How Often Should You Visit the Eye Doctor?
Eye care is an important facet of your overall health and wellbeing. Be sure to schedule an exam at least once a year.
Much like visiting the dentist or seeing a general practitioner for a yearly physical, it’s important for adults who wear glasses or contacts to schedule at least one eye exam per year. Depending on certain risk factors — like your age, medical history, or the current health of your eyes — you may need to schedule eye exams more frequently. These regular check-ins are a helpful way to ensure that your eyes are functioning properly as well as monitor your overall health.
The Importance of Regular Eye Exams
There are many reasons why it’s important to schedule a yearly eye exam. For one, exams can help detect eye problems at their earliest stages when they’re most treatable. This gives eye care professionals a better chance to correct poor vision by prescribing glasses or contact lenses — or to identify potentially serious health conditions like glaucoma or cataracts.
In addition, regular check-ins with your eye doctor are important for those whose vision is still changing. With more frequent check-ins, you can ensure you have an accurate, up-to-date prescription for your glasses or contacts. This will improve your vision while also decreasing symptoms of eyestrain or headaches, which are often associated with weak prescriptions.
What’s more, annual eye exams can be beneficial for your overall health. For example, during an eye exam, your doctor will inspect the blood vessels in your retina, which can be a good predictor of how blood vessels in the rest of your body are faring. A variety of health conditions — from diabetes and hypertension to hypercholesterolemia — can all be identified by the appearance of the retinal blood supply.
Who Is Most At Risk?
Even though many people understand that their eye health has a big impact on their overall wellbeing, many don’t schedule an eye exam until they experience problems with their vision. In fact, the CDC estimates that only half of the 61 million Americans who are at risk of losing their eyesight have visited an eye care specialist in the past year.
In particular, annual eye exams are important for anyone with a family history of diabetes or glaucoma. It is estimated that more than 30 million Americans with diabetes are at risk for developing diabetic eye disease, which is the leading cause of blindness among adults. Because this disease has no visible symptoms, the only way to detect and mitigate its risks are with a yearly eye exam.
In addition, it’s important for children to see their eye doctor at least once a year. The chances of developing serious eye conditions (like cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment) are higher for children who are diagnosed with myopia earlier in life. As such, it’s important to ensure your child is visiting the eye doctor on a regular basis. And, no — passing a school vision screening doesn’t count!
Schedule an Eye Exam Today
With most eye exams, there’s not much to prepare for. The majority of the time you can schedule a visit with an optometrist who will offer you an array of services: eye muscle tests, visual acuity tests, refraction assessments, retinal examinations, and more. These are all non-invasive procedures that shouldn’t take more than an hour to complete. If you’re seeing a new eye doctor, or scheduling an exam for the first time, just be prepared to answer a few questions about your vision and health history.
With better eye care, you can improve your overall health in a myriad of ways. That’s why eye professionals at the Swagel Wootton Eye Institute encourage most patients to schedule a regular eye exam at least once a year. We offer vision solutions that help you understand your prescription and assess whether you have any conditions that would preclude corrective surgery.