There are many things you can do to stay on top of your health. You may exercise, get screened for various forms of cancer, and eat your vegetables. But are you getting a regular eye exam?
Many people lack awareness about the importance of annual eye exams, or they just avoid them because of their busy schedule or because of the costs involved. If their vision seems fine, they may think they don’t need regular eye tests.
But skipping your annual eye exam can lead to big problems for eye health. Even those who don’t wear glasses may be developing eye conditions they don’t know are there.
So when is it time to get an eye exam? Read our tips below to learn when to get an eye exam from your local optometrist and why it’s so important to do this every year.
Reasons to Get an Annual Eye Exam
Why are annual eye exams so important? There are countless reasons, but here are some of the top four:
1. Update Your Prescription
If you already wear glasses, you may think you’ve done your due diligence and don’t need to visit the optometrist until something goes wrong with your vision. In reality, you should be getting an eye exam at least once a year. An annual eye exam will keep your prescription updated so you have the best vision possible and your eyes aren’t straining to see, which could cause other eye issues later on. Eyes are changing all the time, and even slight changes in your prescription can make a big impact on your vision.
2. Detect Eye Issues
A comprehensive eye exam isn’t just about your glasses prescription. Eye exams can also help detect other problems that can affect your eye health, including macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts. These problems can often go undetected for years if a patient doesn’t have a regular eye exam. But if the problem is caught early, it can be managed and minimized.
3. Identify Other Health Problems
Eyes can be a window to other health problems, meaning an eye exam can give an indication of overall health. Examining blood vessels in the eye can help detect problems like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, and much more.
4. Vision Screenings Are Not Adequate
Some people assume they can skip regular eye exams because they have had vision screenings. But vision screenings are really just a quick and inexpensive way to detect major sight problems. They are performed by nurses or other volunteers who do not have the extensive knowledge of an optometrist or ophthalmologist. In contrast, a comprehensive eye exam will look at the full scope of eye health and detect early signs of eye problems.
How Often Do You Need an Exam?
An annual eye exam is an excellent rule of thumb, but the American Academy of Ophthalmology also recommends eye exam frequency based on age. If a patient doesn’t have any major symptoms of an eye problem, they should have an eye exam at the following intervals:
- Birth to 2 years: At 6 to 12 months of age
- 3 through 5 years: At least once between 3 and 5 years of age
- 6 through 17 years: Before first grade and annually, or as recommended thereafter
- 18 through 39: At least annually, or as recommended
- 40 through 64: At least annually, or as recommended
- 65 and older: At least annually, or as recommended
Signs It’s Time for an Eye Exam
Even if you do have an annual eye exam on the calendar, it may not be enough. Here are some of the signs you may need to schedule additional eye exams to stay on top of your eye health:
- Blurred vision
- Dry or watery eyes
- Eye pain or bleeding
- Eye injury
- Family history of ocular disease
- Taking a prescription drug with ocular side effects
- Recent eye surgery
Schedule Your Exam Today
Now that you understand the importance of regular eye exams for your overall health, it’s time to take action. If you haven’t done it yet, make sure to get an annual eye exam on your calendar. Your eyes will thank you!