Who needs a Regular Eye Check-up?
All Newborn Babies
Children between the age of 4 and 12
Children who wear glasses
Children who appear to have difficulty at school or other tasks like watching TV
Anyone over 40 years old
Anyone with a family history of an eye condition such as Glaucoma
Anyone with high spectacles power (or high astigmatism)
How the Eye Works
The eye works very much like a camera. It has a clear portion on the front (cornea) which allows light in, an iris to control how much light gets in (like the aperture) and a lens which focusses the image onto the retina. The cells in the retina then convert this image into tiny electrical impulses which are transmitted via the optic nerve to the brain which then interprets these impulses as the image seen.
The eye is a sphere, like a football - and like a football, it requires a pressure to keep it inflated. It is this pressure that your doctor refers to when s/he checks your eye pressure (which has no direct link to your blood pressure). Many things can increase your eye pressure and if this goes up suddenly you may get pain.
The retina lines the back-wall of the eye like wall-paper. On this film we have structures such as the optic nerve head with blood vessels emanating from this. The central part of the retina is what we use for reading and this portion is called the macula. At the centre of the macula is the part with the highest proportion of cone cells - which we need for sharp, colour vision and this is called the fovea.
Any problems which affect the macula exclusively will impair your reading vision but not usually your peripheral vision which you require for navigating as this is provided by the rest of your retina. On the contrary, if you have a problem which affects your peripheral field only (like some stages of glaucoma), you may have difficulty driving or may find that you frequently bump into things when walking around.
Eye Anatomy and Maintaining Eye Health
One thing that many people do not remember to take of is their eyes. This is essential as we all want to enjoy our lives and eyesight plays a big role to contributing to our quality of life. Eating healthily and ensuring you get plenty of exercise is very important in this respect but sometimes isn't enough when it comes to your eyes.
We normally recommend regular eye check-ups to ensure there are no conditions affecting your eyes that you may not be aware of until it is too late. A frequently quoted example is glaucoma whereby you may have absolutely no symptoms until the disease is so advanced that you may be considered legally blind. In such cases nothing can be done to reverse the disease but only to control it and so early detection and prevention is key.
Another important group of people who may not ever know they have an eye problem is children as they will have no reference point to say their vision is abnormal (especially if they've never had clear vision). It is therefore essential for parents, teachers & doctors to ensure children who seem to be struggling in school, or even very hyperactive to get their eyes checked. Hyperactivity is sometimes a 'side-effect' of not being able to see well as kids look for alternate sources of stimulation when their vision is poor.