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People who have never had vision problems sometimes take their eyesight for granted. But it's important to do all we can to protect our vision. Eyesight depends of a complex series of interactions between the different parts of the eye. (Read about "The Eye") One way to protect our eyesight is by getting the periodic screenings and vision tests that we need.
Good vision helps infants and children learn and develop. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that, in most cases, a newborn's eyes should be examined for general health, with a full eye screening by six months of age, another screening at age 3-and-a-half and an additional pre-school screening at age 5. Proper screening can detect specific eye conditions, such as amblyopia or lazy eye (Read about "Amblyopia"), as well as potential learning disabilities. Eye exams can also help detect vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. (Read about "Refractive Errors") Older children may need periodic screening depending on their specific vision problems, or if any changes or injuries occur that affect their eyesight.
Precautions should also be taken to protect children's eyes from sun. The American Academy of Pediatrics says children and infants should wear hats with a brim and sunglasses designed to block at least 99 percent of the sun's rays. (Read about "Eyes and Sun")
The National Eye Institute says that after age 40, periodic screenings by an ophthalmologist can help detect a variety of age-related eye conditions. These include:
In certain eye conditions, such as glaucoma, there may be no apparent symptoms until the disease has progressed, which is why regular screenings can be so important. In many cases, early detection can help prevent or slow the progression of these diseases.
An eye exam should also test peripheral vision, refractive errors, and visual acuity. Of course, in addition to getting periodic screenings, we should also watch out for any sudden change in vision; such changes can indicate the need for immediate medical care. For example, sudden loss of vision in one eye can be a warning sign of several serious problems including stroke and/or retinal detachment. (Read about "Stroke" "Retinal Detachment") It's also important that anyone with certain medical conditions that can affect their eyes, such as diabetes, (Read about "Diabetes") gets their eyes checked regularly. Ask a doctor about your specific needs and family history (Read about "Family Health History") to help determine the best way you can keep your eyes in healthy shape for life.
All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.
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