Eye health is so important. We only get one pair of eyes when we are born and they have to last us a lifetime.

Most people understand the importance of taking care of their bodies. All of us go great lengths to stay slim, fit, strong, and heart-healthy; we watch what they eat and we exercise whenever we can. Most of us also take steps to care for our teeth, hair, and skin so we can look their best at all times.

However, so many of us don’t take steps to care for our eyes, and that can lead to problems down the road.

Here in the Bluegrass Region, there is beauty all around us. Our rolling, fertile hills are famous across the nation. Kentucky folks are known for their friendliness and welcoming spirit. We live here because we love it here, and we need strong, healthy eyes to fully participate in, enjoy and embrace all the little wonders of life here.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about eye health. With proper attention and care, you’ll be able to watch and experience those beautiful Kentucky sunrises and sunsets with your loved ones for years to come.

Why You Must Get Annual Eye Exams

Taking care of your eyes is so important. Most people agree that vision is the most important of the five senses humans possess, but only about half of Americans get an annual eye exam. Although the reasons for this vary, no matter what the reason, this is playing with fire.

When you skip your yearly eye exam, you are putting your vision at risk. There are a number of different optical issues that can arise and can threaten your vision and even your life.

Visiting your eye doctor each year will allow him or her to identify vision problems before you even notice them. For example, glaucoma is a disease that can lead to blindness but those afflicted feel no pain as it develops. Age-related macular degeneration is often symptom-free in the early stages when it can most easily be treated. 

Furthermore, annual eye exams can reveal other diseases and illnesses as well. These exams are a patient’s first line of defense against diabetes, thyroid disease, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, some cancers, and more. 

A Visit to the Eye Doctor

The absolute best way to take care of your eyes in the Bluegrass region or anywhere on earth is to schedule an eye exam each and every year. It is only through an examination by a professional that the above issues can be identified and treated. Your eyes are so important; it is crucial that you don’t skip these exams.

Types of Vision Professionals

When you get an eye exam, you may see several different providers. Many people are confused by the differences between these professionals because their jobs all begin with the same letter. An optometrist will conduct the actual exam. Optometrists diagnose eye diseases and prescribe glasses or contact lenses; they may also prescribe eye medicines as needed.

If an optometrist finds an issue that will require surgery, you will be referred to an ophthalmologist. Some ophthalmologists also give exams. 

An optician is a person who will help you find the right pair of glasses after you receive a prescription for them from an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. 

A Typical Exam

When you visit the eye doctor, your exam will consist of several tests. These tests include a visual field test to check your peripheral vision and a visual acuity test to check how well you can see at a distance. You’ll also experience tonometry, which is used to test the pressure inside of your eye and will indicate if you have glaucoma

If your eye doctor wants to investigate your eyes more thoroughly, dilation may occur. He or she will give you eye drops to widen your pupil so more light can enter the eye. Then, he or she will examine your eye closely with magnification. 

Your eye exam won’t take very long in most cases. Once it’s complete, you’ll likely be all set until next year. If you need glasses, you can select them right away with an optician’s help.

When to Visit the Doctor 

It’s likely that you will not experience any issues between annual exams, but if you do, you should make an appointment right away. Don’t wait; the faster you get treatment, the quicker and more effective your relief.

If you’re experiencing double vision, painful redness, blind spots, the feeling of a shade or curtain being drawn across your line of vision, or partial or total vision loss in one or both eyes, you should visit the eye doctor right away. If you injure your eye in any way, you should also go immediately. Your eye doctor may not be available at night or on a weekend; in those cases, go to the emergency room.

General Eye Health Tips for Everyone

Although annual eye exams are one of the best ways to ensure ongoing eye health, there are a number of things you can do to help keep your eyes healthy as well.

First of all, your eyes love nutrients, and therefore, eating right is the best thing that you can do for your eye health. Fill up on green leafy vegetables, fish, non-meat protein sources like eggs, nuts, and beans, and citris truits. Oysters and pork are good for your eyes as well. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can help control diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes which can negatively affect your ability to see. 

Another great thing you can do for your overall eye health is to quit smoking. Smoking can do a lot of damage to the eyes and can cause macular degeneration, cataracts, and more. 

Protect your eyes whenever and however you can. When you’re out in the sun, wear sunglasses. If you wear contacts, keep them clean and take good care of them to avoid infection. Anytime you work with chemicals, tools, or machinery, be sure to wear safety glasses as well.

Finally, know your family history and other risk factors. Some people are more susceptible to eye problems than others; if you are someone who is at high risk, you may want to consider eye exams at a higher frequency than just once a year.

All of these tips are helpful on their own, but when used together, you are being proactive about your eye health. As time goes on, you’ll be glad you made these small changes to protect your sight.

Eye Health in the Bluegrass Region

If you are looking for a well rated, experienced, patient, and friendly eye care provider in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, please stop by and see us at Kentucky Eye Institute. We offer all types of eye health services and are happy to answer any questions you might have. Please give us a call today.