Why Routine Eye Exams Are Vital At All Ages
Eye exams are vital for persons of all ages, regardless of your physical health. It is recommended to have at least one eye exam every year. Some people choose to have several eye exams every year, a decision that has saved some from vision loss.
Most eye problems are silent, meaning they do not present any symptoms. Serious conditions such as glaucoma and asymptomatic retinal holes occur without any visible symptoms, and due to the serious risks they pose to eye health, these need immediate attention and management.
Since most people do not have routine eye exams, a number of them have ended up losing their sight due to conditions that could have been diagnosed and treated at an early stage. Also, an eye exam can unearth other serious health conditions such as a brain tumor, diabetes and high cholesterol.
Common Symptoms of Eye Problems
If you have not been visiting your eye doctor over the years, you might want to consider making an appointment very soon. Even though most vision problems do not present any symptoms, there are red flags that you should never ignore. Here are a few:
1. Red, itchy or dry eyes.
2. Difficulty seeing at night.
3. If you have other health conditions that affect eye health such as diabetes.
4. Dizziness or trouble following a moving object.
5. Headache, eye strain or blurred vision after spending time on your computer.
6. Changes in vision e.g. after head trauma.
7. Difficulty reading books and newspapers without squinting.
If you have experienced any of the above, then it is definitely time for an eye exam. Contact your eye doctor as these are a clear indication of an underlying vision problem. Early diagnosis and treatment go a long way in preventing total loss of vision.
How Often Should You Visit Your Eye Doctor?
A majority of people make the assumption that eye exams are only for seniors. This notion is misguided since babies as young as 6 months should have an eye exam.
People of all ages should have regular visits to their optometrist. Here is a look at the importance of routine eye exams at different ages:
1. Babies: Over 80% of what babies learn is through the eyes. This means that vision is an integral part of early childhood development. When a child’s vision is impaired, other aspects of the child’s development are affected, including neurological, emotional and physical development. Eye exams for babies should be done at six months, between the ages of 2 and 3 and finally before the child joins kindergarten.
2. Children: Children should visit an optometrist before joining kindergarten or first grade for a comprehensive eye exam. About 25% of school-going children have some form of vision problem. These make up about 60% of students with learning difficulties. It is therefore very important to have regular visits to the eye doctor. School-Going children need an eye exam at least once a year.
3. Adults: Studies show that 90% of people who use a computer for at least 3 hours a day have some form of vision problem arising from computer eye strain. Most adults spend extended periods staring at different screens, increasing their risk of developing vision problems. It is recommended to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once every one to two years.
4. Seniors: Serious vision problems such as glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration affect people above the age of 65, with macular degeneration being named as the leading cause of vision loss for people in this age group. Such conditions can be diagnosed and treated early if a routine eye exam is carried out. To be safe, people above the age of 65 should have an eye exam every year.
The next time you make an appointment with your doctor for a regular health check, remember to make an appointment with your optometrist. This could be the key to preventing serious problems posed by vision problems, the worst being vision loss. To book an eye exam with one of our optometrists call one of our offices today.