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Eye exams are essential for maintaining good vision and overall health, but did you know that many eye diseases don't show any symptoms in the early stages? That's why it's important to get your eyes checked regularly, even if you don't have any vision problems.
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Eye Exam 101: Why They are Important and What to Expect
Are eye exams a part of your wellness routine? If not, take a minute to reconsider.
There are many reasons people may put off having an eye exam. You may feel your vision is fine, feel intimidated when it comes to going to the eye doctor, aren't sure what to expect at an eye exam, or know where to start. But eye exams are about more than just vision correction—making them an essential part of your wellness routine.
Below, we'll cover why you need an eye exam every year and provide important information to help you feel comfortable going to the eye doctor—so you can check this essential task off your annual to-do list.
While eye exams certainly have a lot to do with vision, there are many reasons to visit your eye doctor, even if you don't wear glasses or contact lenses.
During an eye exam, your doctor will check for vision correction needs such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia, astigmatism, and more. These vision issues are refractive errors that can usually be corrected with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. And while you may think you see just fine, your eye doctor can identify any changes and problems early, ensuring you see your best.
Your eye doctor also keeps an eye out for early signs of eye diseases like cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and more. Some of these diseases are symptom-free, so it's important to identify these conditions early before they develop into larger problems like vision impairment or loss.
An eye doctor can also help you with day-to-day concerns like eye allergies and digital eye strain. They can give tips on how to keep your eyes protected while at work and help you find the right eye protection, no matter your job or hobbies.
But vision correction needs and eye diseases aren't the only things eye doctors can detect through an eye exam. They can also identify signs or symptoms of more than 270 health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure (among others); and can identify early signs of diseases like brain tumors.
That's why, even if you have 20/20 vision, it is essential to see your eye doctor every year for an eye exam.
Knowing what to expect at an eye exam can make the process easier, especially if it is your first time visiting the eye doctor.
Here's some things you'll likely experience during an eye exam:
During these four steps, your eye doctor will use different tools and techniques to evaluate your vision, eye health, and overall health. Let's take a closer look at a few key elements and tools used during eye exams.
Once you've determined which eye doctor you want to see, your next task is to prepare for your eye appointment. We put together a list of some topics you may want to discuss with your eye doctor at your appointment so they can help you see your best and keep your eyes healthy.
Knowing this information lets your eye doctor determine what type of glasses or contact lenses will work best for your lifestyle and recommend lens enhancements to keep you seeing well. They can also recommend other eye protection, such as sunglasses, blue light glasses, safety goggles, and more to help you protect your eyes from injury and keep them healthy.
Bring the information you'll need. Your eye doctor will ask questions about your medical and eye health history. Bring a list of all current medications, including vitamins and supplements, and any current health conditions you have so they can advise if these can impact your eye health. If you have a family history of eye diseases, your eye doctor will also want to know this so they can watch for early signs and take preventative measures as necessary.
Your eye exam is also an excellent time for you to ask your eye doctor any questions you have. Here are some questions you may want to ask at your eye exam:
Take the Next Step
Now that you know why you need an annual eye exam, and what to expect at your eye exam —it's time to take the next step. Schedule your eye exam today. Your eyes will thank you.
Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.