Ocular Health Maintenance at Ages 40-54 by Stephen John, O.D.

October 2, 2020

Dr. Stephen John is a primary care optometrist who provides ocular disease care and ocular surgery co-management at the Marietta Eye Clinic.

For most of us, vision is an essential part of quality of life. The key to maintaining good vision and healthy eyes as you age is preventative care. Although many people don’t get comprehensive eye exams as often as they should, most vision loss can be prevented if caught early. Proper preventative care involves routine comprehensive exams that allow your eye doctor to check for signs of damage before vision is affected and prescribe treatment to delay or prevent future damage.

Baseline Exam

Early signs of eye disease and changes in vision start to appear around age 40. It is recommended to get a baseline exam at this age. Even if you don’t notice any changes in vision, an eye doctor can look at the back of your eye to check for signs of damage that aren’t noticeable from the outside. Your optometrist can give you a recommended exam schedule based on the results of your exam and your overall health.

Routine Comprehensive Exams

Comprehensive eye exams are more than updating your prescription for glasses and contacts. Optometrists and ophthalmologists conduct comprehensive eye examinations to check for damage from health conditions such as diabetes and to check specifically for eye diseases that can lead to blindness, such as glaucoma or cataracts. Some eye disease symptoms may go unnoticed until the disease is advanced, which presents challenges in slowing progression or preventing permanent visual damage. Regular comprehensive exams help you work with your eye doctor to meet your individual ocular health needs and help your doctor know how to guide you in maintaining great eye health and clear, sharp vision. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, people ages 40 to 54 who have no symptoms of eye disease and can see clearly should schedule a comprehensive eye examination at least every 2 to 4 years.

People Who May Need More Frequent Eye Exams

Your eye health is affected by a combination of factors. Here are common reasons to increase the frequency of eye exams from the above guidelines:

  • You wear glasses or contact lenses.
  • You have a family history of eye disease, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, or cataracts.
  • You have a chronic disease that puts you at greater risk of eye disease, such as diabetes or hypertension.
  • You take medications that may have serious eye-related side effects, such as prednisone or plaquenil.

Don’t Put Off Scheduling an Appointment

Routine eye exams have been proven to help combat major eye health issues and prevent blindness. Keep in mind the guidance above, and please reach out to an eye care provider if you are at a higher risk of developing eye disease or vision problems.

More About Primary Care Optometrist Stephen John, O.D.

Dr. John is a primary care optometrist with the Marietta Eye Clinic who specializes in ocular disease and provides ocular surgery co-management. He earned his doctor of optometry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry before completing residencies at the Ohio State University College of Optometry, the Chalmer P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center, and the Chillicothe VA Medical Center. He is a member of the American Optometric Association, the Georgia Optometric Association, and the Greater Atlanta Optometric Association. He is certified by the American Board of Optometry, the Georgia Board of Optometry, and the National Board of Examiners. Read more about Dr. John here.

References and Additional Resources

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. It describes itself as a “global community of 32,000 medical doctors who protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public.” Its website is a great resource to learn more about how to care for your eyes.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) describes itself as the leading authority on quality care and an advocate for our nation’s health, representing more than 44,000 doctors of optometry, optometric professionals, and optometry students.

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