Your eyes are responsible for most of the information from your surroundings that your brain processes. They are essential to the development of your learning and communication skills. You need them to communicate, work and navigate the world around you. These are just a few of the many reasons taking care of your eyes is important.
You should still go to your local eye clinic regularly even if you can see clearly or have 20/20 vision. Keep reading to learn why it is vital to get regular eye exams.
Why Should You See an Eye Doctor Regularly?
Find Out If There Are Changes in Your Vision
As you get older, your vision is more likely to change. You may feel that you’re able to see clearly and view objects and text at a distance with no issues, but your vision may have slightly changed. Only specialists can determine if any changes, even the smallest ones, occurred in your eyes. They will let you know if you need to start wearing glasses. If there are only slight changes in your vision, it will take less time for your eyes to adjust to your new eyeglasses.
It Helps With the Early Detection of Eye Conditions
Many vision-threatening eye conditions are asymptomatic in the early stages, when treatment tends to be most effective. Some of these conditions can be treated, reversed or maintained when detected early. On the other hand, late diagnosis of an eye condition can lead to permanent vision loss.
If you have a family history of certain eye conditions, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, it’s even more crucial for you to see an eye specialist regularly. Early detection of these conditions provides the opportunity for early treatment, which can save you from significant vision loss. Glaucoma requires early treatment to prevent irreversible damage to the optic nerve.
Even if you’ve never had to wear eyeglasses before, your chances of developing eye conditions increase as you age. For instance, cataracts usually occur in older adults. Fortunately, when detected early, surgery can correct this eye condition. However, when left to progress, cataracts can impair your vision.
Avoid Digital Eyestrain
Today, it’s not uncommon for a person to spend a significant part of their day in front of a screen. Your eyes can get tired when you stare at a computer, tablet or other smart device for extended periods. As a result, you may start experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome, such as blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain, headaches, dry eyes and eye strain.
When you use digital devices, your eyes work harder than usual, and the increased visual demand causes digital eye strain. You may experience worse symptoms if you have uncorrected vision problems. Viewing digital devices is not the same as reading from printed materials. The text on screens is usually not as sharp or contrasted to the background. Glare and reflections on these screens can put extra strain on your eyes. Make sure to schedule an eye exam if you are experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain.
Unveil Development Problems in Children
Another thing that routine eye exams can do is reveal development issues in children. Vision problems can affect a child’s performance both at school and in play. Does your child rub their eyes frequently, blink excessively, or fail to maintain eye contact? Have you noticed them showing signs of delayed motor development or having poor eye tracking skills? Make sure to let your eye doctor know about these things.
Experts recommend children get a comprehensive eye exam at six months. They should have their eyes checked again when they reach three years of age and before they start first grade. Younger individuals who wear glasses or contacts should get an eye exam every year.
Detect Color Blindness
There remains no cure for color blindness, but it is still helpful to know if you have it. Otherwise, you may not even know that you’re seeing your surroundings differently than most people
Like nearsightedness or farsightedness, you won’t know you are color blind unless you have your eyes checked by professionals. A comprehensive eye exam can detect color blindness and your eye doctor can then recommend ways to help with the condition.
Sometimes color blindness occurs due to an underlying medical condition. Your color perception may also change when taking certain medications. When caused by a health problem, the condition can typically be treated. If it’s due to a medication, your doctor may change the dosage or suggest another medication.
Get Proper Treatment for Eye Infection or Injury
Have you been experiencing swelling, redness, discomfort or oozing in your eyes? If so, you could have an eye infection, which requires immediate medical attention. Contact your eye doctor immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment. When left unaddressed, an infection can cause permanent damage to your eyes.
You should also have your eyes checked if you have an accident that hurts your eyes because waiting too long before getting an eye exam can put your vision at risk. When you see an eye specialist right away, you will know if there’s something wrong with your eyes and can have the issue treated before it impacts your vision.
What Can You Do to Preserve Your Vision?
Eat Healthy, Balanced Meals
Health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure can impact your vision. One thing that can help prevent them is eating a balanced diet. Balanced, nourishing meals can reduce the risk for obesity and medical conditions that can lead to vision loss and blindness.
Start by adding dark leafy greens like kale, spinach and collard greens to your diet. It’s a good idea to include foods high in omega-3, such as salmon, tuna and halibut. Eggs, beans, nuts and citrus fruits would also make a great addition to your daily meals.
Wear Sunglasses When Going Outside
Aside from applying sunscreen, you should also wear UV-blocking sunglasses when heading outside. Excessive sun exposure increases your chances of getting cataracts. As much as possible, get eyewear that can block 99% to 100% of UVB and UVA rays. Some contact lenses also offer UV protection, and you can ask your doctor about them during your contact eye exam. You should still wear sunglasses along with these contacts because they protect a wider area of your eyes.
Smoking can affect different vital organs in your body, including your eyes. The consequences related to this bad habit include optic nerve damage, cataracts and macular degeneration. With the help of a medical professional, you can finally let go of this habit.
Use Proper Eye Protection
Does your job involve chemicals or harmful airborne substances? If so, make sure to wear safety glasses or protective glasses. Eye protection is also necessary for people who play sports like lacrosse, ice hockey, and racquetball. When participating in these activities, you should wear a helmet with a protective mask or sports goggles made from polycarbonate for sufficient protection.
Get Regular Eye Exams
Experts can stress enough the importance of routine eye exams, no matter your age. Detecting eye conditions in their early stages can make them easier to treat. Depending on your eye care needs, you may need to see an ophthalmologist or optometrist. Ophthalmologists treat eye diseases, do eye surgeries, and provide general eye care services. Meanwhile, optometrists can diagnose eye diseases and provide general eye care, but they don’t perform surgeries.