Of all the five senses, vision is by far the most important to our daily lives. More than 90% of the information that our brains process comes from our eyes. What we see is what we believe, understand, and appreciate. Keeping vision and ocular health in top form makes regular eye exams essential. The experts at Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA can help you optimize your precious vision.
Are You Overlooking Your Vision?
It sounds ironic, but it’s true. Many of us, even those who wear corrective glasses or contact lenses, pay little attention to minor changes in our vision. In many cases, we don’t even notice them. While many people are blessed with sharp vision that stays consistent for many years, most of us experience changes in our vision over time.
These changes are usually subtle, but their effect can be anything but subtle. At the very least, they diminish our enjoyment of the world. The details of our environments are less sharp and vivid. We have to get closer to people to “read” their faces. We have to hold the book a little closer or further to read clearly.
At their worst, these small changes can have oversized effects. Imagine the potential consequences for less-than-optimal vision while driving. Or how well can a student be expected to learn when they can’t clearly see the lessons? How safely will an elderly person be able to age at home – or go to the store — if their vision is compromised?
Where Can You Find a Reliable Exam?
There are many “optical shops” on any given main street in any given town or mall in America. Most are in the business of selling eyeglasses or sunglasses. While the optometrist may be technically qualified, most smaller shops or optical “departments” at the local big-box store simply don’t have the latest precision measuring equipment for flawless exams. “Good enough” simply isn’t good enough when it comes to a corrective vision prescription.
When seeking reliable eye exams, there are two things you’ll want to be certain of. One is the caliber of the evaluation equipment, and the other is the experience of the clinician. While the clinician is more important than the equipment, having the latest optical measuring gear makes the clinician’s job more thorough and accurate.
Get the Best for Your Eyes
At Southside Medical Center, our ocular examination technology is fully state-of-the-art and capable of making the precision measurements that mark the difference between good vision and outstanding vision. Our full optical services will take the time needed to steer you to the right prescriptions and the right options among eyewear and contact lenses, including progressives and multi-focals.
Why Have Regular Eye Exams?
Like every other system in our body, our eyes change over time. Sometimes the change is gradual and long-standing. People who’ve had excellent vision all their lives often find they need glasses or contacts once they reach a certain age. Likewise, some diseases of the eye, such as cataracts, develop over long periods; often decades.
Other changes in vision can be caused by a sudden “acute” event that should never be underestimated. Obviously, injuries to the eyes, such as a foreign object or a scratch in the cornea should be seen by a professional at once. The same is true of common bacterial diseases such as pink eye, which can affect both children and adults. Left unchecked, these are capable of causing permanent vision damage.
Even eyes that have been no trouble and have stayed injury-free should be seen by a professional on a regular basis. Regular exams ensure that any corrective prescriptions you’re already using are up to date and any diseases of the eye that might be starting to emerge can be alerted and dealt with as soon as possible.
A Head Start for Kids
Substantial eye development begins early, and eye exams are especially crucial in children. Eye problems that occur in childhood and aren’t diagnosed and treated promptly can affect vision for life. Exams should begin as early as age three and once again before starting first grade.
Pediatric eye care is also critical because nipping minor problems in the bud can stop later eye problems that are more difficult to treat. Many ocular problems that were once permanently stigmatizing or debilitating, such as crossed eyes or a “lazy eye,” can be corrected early in children. These treatments can change the course of an entire life.
A Life Saver for Seniors
Adults between 18 and 64 years old should get an eye exam at least every two years, according to the American Optometric Association. However, once the age of 65 is reached, the recommendation is for annual checkups. In addition to changes in vision that often occur with aging, seniors are also more susceptible to deeper eye conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
Seniors overwhelmingly want to “age in place” in their own homes; more than 75% would prefer it, according to AARP. In order for seniors to maintain safe independent abilities, regular eye exams are essential. Vision loss for seniors is not only dangerous in and of itself, but it’s also a prime contributor to loneliness. Research shows that loneliness in seniors can be as toxic to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
What the Exam Provides
In addition to the normal changes in vision that occur over time, our eyes can also be affected by disease. Some are conditions that are specific to the eyes, such as glaucoma. Others are byproducts of more general diseases, such as diabetes, that directly affect vision.
A comprehensive eye exam will yield the following benefits:
Sharp, corrected vision is essential to daily living. Small changes in either eye’s performance can impact everything from our safety to our moods. As just one example, a small change in the peripheral vision on either side naturally makes us avoid looking in that direction. It’s just not clear enough for us.
This can not only make us more withdrawn, but it can also be actively dangerous, especially while driving.
Accurate Eyeglasses or Contacts
Vision correction is something that needs to be maintained on a regular basis. There have been many advances in optical corrections, both in eyewear and contact lenses.
For example, did you know there are now multi-focal contact lenses that work similarly to progressive eyeglass prescriptions? If you have trouble with distance vision but also need help for closeup work, a single prescription can now work both ways.
Tests for Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a disease that degrades the optic nerve, which sends visual signals to your brain and results in vision. While there is no cure for glaucoma, the effects of it can be slowed through early detection and regular eye exams.
A full checkup for glaucoma measures inner eye pressure, your full field of vision, the thickness of your cornea, and more. Early detection and therapeutics, such as special eye drops, can slow the onset of this common condition.
Tests for Cataracts
For many people in their 60s and older, this common condition can be a serious problem. Cataracts are cloudiness in the lens around your eye. Like a dirty windshield that never gets washed, it becomes harder and harder to see outside.
While there is no cure, early detection can help you stave off the progressive effects, often for decades. Your eye professional can advise you on treatments and lifestyle choices that will delay or minimize their effect.
Eye Care for Diabetics
Some 34 million Americans live with diabetes, a disease that has a direct effect on vision and can cause blindness. People with diabetes have abnormally high levels of blood sugar, which causes part of the eye to swell and blurs vision.
Diabetes also leaves the eye more vulnerable to cataracts and glaucoma. Diabetic patients are “special needs” cases for eye care and are advised to get eye exams annually.
It’s Not Just About Vision
Our eyes have an awful lot of work to do, and it’s important to keep them healthy. Unlike other sensory organs, such as our tongues and eardrums, our eyes are fully exposed to the environment whenever we’re awake (and not blinking). Eyes are extremely vulnerable to injury from pollutants, allergens, impacts, bacteria, and more.
Treatment for Pink Eye
Most parents and children are aware of pink eye, more formally known as conjunctivitis. It’s an inflammation of the membrane on the back of the eyelid and is spread by bacteria or viruses. It’s particularly contagious in schools and playgrounds.
Pink eye is painful, and, left untreated, it can degrade vision: sometimes permanently. Expert eye care will soothe the discomfort and send patients home with the right treatments for recovery.
Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome
Most people could benefit in general from soothing eye drops, but eyes that are dry enough to be painful are often the result of a condition called dry eye syndrome. In this disease, the tear ducts are not producing enough lubrication for the eye or tears of the right chemical makeup.
This is a condition that needs to be treated long term. Our ocular experts can provide both soothing prescriptions and lifestyle advice that can minimize its effects.
Treatment for Binocular Vision and Focusing Problems
Sometimes as the result of injury or aging, the line of sight from one eye moves out of alignment with the other. This puts an unconscious strain on both eyes as they try to work together to fix the misalignment. The condition is caused by binocular vision dysfunction, and it can cause dizziness, disorientation, sleep problems, and headaches. An expert diagnosis can prescribe special corrections to solve this tricky condition.
Holistic Eye Care
Keeping your vision clear and your eyes healthy are not just important goals, they’re imperative ones. Having an ongoing relationship with your eyecare expert is one of the smartest things you can do for your health and wellness. You’ll not only stay ahead of any diseases that might affect your vision, but you’ll be continually up to date with your corrective prescriptions.
For this reason, it’s a great choice to leave your total vision needs to experts who are experienced, first and foremost, with all facets of eye examination. They see the whole picture of your specific ocular health and will best qualified to prescribe any corrections that are needed.
Visit Us and Care for Your Vision
These days, people get their glasses and contact lenses from a variety of places, often more than one at a time. While there’s nothing wrong that, it’s important to understand that the physical glasses and contacts are the last link in the chain when it comes to your vision. The first link is the health of your eye, and after that comes the expertise to recommend the best solutions to correct any vision or eye problems.
Visit us at Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA today for a consultation and begin seeing the world the way you were meant to.