Life without sight, while proven to be manageable, is considerably less than desirable. Good vision is far from being something one should take for granted, which is why preventive care is crucial for your patients’ eye health. Eye diseases are more common than people realize and can go unnoticed for quite some time. Just as maintaining business insurance for ophthalmologists is important in preserving the long-term health of your practice, preventive vision care can ensure the longevity of your patients’ ability to enjoy the scenic beauty of the world.
Early Assessment is Critical
Among the most common eye diseases capable of precipitating permanent vision loss are cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. Given only half of U.S. adults who are at risk for blindness visit an eye doctor each year, early treatment becomes difficult. Still, annual testing for visual acuity (sharpness), depth perception, eye alignment, and eye movement—in conjunction with a dilated eye exam—are terribly important for preserving vision.
Vision Screenings vs. Eye Exams
As the term implies, vision screenings only assess visual acuity. Their primary function is to determine correctable vision problems as inexpensively as possible. Subtle vision problems and eye disease with the potential to result in blindness are seldom discovered during vision screenings. With that said, failing a vision screening does typically lead to a visit to an eye doctor where an actual eye exam can take place. During these visits, the entire health of the eye is assessed. In addition to burgeoning eye issues, maladies such as diabetes, high blood pressure and the risk of stroke can also be detected based upon the appearance of the blood vessels and other structures within the eye.
Pay Attention to These Patient Symptoms
While regular screenings and exams should be scheduled based upon a patient’s age, gender and ethnic background, some conditions warrant a closer look. These include:
− Instances of decreased vision
− Draining or redness of the eye
− Eye pain
− Double vision
− Floaters (tiny specks that appear to float before your eyes)
− Halos around lights
− Flashes of light
These are the body’s way of trying to warn us of potentially serious problems. Tell your patients if any of these symptoms appear, it’s far better to come see you and learn it was a benign anomaly than to let it go only to later learn it was a symptom of something capable of severely compromising—or even eradicating—their vision. While you’re equipped to perform surgeries, it’s always best to identify the problem early.
A Moment of Prevention…
In other words, a moment of prevention could potentially stave off years of trying to achieve a cure—if one is even possible. Medical science has made great leaps over the past 50 years, but a number of eye issues remain irreversible once they take hold. Prioritizing preventative care and helping patients schedule regular eye exams could save their vision, just as carrying business insurance for ophthalmologists is a necessary preventive measure for your practice.
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