Whether or not you have dry eye, the fact remains that an eye exam at your optometrist is still very important. It is advisable to have your eyes examined at least once a year. The sight examination performed by your optometrist can detect the potential presence of eye diseases. Optometrists do more than simply measure your visual acuity.
As an example, a friend recently complained of a blurred vision. He went to his optometrist to have his eyes examined. The optometrist immediately detected an eye bleed. After measuring the patient’s intraocular pressure, he immediately referred him to the hospital for emergency consultation with an ophthalmologist. This person did not even know she was suffering from glaucoma. A potentially dangerous condition for your vision if left untreated.
As already mentioned, the ophthalmologist does not just measure your visual acuity, but does a thorough eye exam to detect the possible presence of diseases that can affect your eyes. Certain systematic diseases can have a significant impact on your eye health such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis or a brain tumor. The sooner these problems are detected, the more effective the treatment will be. It is the same for dry eye. The optometrist is able to assess your dry eye and provide you with personalized advice tailored to your situation. If necessary, he refers you to the ophthalmologist.
Advances in technology mean that some issues today are much easier to deal with than a decade ago. The biggest advances are in dry eye care and cataract removal.
Tears serve not only to lubricate the eyes but also to clean the ocular surface by removing foreign bodies. A healthy tear film reduces the risk of eye infections. The itching or burning sensation or irritation that characterizes dry eye conditions occur when the tears do not have the correct chemical composition or are insufficiently produced.
Did you know that about 80% of cases of dry eye are due to tears that no longer have the right chemical composition?
Thanks to various tests at its disposal, the optometrist is able to determine the cause of your dry eye in the vast majority of cases. For this, he uses what is called a biomicroscope and special dyes such as lissamine green to color the ocular surface. This dye, combined with a blue light, measures the quantity, quality and distribution of tears on the surface of your eye.
Following the examination, he may prescribe certain prescription drugs such as anti-inflammatory drugs, ophthalmic gels, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, artificial tears, and so on.
If your dry eye is partly due to the work on screen, it can advise you on the wearing of protective glasses that filter blue light.
Nutritional advice for your dry eyes
Your optometrist will be able to give you nutritional advice to treat and relieve your dry eye. In general to have good eyes, it is recommended to eat foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are found in spinach, kale and several dark green vegetables. Foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin will help reduce your chances of developing age-related macular degeneration, a condition that causes progressive loss of central vision.
To reduce the symptoms of dry eye, it is recommended to eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as ground flaxseed or fish oil supplements.
Your optometrist can detect cataracts
Cataracts are formed when the lens of the eye, which is normally transparent, becomes opaque. Although painless, cataract formation blurs vision and seriously hinders night vision. In general, cataract formation occurs after the age of 60 years. It can develop in a few months or a much longer period. Untreated, cataract seriously affects the quality of life of the person affected because his vision is constantly blurred. When the optometrist detects a possible presence of cataracts, he will refer you to an ophthalmologist. He will then proceeds to ablation and implants a synthetic lens.
A complete eye health assessment at the optometrist includes the following:
- A review of overall health status and history of eye problems
- Assessment of visual acuity with and without corrective lenses
- Assessment of pupillary reactions, peripheral vision and ocular muscle function
- Measuring intraocular pressure to detect glaucoma
- Observation of the retina and the optic nerve
- Retinal screening test using a camera to detect diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinal tear, diabetes, hypertension, etc.
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