The Importance of Vision Screenings as You Age

Oct 6, 2021

When it comes to eyesight, it is normal to experience changes as you age. Once you reach 50 and beyond, vision screenings are not only beneficial, but it is also important to receive a comprehensive eye exam every two to four years as a preventative measure.

As you age, you are more likely to develop common eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. A vision screening will not only test your eyesight and provide a prescription for glasses or contacts, but it also allows the doctor to check the actual health of your eye and measure any changes.

If you understand the symptoms and causes, and practice prevention, it can help mitigate some of the risks for eye disease. At the very least, vision screenings can help identify disease earlier and provide treatments when needed. While the various eye conditions differ, being proactive is essential for prevention. Here we put together information to help you understand the differences and what you can do to help prevent.

Age-related macular degeneration
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a common condition that blurs your central vision due to damage of the macula, which is the region within the eye that is responsible for precise, straight-ahead vision. AMD does not lead to complete blindness, although, it makes it much more difficult to see faces, read, drive, or do near-sighted tasks. Depending on the individual, the onset of AMD can be slow or rapid. If you are diagnosed early with AMD, it is likely you will not experience vision loss for a long time, which why regular vision screenings are crucial.

There are two types of Age-related Macular Degeneration. Dry AMD is most common. It occurs in three stages: early, intermediate, and late. There are treatment options available for the intermediate stage, but early and late dry AMD has yet to have an applicable solution. The second type,  Wet AMD, only occurs in a late stage and frequently causes more rapid vision loss.

Symptoms of AMD include:

  • Straight lines appearing crooked or wavy
  • Blurry area or blank spots in your central vision
  • Difficulty seeing in low lighting
  • Colors not appearing as vibrant


AMD typically appears more in people 55 and older. People that are Caucasian, individuals with a family history of AMD, or smokers are at higher risk of AMD.

Prevention for AMD
To lower the risk or severity of AMD there are a few steps to take. Firs, eating a healthy diet of leafy greens and fish is always good for the body and eyes such as leafy greens and fish. Regular exercise or physical activity, maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and ceasing smoking habits also helps minimize the risk for AMD and other illnesses. Treatments for intermediate Dry AMD and late Wet AMD are available in the form of prescription medications, supplements, injections, photodynamic therapy (PDT), and laser eye surgery.

More than half of Americans aged 80 and older develop cataracts or undergo surgery for cataracts. While it is a common age-related condition, the good news is it can be easily resolved with surgery.

The onset of the disease begins as early as age 40, when the proteins in the lens of the eye begin to break down and combine, eventually creating a noticeably cloudy area on the lens of the eye that can make vision blurry, hazy, or less vibrant.

Like AMD, cataract symptoms are relatively unnoticeable and mild, until it progresses and causes changes in vision. Some signs of cataracts include:

  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Seeing a halo appear around lights
  • Becoming sensitive to bright lights or the sun
  • Seeing things in double vision

Everyone is at risk for cataracts as they age, yet individuals with certain health problems such as diabetes, those who smoke or drink alcohol heavily, have a family history of cataracts, previously had an eye injury or surgery, have undergone radiation therapy in the upper body, spent excessive time in the sun, or took steroids are at a higher risk.

Cataracts Prevention
Cataracts can be delayed or prevented by regularly wearing sunglasses regularly, ceasing smoking and drinking habits, eating fruits and vegetables (especially dark leafy greens), and getting dilated eye exam regularly. Beyond age 60, it’s beneficial to get an exam and vision screening at least once every two years. The only treatment option for cataracts is surgery.

Diabetic Retinopathy
Individuals with diabetes are at risk of developing Diabetic Retinopathy and potentially experiencing vision loss or blindness. The cause is high blood sugar due to a diabetes. Over time, consistently high levels of blood sugar can damage the retina, which is the part of the eye that detects light and sends signals to the brain via the optic nerve. Diabetes causes harm to blood vessels throughout the body, and the damage to the eyes ensues once glucose begins to block the small vessels leading to the retina, causing them to leak fluid or bleed. To compensate for the loss of one vessel, the body creates a weaker blood vessel to take its place and the cycle of leaking continues.

Diabetic Retinopathy does not always present symptoms at first, but people will eventually notice alterations in their vision, like difficulty reading and seeing far-sighted objects. However, as the condition develops, blood vessels begin to bleed into the gel-like fluid in the inner part of the eye which causes dark, floating spots or streaks that look like webbing.

Anyone with Type1, Type 2, or gestational diabetes can develop Diabetic Retinopathy, and the longer you have diabetes, the more at-risk you become. However, the risk can be lowered by properly managing your diabetes and blood sugar, staying physically active, eating healthy, and taking any necessary diabetic prescriptions. To help control blood sugar, it’s important to get an A1C test, which measures what percentage of your hemoglobin is glycated (sugar-infused) over a three-month period. The higher the result, the more likely you are for developing diabetic complications.

If you are diagnosed with Diabetic Retinopathy, it’s crucial to begin treatment as soon as possible. Without treatment, bleeding can continue, worsen, or cause scarring to the retina. Treatments include diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol management, injections, medicinal prescriptions, laser eye treatment to reduce swelling, and an eye surgery known as a vitrectomy. Treatment cannot reverse the damage, but it can prevent it from worsening.

Glaucoma is a grouping of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve in the back of the eye, leading to vision loss or blindness. The only way to be diagnosed is with a dilated eye exam, and although there is no treatment for curing glaucoma, identifying it at an early stage can protect your vision and prevent further damage.

Glaucoma typically does not have symptoms, which is why many individuals don’t know they have it until they begin to slowly lose vision over time, starting with peripheral vision. As the condition worsens, some may not be able to see from the side at all and could eventually reach blindness if it goes untreated. There aren’t any ways to prevent glaucoma, which is why regulatory eye exams are of key importance to identify the issue before it affects your vision.

People over the age of 60, that have a family history of glaucoma, or are Black or Hispanic/Latino and over the age of 40 have a higher risk for contracting the disease. The cause of glaucoma is unknown, but many believe it has to do with high eye pressure, so treatments to lower pressure have been formulated to prevent damage to the optic nerve. Other treatments include medicines, prescription eye drops, laser eye treatment, and occasionally undergoing surgery to drain fluid from the eye.

The two common traits for all eye diseases are the symptoms and the preventative measures. Issues with vision are a sign that something is wrong and the best way to diagnose the problem is with a comprehensive eye exam. Once a diagnosis is made the eye doctor can recommend treatment options for the condition or stage. Finally, if you are 50 years or older, it is time to schedule regular exams and vision screenings as a first step in prevention.

Dr. Alina Walden – Vice President Clinical Services

Dr. Alina Walden is a highly accomplished professional with an impressive academic background. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona Honors Program. Subsequently, she obtained her medical degree from New York Medical College and earned her MBA from the University of Phoenix.

With over 15 years of experience in clinical practice, Dr. Walden has specialized in risk adjustment, disease management, and utilization management. Her expertise as a physician executive, combined with an in-depth understanding of the CMS HCC-Risk Adjustment Model and Quality STAR measures, enables her to develop and implement effective population health programs. She is also certified as a Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA), Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO), Certified Professional Coder (CPC), and Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC) from AAPC. These credentials align perfectly with the goals of Adobe Population Health.

Dr. Walden is committed to delivering exceptional customer service to the entire care team, consistently striving to enhance and promote positive patient experiences. She firmly believes that every individual involved in the healthcare process plays a crucial role in advocating best practices. Outside of her professional endeavors, Dr. Walden cherishes spending quality time with her family, which includes her loving husband and four children. Her personal interests include reading and traveling.

Gail Lara – Vice President Strategic Outreach

With extensive experience in healthcare marketing, operations and management, Gail has made a career of developing and growing service lines and businesses from large health systems and specialty practices to wellness and ambulatory services.

As a VP at Adobe Care & Wellness, she oversees outreach to physicians and identifies opportunities for growth that align with the needs of the community and its members.
Gail earned an associate degree in business at Midland College followed by a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Texas. She then worked in operations and business development with a national company upon moving to Arizona and joining the state’s largest urgent care organization where she was instrumental in its growth, identifying new locations, opening clinics, and overseeing licensing, staffing, and compliance. Gail then built and grew service lines at a local hospital group and oversaw marketing and business development for another.

With a commitment to innovative thinking, Gail’s wide range of experience is enhanced by her ability to foster collaborative relationships to achieve goals.

Residents of Arizona, Gail, and her husband have three children. She is passionate about community service, has served on the board of the Arthritis Foundation, and regularly volunteers at The Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Maria Martinez – Vice President Population Health

Maria Martinez started with Adobe Care & Wellness in the call center, making health risk assessment (HRA) calls to members. She soon took on new responsibilities, learning the ins and outs of Salesforce and helping to build the company’s initial technology platform. Maria never expected that her first post-college job would lead to a career in health care solutions. Maria was born and raised in Phoenix and earned a Bachelor of Science in justice studies with a minor in women and gender studies, graduating Summa Cum Laude. She quickly rose to Senior Director of Clinical Services at Adobe Care & Wellness and later to Vice President of Operations. As VP of Operations, Maria oversees the nurse practitioner scheduling and in-home assessments program to ensure members receive the care needed. She is passionate about making health care more accessible to those living in rural areas or lacking the mobility to get to a doctor’s office helping the company grow and expand its ability to help others.

David Heinrich – Vice President, Integrated Care

A Chicago native with more than 20 years of management experience, David began his management career in the retail industry, quickly working his way up to Store Manager and then Regional Manager. While overseeing multi-million dollar retail stores, David felt the pull to venture into the medical field. He began working for an ambulance company providing pre-hospital care to the sick and injured which inspired him to further his education in nursing school. As he earned his degree, David worked full-time doing organ and tissue recovery for one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit body donation programs.

Since graduating as a registered nurse, David has worked in medical-surgical, trauma, and telemetry units as well as in home health, hospice, and nursing education. He has held clinical leadership roles including Clinical Manager and Director of Nursing.

When Adobe Care and Wellness started their Special Needs Plan in 2019, David joined the team and quickly helped grow the program. He was promoted to Director of Case Management and then to Senior Director of Integrated Care. David, who is also a Certified Case Manager, now serves as Adobe’s Vice President of Integrated Clinical Services.

Alex Waddell – Chief Information Officer

Alex Waddell is an Arizona native and graduate of Arizona State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s in economics. Alex began his career in IT as a software developer for a home health and case management provider. Over the next four years, Alex took on increasing responsibilities and began earning certifications as a Salesforce developer. In 2018, he was hired as Director of Software Development for Outreach Health Services, where he worked for two years before accepting the position of Executive Vice President of Technology at Adobe Care and Wellness. Alex has continued his drive for excellence and is now a Certified Salesforce Application Architect as well as a member of the Forbes Technology Council. In his current position as CIO,  Alex manages and directs a team of developers and oversees the design and development of the proprietary software that supports the expanding healthcare solutions Adobe Care and Wellness offers. Alex and his department, provide internal staff and external entities with analytics that measures results and helps drives decisions. He and his team also ensure data security for the company’s hardware and software.

Chad Wolver – Chief Financial Officer

36-year-old Arizona native Chad Wolver brings nearly a decade of commercial banking, strategic finance, and management experience to the Adobe Population Health leadership team. Phoenix-based Adobe Population Health ranks 2,271 on the 2023 Inc. 5000 annual list of the fastest-growing private companies in America.

A graduate of the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, Chad earned an Executive MBA with a focus in Accounting and Finance. While serving as Vice President at Bank of America, Chad was the banker for Adobe Care & Wellness (rebranded as Adobe Population Health in 2022), which has experienced 242% three-year growth from 2020 to 2023.

CFO since 2021, Chad has managed Adobe Population Health’s strategic financial strategy, overseeing its budget by using technology to create efficiency, synergy, scalability, and deeper insight to grow the organization efficiently as it expands as a multi-state provider.

Chad serves on the boards of some of Arizona’s most well-recognized philanthropic organizations, including Arizona Community Foundation’s Kellenberger + Tollefson Center for LGBTQ Philanthropy Advisory Council and ONE Community’s Millennial Advisory Board. He’s a past board member of ASU Lodestar Center’s Leadership Council, Human Rights Campaign Arizona, Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS and Phoenix Community Alliance’s Social & Housing Advancement Committee.

In his free time, Chad enjoys traveling with his partner and spending time with their beloved Italian greyhounds.

Challas Ray – Chief Operating Officer

Challas Ray has spent more than a decade building a career in the health care industry. Challas holds a Master’s in Clinical Kinesiology from Eastern Illinois University. After completing his education, he began work with Sara Bush Lincoln Health System, where he helped create and expand an external wellness program for companies interested in providing wellness programs to their employees. Challas is originally from Toledo, Illinois, but now calls Arizona home.  He moved to the Valley of the Sun seeking warmer weather and new opportunities. Joining The Beech Group as a Transitional Specialist, it was there Challas met and began collaborating with Jayme Ambrose. In 2017, he joined Jayme’s team to help launch Adobe Care & Wellness. As Adobe Care & Wellness COO, Challas provides oversight of the operational process to improve efficiencies and conducts the cost-benefit analysis of new and existing initiatives.

Pat Duryea, PhD – Chief Inspiration Officer

Patricia (Pat) Duryea earned her bachelor’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resource Management from Arizona State University. She then served as a Human Resource Director for nearly six years before returning to school to earn a Master of Educational Psychology from Northern Arizona University and a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Walden University.  Through her career spanning three decades, Pat has worked as a clinical manager, employee assistance program director, an adjunct professor at ASU and she’s owned and operated multiple small businesses. She has extensive knowledge in developing health and wellness programs, and experience in trauma-related counseling. As Chief Inspiration Officer at Adobe Care & Wellness, Pat manages human resources and the development of company culture.  She also serves as the compliance officer, receiving complaints, solving issues and reporting them to Arizona Complete Health.  She works directly with the management team on leadership development within the organization and monitoring morale. Pat’s overall focus is to ensure that employees feel included and valued in their contributions to the company’s success and to provide them with the opportunity to be the best they can be.

Jayme Ambrose DNP RN CCM – Chief Executive Officer

Jayme Ambrose, DNP, RN, CCM, is the visionary Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Adobe Population Health, an Arizona-based company offering an innovative, first-of-its-kind solution to the issue of health equity. Founded in 2018, Adobe employs a technology-driven model for interventional care management and takes a holistic approach to population health by closing care gaps, reducing costs, and caring for the whole person.

Armed with a Master of Science-Nursing from Arizona State University, Jayme was accepted into the Doctoral program for Nursing Science & Leadership at Case Western University. It was there, she developed an integrated case management model, as part of her doctoral thesis, with the objective of addressing the social determinants of health that often contribute to poor health outcomes for at-risk populations. After completing her doctorate in 2012, Beech Medical Group agreed to pilot her model, if Jayme agreed to accept a position as VP of Clinical Services. In 2016, she signed her first insurance company contract and initiated a holistic approach to case management for Medicare members. Her model integrates data analysis and risk assessment with a human touch to deliver proactive and preventative care that improves health outcomes, decreases hospital and ER visits, and reduces overall healthcare costs. In 2018, Beech Medical Group sold the company but not before giving Jayme the opportunity to purchase her division. On that day, Adobe was born with one mission: To positively impact the lives we touch.

As part of an innovative technology platform, Adobe utilizes proprietary risk stratification tools to identify the issues of those at greatest risk including food insecurities, financial hardships, transportation issues and even loneliness. And then through a proprietary and ground-breaking application called MASLOW™, members are invited to answer questions related to social determinants of health and then are connected to for-profit, non-profit, and governmental resources based on geolocation. To ensure impact, a qualified team member through a hybrid care model reaches out to offer assistance, closing the care loop. It is this human touch that sets Adobe apart from other case management organizations. Today, Adobe employs 300 nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, support coordinators, dieticians, care navigators, and transition specialists and serves more than 200,000 elderly and underserved patients across three states.

Jayme has served on several boards including The Arizona Homecare Association, The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses and the Case Management Society of America where she is currently a member. She also currently serves on the PAC board of the Arizona Nurses Association. In addition, Jayme is currently adjunct professor for Arizona State University where she teaches RN to BSN and MSN students and develops curriculum.