Why Do You Need an Annual Eye Exam?
Good eye health and clear vision are among the benefits of annual eye examinations
Do I need an annual eye exam if my vision seems okay?
Annual check-ups with your doctor and dentist are essential in taking care of your health. But what about going to an eye doctor? Eye exams at every age and through your changing life stages can help keep your eyes healthy and your vision strong.
How can children benefit from an annual eye exam?
The American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that 80% of what children are expected to learn in and outside the classroom requires good vision. These days, our children are exposed to an increasing amount of screen time, placing even more demand on their eye health and vision.
According to the American Public Health Association, 10% of preschoolers and 25% of kids in grades K-6 have vision problems. Furthermore, many of these youngsters are misdiagnosed with learning disabilities, placing additional stress on families and classrooms.
A comprehensive eye exam is the only way to ensure your child sees clearly and comfortably. Good vision and eye health will help them succeed in the classroom, sports, and other activities.
How can adults benefit from an annual eye exam?
Many adults believe their eyesight is “good” until they have difficulty reading fine print or street signs. They eventually go for an eye exam and discover they need prescription lenses. Suddenly, they can see the world more clearly when they get that first pair of glasses or contact lenses.
However, annual eye exams are also an opportunity to check on the health of your eyes. Early detection of eye conditions can help you preserve your vision.
Eye conditions can go unnoticed for a long time. Some have no symptoms at first, but eventually become noticeable.
As with most health concerns, early detection and treatment of eye disorders yields better outcomes.
What can you find out from your eye doctor?
A comprehensive dilated eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye doctor) is necessary to effectively evaluate and manage changes in your eye health and vision.
During the exam, your eye’s visual acuity (sharpness), depth perception, eye alignment, and eye movement are tested.
Eye drops are used to make your pupils larger (dilation), so your eye doctor can see inside your eyes and check for signs of health problems. Your eye doctor may find indications of other health concerns such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
What eye conditions require early detection?
Early treatment is essential to prevent some common eye disorders from causing permanent vision loss or blindness. These diseases include:
- Cataracts (clouding of the lens) are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States
- Diabetic retinopathy (which causes damage to blood vessels in the back of the eyes) is the leading cause of blindness in American adults
- Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damages the optic nerve
- Age-related macular degeneration is a gradual breakdown of light-sensitive tissue in the eye
Regular eye care can have a life-changing impact on preserving your vision.
What other reasons should prompt you to visit your eye doctor?
Don't wait for your next appointment if you are experiencing eye problems or vision disturbances. Make an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible. Examples of eye and vision issues needing immediate attention include:
- Decreased vision
- Draining or redness of the eye
- Eye pain
- Double vision
- Floaters (specks that appear to float before your eyes)
- Circles (halos) around lights
- Flashes of light
How would annual eye exams impact vision health in the U.S?
We are an aging population. Advanced age, along with other factors, such as genetics and poor overall health, can contribute to a decline in our vision and eye health.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of America Medicine estimates that the number of individuals in the US who are affected by blindness and visual impairment could exceed 8 million by 2050.
Annual eye exams can help prevent and treat eye disorders for millions of Americans, and can undoubtedly correct vision problems for millions more.
How can the MCHD help with vision health?
The Moultrie County Health Department (MCHD) joins other healthcare professionals in encouraging people to schedule annual eye examinations for themselves and their children as part of their family’s overall health and wellness plan.
The MCHD has RN staff certified to assess vision and hearing for children through the age of 18 years. Children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at the time of the service. If you are interested in this service for your child, please contact our office for an appointment.