A vision impairment doesn’t have to be a scary thing.
When you think about visiting the eye doctor your mind probably jumps straight to updating your contact lens or glasses prescription. However, your annual eye exam screens for more than just near-sighted and far-sighted prescriptions. Eye doctors screen for a variety of vision impairments and conditions, many of which can be prevented, treated or abated when detected at an early stage.
Let’s look at some common vision problems your eye doctor will screen for and their celebrity examples (so you know you aren’t alone).
Lazy eye, also known as Amblyopia, causes reduced vision which doesn’t improve with glasses or contact lenses. It almost always occurs in one eye, not both, and isn’t caused by an eye disease. Even if you have a lazy eye, you may not have a noticeable eye turn. This makes it difficult to diagnose.
Some children will have trouble reading or keeping up in the classroom if their lazy eye goes untreated. Fortunately, treatment often leads to significant improvements and, when detected early, even a cure.
You’d never know it looking at her but Kristen Bell’s right eye is amblyopic (or “wonky” as she calls it). The actress says it is worse when fatigue sets in.
Glaucoma is far more common than most of us think and can develop without any noticeable symptoms. In fact it’s the second most common cause of blindness. As it progresses it causes permanent damage to the optic nerve, and unfortunately any loss of vision caused by glaucoma cannot be restored.
However, if caught in its early stages your eye doctor can slow and potentially prevent further progression.
Have you ever wondered why Bono is always wearing sunglasses? It’s true, Bono has glaucoma. In October 2014, the singer spoke openly about being diagnosed 20 years prior. He, like so many others, didn’t believe he needed an eye exam because he had perfect 20/20 vision.
Iritis is the inflammation of the iris. Unlike glaucoma, if you’re suffering with iritis you’ll know something is wrong! Iritis often causes acute eye pain, blurred vision and redness. If you have these symptoms for six months or longer, the condition is known as chronic iritis.
While the cause is often unknown, if left untreated it could lead to more serious issues such as vision loss or glaucoma. Iritis is treatable and may be caused by an underlying condition which, when treated, will simultaneously help treat the iritis.
It’s hard to believe but, in 2011 Mila Kunis revealed that she was blind in one eye for many years due to chronic iritis. Because of this condition she struggled with blurred vision and developed a cataract, which she was able to have surgically corrected.
Vision problems can affect anyone and may be more common than you realize. Because many of these and other vision problems can cause long term vision impairment when left uncorrected, it’s important to get your annual eye exam even if you don’t need to update your prescription.