Whether you currently wear some form of corrective lenses or have always had 20/20 vision, visiting the eye doctor annually is vitally important. According to the CDC, “about 11 million Americans over the age of 12 need vision correction. Regular eye exams are also an important part of finding eye diseases early and preserving your vision.”
Eye diseases can sometimes go unnoticed for years because a lot of them don’t show any symptoms. For these eye diseases, only eye doctors can see if you or are developing them. The best way to look for these diseases is by allowing your eye doctor to do a complete dilated eye exam which helps an optometrist or ophthalmologist catch diseases in the early stages.
“During the exam, visual acuity (sharpness), depth perception, eye alignment, and eye movement are tested. Eye drops are used to make your pupils larger so your eye doctor can see inside your eyes and check for signs of health problems. Your eye doctor may even spot other conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, sometimes before your primary care doctor does.” 1
When should I start seeing an eye doctor?
As we get older, our vision starts to deteriorate. The best time to start getting your eyes checked is when you are a child. Without eye tests, eye disease or vision problems, can go untreated.
Everyone should have their eyes checked at least every other year and dilated, but children and people with diabetes, especially, should be seen every year.
There are some warning signs of deteriorating vision or eye disease that you should immediately schedule a visit for. These include:
- Eye pain
- Double vision
- Decreased vision
- Redness or draining of the eye
- Light flashes
Can taking care of your vision save your life?
Yes, it can. Regular checkups can detect diseases or vision impairment, this means that the doctors will be able to treat these impairments and diseases earlier and with better outcomes. For example, cataracts, the leading cause of vision loss, can be found and surgically fixed. Without early detection, doctors will have a harder time removing them and helping to clear your vision.
Other diseases that commonly affecting people are: glaucoma (damages the optic nerve), diabetic retinopathy (damages blood vessels in the area at the back of the eye), and macular degeneration (age related, gradual breakdown of the eye tissues that are light-sensitive).
Does diabetes have a great impact on your eyes?
According to the CDC, “High blood sugar damages the blood vessels in the retina where scarring can cause permanent vision loss”. Don’t be frightened though, diabetic retinopathy can be detected early. Treatment in the early stages can prevent or delay total blindness. 50% of people who suffer from diabetic retinopathy do not regularly, or at all, get their eyes checked, which leaves them vulnerable to total blindness.
For anyone with diabetes, it is imperative for them to get their eyes examined every year since they are most susceptible to developing long-lasting eye diseases.
Many don’t believe that their vision health is important to their overall well-being, but having healthy eyes can greatly improve the quality of life for millions of America. As our lifespans continue to increase, the number of Americans who will suffer from vision impairment or blindness is estimated to double by 20302.