Do I Need An Eye Exam? - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on April 30, 2015

Do I Need An Eye Exam?

Even if you have perfect vision, it’s recommended that you have an eye exam every two years.

Even if you have perfect vision,
you should have an eye exam every
two years if you're under age 60.

So you have perfect vision and don’t need glasses or contacts. While that does mean you’re lucky, it does not mean that you don’t need to regularly have your eyes examined.

According to the American Optometric Association, even if you happen to have perfect vision, it’s still recommended that you have your eyes examined every two years if you’re under age 60 and annually if you’re older.

Why? Because your vision isn’t the only thing the eye doctor checks for. During a routine eye exam, an optometrist looks for signs of a number of diseases that don’t cause symptoms and may cause blindness.

The most important eye disease that can only be identified by an eye doctor is glaucoma. Even if your primary physician checks your eyes during your annual physical, he or she will not be able to detect glaucoma unless it’s very advanced.

Glaucoma is a condition in which a buildup of pressure occurs inside the eye. This increased pressure can cause damage to your eye’s optic nerve, which transmits images to your brain. If damage to the optic nerve from increased pressure is allowed to continue, glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss. And, without treatment, it can cause complete permanent blindness within just a few years.

People with glaucoma typically don’t have any early symptoms or pain associated with the increased pressure in the eye, which is why it’s important to visit your eye doctor regularly.

If you’re a diabetic, it’s also important you regularly see your eye doctor regularly. That’s because your eye doctor will check you for diabetic retinopathy, which is damage to the retina caused by diabetes that can cause blindness. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this condition is the leading cause of blindness among working-age Americans. Despite its prevalence, many cases of diabetic retinopathy cases could be prevented by regular eye exams and treatment.

Optometrists also check patients over age 60 for macular degeneration, which is caused by deterioration of the retina and can lead to severely impaired vision.

In a routine eye exam, your doctor will examine your eyes for cataracts – a clouding of the typically clear lens of your eye. Most cataracts develop slowly and, early on, they don't disturb your eyesight. But over time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision. Having your eyes regularly checked will allow your eye doctor to detect any cataracts at their earliest stage when they’re more treatable.

In addition to making sure your eyes are free of these diseases, your optometrist will make sure your vision hasn’t changed, which can happen with age. Making the time to visit your eye doctor on a regular basis will ensure you’re seeing clearly for as long as possible.

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