Our Eyes Are a Window to Our Health: Why Annual Eye Exams Are Important

May 19, 2019 By 0 Comments

An annual eye exam is to check much more than if we can see clearly. Not only is visual acuity (sharpness) tested at an annual exam, but so is depth perception, eye alignment, and eye movement. Contact wearers need annual exams to check for changes that affect lens fit and general eye health. Most people are not fond of a dilated eye exam since it can leave one feeling out-of-sorts, but it is necessary to find eye diseases in the early stages when treatment to prevent vision loss is most effective. According to the Center for Disease Control, early treatment is critical to prevent common eye diseases from causing permanent damage.

How Early Should Eye Exams Begin?

For children, the first exam should be at the start of kindergarten or even earlier if a parent notices any eye or vision issues. While vision screenings at schools can reveal a possible problem, they cannot diagnose it. An eye exam is the only way to know for sure if children are seeing their best for classroom learning, sports, or other activities. Myopia (nearsightedness) is growing in children at an earlier age and those that are nearsighted tend to experience worsening symptoms as they get older. Myopia can be detected with an eye exam and measures can be taken to slow the progression and reduce risks for later in life.

What Can A Dilated Eye Exam Find?

Early detection of high eye pressure and other symptoms of glaucoma is possible only with routine eye exams. Many people learn they have serious issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or cancer from a routine eye exam. Doctors observe and evaluate the health and condition of blood vessels in the retina – which are good predictors of the health of blood vessels throughout the body. Exams can find cataracts, diabetic retinopathy (the leading cause of blindness in adults, and in the early stages it has no symptoms), glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration.

Annual eye exams are vital not only for general eye health but for the whole body to stay well. Has it been some time since your last eye exam? Make an appointment today.