3 Health Problems That Can Be Found During Eye Exams
Eye exams are a critical part of maintaining good eyesight. They are designed to accurately assess your eyes and to detect any problems that may be in the early stages. It is much easier to treat an issue in the early stages before permanent damage has occurred. A standard eye exam can uncover a wide variety of problems. Here are some of the more common ones, how exactly they are detected, and what can be done about them.
Strabismus And Amblyopia
Eyes that are not properly aligned with one another can be a huge problem— both for sight and for self-confidence. Strabismus (crossed eyes) and amblyopia (“lazy” eye) can be the result of unchecked issues.
These issues are often identified with the cover test. In this test, one eye is covered while you attempt to focus on objects near and far, and then repeated with the opposite eye. If your eye has to move in order to focus, it may show that you are developing strabismus or amblyopia. Strabismus and amblyopia that is caused by strabismus can be treated through surgery, but often surgery can be avoided by completing vision therapy instead.
This condition is extremely important to test for, as glaucoma almost never has symptoms and must be identified early before it does irreparable damage to your sight. Glaucoma directly damages your optic nerve with a sharp increase to the pressure of your eye, and any sight lost in this manner cannot be gained back.
The glaucoma test consists of measuring the amount of pressure in your eyes. This is often done by blowing a puff of air into your eyes and measuring how resistant your eye is to it. While high eye pressure does not necessarily mean that you have glaucoma, it can be an indicator. The internal eye pressure test can also be done with a tonometer. This device directly touches the surface of your eye (which will be numbed with an eye drop anesthetic during the entire time) and accurately measures the pressure. It takes mere seconds to complete. Again, glaucoma cannot be reversed, but it can be slowed down with eye drops that reduce eye pressure.
The formation of cataracts is nothing to be worried about— they will happen to everyone at some point. They occur when proteins in the eye build-up on the surface of the lens and then begin to block out light.
The slit lamp exam detects a wide array of eye problems besides just cataracts. It can detect macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and more. During this test, you will be asked to look into an instrument aptly named a “slit lamp”. This device is essentially a gigantic microscope that is used to look into your eyes. You will rest your head against the machine so that it does not move during the exam, allowing the doctor to get a clear view. Lenses that are affected by cataracts are removed and replaced with synthetic IOLs in a highly safe and simple surgery.
How frequently you should be scheduling your eye exams at our clinic in Burlington, Vermont largely depends on your age. Age is one of the biggest risk factors in most common eye problems, though several other factors such as general health and family history can also play a role. As a general rule of thumb, you should aim for a checkup at least once every two years, until you are over 60. At this age, checkups should be an annual affair. Come and schedule your first appointment!