Having an eyesight examination
You should see your eye care professional as a precaution like you see your dentist or your doctor. Regarding examination frequency, there is however no universal recommendation. The most appropriate interval varies between individuals according to risk factors. The risk of vision loss is more important if:
- You are aged of more than 50 years old;
- You have a family history of eye disease(s);
- Your skin and your eyes are pale;
- You are suffering from diabetes;
- You are overweight or not in great shape;
- You smoke.
Even if you are at low risk of developing an eye disease, it does not mean that you should not have an eyesight examination. These diseases may develop in very healthy people of any age. If a vision problem is discovered in a child aged between 6 and 9 years of age, correcting actions may be brought to improve eyesight (depending on the nature of the problem). However, it is important not to wait that the child is older as after this period of time the neurological system may not be flexible enough to correct some problems. If in doubt, consult your eye care specialist.
In addition to your regular exam, you may execute by yourself a very useful examination to detect the Age-Related Retina Degeneration (ARRD): the Amsler test. This test is particularly useful for people aged of 50 years and over as well as other people presenting risk factors for ARRD development. If this is your case, you may perform this test every day and help to prevent the development of this disease. It will take only few minutes of your time and you can download it for free.
You should take an appointment at your eye care professional without any delay if you notice an unusual change in your eyesight.
If you have a blurred vision, if you see distortions or sinuous lines, if one of your eyes is painful or if you experience any other visual problem, you should take an appointment without any delay. In matter of vision, prevention is better than healing.
As for skin, eyes can renew their cells continuously. However, the cumulative sun exposure they can afford overtime is limited and if they are subjected to repeated luminous stresses, they can become vulnerable. If you do not wear an adequate eyewear protection, sun exposure may have detrimental consequences:
- Muquous membranes of inner eyelids and the white of the eyes may become inflamed and cause conjunctivitis;
- Ulcerations (keratitis) may develop on the cornea and can lead to chronic keratitis if they are not treated;
- The crystalline may get damaged and a premature cataract may develop (5 to 10 years earlier);
- The retina can also be affected and Age-Related Retina Degeneration may appear.
Sunglasses are the best way to protect your eyes from UV rays. However, only good-quality sunglasses can adequately protect them. Be careful to cheap ones! To be sure of the quality, one should not only choose a very dark shade. Even if they are translucent, contact lenses can offer a great protection. The filtering capacity of harmful UV rays is the most important element to verify. Regarding this, there are existing European standards. Lenses are pressed "CE", followed by a number from 0 to 4, which indicates the category of protection. The "CE 3" standard guarantees a sufficient protection from harmful UV rays. However, there are situations of extreme exposure to UV light requiring a more important protection (e.g. a beach in Caribbean where the sand is almost white).
Sunglasses solely tinted without having a filter can make the pupils dilate without filtering UV rays. Consequently, it may harm the retina. It is unfortunately more unsafe to wear these kinds of sunglasses than wearing no protection at all!
Precautions for proper use of contact lenses
Contact lenses are not commendable for everyone. They are not advised for people having frequent ocular infections, allergies or suffering from dry eyes caused by an insufficient tear production. However, if you do not present any of these conditions, you should all the same evaluate your working environment before considering wearing contact lenses during this period of the day. For example, if you work in a dusty environment or if you are exposed to chemical fumes, it maybe inadvisable for you to wear them at work.
Contact lenses require regular cleaning and disinfection, with the exception of daily disposable ones of course. Although this step does not require more than few minutes, some people care little about it. Most of the ocular problems contact lenses wearer are facing are watering of the eyes, tingling, burning pain, light sensitivity, dryness and occasionally contorted or blurred vision. These conditions may be aggravated by inappropriate care or bad cleaning and may increase the risk of eye infection.
Clinical studies suggest that extended wear of contact lenses particularly during night increase the risk of developing corneal ulcer, also known as ulcerous keratitis. An ulcer may develop on the cornea in one day or two and leave a permanent scar, and it may even lead to blindness. For this reason, many ophthalmologists advise their patients not to wear extended wear contact lenses.
Some problems caused by wearing of contact lenses do not show any symptoms. However, they may all the same damage eyes, which enhance the importance of having regular eyesight examinations.