Nearly everyone knows that they should be getting regular dental and physical checkups. While eye exams do not receive as much attention, they can be just as important for your health.
Because the potential for eye problems tends to increase with age, older adults especially should not avoid their annual eye exam.
Seniors Should Have Annual Eye Exams
Did you know that about 11 million Americans over age 12 have vision problems that need some kind of correction? Even if you have not experienced major changes in vision, regular eye exams are still important for more than just your glasses prescription.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends annual eye exams for adults over age 65. These exams should include dilating your eyes. While this is often an inconvenient and irritating process, it is important because it helps give the doctor a better look at the retina and optic nerve.
Importance of Eye Exams for Seniors
Older adults are at greater risk of developing eye and vision problems, whether on their own or as a symptom of a greater disease like diabetes. By staying on top of their vision health, seniors can preserve their eyesight longer and also enjoy a healthier, more independent lifestyle.
For seniors, eye exams may uncover the following issues:
- Cataracts, which are a clouding of the eye’s lens that often can be corrected.
- Age-related macular degeneration, which affects the eye’s light-sensitive tissue.
- Diabetic retinopathy, which is related to diabetes and involves damaged blood vessels in the back of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy is a major cause of blindness among U.S. adults.
- Glaucoma, a term used for a group of diseases affecting the optic nerve.
- Retinal tearing.
- Signs of high blood pressure, which can damage blood vessels in the eyes and indicate an increased risk of stroke, especially among women.
- Ocular melanomas and other tumors that may indicate cancer.
- Other signs of infection or inflammation, such as retinal vasculitis, which can damage the eye and may indicate other autoimmune problems like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Covering Eye Exams
Seniors who are concerned about how to pay for vision exams have several options available to them. Many local hospitals, clinics, and non-profits offer free vision screenings. Seniors or their caregivers can start by searching for such events near where they live.
Although Medicare does not usually cover routine eye exams for corrective lenses, or the lenses themselves, Medicare Part B does cover some exams. The Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology also provides free or low-cost exams to qualifying seniors through their EyeCare America program.
Seeing an optometrist or an ophthalmologist not only can help seniors stay on top of their vision, but also alert them to eye diseases early. By catching potential problems sooner, regular exams can help seniors maintain their eye health and vision as long as possible.
Keeping Seniors Safe and Healthy
Randall Residences is focused on helping seniors live a healthy, safe, and high-quality life that gives their families peace of mind. Contact us today to schedule a tour of one of our locations in Michigan, Ohio, or Illinois