When Was The Last Time You Visited The Optometrist?

Did your parents ever tell you to eat more carrots so you could have good eyesight? Even though carrots have beneficial nutrients for your body, they do not eliminate the importance of seeing an eye doctor every year. Most of us are diligent about getting our annual physical exam with our Primary Care Provider, and we may even visit our dentist every six months for professional cleaning, but when you stop and really think about it, your eye health is vital also! An annual eye exam goes beyond just clearing up blurry vision because there is so much more to your eye health than seeing clearly. Here are some important reasons why you should visit your eye doctor annually. 

Underlying Medical Condition 

An eye doctor can certainly help you see better, but they can also be the first to discover high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, a hormone imbalance, and even a brain tumor because your eyes are a “tell-all” for early signs of health problems. It is amazing how our bodies work because anything that affects the circulatory system can be revealed in the tiny blood vessels in and around the retina. Blurry vision, eye pain, or improper pupil dilation could indicate clues to a neurological problem, like an aneurysm or a tumor since the optic nerve is in direct contact with the brain. 

Protecting Long-Term Vision

Today, more children are developing myopia or nearsightedness. This is a concern because little ones who struggle with nearsightedness can experience a worsening of the condition throughout adolescence, which significantly raises the risk of additional eye conditions. These conditions include cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. Therefore, annual eye exams are extremely beneficial for a child’s overall health because they can assess the risk of myopia and reduce the progression of any future eye problems.

Assessing Glaucoma

Glaucoma, however, is a disease that is not only serious but sneaky. It has no discernible symptoms in its early stages, so it would be difficult to know if something is wrong without a professional’s assessment. This disease is ruthless because, by the time any damage has occurred, it becomes very difficult to slow down or control. Therefore, without routine eye exams, permanent loss of vision is possible for those who have this condition. To ensure optimal eye health, one must make it a priority to visit the eye doctor.

Detecting UV Damage

Have you spent many days out in direct sunlight? Whether out on the lake in the summer or skiing the mountain slopes in the winter, the eyes can become easily sunburned and damaged. While everyone should wear mineral-based sunblock to protect their skin, one must also be diligent about protecting their eyes from the sun’s powerful rays with the proper UVA and UVB eyewear. Sun damage does not only cause skin cancer, but it is also the primary cause of cataracts. An optometrist is your best source to treat mild burns and can effectively remove a cataract. 

Vision Screening vs. Comprehensive Exam

A vision screening does not compare to the benefit of having a comprehensive eye exam. Vision screenings are simple tests that help identify if someone has or is at risk for vision problems. A school nurse or a pediatrician often complete screenings, but these are the same basic screenings completed when you obtain your driver’s license.  While uncomplicated in nature, screenings can potentially indicate the need for a comprehensive eye exam. 

When you go to the optometrist, you receive a comprehensive eye exam. This involves careful testing of every aspect of your vision. Depending on the results, your doctor will determine what treatment plans are best for your individual needs. Treatment plans for correcting vision problems can consist of eyeglasses, contact lenses, or doing eye exercises. Treatment for health-related problems could include surgery for any muscle issues, or medical intervention for eye disease. Therefore, it is most beneficial to schedule a comprehensive eye exam each year.

It is estimated that the number of visually-impaired people in the United States will double in the next ten years. To help reduce this number, people need to prioritize scheduling a visit to the optometrist, especially if has been more than two years since the eyes were checked. A healthy life is a high-quality life, and your vision should not be taken for granted!

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