7 Signs You Need an Eye Exam

June 29, 2017

Do you know the last time you had an eye exam? Many adults put off getting their eyes examined regularly, and wait until there is a problem. Below are seven signs that it may be time to schedule your next eye exam:

1. Frequent Headaches

A routine eye exam can uncover a few issues that may be causing headaches. In some cases, staring at the computer screen for too long, or working in overly bright and dim light may be the culprit. There are also some common eye conditions that can cause headaches:

  • Astigmatism, in which the cornea is not properly shaped, and requires you to squint in order to focus your vision
  • Hyperopia, or long-sightedness
  • Presbyopia, a condition in which the lens has become hard and inflexible with age, making it difficult to focus

If you are experiencing frequent headaches, and it has been more than a year since your last eye exam, see your eye care provider.

2. Squinting

If you find yourself squinting to better read, it may be time for a prescription update. While squinting won’t hurt your eyes, it is a sign that your eyes may need more assistance in viewing certain things.

3. Difficulty Seeing at Night

If you have trouble driving or seeing at night, you may be experiencing night blindness, or nyctalopia. With night blindness eyes experience a sensitivity to light and patients have difficulty seeing at night or in dimly lit areas. Cataracts, nearsightedness, side effects from medications, laser refractive surgery, corneal diseases and injuries, and Vitamin A deficiency can create night blindness. In order to determine the cause of your night blindness, visit an eye care professional.

4. Itchy, Red, or Dry Eyes

While dry eyes are caused by a variety of things, an eye doctor will be able to tell you how to best treat them. If you have tried over the counter remedies such as artificial tears, a consultant with an eye doctor may be able to provide more relief.

5. Vision Changes

Any change in vision is a sign that an eye exam should be scheduled. Common changes include:

  • Blurry vision- If you notice things becoming blurry, you may be developing farsightedness or nearsightedness. If you find it difficult to see objects both near and far, that may be astigmatism, a common condition involving a curvature of the eye lens or cornea.
  • Double vision- Double vision can indicate serious issues. Seeing double may mean problems with your cornea or eye muscles, and can also be a symptom of cataracts.
  • Wavy vision- If things look like they are underwater, straight lines appear distorted, or colors look faded, it may be a sign of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the central portion of the retina and a leading cause of vision loss.
  • Halos- If you notice halos around objects, it may signal developing cataracts or night vision problems.

If you notice any of these changes in your vision, schedule an eye exam as soon as possible.

6. Health Conditions

Diabetes and eye conditions are closely related. Those with diabetes are recommended to get an eye exam at least yearly. Additionally, if you have a family history of cataracts, retinal problems, or glaucoma, you should schedule regular eye exams to monitor eye health.

7. You Can’t Remember Your Last One

If you can’t remember the last time you saw an eye doctor, you are more than likely due for an eye exam. Time frame recommendations are as follows:

  • Every 1-2 years for individuals 65 and over
  • Every 2-4 years for individuals between the ages of 40-64
  • Every 3-5 years for individuals between the ages of 20-39

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible.

For an appointment with a Piedmont Eye Center doctor, use this form to schedule one.

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