Experts recommend routine eye exams on an annual basis to maintain eye health. But even with regular exams, various circumstances may occur, requiring your vision to receive additional attention from an eye care professional.
When it comes to your vision health, it’s important to be aware of family medical history, vision changes and any other eye-related issues, as even mild discomfort can be an indicator of a bigger problem.
Here are five reasons you may want to schedule an eye exam:
YOUR VISION HAS CHANGED
If you have to squint to read items on a menu or directions on your phone, or you experience blurriness more often than not, it’s time to schedule an eye exam. Many times, all that is needed is an updated vision prescription.
It’s natural for a person’s visual acuity (how clearly they are able to see) to change with age. In fact, most people will need reading glasses or progressive lenses starting in their 40s to treat presbyopia, a condition that makes it difficult to focus on close-up objects.
Aside from needing new glasses, blurred vision can be a sign of more complicated eye conditions, such as glaucoma and cataracts. In any case, it’s important to contact your eye care professional to determine the cause for your vision change and address it accordingly.
ACHES AND PAINS
Discomfort like eye strain and dry eye can occur because of light sensitivity, aging factors or even excess screen time. Both symptoms are usually easy to relieve — your doctor may recommend blue light blocking glasses for digital eye strain or special eye drops for dry eye.
Excessive eye pain or pressure, on the other hand, may be a sign of glaucoma, and should be examined as soon as possible.
Finally, if you experience headaches, particularly in the eye area, it could mean that your eyes are stressed from working hard to focus. If this is the case, a new pair of glasses could send you on your way. Headaches can also be symptoms of more serious eye conditions, so it is best to schedule an eye exam just in case.
IT’S BEEN MORE THAN A YEAR
Most eye care professionals advise their patients to have a comprehensive eye exam every year. Of course, this could vary depending on your personal eye health and family medical history.
It’s important to note that medical conditions that are not directly eye-related can still have an impact on your vision, making yearly eye exams even more important.
If you can’t remember the last time you had an eye exam, chances are it’s time to schedule one with your eye care specialist.
YOU HAVE A FAMILY HISTORY OF EYE DISEASE
Certain eye conditions can be hereditary. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of your family’s medical history and the signs and symptoms of inherited eye conditions, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.
This is especially important when you hit a certain age, as many eye conditions and diseases develop later in life. If you’re a candidate for a hereditary eye condition, your eye doctor will be able to guide you toward preventive measures and treatments, even if you haven’t experienced any symptoms.
YOU HAVE OTHER CONCERNS
There are many other factors or types of discomfort that warrant an eye exam. Regardless, if you experience any change that affects your vision or eye care routine, you should check with your eye care professional as soon as possible.
TIME FOR AN EYE EXAM? Find an eye care professional near you.