As a forward-thinking individual, you care about your overall health, and that includes the health of your eyes. On top of regular exercise and a healthy, nutrient-dense diet, you should be well informed on how to maintain your healthy vision and the potential vision problems you may face throughout your lifespan.
As qualified eye care providers, we regularly receive questions about healthy vision, eye diseases, and exactly how people can keep their eyes healthy, allowing them to enjoy the sights of the world.
What is a Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exam?
During an eye exam, pupil dilation is extremely important, as this allows your ophthalmologist to inspect all visible parts of the eye. Comprehensive dilated eye exams combine both dilated and undilated eye exams to check for signs of vision problems, and diagnose eye conditions that could lead to vision loss.
The Undilated Eye Exam: Undilated eye exams include the first parts of your regular eye exam, which act to test your vision, test the pupils’ responses to light, and determine your eyeglass prescription, if necessary. These exams also examine your eye’s drainage and the other parts of the front of your eyes, such as the iris.
The Dilated Eye Exam: During a dilated eye exam, your eye doctor gets the best view of your entire retina and back of your eye. To completely dilate your pupil, eye drops are put into the eye. These drops usually take 15-30 minutes to fully dilate your pupils. Your pupils will return to normal dilation after 4-6 hours.
After your dilated eye exam, you may experience blurry vision, an increased sensitivity to light, or a tightening sensation in your eyelids. After these exams, it may be helpful to have a friend or family member available to pick you up and take you home.
What are Common Vision Problems?
The most common vision problems are refractive issues, and they include:
Nearsightedness (Myopia): For people with nearsightedness, close objects appear clear, and objects that are far away appear blurry. This is because light focuses in front of the retina, rather than on the retina.
Astigmatism: For people with astigmatism, light does not focus in an even fashion on the retina. Sight is often stretched out and/or blurry.
Farsightedness (Hyperopia): Individuals with farsightedness can see objects far away more clearly than objects that are close to them. Farsightedness symptoms are different for everyone, as some people may view objects as blurry at any distance.
What are Age-Related Eye Diseases and Conditions?
Some common age-related eye diseases and conditions include:
Presbyopia: the ability to focus on close objects becomes increasingly difficult, as the eye’s lens has difficulty changing shape to focus on close objects.
Cataract: Cataracts are the clouding of the eye’s lens. When you develop cataracts, vision is cloudy or blurry, and colors appear faded.
Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a disease in which the optic nerve becomes damaged, resulting in vision loss or blindness.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): This disease is associated with aging, occurring gradually, damaging the sharp and central vision necessary to see objects clearly.
What Can I Do to Keep My Eyes Healthy?
To maintain good eye health, you should:
- Wear sunglasses every time you go outside, especially on sunny days, as UV rays have been connected to multiple eye diseases and damage.
- Use safety eyewear, such as goggles, when playing sports.
- Quit smoking, as symptoms related to smoking, like high blood pressure, have been linked to various eye diseases.
- Eat healthy, nutrient-rich foods.
Of course, one of the best things that you can do for your vision health is visit your eye doctor regularly. To schedule an appointment with the professionals at the Nielsen Eye Center, call 617-471-5665 today!