Regular visits to your eye doctor can help maintain good eye health and vision. Specialists can track even small changes in your vision. They can detect and treat vision-threatening conditions in their early stages. Even if you have 20/20 vision or are seeing clearly, it is still essential to get comprehensive eye exams.
Before your appointment, you want to narrow down the questions to ask about your vision or eye-related concerns. Your eye care professional would gladly answer your queries and provide information that could benefit your eye health. Here’s what to ask during your next eye exam.
Why Is It Important to Get Regular Eye Exams?
To Determine if You Need Vision Correction
Comprehensive eye exams involve assessing a person’s visual functions and proximal vision. It will reveal if you have a refractive error and need eyeglasses or contact lenses. When left uncorrected, vision problems – like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism – can disrupt your daily routine.
To Know if Your Prescription Has Changed
You might think your eyes are fine if you are seeing clearly in your glasses or contacts, but eye doctors can spot even the slightest shifts in your vision. Routine eye exams remain the best way to ensure your prescription is up-to-date. Wearing an incorrect prescription can result in headaches, eye strain, dry eye and light sensitivity.
To Help Your Child Excel in School
Most of the activities children perform in school require good vision. It means that eye problems can hinder their academic performance. If they have vision problems, they could experience difficulties keeping up with lessons and participating in class.
Also, myopia or nearsightedness cases in children are increasing. More and more young ones are needing to wear eyeglasses to see clearly. Myopia can worsen throughout childhood and increases the risk of vision-threatening conditions later in life. Kids who develop nearsightedness at a young age are more likely to have cataracts, glaucoma and retinal detachment when they are older.
Regular visits to your optometrist can determine if your child has myopia and treat it in its early stages. Studies show that early treatment can slow the eye condition’s progression and reduce the risk of serious eye problems in the future.
To Detect and Treat Eye Conditions Early
Glaucoma doesn’t often show signs until it is in its advanced stages. Individuals who don’t get routine eye exams usually only know they have it once permanent vision loss occurs. That said, slowing glaucoma’s progression and further vision loss could be challenging. Medical intervention and/or eye surgery can help save a patient from blindness.
People with or at risk of diabetes will benefit from routine eye exams. Like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy shows no early symptoms and can only be detected during a comprehensive eye exam.
To Trace Early Signs of Health Problems
Besides eye problems, routine eye exams can also reveal signs of serious health issues, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and cancer. Your eyes say a lot about your overall well-being. The blood vessels in your retina can indicate the condition of the blood vessels throughout your body.
What Should You Ask Your Eye Doctor?
Are My Eyes in Good Condition?
The first thing to ask your eye doctor is if your eyes are as healthy as they can be. During your eye exam, you will go through a series of tests to determine the state of your eye health and vision. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist will utilize different devices and instruments to assess your eyes. They might also ask you to look through several lenses to evaluate your vision.
What Can I Do to Improve My Vision and Eye Health?
If your eye doctor discovers that you have an eye disease, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, they will tell you what steps you can take to protect your eyes. Even if they find that your eyes are healthy, it still helps to ask for eye care tips. Remember that it always pays to take a proactive approach toward your eye health.
How Do I Better Protect My Eyes?
When you ask your eye doctor about eye safety, expect them to recommend wearing ultraviolet (UV) blocking sunglasses when going outdoors. The sun’s UV rays can increase the risk of several eye problems, including macular degeneration, cataracts, pterygia, photokeratitis and cancers of the eye.
If you wear contact lenses, your doctors will share tips to care for your lenses and how to reduce the likelihood of infections. Always follow your eye doctor’s wear and care instructions and replacement schedule. Always take off your contacts before heading to bed and never wear them near bodies of water to avoid infections. Daily disposables are an option for individuals who don’t want to deal with cleaning, disinfecting and storing lenses at the end of the day.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 2,000 workers receive a form of medical treatment because of work-related eye injuries in the U.S. daily. Discuss your work conditions with your doctors and seek advice about the best ways to protect your eyes. Is your job construction-related, or does it require you to handle chemicals? If so, you must wear proper protective eyewear to avoid injuries.
What Is the Ideal Vision Correction Option for Me?
Refractive errors occur due to the irregularities in the shape of the cornea that affects its focusing ability. Their four main types include nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. If you suffer from any of these conditions, your eye doctor might recommend wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses. Depending on how severe the refractive error is, surgery such as LASIK might be an option.
Are My Digital Devices Harming My Eyes?
With the emergence of smartphones, tablets and computers, people spend significantly more time in front of digital screens. However, prolonged use of electronics can result in digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome (CVS). Headaches, dry eyes, eye strain, blurred vision and neck and shoulder pain are common symptoms of this eye condition.
CVS can result from improper viewing distances, undetected or uncorrected refractive errors, and poor lighting. Your sitting position in front of a computer can also affect your risk of developing this eye condition. Taking breaks between digital device use can help minimize or eliminate CVS symptoms. Adjust the display settings of your screens and choose a more comfortable chair. Also, don’t forget to blink in front of digital screens to avoid dry eyes.
How Often Do I Need to Schedule Eye Exams?
Various factors can affect how often you need to visit your eye doctor. This includes your age, family history and risk for eye conditions. Children are recommended to have their first eye exam as early as six months. They should return for a comprehensive eye exam between the ages of three and five to detect vision problems and eye misalignment. Another eye doctor visit is recommended before your child goes to kindergarten.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), healthy adults who don’t have vision problems should get a comprehensive eye exam during their 20s and schedule two more exams in their 30s. If you are not at risk for eye problems or never developed any vision or eye conditions, you should have a comprehensive eye exam when you reach 40. After this appointment, the AAO strongly recommends scheduling routine eye exams every two to four years until you are 54. Moreover, older adults should see their eye doctor at least once a year, regardless if they do or don’t experience changes in their vision.