The Importance of Having an Annual Eye Exam, Even if You Have Perfect Vision

You probably don’t think much about your eye health, unless you wear corrective lenses or have an infection that needs immediate care.

But eye problems and disease often develop gradually or go unnoticed until they’ve caused serious symptoms or vision loss. Your eyes are truly a window to your health, too, and a regular eye exam can uncover certain health conditions before you suspect you may have a problem.

At Omphroy Eye Care, ophthalmologist Luis Omphroy, MD, encourages annual eye exams. Here’s why.

Vision changes occur gradually

The classic vision check using an eye chart is just one measure of your vision. While reading an eye chart with lines of progressively smaller letters is great for evaluating how well you see at a distance (visual acuity), it’s only part of a comprehensive vision screening. 

Dr. Omphroy also recommends refraction testing, which analyzes the focusing power of your eyes to determine if you have astigmatism (blurred vision) or any degree of myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), or presbyopia (poor close-up vision). 

If you do have any of these conditions, you benefit from corrective lenses. Yearly checks of your vision allow for tweaks in your prescription that help you see clearly. Because vision changes develop so slowly, you might not even be aware of what you’re missing

Many people think their vision or prescription is just fine and then are surprised by just how crisp and clear the world appears when they’re looking through the right lenses for their eyes.   

Eye diseases are sneaky

Most serious eye diseases develop without symptoms and advance slowly. You may not even know you have one until you start to experience some vision loss, and in many cases this vision loss is irreversible.

But if you visit us regularly for your eye exam, we can detect eye disease before it causes severe symptoms. You’re at a greater risk for eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration as you age. 

So while annual eye exams are a good habit to get into at a young age, they become even more important as you pass the age of 40 and most essential after age 65.

Annual exams when your vision is perfect and your eyes are healthy give Dr. Omphroy a baseline ocular health history. This way, if you have any small deviations from this baseline at future appointments, he may be better able to spot changes that indicate disease.

You may be damaging your eyes without knowing it

Society is centered around screens — computers, tablets, phones, and televisions. You spend a lot of time in front of these devices, and these intense screen habits can have a major impact on your eyes. 

Watching screens for hours each day trains your eyes to blink less often than they normally would. Eyes that don’t blink normally are more likely to become red, dry, and itchy until they feel irritated, strained, or blurry virtually all the time.

At your eye exam, you get to talk to Dr. Omphroy about your screen habits and find out if they’re causing significant eye strain. He’ll give you tips on how you can adjust your routine and give your eyes a much-needed break. 

In some cases, chronic digital eye strain can give rise to other conditions that require treatment, such as dry eye syndrome

Your eyes can reveal systemic disease

Your eyes reveal things about your general health before the rest of your body does. In the vast majority of cases, these early ocular signs of systemic disease are so subtle that only an optometrist or ophthalmologist performing a comprehensive eye exam can notice them.

Chronically red eyes that you chalked up to allergies or dry eyes may actually be an indication of lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or another autoimmune disease, particularly if you also sometimes experience double vision or eye pain. 

Symptoms of diabetes can also be revealed in an eye exam. 

So even if your vision is good, having regular eye exams is another excellent preventive care strategy that can help you stay on top of your health. 

Schedule your exam

Healthy adults under the age of 65 with good vision and a low risk of ocular disease may only need to have a comprehensive eye exam every two years. If you’re over the age of 65 or if you have certain high-risk factors for eye disease like diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of eye disease, an annual eye exam is recommended. 

If you’re ready to schedule your exam, call us at Omphroy Eye Care today or use our online tool to set up your appointment at our Aiea, Hawaii, office.

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