Eyes are one of the most important organs of the human body that we rely on the most in our daily activities. According to estimates by the World Health Organization, approximately 285 million people are blind or visually impaired and 17,222 people live with visual impairment in Croatia (Croatian Institute of Public Health, 2010). Vision problems can appear at any stage of life, although they most often appear after the age of 60. The risk of vision loss increases with age and can affect anyone, but it is important to emphasize that vision care can significantly improve a person's quality of life, as well as prevent vision loss. This is supported by the data of the World Health Organization that 80% of all vision impairments can be prevented or cured.
The part of medicine that deals with the study of the structure and function of the eye in a healthy and diseased state is called ophthalmology and a specialist in eye problems and diseases and vision care is called an ophthalmologist. Ophthalmologists perform eye examinations, diagnose and treat eye diseases, prescribe glasses and contact lenses, perform surgical procedures, and can also prescribe medications. As medical doctors, ophthalmologists can recognize health problems that are not directly related to the eyes and then refer patients for further tests.
Why are eye examinations important?
Eye examinations aren't just for people who need glasses or contact lenses. While it is important to have adequate correction of your refractive anomaly in the form of glasses, contact lenses or surgical treatment, there are many other reasons to schedule your next comprehensive eye examination.
Myopia is an epidemic
Up to 40% of the population has myopia (short-sightedness). Not only that more children starting to develop myopia at an earlier age but the condition also increases the risk of various eye problems such as glaucoma, retinal detachment and cataracts.
During a routine eye examination, it is possible to diagnose basic refractive errors of the eye and determine adequate correction with adequate corrective lenses, in order to achieve maximum visual acuity.
Eye diseases do not cause disturbances
Speaking of eye diseases, most of them do not cause any visible symptoms in the early stages. For example, one of the first signs of glaucoma is loss of peripheral vision, which is why the disease is sometimes called the silent thief of sight.
In addition, retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and retinal detachment, as well as macular disease, usually develop gradually and may not cause any symptoms until it is too late.
As with most medical conditions, the chances of protecting your vision and restoring eye health are increased when we can diagnose eye disease and treat it as early as possible — before permanent damage occurs.
Digital eye strain and other lesser known problems
Although most patients are aware of eye health problems such as digital eye strain, dry eyes, sun damage and allergies, etc., they are often not worried about them. However, if these problems are not treated, they can cause a lot of inconvenience.
With routine eye examinations, it is possible to diagnose these less serious conditions and provide patients with treatments to relieve symptoms. These symptoms can include red and dry eyes, eye fatigue, blurred vision, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, excessive tearing, etc. In our Centre for Ophthalmology, you can get a recommendation for treatment or new habits to reduce the risk of developing these problems.
Eye examinations can reveal other health problems
Eyes are like windows to health. Ophthalmologists can often recognize signs of health problems in patients, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, even before they experience other symptoms. Both of these health problems affect the blood vessels in the retina and can lead to vision loss if left untreated.
People who wear corrective lenses should have an eye exam every year so that their correction is adequate. People who do not wear glasses or contact lenses should have a comprehensive ophthalmological examination every other year.
However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, you should immediately make an appointment to see an ophthalmologist:
- frequent headaches
- tired or sore eyes
- holding the phone or book closer to the face or at arm's length
- blurred distance vision
- reduced night vision
Ophthalmological services that we provide in St. Catherine Hospital you can see on the LINK.
If you are concerned about your vision and eye health or have noticed some of the above-mentioned complaints, contact our Centre for Ophthalmology with confidence and book an appointment for an ophthalmologist examination as soon as possible.