You may eat clean, hit the gym five days a week, clean your teeth like nobody?s business, and still be missing one of the biggest health indicators in the body. Eye health is critical to your enjoyment of life, and one of the earliest indicators that something?s wrong in other body systems.
Many people neglect their eye health or simply forget to maintain it with the same care and frequency they pay to other aspects of their health. Age-onset vision degeneration is common and in many cases, inevitable, and poor eyesight can be a genetic or age-related condition. It?s easy to forget that you can damage your sight because of lifestyle and environmental factors, and that it can be damaged by other conditions that should be treated.
See an optometrist or ?eye doctor? on a regular basis, and an ophthalmologist by referral when necessary. Think of it like your annual dental visit. You know your oral health is important and maintain your teeth on a regular basis. You need to do the same for your vision. Here are five reasons not to neglect eye health.
It?s an early disease or imbalance indicator
Your eyes are the most sensitive, delicate organ in your body ? and the most readily accessible. Changes to your body systems often show up first in the eyes. A regular visit to the optometrist can identify conditions that are developing but have not yet reached a critical stage, or that are not yet causing identifiable symptoms elsewhere in the body.
A visit to the optometrist can turn up pre-diabetic tendencies and early stages of diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy can cause vision degeneration or blindness if not caught and treated early. Early markers of heart disease and other conditions can show up in the tissues around the eyes. Liver and kidney-related problems cause visible changes. Twitching around the eyes or drooping eyelids can be early warning signs of neuromuscular degenerative diseases, including multiple sclerosis or brain tumors.
Problems are often degenerative
You use your sight constantly. It supports your work, your leisure and your ability to move confidently through the world. While there is an increasing array of assistive technologies available to the vision-impaired, they cannot replace many experiences you treasure. Many eye conditions are degenerative, meaning they worsen over time. Ignoring your eye health could allow a condition to proceed past the point where it is possible to slow, reverse or even heal it.
Glaucoma is the number one international cause of blindness, but scientists are making progress with treatment. Research by Rohit Varma has led to the development of imaging techniques to detect nerve damage early, and if the disease is identified and treated early enough, blindness may be postponed or even prevented. His innovative work has also spurred a unique implant-based treatment that will be able to monitor and drain damaging pressure to maintain vision.
It?s easy and painless
Optometrist appointments are some of the most pleasant, accessible and painless available in the health and medical world. Non-invasive screening tests rely on mostly visioning techniques such as the use of specialized cameras, pressure sensors and lenses to closely examine the eye. These tests are easy, faster, less invasive and much less uncomfortable than a trip to the dentist or your annual physical exam.
It requires professional support
While it?s a good practice to keep an eye on any changes in your body, including in and around your eyes, many early signs of illness are neither known by the general public nor even visible without the use of specialized equipment. This is not a DIY at-home health area; you need to visit a professional.
Early detection saves vision ? and lives
Degenerative conditions are less likely to lead to irreversible damage up to and including blindness if caught and addressed early enough. The same goes for a whole host of other diseases and conditions around the body. Professional eye exams can identify many diseases in their earliest phases, and even identify an increased risk of a condition developing before it has fully emerged, making it your go-to solution for finding, treating, and in some cases, curing illness and damage before it even occurs.
Maintaining your eye health is part of living a healthy lifestyle. Schedule annual optometrist visits even if you have never experienced any form of vision loss or eye-related conditions. Regular monitoring can identify diseases and vision degeneration in the earliest stages, when they are still treatable, and even reversible. It?s one of the easiest and most proactive ways you can safeguard your health.