Think about how deeply you depend on your eyes and your vision each day. How would you drive, read, work, and manage all of the other important activities of your day without your eyes functioning properly? Many of us take our eye health and vision for granted, not realizing that we should be taking preventative measures in order to keep our eyes and vision in good shape for the future. One of the most important ways to preserve your vision and keep your eyes in the best health possible is to visit the eye doctor for annual eye exams. Many people think there is no reason to visit the eye doctor if they are not experiencing specific symptoms warranting concern, or having trouble seeing, but that is simply not the case. While you should always visit the eye doctor if you are experiencing symptoms, annual eye exams are just as important even if you are not having specific symptoms at the time. The reasoning behind this idea is that many of the most common and potentially dangerous eye conditions, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and more, develop in a manner so gradual and slow that many people are completely unaware of there being a problem until the disease is advanced enough to have done significant damage to the eyes and vision. When considering your eye health from this perspective, it makes a great deal of sense to have your eyes examined on a regular basis, even if symptoms are not present, because it gives your optometrist the opportunity to detect an issue earlier on in its development. Early detection then often means that the treatments you need could be less extensive and more cost-efficient, and that your eyes and vision will suffer less damage overall.
In addition to helping detect developing conditions, regular eye exams are also important to check on how your vision is functioning. If you use prescription contact lenses or eyeglasses, you should especially be visiting your optometrist for eye exams so that you can be sure your current optical prescription is up-to-date, and that your eyeglasses and/or contact lenses are functioning correctly and comfortably. During an eye exam, you will be subject to a series of specific testing techniques. Some examples might include but are not necessarily limited to: a slit-lamp examination, a retinal examination, a cover test, visual acuity tests, and more. Once your annual exam is completed, your optometrist will be able to give you an updated prescription and any recommendations for treatments or at-home care as needed.