Why is it that we can’t notice blinding eye disease?
Glaucoma is especially insidious because the moment you’d notice vision loss it is far too late. If it progressed enough for you to notice, then the loss you’ve experienced is now permanent and the disease process is advanced enough that efforts to save vision will be less effective. Nearly all eye disease is first identified during an eye exam because you can’t sense disease. People who wait for pain will wait their way to blindness because the retina tissue senses light, not pain. That’s why unexplained flashes of light is an indication for dilation, but a painful, red eyes might not receive dilation drops at that office visit.
The eye chart checks your very central vision; almost always the damage from eye disease strikes outside the central vision. Devices like an automated visual field map the peripheral vision in order to detect and measure defects in one’s field of vision. Advanced technologies such as macular pigment density can measure the protective layer of pigment within the eye that blocks harmful blue/violet light from damaging the retinal cells. Diagnostic equipment like the fundus camera and Ocular Coherence Tomographer (iWellness for those receiving a screening rather than a test ordered by the doctor) are the best way to image the structures of the eye that is affected during the disease process; these technologies are used to both discover new disease and track and monitor change in existing disease.
The scariest eye disease of all, cancer, does not discriminate based on age, ethnicity, or vision. A freckle on the skin can be harmless, but one that changes color, shape, or size is a concern for a dermatologist. A hyper-pigmentation in the eye must be monitored for changes at least once a year by an eye doctor. These are all reasons why an annual wellness exam with preventative care (like dilation or advanced technology screenings) is recommended strongly by every eye doctor worth seeing. We evaluate for several conditions, manage those with disease, and treat what is appropriate.
Call your eye doctor today for an appointment! If you need a new approach to preventative or eye health care, call 815-915-4047 NOW!