Most of us are used to getting the recommended dental cleaning and exam twice a year, but how often should we get our eyes examined?
We're all about preventative care here at Optic Gallery. That's why we think eye exams are just as crucial for your eyes as dental exams are for your teeth. That means getting an eye exam when you don't need an updated prescription for your glasses or contact lenses.
Explaining What A "Regular" Eye Exam Means For You
When it comes to eye exams, the rule of thumb is: to start early and keep going.
Each patient's ideal eye exam schedule depends on age and risk factors. Broadly, we recommend that children get their first eye exam around six months old, their second around their third birthday, and another before they start first grade.
If you have a family history of eye disease or other risk factors (like diabetes), your child may need more frequent examinations. If you're concerned about your child's vision development or their ability to focus on objects near and far away from them, talk to our team about what you should look for in an eye exam for your child.
Getting your eyes checked is important, but it can be hard to know when it's time to schedule your appointment.
It's true an eye exam can catch problems before they become serious! Many eye conditions go undetected, and even the school nurse may not be able to spot them. That's why we recommend annual exams for kids, teens, and adults over 60. If you think your child might need more frequent appointments, just give us a call, and we'll let you know what's best for your family.
Risk Factors for Eye Disease
If you're worried about your eyes, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The first is that there are certain risk factors that can be controlled. A smoking habit dramatically raises the risk of most sight-threatening eye conditions, including diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. Another controllable risk factor is UV exposure. The damage the sun does to our eyes is cumulative throughout our lives, and we can minimize it by wearing UV-blocking sunglasses (and maybe adding a wide-brimmed hat, too) whenever we're outside or driving in daylight.
A significant risk factor is a family history of glaucoma, macular degeneration, other eye diseases — or even a family history of hypertension or diabetes. Certain medications can cause dry eye as a side effect, a risk factor for some eye problems. Keeping track of such side effects is essential, so they don't develop into significant discomfort or even eye infections.
Eye Problems Don't Follow Appointment Schedules
We know you're busy, and we want to make sure you get the most out of your eye health. That's why we recommend a yearly eye exam.
But what happens if something comes up between your appointments?
If you notice any of these symptoms, don't wait! Get in touch with us right away:
- Sudden sensitivity to light or other changes in vision
- Difficulty driving at night or loss of night vision
- Blurry vision (even if it's just a simple prescription update)
- Frequent headaches that are often connected to eye problems, like digital eye strain
- Bright flashes, peripheral vision loss, or an increase in floaters (these can mean permanent blindness if they aren't treated very quickly).
We Can't-Wait to See You!
Your eyes are the window to your soul, and keeping them healthy is essential to your overall well-being.
If you've been putting off your eye exam because you don't remember how long it's been since your last appointment, we urge you to make an appointment right now! If you're unsure of when that last appointment was, start fresh! Contact us, and we'll find a good time for your next appointment. Your eyes will thank you!