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Unfortunately, far too many people postpone their annual eye exam … some even skip a year or two, and although it may seem like a harmless habit, it can really take a toll on your vision. Without regular screenings, your eyesight could be in trouble, and you won’t know until it’s too late!

How Often Should I Have My Eyes Checked?

Conditions like diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma can often develop without any symptoms, so it’s extremely important to educate yourself about these conditions and prioritize your eye health. After all, isn’t it better to address any issues before they become serious health (or vision) concerns?

Based on current guidelines from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, most doctors suggest that healthy adults younger than 60, who do not experience any vision-related problems, should schedule a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years, then annually thereafter.

However, these routine exams are even more important for young children. Did you know that 25% of all school aged children have a vision problem serious enough to affect their academic performance? With eye exams beginning at a very early age, common eye conditions can be identified and successfully treated. But make no mistake, a thorough eye exam is not the same as the simple vision test administered by the school nurse – only a proper exam can spot signs of eye disease!

Beyond the “normal” exam schedule, anyone with risk factors for eye disease should be vigilant about maintaining their eye health – children and adults alike. That means comprehensive eye exams are a necessity and recommended more frequently than the “standard” schedule.

Dr. Silverstein Eye Exam

What are the risk factors for eye disease and/or vision problems?

There are many factors that can put your vision at greater risk. Patients with diabetes or hypertension, hereditary conditions, or who are pregnant should be especially careful about properly caring for their eyes. Conditions that affect eye pressure like glaucoma must be closely monitored to ensure successful treatment and prevent blindness. Just because a condition is common doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous!

You should also know that many prescription drugs have eye-related side effects. Dry eye is common, as is excessive tearing and itchiness. If you take any medications that cause even mild eye irritation, you should be proactive about the health of your eyes.

When an eye exam is urgent:

Regardless of age or current health, there are a few circumstances in which you shouldn’t wait to schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist:

  • You’ve Been Squinting More

    If you’re struggling to read without drawing the book closer and closer to your face, it’s likely you’re overdue for a prescription change. Your eyes and eyesight do naturally change over time, so it’s generally not a cause for concern. However, constantly squinting and struggling to see is no way to live – especially when the solution is so simple.

  • Bright Flashes And Floaters

    We’ve all seen those odd “floaters” in our field of vision. Most of the time, they’re perfectly normal (albeit annoying). However, when suddenly your sight becomes filled with them, you should definitely schedule an appointment as soon as possible. And if the new floaters are accompanied by bright flashes of light or loss of peripheral vision, it’s an emergency. These are symptoms of retinal detachment, and can cause permanent blindness if not treated very quickly.

  • Frequent Headaches

    Headaches can be caused by any number of things, but if your vision is changing, they’re often the first sign of a problem. Eye strain, particularly when viewing computer screens, becomes increasingly common as your eyes age – and unfortunately, so do the headaches that often accompany tired eyes.

  • Allergies and Infections

    If suddenly you experience excessive discharge or tearing, your eyes become red or swollen, or you have blurred vision, light sensitivity, or pain, allergies and eye infections are often to blame. Even if your symptoms seem mild, it’s important to have an eye doctor examine your eyes. After all, you don’t want any infection to go untreated. And why struggle with allergies when so many treatments are available?

  • Constantly Squinting

    If you’re struggling to read without drawing the book closer and closer to your face, it’s likely you’re overdue for a prescription change. Your eyes and eyesight do naturally change over time, so it’s generally not a cause for concern. However, constantly squinting and struggling to see is no way to live – especially when the solution is so simple.

Make an Appointment

Whether you experience any of the issues listed above, or if you’re at greater risk for developing eye disease, it’s always a good idea to stay on top of your eye health. Don’t put off your annual eye exam, as you may already have an undiagnosed vision problem and further delays might make it worse. Contact our office to schedule an appointment and we can address any issues you may have before they affect your vision.

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