7 Reasons To Get an Eye Exam, Even if You Have Good Vision
If your eyes are healthy, you may not think you need regular eye exams. Unfortunately, this can leave you open to serious vision and other health problems. Even if you don’t wear contact lenses or glasses, neglecting eye exams means that you’re missing out on a critical aspect of your overall healthcare.
To get a clearer picture of how eye exams benefit everyone, we’ll look at:
- Diabetic retinopathy
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
We’ll also look at how often you should get an eye exam to ensure that you’re protecting your vision and overall health.
It’s estimated that over 3 million people live with glaucoma in the United States. Unfortunately, most of those people don’t even know that they have it. It often has few if any warning signs in its early stages. However, you may notice these symptoms if you have an advanced case of the disease:
- Mild recurring headaches
- Poor night vision
- A decrease in peripheral vision
- Frequent redness in one or both eyes
- Blurred vision
Early detection is essential for fighting glaucoma. With regular eye exams, our eye doctors can catch the disease and develop a treatment plan to protect your vision.
Check out our video interview with Dr. Pruett to learn more about glaucoma!
Changes in vision are perfectly natural as you get older. You may notice that it’s harder to see things that are up close, have trouble telling the difference between blue and black, or not be able to adjust to dim light like you used to. While frustrating, these problems are caused by the natural hardening of your eyes’ lenses as you get older.
This hardening is known as presbyopia. While it can’t be prevented, it can be treated. Regular eye exams allow us to catch vision problems such as presbyopia and provide solutions for retaining your vision.
Check out What Happens to Our Eyes as We Age? to learn more about vision changes for older adults.
3. Diabetic Retinopathy
Also known as diabetic eye disease, diabtetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the US. High blood sugar from diabetes can damage your blood vessels, including those located in your eyes. The lining in the back of the eye, known as the retina, is especially vulnerable. Fortunately, early detection and treatment can prevent permanent vision loss.
Not only can eye exams be used to catch and monitor diabetic eye disease, but they can catch diabetes, as well. Our surgeons can spot signs of diabetes just by looking at your eyes during an exam, which can alert you to your condition and help you get the treatment that you need.
Check out our video interview with Dr. Holt to learn how.
4. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) can have a huge effect on your vision as much as your overall health. Like diabetic eye disease, high blood pressure affects your retina by damaging tissue. This can result in:
- Bleeding in the eye
- Blurred vision
- Total vision loss
Fluid can also build up under the retina, causing you to experience distorted vision and scarring. You may also experience optic nerve damage from blood flow becoming blocked.
Scheduling an annual eye exam can help catch and combat the effects of high blood pressure on your eyes as well as the rest of your body. Our team can observe your eye to catch signs of high blood pressure, or let you know that your treatment plan is working.
5. High Cholesterol
Sometimes health problems that have little to no effect on your vision can be observed during an eye exam. For instance, cholesterol is essential for maintaining healthy cells, but there is too much of a good thing. When left unchecked, it greatly increases your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Luckily, eye exams give eye care providers warnings that you have high cholesterol. A telltale sign is a yellow or blue ring that’s visible around your retina. In advanced cases, it’s possible to predict a stroke with just an eye exam.
6. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is an eye disease that distorts your central vision. Your macula can become damaged as you get older, making it difficult to clearly see what’s directly in front of you. Rather than being able to see clearly, objects in front of you become blurred. The macula is part of your retina, which is sensitive to light.
AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults. It doesn’t happen all at once nor does it result in complete blindness. Instead, it will become harder to make out faces, drive, and read. There is currently no treatment for AMD, so getting regular comprehensive exams is essential so your doctor can track it.
For more on AMD check out our video and blog with Dr. Carrera asking patient questions!
As the leading cause of blindness worldwide, cataracts are something everyone should be aware of. Cataracts are caused by deteriorating proteins in the lens of the eye. As they break down, they clump together to cloud the eye. Getting older is the most common reason for cataracts. However, they can occur at any age.
Like with AMD, comprehensive eye exams are important in the detection and treatment of cataracts. Your eye doctor will be able to detect the early changes in your vision that may signal cataracts and come up with a treatment plan. Cataracts may not harm your eyes, but they can make life more difficult and everyday tasks more frustrating.
Read Cataracts: Do I Have Them? And More of Your Questions Answered for a comprehensive guide to cataracts!
How often should you get an eye exam?
There are different types of exams that you can get. For an exam that checks for vision and health issues, you’ll want to include comprehensive eye exams as part of your eye care routine. This should be once at least every two years for adults ages 18 – 50.
This can vary depending on your age and health. For example:
- Children should have their first comprehensive eye exam before kindergarten and every few years afterward
- Teens should have a comprehensive eye exam before learning to drive
- Adults 50+ should get a comprehensive eye exam once a year
- Patients with diabetes should get yearly comprehensive eye exams
- Adults with a family history of glaucoma, macular degeneration, or another eye disease should get yearly comprehensive eye exams starting at age 30
You should be getting vision exams even if you have good vision. They are essential for catching serious eye issues such as glaucoma, presbyopia, and diabetic retinopathy. They can also give your eye doctor a picture of your overall health, including your vascular health. Make sure to get a comprehensive eye exam every two years between the ages of 18 – 50, and more regularly if other aspects of your health require it.