Why Your Child Should Receive an Annual Eye Exam

November 06, 2012

Being a mom means so much more than the title suggests. Moms have the skills of a chef, the endurance of a marathon runner, and have enough patience to fill a dozen virtues. Moms juggle more schedules than most circus performers, making sure everyone makes it to play dates, piano practice and the dentist clean and on-time. With an already hectic schedule, it’s hard to imagine adding an annual eye exam to the list. What you may not know is a comprehensive eye exam can reveal potential medical conditions, before any outward symptoms become noticeable.

For children, an eye exam can reveal the early on-set of either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. With November being Diabetes Awareness Month, we want to share with you why your child may not be immune. Currently, one in every 400 children and adolescence in the US have diabetes, and the number continues to grow annually. Type I diabetes does not result from poor diet and exercise, but rather from the pancreas’ inability to metabolize insulin properly. That means even a child who lives a healthy lifestyle can still have diabetes. Regardless of the cause, both Type I and Type II diabetes have similar symptoms, including extreme thirst, drowsiness and sudden weight changes among others.

What does this have to do with an eye exam? Because the eyes are so sensitive, the signs of diabetes often reveals themselves first inside the eyes. High insulin levels begin causing slight damage to the blood vessels within the retina, giving optometrists a warning before your child begins noticing symptoms. If diagnosed early, a treatment plan can begin long before the disease begins to spiral out of control. If your child has already received a diagnosis, an annual eye exam is essential for monitoring the progression of damage to the retina, a condition called Diabetic Retinopathy.
In addition to diabetes, an annual eye exam can reveal other medical conditions. For example, clots in the tiny blood vessels inside of the retina can be a signal risk for strokes, while thickened blood vessel walls along with narrowing of the vessels can be a sign of high blood pressure. Puffy eyes may mean you have an allergy, or may have consumed too much sodium. Yellowing of the eyes may be sign of hepatitis, gallbladder disease or likely a gall stone block.

With enough to worry about as it is, an annual eye exam will most likely simply put your mind at ease, allowing you to concentrate on the joys of simply being a mom! For more information on diabetes awareness, please visit http://www.diabetes.org/ To schedule an appointment for an annual eye exam, check out www.nationwidevision.com.

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