The importance of good vision is difficult to underestimate, but most people wait until they experience problems with their vision before they get an exam. At that point, getting an eye exam can be the first step to fixing eye problems, but the severity of vision deficits can be reduced if they are caught early by a regular eye exam.
Here are some of the benefits of thorough vision exams:
- Adjusting Prescriptions for Corrective Lenses – Our eyes change over time and what was once the perfect diopter might be hurting your eyes now. Your doctor can help you with a current and precise prescription.
- Checking Alignment – Eyes don’t always work in unison the way they are supposed to. In some cases, crossed or turned eyes can be putting undue strain on the muscles and nerves. Sometimes, one eye focuses differently than the other. In both instances, headaches and blurred vision are common symptoms. A doctor can help you correct these issues before they get out of hand.
- Eye Tone – Your eyes are able to change focus due to the interaction of many small muscles. As you age, the tone of these minute muscles diminishes and your ability to focus suffers, but corrective lenses can help to bridge any deficits.
- Retina Exam – The blood vessels of the retina are excellent indicators for diabetes and high blood pressure. A thorough eye exam can reveal results that go beyond vision.
- Checking for Glaucoma – Though painless, glaucoma can lead to other vision problems. Glaucoma usually has no symptoms of early onset, though doctors may detect and treat glaucoma before it becomes a serious problem.
How Often Should Eyes Be Examined?
The frequency of your optometrist visits are largely dictated by your age and the overall quality of your vision. It is rare to reach the age of 50 without requiring some form of corrective lenses and all people experience decreased visual acuity as they age.
Patients with healthy vision, or those who require adjustments of prescriptions may visit the optometrist annually. Patients over the age of 40 or who have eye disease should visit more frequently. Nevertheless, here are a few guidelines:
- Until about 40 years of age, many people only need intermittent visits to the optometrist. After that, try to schedule a visit once every 18 months.
- Annual exams are recommended for patients over the age of 60, as the risks of glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration increase.
- Diabetics must have an annual eye exam. Diabetic retinopathy patients need more frequent checkups. Diabetics are at a higher risk for most eye conditions. Diabetes is the number one cause for blindness in adults.
- Patients with contact lenses need the lenses evaluated annually to minimize adverse effects from lenses. Lenses may damage the surface of the eye, even if they are helping you see correctly. Periodic intervention with contact lenses helps reduce the cumulative damage to your eyes.
- During childhood, annual exams are necessary since rapidly changing physiology can lead to sudden changes in vision. Children with vision problems may develop associated learning disabilities.
Of course, any time you experience an eye infection or changes in your vision, schedule an exam with a doctor.
Prevention is Always the Best Medicine!
While regular vision exams are part of a proactive stance against vision problems, general health practices like exercise and a proper diet are incredibly important for good vision. Consider taking a dietary supplement, like our Ocu-Plus Formula, for your vision and scheduling regular eye exams with your doctor for the best results.
Components of a vision healthy diet include green, leafy greens such as kale and chard; foods high in omega fatty acids, like fish; plant based proteins; and foods high in anti-oxidants. If you find that your diet is deficient in the nutrients from these foods, you can supplement it with a regular, multi-purpose vitamin and other supplements, like Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids.
Aerobic exercise improves circulation throughout your body and promotes the functioning of the tissue in your eyes. Try running, swimming, or bicycling for 30 minutes, several times a week to increase your overall aerobic health.
Besides changing your diet and picking up a few exercises, there are things in you life that you can eliminate to improve your vision. Smoking, of course, is negatively implicated in many health problems, including vision deficits. Smoking increases the chances of cataracts, macular degeneration, and damage to the optic nerve. Many smokers find it difficult to quit, but the rewards are felt throughout your body.
Scheduling an Eye Exam
If your eyes haven’t been examined in a few years or you are experiencing vision problems, don’t hesitate to schedule a visit with your general practitioner or an opthamologist. The sooner you understand the condition of your eyes, the sooner you can take proactive steps to improve your vision.