The demand for optometrists’ services is on the rise. Considering the US’ aging population, that should be no wonder.
An optometrist helps people of all ages with their visual problems. Among other duties, they can inform you about your need for corrective lenses.
Like all medical professionals, an eye doctor should open the floor to questions. Here are some of the most important ones to ask during your appointment.
1. What Is the Role of an Optometrist?
An optometrist’s job is to perform eye exams, diagnose eye conditions, and prescribe corrective eyewear. An optometrist may also prescribe other types of treatments for eye diseases and disorders.
Optometrists are not the same thing as ophthalmologists. What is the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist? Ophthalmologists can do all the things an optometrist can, plus perform eye surgery.
However, optometrists can do more invasive types of procedures. For example, say something gets stuck in your or your child’s eye. An optometrist can perform a foreign body removal procedure to get it out.
2. Do I Have Symptoms of an Eye Condition?
Many people come in for an eye exam because they are experiencing symptoms of vision changes or an eye disease or disorder. For example, people experiencing the following symptoms should consider seeing an optometrist:
- Eye pain
- Double vision
- Blurry vision
- Cloudy vision
- Unusual light sensitivity
- Light or dark spots in your visual field
- Halos and glares
These symptoms could be early signs of eye problems such as macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. Make sure to tell your optometrist about your vision problems, especially if they arise suddenly.
Also, consider talking to your eye doctor about your risk for eye conditions. A professional can help you identify the early signs of eye problems. That way, you can get treatment early and reduce the chances of complications.
3. Do I Need Corrective Lenses?
If you are having trouble focusing on words or objects, whether up close or far away, you may need corrective lenses. Your optometrist can administer a visual test to determine if you need glasses.
Diagnosing vision problems requires a variety of tests. This includes the visual acuity test (also known as the eye chart exam), visual refraction eye test, and visual field test.
4. What Are My Treatment Options?
People who do not pass their vision exams may require corrective lenses. There are a variety of options available, from glasses to LASIK eye surgery. An optometrist can help determine the best corrective treatment for you.
If you choose to get glasses or contacts, optometrists typically have frame options and contact lenses available.
Optometrists can also prescribe treatments for eye conditions. Treatment could be as simple as getting glasses or contacts, or your optometrist may prescribe medication or surgery to treat your condition.
5. At What Age Do Vision Problems Start?
If you are a parent, you may wonder when to start looking for signs of a vision deficiency in children. Vision starts to develop before birth and continues to grow until the child is around six years old.
As such, vision problems can begin at any age. Most optometrists recommend that parents schedule eye exams starting at six months of age. Once your child turns six, you should start bringing him or her in for annual checkups.
It can be difficult to identify visual problems before children attend school. Getting your child’s eyes checked early can help identify visual problems before they become a bigger issue.
6. What Kind of Eye Changes Come With Aging?
Getting older takes a major toll on the visual system. You may become farsighted, develop color blindness, or have trouble adjusting to different light levels. Additionally, the risk for eye disorders increases with age.
Early treatment is the best way to address these eye changes before they become a serious problem. Your optometrist can also help you figure out if these changes are due to something else (e.g., medication side effects).
7. How Can I Monitor Changes in My Eye Health?
If you do have risk factors for eye disorders, asking this question can help you understand the early signs to look out for. As we have mentioned, prevention is the key to preserving your vision.
That is why the best way to monitor changes in your eye health is to get regular eye exams. Most doctors recommend them every five years for adults with good eye health.
Older adults and people with vision problems should go more often. For example, adults over the age of 65 should ideally get an eye exam every year. This recommendation applies even if you have good eye health.
8. How Can I Change My Lifestyle for Optimal Eye Care?
Your optometrist can recommend positive lifestyle changes that can help improve your eye health. For example, consider incorporating the following into your daily routine:
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV light
- Quit smoking cigarettes
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get plenty of physical activity or exercise
- Manage your blood pressure
- Get treatment for diabetes
- Reduce screen time when you can and take screen breaks when you can’t
Also, incorporate foods into your diet that are good for your eye health. Ingredients rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and lutein can protect you from certain eye disorders.
9. How Often Do I Need an Eye Exam?
We’ve already mentioned the recommendations for eye exams for healthy people. But how often do you need to see an optometrist if you are not in optimal visual health?
Ask your optometrist this question at the end of your visit. He or she will be able to tell you how often to schedule an appointment based on your or your child’s unique situation.
Looking for an ‘Optometrist Near Me’?
If you are gearing up for your first optometry appointment, make sure to keep this list of the top questions to ask handy.
Are you searching for an optometrist in Kentucky? We have 11 eye clinic locations throughout the state. Find a Kentucky Eye Institute near you and schedule your first appointment today!