

This type of eye pressure test, which is called a non-contact tonometry, helps to detect glaucoma. The eye’s resistance to the puff of air is measured to find out if you’re at risk for developing glaucoma. He or she may also do an applanation tonometry by putting in eye drops to numb the eyes so he or she can touch them with a tonometer to test eye pressure.

Eye Dilation

Another test often performed during examinations involves dilating the eyes to check the eye’s internal structures. This can help them detect damage from chronic diseases, dry eyes, and malformations of the eyes in young children. The drops are applied in the office about 20 or 30 minutes before the examination is conducted.

Medical Conditions Affecting Eyes

Chronic medical conditions can affect the structure of the eyes or the vessels in the eyes and sometimes lead to vision impairments. For people who have chronic medical conditions, they should get an eye examination every year even though they may not see a need for it. Healthy adults should get an exam every two years until age 60 and then once a year afterwards.

Diabetes

An optometrist can see damage caused by diabetes, which is called diabetic retinopathy. People with diabetes are four times more likely to develop retinopathy, which can lead to vision impairment and loss.

High Blood Pressure

Since hypertension causes blood vessels to narrow, including those in the eyes, it can damage vision. If you already have vision problems, high blood pressure can worsen them. However, your eye vision can remain healthy by controlling your blood pressure with diet and taking your medications as directed.

Thyroid Dysfunction

If you’ve been diagnosed with a thyroid condition, it is important to let your optometrist know. There are several eye problems that can develop due to thyroid dysfunction including double vision and blurred vision and, if the eye swells, it can press on the optic nerve and cause vision loss.

If you have regular eye examinations and take care of your health, such as eating a healthy diet and taking your medications as directed, you can maintain good eyesight.