As busy adults, one thing that is easily ignored is an annual eye exam. You haven’t noticed any changes in your vision, you are happy with your current contacts, so it’s okay to skip, right? Not at all. In fact, regular eye exams, even when you don’t think you need one, can help to save your vision in the long run. Here are a few reasons to schedule an eye exam for you, or your child.
80 percent of what children are expected to learn in and outside the classroom requires good vision. An annual eye exam is the only way to make sure that your children are seeing clearly, which enables them to learn as efficiently as possible. It is estimated that about 10 percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of kids in Kindergarten through sixth grades have vision deficiencies, according to the American Public Health Association. A percentage of these are misdiagnosed with learning disabilities, when in fact they are just having trouble seeing.
Vision Screenings Are Not Enough
Even if your child passes a routine vision screening at school, their vision may still need improvement. The same goes for adults who pass the vision screening at the DMV. Vision screenings only act to screen those who have serious vision problems, and are not a replacement for the comprehensive eye exams performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Nearsightedness is Reaching Record Numbers
Nearsightedness, or myopia, as it is medically termed, is a vision condition in which people can see close objects clearly, but objects farther away appear blurred. Myopia affects about 40 percent of the US population. Even though myopia is often inherited, it can also be brought upon by how a person uses their eyes. Individuals who spend considerable time reading, working at a computer, or doing other intense close visual work may be more likely to develop myopia.
Researchers estimate that by 2050, 50 percent of the world’s population, a total of nearly 5 billion, will be nearsighted. This is largely due the increased amount of time that people of all ages spend on screens. For most people, their vision can be corrected with contacts or glasses, but the small percentage that develop high myopia, a more severe form of nearsightedness, are at greater risk of very serious and potentially sight-threatening eye conditions later in life, including cataracts, glaucoma and retinal detachment.
Screen for Eye Diseases
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness, and early detection is key. There are no warning signs or symptoms in the early stages of glaucoma, which is one reason why regular eye exams are crucial. By the time a person realizes they have glaucoma on their own, they have experienced irreversible vision damage, and may require surgery.
In addition to glaucoma screenings, your eye doctor can also screen for serious health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even cancer during an exam.
Make an Appointment
Even if you think you have perfect vision, it doesn’t hurt to schedule a routine exam. Time recommendations for exams are:
- 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 it’s been over a year since your last eye exam, it’s time to book one. We’d love to see you here.