Avoid Vision Problems and Maintain Healthy Eyes

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How Often Should You Have Your Eyes Checked?

Many serious developing eye problems have no obvious onset symptoms, so it's important to see an eye doctor regularly even if you don't wear glasses. There are three specialists who deal with eyes, each with different levels of training and expertise. Click here for details. In addition to checking your glasses and contacts -- or determining whether you now need them -- your doctor will use an ophthalmoscope to look at your optic nerve and retina, the light-sensitive membrane at the back of the eye that captures images from the lens and cornea. You should also get an eye-pressure test for the most common kind of glaucoma.

Who: Most young adults without eye problems or a family history of eye diesase 
How often: Once between ages 20 and 29; twice between ages 30 and 39
Why: To check for hidden symptoms of glaucoma and other eye diseases.

Who: Most adults ages 40 to 64
How often: Once every two to four years
Why: Presbyopia makes the lens of eyes less elastic; most people need reading glasses and/or glasses adjusted for computer work. Between 42 and 52, women need an average of three changes in glasses power, according to Barbara Arnold, MD, clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of California Davis School of Medicine.

Who: African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latinos after 35
How often: Once every one to two years
Why: These ethnic groups are more likely to develop glaucoma at younger ages.

Who: All adults age 65 and older
How often: Once a year
Why: This is the time when macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts are most common.

Who: Individuals who wear corrective lenses
How often: Once a year
Why: To make sure vision hasn't changed.

Who: Diabetics
How often: Once a year
Why: Roughly 40 percent of diabetics have some form of diabetic retinopathy; untreated, it can cause blindness. The longer you've had diabetes, the likelier you are to develop it.

Who: People who take prednisone or hydroxychloroquine
How often: Once a year
Why: Prednisone (a cortisone-like drug used for skin disorders, asthma, arthritis) and hydroxychloroquine (an arthritis drug that is also used to prevent malaria) may damage eyes.

Who: People with thyroid conditions and high blood pressure
How often: Once a year
Why: These conditions may damage eyes.

Continued on page 9:  About Eye Specialists


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