The Importance of Regular Eye Exams for Seniors
The risk of developing certain eye conditions and diseases increases as patients age. Due to this, it is important that patients over the age of 60 attend regular eye exams. Patients should also pay attention to any symptoms of vision problems that may arise as they age. In general, the American Optometric Association recommends that patients aged 61 and older schedule eye exams once per year; patients age 18 to 60 should undergo an eye exam every two years. In addition, patients should schedule an exam if noticeable vision symptoms develop. At Lifetime Eye Care, in Independence, near Cleveland, senior eye exams are one of the common eye care services that we offer. During the exam, Dr. Jeffrey E. Schultz will perform various eye tests and look for signs of common age-related conditions.
Common Condition that Affect Seniors
There is a range of eye conditions and diseases that are common in patients over the age of 60, including:
- Cataracts: A cataract refers to a clouding of the lens of the eye that occurs as protein clumps together with age. Cataracts vary in size and location. As they progress, patients experience increased vision problems, such as poor contrast sensitivity, sensitivity to glare, cloudy vision, and a dulling of colors. Cataracts can be corrected by undergoing a surgical procedure to remove the clouded lens. During routine eye exams, Dr. Schultz will look for any signs of cataracts, and recommend surgery when it is appropriate.
- Glaucoma: Glaucoma refers to eye diseases in which patients have high intraocular pressure, resulting in damage to the optic nerve. If glaucoma is not treated, it can result in complete vision loss. During senior eye exams, the patient’s intraocular pressure is measured.
- Age-related macular degeneration: Macular degeneration is an eye disease that is caused by deterioration of the macula, which is located in the center of the retina. The macula is responsible for producing fine details and colors. When macular degeneration occurs, patients experience a loss of central vision, but peripheral vision is unaffected.
- Diabetic retinopathy: Patients with diabetes may develop diabetic retinopathy. This eye disease is caused by prolonged damage to the blood vessels that supply the retina. As the vessels become damaged, they leak blood and fluids, resulting in swelling of the retinal tissue. Diabetic retinopathy can result in clouded vision, and if left untreated, blindness.
- Retinal detachment: Retinal detachment is a serious condition that should be treated immediately. This refers to the tearing or detachment of the retina from surrounding tissue. The symptoms of retinal detachment include flashes, floaters, and a shadowing of a portion of the visual field. Prompt attention of retinal detachment is required to prevent complete vision loss.
- Dry eyes: The eyes may become increasingly dry with age. This can result in chronic discomfort and itchiness of the eyes. If insufficient tears or poor quality tears are causing dry eye, lubricating eye drops or more aggressive treatment may be required.
To schedule a senior eye exam with Dr. Schultz, contact Lifetime Eye Care today.