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Aged over 40? Why eye-exams matter

Over time, these diseases can lead to blindness, so it’s best to address them as soon as possible. We have new treatments…

Human eye. Image by troncap CC BY 4.0,
Human eye. Image by troncap CC BY 4.0,

Eye exams are extremely important as people age to prevent blindness from cataracts, glaucoma, retinopathy and macular degeneration. In addition, eye examinations are necessary in order to reduce eye strain with the proper spectacle correction.

According to Associate Professor of Ophthalmology Dr. Daniel Laroche, MD, it is important that people understand and take action to prevent the dangers of serious eye conditions that can surface after age 40.

The most common eye condition is glaucoma, which is a disease of the eye characterized by three components:

1. Damage and loss of the retinal ganglions cells and optic nerve described as cupping.

2. Loss of visual field;

3. Usually increased eye pressure (the mean normal eye pressure is 15mmHG).

Hence, an eye examination is important because the loss of vision occurs slowly from peripheral to central. Hence, many people do not even realize it is happening until they have lost a substantial amount of peripheral vision.

The most identifiable cause of this elevated pressure is the age related enlargement of the lens in the eye.

For these reasons, people who have never had trouble with their vision should begin regular eyecare appointments because they may be experiencing vision impairment that they are not aware of. This is especially as people age for conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and retinopathy can begin to surface between the ages of 40 and 70.

Dr. Laroche is multi-talented and wrote a song featuring the voices of two of his patients to increase glaucoma and cataract awareness called “Eye Pressure.”

Dr. Laroche explains: “Over time, these diseases can lead to blindness, so it’s best to address them as soon as possible. We have new treatments with earlier surgical options that can help preserve (or restore) their vision with faster recovery times.”

The expert explains that all people should be screened regularly for glaucoma as part of a medical eye exam that includes gonioscopy (examination of the drainage angle), intraocular pressure measurement with Goldmann applanation tonometry and a dilated optic nerve examination.

LaRoche adds further: “Eyesight or human vision is one of the most important senses. By protecting the eyes, people will reduce the chance of blindness and vision loss while also staying on top of any developing eye diseases, such as glaucoma and cataracts.”

Newer and safer early cataract surgery and microinvasive glaucoma surgery can help prevent blindness from glaucoma, improve vision and reduce the need for eyedrops.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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