If you think you have to live with diminished eyesight as you get older, you're wrong. The latest technologies — combined with yearly dilated-eye exams — can detect and treat eye diseases more readily, while new lenses can correct your vision better than ever before.
"Eye technology is rapidly evolving,” says Edward Manche, M.D., director of cornea and refractive surgery at Stanford University. Here's a glance at some of the new tests and remedies now available for your eyes.
A more revealing eye test
A dilated-eye exam allows a doctor to literally see inside your body, checking on the health of your blood vessels, among other things. “There are around 300 systemic diseases that can show up in the eye,” says optometrist Kerry Gelb, who stars in Open Your Eyes, a documentary film that explores this concept. To name a few health issues that a dilated-eye exam can help detect: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and autoimmune diseases.
A more intimate look at your blood vessels
Optical coherence tomography (OCT), a high-definition technology that uses light waves to take cross-sectional images of the eye, has been around for decades. OCT angiography (OCTA) is a newer variation that allows doctors to see blood flowing through the vessels in the retina — even tiny capillaries. “This gives clinicians an ability to detect problems in the blood vessels in the eye long before they appear in the heart and brain,” Gelb says. Ask about the technology that is available in your doctor's office and if the practitioner uses OCTA as a wellness screening tool.
New drops for dry eye
Traditional antihistamine-containing eye drops can make redness and burning worse by exacerbating dryness, says Alisha Fleming, an optometrist based in Philadelphia. Last October, Refresh launched a new drop for dry eye, Refresh Relieva, which boosts hydration with glycerin and hyaluronic acid. Soothe XP and Systane are other brands that may offer relief.