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Keeping an Eye on Your Vision: Maintaining Eye Health

Keeping an Eye on Your Vision: Maintaining Eye Health

Eye exams are important in finding disease early, preserving your vision and maintaining eye health.

“A routine eye exam can check for disease of the eyes that at first may be asymptomatic but can cause blindness if left untreated, like glaucoma and diabetic eye disease,” says Valley Health Eye Specialists’ Fiona Seager, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist with sub-specialty fellowship training in pediatric ophthalmology. “Early intervention can often prevent vision loss.”

While everyone should get regular eye exams, people with diabetes should have a dilated eye exam every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some people are at higher risk for glaucoma and should have a dilated eye exam every two years, including:

  • African Americans 40 years and older
  • All adults older than 60, especially Mexican Americans
  • People with a family history of glaucoma

Keeping Kids’ Eyes Healthy

Dr. Seager emphasizes that it’s important to diagnose and correct problems as soon as possible in young children. Vision—which involves the eyes, nerves and brain—develops during a child’s early years.

“We not only see with our eyes, but also with our brains,” says Dr. Seager. “During childhood, the brain learns how to see, just like it learns to hear, talk, and walk. That’s why it is important to see a pediatric eye doctor if you think your child may have a problem with the eyes or if they fail a vision screening with the pediatrician. If a child never sees 20/20 before the age of 7 to 9 years old, unfortunately, it is likely he/she will not see 20/20 as an adult.”

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends vision screening for all children aged 3 to 5 years to find conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, lazy eye, and more.

Although many pediatric vision problems require diagnosis by an ophthalmologist or pediatrician, parents may also notice signs of vision problems. These include:

  • squinting
  • closing one eye or covering one eye with their hand
  • eye redness
  • eye swelling

“If they’re holding non-electronics, like books or toys, really close to their face to see them, this is also an indication,” Dr. Seager says. “And if a child won’t open his or her eye, they definitely need to come in and be seen.” Also, if the eyeball changes in size or if an eye becomes misaligned or drifts, a child should be seen immediately by a doctor to rule out a more serious problem.

Valley Health Eye Specialists has two locacations; One in Winchester, VA, and one in Woodstock, VA. Visit for more information.