If you are healthy, under the age of 60, and wear glasses, regular eye exams are recommended for all patients, every 2 years. For those over 60 years old, a yearly ophthalmic examination is recommended as a number of eye diseases become more frequent. Younger people with certain medical conditions or family histories may also need yearly ophthalmic exams.
Here are some of the most important reasons why you should ensure that you get your eyes checked each year by an ophthalmologist.
Many eye conditions, including those which can have serious or even permanent consequences for your vision and eye health, don’t present with early symptoms. This can mean that, unless you see your ophthalmologist fairly regularly for check-ups, they could have the ability to develop and progress before they are diagnosed and can be treated. A good example of this is the most common form of glaucoma.
Known as open-angle glaucoma, this condition occurs when the pressure within the eyes gradually builds – so much so that it begins to cause damage to the optic nerve. The greater the pressure grows; the more your vision will be impaired until you become totally blind. Any vision lost as a result of glaucoma is irreversible.
Other potential eye conditions that could be detected at your routine eye exam include, but are not limited to:
- Macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Retinal detachment
- Binocular vision dysfunction
By ensuring that you get your eyes checked on a regular basis, your eye doctor has a better opportunity to detect any developing eye problems early, before they have the opportunity to have serious or permanent consequences for your vision.
Many people are surprised to discover that eye exams don’t only provide your eye doctor with valuable information about the health of your eyes. They can also flag up issues with other areas of your health. This is because some medical conditions have a direct or indirect effect on the condition of the eyes. A good example of this is diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition where the body can no longer regulate its own blood sugar levels, requiring the patient to take medication or make dietary changes in order to keep their blood sugar levels under control. One of the first indicators of diabetes is changes to the tiny blood vessels found inside the eyes. These changes can turn the blood vessels yellowish and cause them to leak blood.
Other health conditions that may be detected at routine eye exams with your ophthalmologist include:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Elevated cholesterol levels
- Autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, psoriasis, and thyroid disease.
- Cancers affecting the eyes
Many people put off going for regular eye exams with an ophthalmologist because they believe that any sort of check-up will guarantee that in addition to the cost of the exam, they will also need to pay for new glasses. However, this isn’t always the case. And since treatment for some eye conditions can be both ongoing and expensive, particularly if conditions are allowed to progress, regular eye exams could actually save you money in the long term. If you are paying for vision insurance coverage, your exam will probably be covered, and depending on your plan, you may find that some or all of the cost of any glasses or treatment is covered too.
For more information about the importance of getting your eyes checked regularly by an ophthalmologist, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our office where our knowledgeable staff will be happy to help.