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Annual Eye Exams Are the Key to Healthy Eyes

The Alberta Association of Optometrists (AAO) recommends that healthy adults have their eyes examined every year.

Taking care of your overall health also means yearly visits to your Optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam. Yearly comprehensive eye exams are important regardless of your age or physical health, as having good vision doesn’t mean your eyes are healthy.  During your comprehensive exam, we will evaluate both your vision:

  • Checking your prescription
  • Testing your eye coordination and alignment
  • Testing your depth perception
  • Assessing your colour vision
  • Checking your eye pressure

Your Optometrist will not only determine your prescription for glasses or contact lenses, but will also check your eyes for common eye diseases, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, or retinal detachment.  As ocular diseases progress gradually, early detection, testing and treatment can mean all the difference in maintaining your vision.

WHAT IS GLAUCOMA?

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada, the most common form is primary open angle glaucoma. This form is associated with elevated pressure caused by a backup of fluid in the eye. Pressure in the eye slowly rises and the cornea adapts without swelling. If the cornea were to swell, that would be a sign that something is wrong. Glaucoma often goes undetected, and the patient often does not realize that they are slowly losing vision until the later stages of the disease. However, by the time the vision is impaired, the damage is irreversible.

WHAT IS MACULAR DEGENERATION?

The macula is the central most part of the retina, the inner layer at the back of the eye responsible for detailed central vision and it is used for reading, driving and recognizing people’s faces. Macular degeneration is a condition that causes the center of your vision to blur while the side or peripheral vision remains unaffected. It is generally related to the aging process, and is also commonly referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It is the leading cause of blindness in North America in adults over the age of 55.

As we get older, the importance of monitoring vision changes grows. People age 65 and older, should have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year, more frequently if directed by your doctor. Adults aged 65 or older are at a higher risk for developing a number of eye conditions and diseases that can impair your sight, some of these conditions do not have any warning signs.

Some common vision changes include:

  • Trouble identifying objects, especially at night
  • Difficulty judging distance
  • Everyday tasks, like driving or reading, require more effort or require glasses
  • Colours are less bright
  • Visual field begins to narrow
  • Dry Eye Disease, leading to burning or stinging eyes

Alberta Health covers the cost of annual eye exams for Albertans 65+.