Five diseases and vision errors for which you should visit the ophthalmologist every year
Dr Pascual Claramonte, a medical director at Miranza Albacete, presents five important reasons, even if there are many more, why we should check our eyesight by visiting the ophthalmologist regularly:
- Firstly, to prevent our children from experiencing limitations in their future lives if lazy eye was not diagnosed and treated in time. A person who suffers from amblyopia may have restrictions on their driver’s licence and even be denied access to it, as well as not being able to apply for certain professions, where a specific visual acuity is required (Army, Aviation, etc.), among other limitations. Any child, as soon as they can collaborate with the ophthalmologist (read drawings in the consulting room), should have an eye check-up (at the age of 3 or 4 approximately, if no anomaly has been observed beforehand).
- Secondly, the progression of certain types of ametropia (refractive disorders), especially myopia, is well known. Any school-age child should have regular ophthalmological check-ups to rule out eye diseases or disorders that could delay their learning at school. Let us remember that refractive disorders can vary with age, either getting better or worse, so, if the glasses are not suitable, vision will not be optimal, and the child’s intellectual development may be affected. Furthermore, a sudden increase in astigmatism, the only refractive error that usually remains stable from birth, can be a warning sign of keratoconus.
- Thirdly, to avoid preventable blindness. Glaucoma, an intraocular pressure-related disease that has no symptoms, can lead to irreversible blindness. This blindness can be prevented with an ophthalmological examination, as well as regular intraocular pressure checks and other non-invasive tests.
- Fourthly, to control systemic diseases (diabetes and high blood pressure). The eye is the only place in the body where we can see the blood vessels directly after instilling a drop of dilating eye drops. Thus, the endocrinologist usually requests a regular report from the ophthalmologist to assess the development of the disease, as diabetes directly affects the blood vessels (diabetic retinopathy).
- Fifthly, early diagnosis of conditions associated with aging, such as cataracts or age-related macular degeneration. The former tend to be operated on earlier and earlier, while AMD, especially its wet form, requires timely action to prevent rapid and aggressive central vision loss. We now have the means to treat this type of AMD effectively.
Any of these reasons is essential to see the ophthalmologist every year.