Vision problems, much like health problems in general, can sometimes be predicted and even prevented if their risk factors are identified, monitored and addressed as early as possible. While we tend to put an emphasis on monitoring for vision problems in children, vision problems can actually develop at any age. Because of this, it’s important for individuals such as yourself to schedule regular vision exams that can help catch these issues throughout your lifetime.
However, in some cases, regular – specifically, annual – eye exams may not be enough to meet your vision needs. Something that our team takes seriously is whether or not a patient we are visiting with is “at risk” – that is, whether your chances of developing a vision problem are greater than usual due to one of multiple possible factors. And for some patients who are at risk of developing eye and vision problems, additional tests or more frequent evaluations may be the key to properly monitoring their vision health.
To ensure that you are getting the eye care that you personally need, you should actively work with your doctor to determine if you are an “at risk” patient that may require more vision care than an annual exam. Factors that you should report to your doctor include:
- A current diagnosis of diabetes or hypertension. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension, be sure to let your ophthalmologist know. Both of these conditions can damage blood vessels throughout the body, including within the eye – and this damage can sometimes lead to vision issues. Letting your eye doctor know about a diagnosis will allow them to create an eye exam schedule that you can use to catch eye problems related to these diseases as early as possible.
- A family history of ocular diseases. You are more likely to develop certain eye conditions if a family member had them or is currently dealing with them. You should always mention to your eye doctor if you have a family history of eye problems or diseases, particularly if family members ever developed glaucoma or macular degeneration.
- A hazardous occupation. Working around substances or in an environment that wears down or damages the eye often increase our chances of developing vision related issues. Because of this, even if you’ve already taken steps to protect your eyes while on the job, you should mention to your doctor if you work at a job that puts a high demand on your vision, or that exposes your eyes to potential hazards.
- Any medicine use. All medications can create side effects when used. Unfortunately, certain medications can sometimes have ocular side effects, and so can increase your risk of developing certain vision problems. Because of this, you should always bring a list of both prescription and nonprescription drugs that you take to your appointments so that your ophthalmologist knows what medicines you currently use.
- A history of eye injuries or eye surgeries. A history of injuries or surgeries often increases your risk of developing vision problems. Always ensure that your ophthalmologist knows if you’ve visited another doctor or an ER for eye-related injuries or for surgery on your eyes. This will allow them to monitor for signs of trouble that could develop even if the original injury has fully healed.
These five factors can all contribute to your eye health and need to be reported to your eye doctor during your visits with them. If you have a visit coming up at Everett And Hurite, please remember to bring any of the information on this list with you to your appointment so that we can continue providing you with the vision care that you need to see clearly.