We tend to think of each part of our bodies as separate but, in fact, health problems in one area often lead to problems in another, and this is no less true where eyes are concerned. Problems with your eyes can lead to serious issues with other aspects of your health and wellbeing. As many eye problems can be easily treated if they’re caught early, this adds to the reasons why you should get a sight test at least once a year.
Eye problems such as short-sightedness, cataracts, and glaucoma make you much more likely to have an accident when you’re out and about, whether you’re walking or driving. You might think you can see perfectly, but if your peripheral vision is damaged, then you might not notice things approaching you from the side, and you’ll also be more likely to trip over things. A good ophthalmologist may be able to resolve these problems for you. The advent of laser eye surgery means that most people can now have them resolved with a simple outpatient procedure.
Depression and anxiety
Research shows that adults with vision loss face a 90 percent increased risk of depression, with more that 10 percent of partially sighted people suffering from major depression. The risk of anxiety is also significantly increased in older adults with sight problems. Again, many of these problems are preventable, and where they are not, a good optician will be able to refer you to specialist counselling to reduce the risk of you developing mental health problems.
Back and neck problems
Short-sightedness and long-sightedness often lead to poor posture as people hunch forwards or lean backwards in order to see what they’re doing. If you’re doing this every day at work, you face a significantly increased risk of developing chronic pain in your back or neck, which can be very hard to get rid of. This can also affect your mobility in later life. Even if you think of your vision problem as minor, it’s much better to get it fixed than to risk damaging yourself in this way.
Though they are not directly caused by eye problems, there are a number of other health problems that can be detected early on – when they’re at their most treatable – through a routine eye exam. These include diabetes, liver disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, and skin cancer. Inflammation in the eye can be a sign of a developing autoimmune disease. If your optician identifies a problem such as this with your eyes, it could enable you to take life-saving action.
A routine eye examination takes less than an hour and is a lot easier than going through the barrage of other medical tests that you would need to get this much information about your general health. It’s especially important as you get older and your risk factors increase, but regardless of your age, getting an annual test is well worth the effort.