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Not to Be Overlooked! The Importance of Eye and Vision Care

Vision is one of the senses that we completely take for granted. Without the gift of sight, life can become difficult. You can’t see how people are talking to you.

Some experts say that vision loss is a public health issue, with up to 21 million Americans experiencing vision problems. About 80 million people have issues that can affect vision.

Even if you feel like your eye health is great, you should still schedule regular eye and vision care screenings.

Read on to learn why regular vision screening and eye exams should be part of your health plan.

The Difference Between Vision Screenings and Eye Exams

When you talk about eye care, you’ll see the terms vision screenings and eye exams. These terms tend to be used interchangeably but they are two very different types of vision care.

Vision screenings are very basic, bare bones screenings that may be able to show that there’s a vision issue. After a vision screening, the screener may recommend that you make an appointment with an optometrist for an in-depth exam.

An eye exam is much more detailed and usually includes eye dilation. This exam usually lasts about 60 minutes. You’ll cover the following during the appointment.

Health History

There are many causes or warning signs for potential vision issues, such as genetics and diabetes. You’ll be asked about your family health history, medications you’re currently taking, and your health issues and lifestyle.

Eye Health

Have you noticed any changes in your vision recently? Are there vision issues within your family? Have you had any injuries or surgeries? These are some of the questions you’ll be asked about your eye health.

The Exam

The doctor will run several tests on your vision. The specific tests used may vary depending on your health history and if you’ve had any vision issues.

For example, if you say that there seems to be a misalignment issue or that you occasionally see double, the doctor will give you a colored dots test.

In most cases, you’ll have a refraction exam, which looks at your ability to see distance and up close. They may play with different lenses to determine what looks the sharpest to you.

Pupils Dilated

At the end of the appointment, your optometrist will put some drops in your eyes and step away for about 15 minutes. By the time your appointment continues, your eyes will be fully dilated.

This lets the doctor examine the health of the eye. They can examine the optic nerve and the retina. The optometrist is looking for signs of glaucoma or macular generation disease.

The dilation will last for about 3 hours. During that time, it will be hard to function normally. In other words, don’t expect to go right back to work once your pupils are dilated.

You’ll also want to have a pair of sunglasses with you for after your appointment. You’ll need them because your eyes are going to be very sensitive to light.

Reasons Why Eye and Vision Health are Important

Now that you know what to expect at an eye exam, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth it or not. Here are the main reasons why you want to schedule an eye exam.

1. Your Vision Can Change Quickly

Your vision changes as you get older. Did you know that there are vision issues that can develop in your teens and early 20’s? Corneal cross linking is one example of such a condition.

In other words, don’t wait until you turn 40 to schedule an eye exam. You want to get ahead of any eye issues. Letting them be until the become a serious problem is a mistake. Even if it seems like nothing, schedule an eye exam.

As you get older, your vision does change regularly and sometimes the changes are so small you might not even notice them. You think that your vision is just fine until the problem becomes much worse.

2. You May Uncover Other Diseases

The eyes can shine a light on other health issues that may have gone undetected for a long time. It’s common to hear that people found out that they had high cholesterol or diabetes from an eye exam.

The reason why the eye exam can uncover these issues lies in the blood vessels of the eye. Blood vessels are everywhere in your body and if you have an issue with the blood vessels in your eyes, it’s a good indication that the issue is occurring elsewhere.

There is a correlation between diseases like diabetes and blindness. You want to make sure that you keep your overall health in check with regular eye exams.

3. Glaucoma Can Be Detected Early

With regular eye exams, you can detect glaucoma early on. What happens all too often is that people decide to see an optometrist once they experience a little loss of vision. At that point, you can’t regain the vision.

The plan is to focus on preventing more vision loss, which isn’t always possible. Once you have glaucoma, you have to limit the damage.

An eye exam will detect the disease and if you catch it early enough, you can minimize vision loss.

Put Eye and Vision Care First

You only have one pair of eyes and they are irreplaceable. You have to take care of them in order to maintain your vision during the course of your life.

Your vision will change as you get older, but that doesn’t mean that you should put off eye and vision care until there’s a problem. On the contrary, you need to take care of your vision throughout your life.

You should schedule regular eye exams, as they provide more detail and can uncover much more than a vision screening.

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