Sight is a valuable sense to possess, and it truly affects how we experience the world around us. However, sight problems can cause an individual’s quality of life to suffer. In fact, statistics show that more than 11 million Americans over the age of 12 need vision correction. Because of this and many other factors, it’s important to keep track of your eye health and have your regular eye exam with your optometrist or ophthalmologist. Here are some of the reasons why we advise paying attention to your eye health this year.
Early Detection of Disease
When you get your regular eye exam, one of the most significant things that your doctor does is check how healthy your eyes are. He or she will take a look inside your eyes and check for tell-tale signs of diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachment. Your doctor can also check for cataracts and diabetic retinopathy, an eye condition linked to diabetes. The early detection of eye disease leads to a better chance at monitoring and treating it so it will affect you as little as possible. Less harmful but still life-affecting diseases like color blindness can also be detected through a regular checkup.
Your eye care providers will also ask for updates about changes in your overall health and medical history for the purpose of preventative care. The interconnectedness of the body means that the health of the rest of your body can affect your eye health and vice-versa, particularly if you have a serious or chronic disease. By examining your eyes themselves, your eye doctor can also get a good idea of your body’s overall state of health and what conditions may need to be monitored more closely. The condition of your eyes is often a reflection of the health of the rest of your body, and diseases unrelated to your vision can be detected through an eye exam, such as diabetes and even brain tumors.
Many people who have experienced changes in eyesight (especially those who’ve never worn corrective eyewear) may not even realize they have a vision problem until they experience wearing prescription lenses for the first time. Whether you need vision correction or not, your eye doctor can monitor your eyes over time in the event that you do need some form of correction. He or she will be able to detect even the subtlest changes in your vision and help you see better. This is a lifestyle necessity for everything from work to home to transportation.
Furthermore, vision changes as people age. Even if an individual never needed prescription lenses when they were young, they may find as they get older that they need a pair of glasses for day-to-day work and activities like reading. Since age is also a factor in the development of eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma, your doctor can monitor your eyes to determine your risk for those diseases. If your doctor thinks those diseases could be developing, he or she can then help you figure out treatment options.
Children’s Eyes Matter, Too
Detecting an eye problem in a child early on is important for their success in school and daily activities. If you find that your child is having trouble seeing long or short distances or is having trouble being aware of his or her surroundings, he or she may have a vision problem that needs to be addressed.
Myopia, or nearsightedness, in children is becoming increasingly prevalent, as well. Unchecked and unmonitored, myopia can also raise the risk of children developing eye diseases and other conditions earlier in life than usual. So to keep your child safe and healthy as their eyes and the rest of their bodies grow, take them to their regular eye checkup.
How Often is “Regular”?
For people under the age of 65, eye doctors recommend a regular eye checkup about every one to two years, depending on risk for disease, and a full eye disease exam by the age of 40. Over the age of 65, an eye appointment about every year to year-and-a-half is advised. To set up your next eye appointment, contact us today!