A large percentage of people are canceling or putting off medical care due to COVID-19 concerns. It is vitally important to stay on top of your preventive eye exams and, for those diagnosed with vision issues, treatment visits, especially patients with glaucoma.
Delaying Dental and Vision Care Can Be a Costly Mistake
Many have let their dental and vision coverage go unused since the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dental and vision care providers advise that those who stay away from routine dental checkups and annual eye exams could put their teeth, vision, and general health at risk. If you had to cancel your eye exam or procedure because of COVID-19, you should reschedule your appointment as soon as possible. Delaying annual eye exams may result in later diagnoses of glaucoma, which causes blindness, and cataracts, which can be treated by undergoing cataract surgery.
COVID-19 & eye health
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the virus is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person, particularly between people who come in close contact with one another (within approximately 6 feet). It may also spread via contact with contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose, or possibly your eyes. The eye is highly vascularized tissue (filled with blood vessels) in very close proximity to the sinuses and the brain, making it an easy entry point for viruses. As a result, COVID-19 could enter the body through the eyes and then spread throughout the body through the blood vessels within the conjunctiva, which is the mucous membrane covering the front of the eye and lines the inside eyelid.
Untreated Glaucoma Leads to Vision Loss through Optic Nerve Damage
People with glaucoma can benefit from certain treatments, such as eye drops and other procedures that can reduce eye pressure to help slow the disease and preserve vision. In some cases and types of glaucoma, people may require surgery or laser procedures. Having perfect vision and no apparent symptoms of eye problems does not mean you do not have glaucoma. The only way to find out definitively is by having a comprehensive eye exam. An ophthalmologist will look inside the eye using a non-invasive lens. If there are signs of nerve damage, they will do additional testing, such as measuring side vision with a special machine.
If diagnosed with glaucoma, routine eye exams with a specialist are required on a schedule determined by your care team. Glaucoma typically gets worse slowly in the vast majority of cases, but vision can decline rapidly with some people. Most glaucoma visits involve screening exams to make sure your eyesight and condition are not getting worse. Unfortunately, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, some patients have had glaucoma worsening because of delays in their care.
The risk of delaying eye care is simply too high. It is essential to keep your eye exam appointments during COVID-19 to avoid the risk of lost eyesight. To learn more about your risk for eye disease and get an exam, contact 3 for 1 Glasses Hamilton today.