See the Eye Doctor Regularly
Regular comprehensive eye exams are essential to maintaining healthy eyes. Your eye doctor will monitor changes in your vision, identify any underlying eye conditions, and recommend treatment plans that are right for you. Seeing your eye doctor regularly is especially important after age 40, when some common vision problems start to surface. These include dry eye syndrome, cataracts, and glaucoma.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Tears help to maintain our vision and keep our eyes comfortable. Over time, our eyes may not produce enough tears. If this happens, we may be experiencing dry eye syndrome. Some symptoms include:
- Blurry vision
- Excessive tearing
- Burning or scratchy feeling in the eye
- Feeling like something is in the eye
Your eye doctor can examine your eyes’ tear film to determine if you have dry eyes. It is important to follow your eye doctor’s recommendations and treatment plans, which may include:
- Using artificial tears or ointments
- Inserting temporary or permanent tear duct plugs
- Prescribing other medications
Review our Eye Drop Flyer to learn how to properly insert eye drops. Be sure to follow the eye drop regimens as prescribed by your doctor.
A cataract is a painless, progressive clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Over time, a cataract will block light coming into the eye, making it difficult to see clearly. If left untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness. Symptoms include:
- Cloudy, blurry, foggy, or filmy vision
- Glare from lamps, the sun, or headlights
- Frequent changes to eyeglass prescriptions
- Double vision
- Second sight (temporary improvement in near vision in farsighted people)
Poor vision from cataracts affects more than half of all adults over age 80 and many people in their 60s and 70s. Cataracts can only be removed surgically, when a person cannot see well enough with glasses to perform normal activities. It is usually a short out-patient procedure that requires no stitches and is generally done under local or topical anesthesia. Cataract surgery is among the most common procedures performed today. In cataract surgery, a small flexible intraocular lens (IOL) replaces the hard cloudy natural lens.
Glaucoma is a condition in which increased fluid pressure inside the eye causes damage to the optic nerve over time. Left untreated, it can result in partial vision loss or even blindness. Unfortunately, there are usually no warning signs or symptoms to indicate that a person has glaucoma, which is why it is often referred to as the “sneak thief of vision.” While vision loss cannot be restored, early detection can help preserve remaining sight. Individuals in high risk groups are encouraged to have annual eye exams to test for glaucoma. High risk groups include people with a family history of glaucoma, African Americans over the age of 40, and everyone over the age of 60. Treatment may include eye drops, surgery, or oral medication.