As humans, we all take things for granted – material possessions, as well as the ability to hear, taste, and importantly see. Have you imagined what life would be like if you had poor vision or no eyesight at all? You wouldn’t be able to see the faces of your loved ones, and amongst other things, activities of daily living like driving, reading and playing sports would be a lot more difficult, if not impossible.
In many cases though, loss of vision is preventive and a quick eye examination can help flag up problems that can be fixed, if you catch them early. Also during an eye exam, systemic conditions you are not aware of can be discovered.
THE EYE EXAM
Booking an eye test can often feel like a chore and, it’s probably something that you put off for as long as possible. It is not always obvious when there’s an issue with our eyes since they don’t tend to hurt.
We have a mindset that having an eye test will result in needing to wear glasses on a daily basis, this isn’t always the case. An eye test is more about making sure that your eyes are healthy and well looked after, it really isn’t as tiresome as it seems and nothing can beat the ability to see.
Eye exams are performed by licensed eye doctors (an optometrist or ophthalmologist) and evaluate not only your visual acuity, but also the complete health of your eyes, from front to back — including checking for early signs of serious eye problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and detached retina.
Your eye doctor also can detect early signs of serious health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and risk of stroke, based on the appearance of delicate blood vessels and other structures within the eye by carrying out a comprehensive eye exam.
This is done by instilling drops in each eye to widen the pupil and allow more light to enter the eye. This gives your doctor a clear view of important tissues at the back of the eye, including the retina, the macula, and the optic nerve. This allows for early diagnosis of sight-threatening eye diseases like age-related eye diseases like hypertensive retinopathy, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, etc and underlying systemic diseases.
EYE EXAMINATION FOR KIDS IS ALSO NECESSARY
Good vision is essential for children to reach their full academic potential. It’s been widely stated that roughly 80 percent of what children learn in school is presented visually, and vision problems can have a profound effect on learning. Also children eye exams are important to ensure normal visual development as the development ends at the age of seven.
Today, children are using computers and other digital devices much more extensively and start using these devices at a much younger age than children in the past. The illuminated screens of these modern devices tend to be more visually demanding than books and other printed text because of the viewing distance from the eye.
Increased use of digital devices by children has occurred simultaneously with another significant trend — an unprecedented increase in myopia among children in the U.S. and worldwide. These two trends have led many eye care professionals to believe computers and digital devices play an important role in the development of short sightedness and myopia progression. This makes it more important than ever for children to have their eyes examined routinely to identify and treat vision problems.
OLDER ADULTS NEED FREQUENT EYE EXAMS
On the other end of the age spectrum, many older adults often forgo routine eye exams and falsely believe that free vision screenings offer adequate monitoring and protection of their eyesight.
This is extremely dangerous, since the most common causes of blindness — glaucoma, cataract, diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy — increase with age. Vision loss often can be prevented or reduced if these conditions are diagnosed and treated early. But the only way this can be done is to have routine comprehensive eye exams.
Don’t take chances with your eyesight as you get older. It may be sufficient to have a comprehensive eye exam every two years in your early adult life. But the following cases warrant an annual eye examination:
• if you’re over age 60
• you have a family history of glaucoma, hypertension or diabetes
• a child who wears glasses
• History of an eye surgery or injury
• Contact lens wearer
Always remember an eye exam is an essential part of your overall health routine. Regular visits help to ensure a lifetime of clear vision and healthy eyes. Make it a habit!