5 Things Your Ophthalmologist Wants You To Know

Your eyes aren’t just the windows to your soul – they also tell a lot about your overall health. Changes in the eyes can signal the onset of various conditions such as diabetes, stress, high blood pressure, retinal detachment and vision changes. Even if you have near-perfect vision, it’s still important to schedule comprehensive eye exams with your ophthalmologist.

If you haven’t seen your eye doctor in a while, schedule an appointment to catch up on your eyesight. In the meantime, here are five important things your eye doctor wants you to know.

1. 20/20 vision doesn’t mean ‘perfect’ vision.

Even if your eye doctors have always said that you have 20/20 vision, this doesn’t mean you have perfect vision. 20/20 vision means that you can see what a normal person can see on an eye chart when standing 20 feet away. Also, it’s possible for your side vision, night vision or color vision to still be impaired.

2. Your overall health and eye health are connected.

Make sure to share your medical history with your ophthalmologist. Many health conditions – diabetes, heart disease, breathing disorders, autoimmune disorders and inflammatory conditions – can all affect your eye health. By discussing these conditions with your ophthalmologist, they can watch out for certain signs and symptoms and treat them accordingly.

3. Sunglasses are more than a fashion accessory.

You might wear sunglasses with the intention of looking cool, but these shades are more than a fashion accessory. The sun’s UV rays can harm your eyes, just as they can your skin, raising the risk for cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and eye cancer. Choose sunglasses that block 99% or more UV rays and make sure to wear them anytime you’re outdoors.

4. Don’t ignore symptoms, even if they come and go.

If you experience sudden symptoms, such as eye floaters or flashing lights, schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist. Even if the symptoms come and go, it’s still important to visit the eye doctor. These symptoms may indicate a serious condition, such as a detached retina, that needs immediate treatment.

5. At some point, most people get cataracts or will need contacts, glasses or eye surgery.

As you get older, the natural lens of the eye starts to yellow or whiten, losing the eyes’ natural transparency. This is why cataracts develop in the majority of people. Also, the lens becomes less flexible, making it difficult to focus on close objects. That’s why nearly everyone needs reading glasses by the time they reach their 40s and 50s.

These are some of the most crucial things your ophthalmologist wants you to know. Most importantly, be sure to take care of your eyes by scheduling regular exams, eating a balanced diet and wearing sunglasses when outdoors.