See Clearer in 2020

The newly constructed Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Patient Tower. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Patrick Moody, Spokesman for Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital

Regular eye exams can help protect your vision.

When was the last time someone sat you down, looked deep into your eyes and measured your intra-ocular pressure?

That’s the pressure inside your eye. Measuring it can find early signs of glaucoma, one of several common eye disorders that can appear without much warning.

Like many health conditions, eye diseases often are easiest to treat when found early. It’s one reason why eye experts suggest regular eye examinations.

A good look at your eyes

A comprehensive exam at an ophthalmologist’s office can be an eye-opening experience in many ways.

People often aren’t aware that their vision could be better than it is, according to the National Eye Institute, or NEI. You may be surprised at how much more clearly you could be seeing.

You also might undergo some testing that literally widens your eye—or your pupils, at least. Called a dilated eye exam, it uses drops to enlarge your pupils so the doctor can more easily spot damage or eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. Keep in mind that the test can leave your vision blurry for a few hours.

When to schedule eye checkups:

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends vision exams for children: at birth. All newborns should have a basic exam. Some newborns may need additional exams based on risk factors: between 6 months and 1 year of age; between 3 and 3 1/2 years of age; when they start school and any time after that when a problem is suspected.

For adults, the AAO recommends comprehensive exams to screen for eye disorders at the following intervals: at least one exam between ages 20 and 29; at least two exams between ages 30 and 39; a baseline screening for age-related disorders at age 40. (Your eye doctor will tell you how often to come in between ages 40 and 64.); and a complete exam at least every two years after age 65.

Your eye doctor might suggest more frequent checkups if you: have a family history of eye problems; have high blood pressure or diabetes; had a previous eye injury; or are an African American over age 40, which puts you at higher risk for glaucoma.

Patrick Moody is the director of marketing and public relations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. For more information about local community health programs, visit HenryMayo.com. ν

Patrick Moody is the director of marketing and public relations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. For more information about local community health programs, visit HenryMayo.com.

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