July 17, 2024

Care Nex

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Optometrist weighs in on eye health

3 min read


The month of May is Vision Health Month in Canada, a month which hopes to raise awareness about the importance of eye health and regular checkups.


Dr. Allison Scott, an optometrist with FYi Doctors says the month gives people a chance to take their eyes’ health seriously, even if you feel like they’re fine.


“Vision Health Month is the month of May, and we see it as an opportunity for optometrists to talk to Atlantic Canadians, at least here in particular, about the importance of our eyes and eye health, and how even just if you feel like you see fine, it’s still important to get your eyes checked,” said Scott in an interview with CTV’s Crystal Garrett on Friday.


“Of our five senses, our sense of sight is actually the one that most people value the most, but it’s the one that often we sometimes ignore if we feel like it’s doing okay.”


Scott says getting regular checkups goes beyond checking for glasses.


“We’ll also check to see how the eye muscles are working to make sure that they’re working well together, and more importantly, we also check the health of the eye,” she said.


“So we’re looking for any signs of things like cataracts, glaucoma, and sometimes we can see signs of underlying other general health conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure.”


Scott says how often someone should get an eye exam depends on how old a person is. She recommends to get kids eyes checked more often to make sure they’re developing properly, first at around six months old, then between two and five years old, then around once a year when they are in school.


“As an adult, we do recommend at least every two years and your optometrist will have that conversation if there’s something like cataracts or a concern that they have and they want to see you more frequently, which often happens later on in life as we are more likely to develop eye conditions later on,” she said.


Scott urges people not to hesitate to call their optometrists if they feel something out of the ordinary.


“Sometimes people are afraid to call if they’re not due for their checkup, but if you’re having eye pain, if you’re having changes in your vision, all of a sudden one eye is not working as well or something just doesn’t feel quite right, they’re light sensitive, they’re burning, they’re stinging, definitely call your optometrist and just get that looked at because we definitely want to get that dealt with,” she said.


She said it’s normal for people to begin seeing changes in their vision as they get older, but getting your eyes checked regularly at that time is recommended.


“I think anyone who’s over 40 has felt some of those changes in their up-close vision, and unfortunately that tends to affect most of us as we get older, and it’s a tough one to understand. As someone who’s over 40 myself, I’m going through that as well,” she said.


“That’s really important to get that checked and you might have to feel like you want to call the optometrist a little bit earlier in those stages, but once we sort of hit that 65 age as well, that’s when other stuff might start sneaking in like cataracts or macular degeneration or glaucoma and they can happen earlier, they can happen in someone’s 20s and 30s as well.”


Even if you seem fine, Scott says you should still get your regular checkups.


“I always tell my patients, you know, even I want to see it before you see it. That’s my goal. I want to help you maintain your eyesight for as long as possible so you can enjoy life around you,” she said.


“You know, getting something early is a better thing than waiting until something gets out of control.”

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