Most people visit their doctor and dentist on a regular basis, but it’s alarming how often people tend to neglect their eye care. Sure, taking time off from work or other activities is a pain, but it’s so important to get an eye exam regularly. Regular eye exams are critical to maintaining eye health.
Thinking of putting off your annual eye exam? Here are a few of the reasons why you shouldn’t, as well as what to expect when you show up for your appointment.
Why You Need an Eye Examination
Now, getting an eye exam is key to keeping your vision at its best. Even if your vision seems perfect, an annual eye exam can alert you to any potential problems that may be developing under the radar.
Like many health issues, catching a problem with your eyes early could make it much easier to solve the issue before it gets worse.
How often do you need to have your eyes examined? Most eye experts recommend:
- Age 40 and younger: every one to four years
- Ages 40 to 54: every one to three years
- Ages 55 to 64: every two years
- 65 and older: every 6-12 months1
In some cases, you may need an eye exam more frequently. For example, if you notice spots in your field of vision, a sensation similar to a flashing light, or blurry vision, you might want to get an eye exam every six months. You may also need more frequent regular eye exams if you’ve recently been diagnosed with any sort of serious health issue.2
Again, you should schedule an eye exam even if you think you’re not having any problems seeing.
If your eye doctor recommends corrective lenses, like contacts or glasses, you might just be amazed at the results. You’ll see things more clearly and sharply than you thought possible.
An annual eye exam is critical to your eye health. Eye ailments can develop slowly and subtly over time – so slowly that you might not notice any major changes. An eye doctor can diagnose a problem so that it doesn’t worsen to the point that your vision is in jeopardy.
How an Annual Eye Exam Compares to Vision Screening
Vision screenings are quite different from an annual eye exam. A child might have a vision screening at school, or you might have had one the last time you had to get a new driver’s license.
A vision screening is typically administered by someone other than an eye care professional. It’s designed to make sure you can do a certain task, like see a chalkboard or be able to properly see objects on the road. But only an eye doctor can properly check for potential issues that can affect your eye health.3
What to Expect During an Annual Eye Exam
When you visit your eye doctor’s office, these are just a few of the tests you can expect to have:
Pressure on the Eye – A test known as tonometry is used to check for any excessive pressure that may be occurring inside your eye. It will typically consist of a quick puff of air in each eye. In some cases, however, the doctor will gently apply a pressure-sensitive instrument against the eye.4
Pupils – Part of the eye exam may involve checking to see how your pupils respond to light. The doctor will usually shine a light into each pupil to see how it reacts. Pupils should become smaller, or constrict, when exposed to light. If they don’t change, or if they widen, that could be a sign of issue.5
Side Vision – Your eye doctor might administer something called a visual field test. This will help determine how well you see out of your immediate field of vision, including your side vision.6
Clarity of Vision – This is where the doctor asks you to read an eye chart to check your distance vision. One of your eyes will be covered, and you’ll be asked to read the letters you can see. Then, the test is repeated using the other eye.7
Wrapping it Up
It is vital to get regular eye exams. They will not only help ensure you see as clearly as possible, they can also detect any potential issues that need to be addressed. If it’s been a while since you had your eyes checked, don’t continue to put it off – schedule an appointment as soon as you can.
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