An eye exam might seem like a hassle that you don’t think about until you can’t see very well out of your glasses or you’ve run out of contacts and need to order more. However, an eye exam can be an important factor in not just your eye health but your overall health. How is this possible? Optometrists and ophthalmologists can see symptoms of other problems when they perform your exam. They’re not only looking for what your new prescription may be, but any other problems that could be related to your eyes that could be the sign of another, bigger problem with your health.
How Often Should you Get an Eye Exam?
Is it every year? Every six months? Every time you need to upgrade your frames? What’s the answer to this commonly asked question? Let’s turn to what is recommended by optometrists and ophthalmologists.
The answer to this question can depend on your age, race, if you have other ocular conditions that could be causing you eye trouble, and other factors like co-morbidity issues. This can range anywhere from every year to every 2-6 years. This is all due to the above mentioned factors, and you should speak with your eye doctor right away about when you should be making your visit for your next exam. Your doctor will likely send you reminders about when your next eye exam will be and tell you verbally about what they will do at the appointment for your overall health.
What’s Involved in an Eye Exam?
A complete medical examination of your eyes and visual system is our specialty at Dr. Clifford Myers, MD practice. Medical examination of the eyes begins with something you might expect: detection of refractive errors that can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. This is the first step in most eye examinations, other than getting some basic information about you if you haven’t visited before. A thorough examination of your eyes to find any medical eye diseases will be performed personally by an experienced MD and highly trained staff of assistants afterwards. Detection of glaucoma, cataracts, retinal diseases, and macular degeneration is our foremost concern, but with these examinations we can also sometimes detect other issues that you might need to check out like sleep apnea or thyroid problems. While these can be chance discoveries and we are not physicians, regular eye exams can help you detect issues that you may have otherwise ignored early.
Additionally, although the office has up-to-date sophisticated equipment, you will only undergo testing that is deemed necessary to your particular case in the judgment of the doctor. We try to avoid unnecessary testing to keep your costs down and to keep the practice running smoothly. The doctor will personally discuss all findings with you after the examination is complete and answer all questions that you may have with friendliness and support for concerns. We want to make sure that you understand what’s happening every step of the way. While some doctors might mark down whatever they find on a chart and leave the discovery of the issue to you to check over, we believe it’s our duty to make sure that you know what’s happening with your eye health.
In most cases, your eyes will need to be dilated for the initial examination and for most routine examinations. You will need to set aside extra time for this, as the dilated complete exam can last an hour or more, and the dilation of the pupils will last at least several hours and make your vision blurry and sensitive to bright light. Many patients bring a driver with them for the trip home, but your vision will return to normal later in the day.
How Does That Help My Overall Health?
When you make regular eye appointments, not only will you be able to get updated lenses and contacts or those fancy new frames, you will be able to counteract serious health issues before they begin. This means things like glaucoma, cataracts, or other retinal diseases, but it also means that you can catch symptoms of diseases outside of things related to your eyes. This could be issues related to your thyroid, sleep apnea, etc. Any number of things can be caught by your eye doctor during your appointment. This is just another way, apart from regularly visiting your general physician, to assure that you are in peak health and making sure that you’re doing the things that you need to do to stay healthy.
Regular eye appointments are an integral part of your overall health, and they should be in partnership with general physician appointments, dental appointments, and other specialist appointments like issues of the heart or physical therapy. All of these add to a healthy life that will leave you with a much greater chance of being happy and healthy for years to come.
While eye appointments may not seem that important to your overall health, they could be the thing that saves you from catching something too far down the line to do anything about it. Please call us today to get started and make an appointment. We want to help you keep your eyes, and your whole person, healthy and in good shape for years to come.