An estimated 2.2 million Americans will be blind, and an additional 5 million will have low vision by 2030.
This is startling, to say the least.
Annual eye exams are pivotal in identifying and treating eye problems at their early stages. This gives you better chances of recovering and not being part of these statistics.
Here is an in-depth look at this, and other reasons why you should never skip your annual eye checkup.
1. Visual Impairment Can Cost Your Life
Your eyes and your vision are your first line of protection in most circumstances. Think about crossing a busy road or driving. Or even walking down the stairs.
You need good eyesight to keep yourself and others safe.
2. Symptoms Are Not Always Obvious
Your doctor can uncover a lot of information from your eyes.
This is because the earliest indications of some health problems are detectable through the eyes.
This includes health conditions like diabetes, hormonal imbalances, high cholesterol, and even brain tumors.
In addition, the optic nerve is directly connected to the brain. This means that abnormal pupil dilation, blurriness, and eye pain can also indicate a neurological problem.
Many eye diseases remain asymptomatic in their early stages. As such, a check-up allows your doctor to screen and detect conditions such as glaucoma.
If detected early, most conditions can be prevented, treated or managed much better.
All these are issues your doctor can uncover during your eye check.
3. Can Highlight Allergies
Eye exams can expose your allergies.
Symptoms such as red itchy eyes, burning or tearing may point towards allergic conjunctivitis.
If this is the case, your doctor will help you identify the sources of allergens in your environment so you can start consciously avoiding them.
At times, you will get allergy shots, oral antihistamines or eye drops to alleviate your symptoms and offer relief.
Identifying and treating these can significantly improve your quality of life.
4. Eye Health Is Dynamic
Your eyes, just like the rest of your body change with time.
While your eyes might have been in perfect health at your last checkup, that might not be true a year down the line.
Some of the changes that might happen in between your checks can cause damage, some of which might be irreversible. It’s, therefore, best to catch any problems as soon as they crop up and get on a treatment plan.
Similarly, technology is changing.
Scheduling your annual eye checkup means you can take advantage of these innovations. Together with your doctor, you can explore newer technologies that will work best to improve your vision and overall quality of life.
5. Your Prescription Is Not Constant
If you wear prescription glasses, your prescription might change with time. Eyesight deteriorates faster in some people than others.
Although wearing the wrong glasses might not be harmful, it might cause some serious side effects.
Some of these include blurriness, dizziness, vertigo, headaches, and nausea. Aside from these, if the lenses are not up to par, your eyes have to work extra hard to enable you to see. This may force you to squint which strains your eyes.
6. It Prevents Learning Problems
Studies have shown that people with visual problems also have learning problems. Unfortunately, thousands of children are misdiagnosed with learning disabilities such as ADHD, when eyesight is the problem.
For an adult, it’s easier to detect an eye problem when you start having problems with your vision. With children, it’s slightly more complex.
When a kid starts getting vision problems from a young age, they do not identify it as a problem since poor vision is all they know. Without regular check-ups, the eye problems go untreated and at times deteriorate as time passes.
There are other conditions such as amblyopia, where the brain and the eyes do not communicate properly. Detection of such a problem early can help save a child’s vision.
Because human being as are visual learners, it’s important to take care of your eyes.
7. Eye Problems Can Be Hereditary
Many hereditary eye diseases remain undetected until adulthood.
While not all of them are curable, having an annual checkup can alert you to their existence.
Subsequently, your doctor can keep track of any such issues, monitor progression and recommend treatment or management of the conditions.
8. Eye Exams Give You Options
A lot can come out of your annual checkup. You might be in prescription glasses that make you feel self-conscious or that disallow you to do things you like doing.
Say you play tennis or swim or contact sports. Prescription glasses can get in the way of you being at your best.
In other instances, the lenses might be good, but the frames might be ill-fitting leaving you with pressure sores and tender spots.
Any issues you have with your glasses can be sufficiently addressed at your checkup. Your doctor can discuss contact lenses, Lasik eye surgery and so on.
Comprehensive Eye Exam vs Routine Eye Exam
A routine eye exam is performed by an optician who checks for vision impairments.
These include astigmatism, hyperopia, myopia, and presbyopia. Most of these vision issues can be rectified with prescription glasses and contact lenses.
Routine eye exams will typically take 30 minutes from start to finish.
On the other hand, a comprehensive eye exam is done by an optometrist and takes roughly an hour to complete.
It might take longer depending on the tests your doctor decides to take based on preliminary findings.
While a routine exam confines itself to vision impairments, a comprehensive check goes beyond this. During your appointment, your doctor will check for both visual capability and diseases.
If your optometrist diagnoses a disease at this stage, you will get a prescription or a treatment plan. In some cases, your optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist for further assessment and treatment.
Are You Due for a Checkup?
Well-timed eye exams can be the difference between correcting a simple eye or health problem and dealing with a more advanced, harder -to- treat disease.
Kentucky Eye Institute is home to an expert team of ophthalmologists and optometrists committed to delivering specialized care to all our patients.
Are you or the kids due for an eye check-up? Contact us now for your next appointment.