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Reasons Routine Eye Exams Are Critical For Geriatrics

Many eye conditions disproportionately affect geriatric populations making routine eye exams critical for the preservation of sight and overall health. Two important issues can be addressed through your eye exams.

Identifying Age-Related Changes

As you age, there is an increased risk of various eye conditions. Although a routine eye exam may not be enough to diagnose some conditions, your eye doctor can see changes that may warrant a referral to a specialist. Cataracts are one of the most common eye problems that occur in the geriatric population. A cataract clouds the lens of the eye, making it harder to see. Since the condition may progress slowly, it may not be obvious. In addition to blurry vision, you might become more light-sensitive and notice halos around objects, especially at night when there are headlights.

Glaucoma is also more common in older adults and occurs because the optic nerve becomes damaged. You will lose your peripheral vision as the condition becomes worse. Your eye doctor might notice issues with your eye exam or be concerned about the symptoms you mention. You will need to see an ophthalmologist for more in-depth testing. Eye-specific conditions are not the only problems that can be discovered through an eye exam. Poorly-controlled hypertension and diabetes can cause changes in your eyes. These changes may be the first clue of an underlying problem. Although annual eye exams are usually considered sufficient, underlying conditions may require more frequent eye exams.

Changing Need For Vision Correction

For some people, they may not need vision correction until they are older. People who have already used vision correction may find their vision changes more frequently as they age. Regular eye exams are important not only to diagnose vision correction needs but to keep up with changes that will require an increase in the strength of prescriptions for glasses or contacts. Having insufficient vision correction can cause serious issues, especially in the geriatric population. Falls occur more often in older adults and not having good vision correction exponentially increases this risk of falls and related complications, such as hip fractures. If you are normally near-sighted, it's not uncommon to develop far-nearsightedness, as well, and require bifocals or the need to alternate between prescription glasses and reading glasses.

Changes in your eyes, whether age-related eye conditions or a more rapid need for changes in vision correction, often occur in the geriatric population. Annual eye exams should be considered part of your yearly checkup, just like going to your primary care provider. 

For more information about geriatric eye care services, contact a local company.