Here’s What Baby Boomers Aging into Retirement Can Do for Eye Care
Prevention & Treatment Adam Clarin, O.D., VSP Vision Care Network Optometrist, has worked in a glaucoma specialty care clinic and an advanced contact lens clinic, the international optometric honor society.
Vision health is something many take for granted until they start to experience issue with their vision. In your opinion, what is the best way to encourage people to regularly get their eyes checked to prevent vision loss, rather than wait until they need treatment?
The sooner we detect a vision problem, the easier it is to treat it. Unfortunately, vision problems are often overlooked because symptoms may not be noticeable at first. That is why a yearly comprehensive eye exam is so important. In addition to testing your vision, the exam can help detect signs of serious health conditions, like diabetes and high cholesterol. Your eyes are also the only place in your body that provide a clear view of your blood vessels, arteries, and a cranial nerve, which can tell your doctor a lot about your overall health.
Why are regular eye exams increasingly important as you age?
As we age, our bodies don’t perform as well as they once did. Most people know that as they get older, their hips, knees or back may need additional medical attention. But they often take their vision for granted and are surprised by age-related vision changes.
Routine eye exams are important at every age, but especially as we get older so eye diseases can be detected in initial stages, when they are easier to manage and treat.
Baby Boomers are retiring at a fast rate. What should they know about their risk of age-related eye diseases and how what they need to do to protect their future vision?
As we age, the odds of experiencing age-related eye diseases increase. But we can protect our vision through early detection. The most common age-related eye diseases are glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration, all of which can usually be detected through an eye exam before there is any vision loss.
The greatest way to reduce the odds of vision loss is to see your eye doctor every year. Traditional Medicare doesn't cover routine eye exams for eyeglasses or contact lenses, but retirees can purchase plans themselves that offer coverage for exams and glasses or contact lenses. I also advise that my patients wear sunglasses to limit UV exposure and eat a healthy diet for optimal eye health.
What is the future of the vision health industry? What new treatment trends are you seeing that you think will become major part of treating our eyes in the future?
There are new instruments that can help with the early detection of glaucoma and macular degeneration, sometimes years before a doctor might notice changes. For example, advances in laser-assisted cataract surgery is resulting in better visual outcomes than ever before for patients. New multifocal lens implants are also revolutionizing cataract surgery and allowing more people to remain glasses-free after the procedure. Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgeries (MIGs) are also continuing to advance.
It’s exciting to explore these innovative technologies, but also important to remember that these advancements don’t replace the value of a face-to-face interaction between a doctor and a patient during a comprehensive eye exam.