Your eyes are incredibly important but, unfortunately, are also vulnerable to various diseases and vision problems. Certain risk factors can increase your likelihood of developing eye conditions. Understanding these risk factors is crucial to prevent and manage eye diseases. Here are six factors that can put you at higher risk for eye diseases and vision problems.
Age is one of the most significant risk factors for many eye diseases. As you get older, the risk of developing conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) increases. Consequently, yearly eye exams to detect and manage these issues in their early stages becomes increasingly important as you age.
2. UV Exposure
UV exposure is a significant risk factor for developing macular degeneration and cataracts. Protecting the eyes from UV from an early age is an important way to mitigate the risk. Regular use of sunglasses with full UVA/UVB protection and hats is important for children and adults.
Socioeconomic factors can impact healthcare options, including eye care. Lower-income individuals may have limited access to regular eye exams and may delay seeking treatment, which can lead to accelerated progression of an eye disease. It’s important to promote equal access to eye care services for all socioeconomic groups. In Alberta, children until 19 years old and seniors aged 65 and over are fully covered for eye exams. In addition, all Albertans regardless of age are covered for medically necessary services e.g. eye infections, sudden loss of vision, eye injuries, diabetic dilated fundus examinations, etc.
4. Genetic factors
Genetics can play a vital role in determining an individual’s susceptibility to various eye conditions. For instance, if you have a family history of eye diseases, your risk of inheriting those conditions increases. Regular eye check-ups with an optometrist and early intervention are crucial if you have a family history of eye problems.
Certain ethnic groups are more susceptible to specific eye conditions. For instance, African- and Latino-Americans are at a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. People of European descent have a higher incidence of AMD. It’s crucial to understand the impact of ethnicity on eye health to ensure that people from high-risk groups receive timely and appropriate eye care.
5. Chronic health condition
Several chronic health conditions can increase the risk of eye diseases. Diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are all conditions that can affect the eyes. For example, diabetic retinopathy, hypertensive retinopathy and cardiovascular-related eye issues can result from uncontrolled chronic diseases.
6. Lifestyle behaviours
Unhealthy lifestyle behaviours can significantly contribute to the development of eye diseases and vision problems. Smoking, for example, is a risk factor for cataracts and AMD. Additionally, being physically inactive can also lead to obesity, which in turn increases the risk of diabetes and its associated eye complications.
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At Optometrists’ Clinic your vision is our top priority. That’s why we offer a wide range of services to cater to your eye care needs. From comprehensive eye exams to fitting you with the perfect glasses or contact lenses, you can trust us to provide the highest quality services to keep your eyes in focus. Contact us today to set up an appointment in Edmonton, Leduc or Westlock.