Retirement marks the beginning of a new chapter in life, offering the promise of relaxation and enjoying time with loved ones. While you may have crossed off some items on your bucket list, there’s one crucial aspect you might be overlooking — the health of your eyes.
In this article, we’ll show why getting regular eye exams after retirement is not just a good idea but a crucial step toward maintaining a high quality of life.
What is an eye exam? Why is an eye exam important once you retire?
Your eyes are your windows to the world, and like any other part of your body, they need regular check-ups. An eye exam is a comprehensive evaluation of your visual health conducted by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. This examination goes beyond just checking if you need glasses. An eye exam assesses the overall health of your eyes and can detect early signs of serious conditions like glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.
Skipping eye exams, especially after retirement, can lead to health risks. As we age, our eyes become more susceptible to conditions that can affect our vision and, subsequently, our independence. Ignoring eye health can result in undiagnosed issues that may progress to a point where treatment options become limited. Regular eye exams are not just about seeing clearly; they are a proactive measure to maintain your overall well-being.
Beyond vision health, the eye exam plays an important role in your overall health. During an eye exam, your eye doctor can detect signs of other non-vision-related health issues, such as diabetes and hypertension. Undiagnosed hypertension and diabetes can not only lead to serious full-body health issues, but may also lead to eye damage and potential vision loss.
What should you expect during your eye exam?
Now that we understand the importance of eye exams and the role that they play in your vision and eye health, let’s delve into what to expect during this normal check-up. An eye exam typically involves a series of tests and evaluations to assess different aspects of your visual health. Here are five of the routine eye tests you can expect at your next eye exam:
1) Visual Acuity Test: The familiar eye chart measures how well you see at various distances.
2) Slit Lamp Examination: Using a special microscope, the eye doctor examines the structures of your eye, including the cornea, iris, and lens.
3) Tonometry: This test measures the pressure inside your eyes, helping to detect glaucoma.
4) Visual Field Test: This checks your peripheral vision and can detect issues related to glaucoma or neurological problems.
5) Dilation: Your pupils may be dilated using eye drops to allow the doctor a better view of the back of your eyes, including the retina and optic nerve.
These tests together provide a comprehensive understanding of your eye health, enabling early detection of potential issues and prompt intervention.
Who can give you an eye exam?
Now that you understand how eye exams work, the next step is finding a qualified professional to conduct them. Optometrists and ophthalmologists are both capable of performing eye exams, but they have different specialties.
Optometrists are primary eye care providers who received an “O.D.” degree. Optometrists can conduct eye exams, prescribe glasses or contact lenses, and diagnose, manage and treat some eye conditions.
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in eye care. They can perform surgery, prescribe medication, and provide a more advanced treatment of eye care.
To find the right eye care professional for you, start by asking your primary care doctor for a recommendation. You can also check with friends or family members for referrals. There are also private vision insurance companies that offer provider search tools, such as VSP’s Find a Doctor feature.
No matter how you find your eye doctor, make sure that the one you choose is licensed and experienced in addressing the specific needs of older adults.
What do eye exams cost?
The cost of most standard eye exams can range, depending on where you live and the provider you choose. If you’d like to invest in your eye health, you can purchase a private vision insurance plan, where you’ll be able to access discounts on eye exams, corrective eyewear, and more. With VSP Individual Vision Insurance plans, you can easily use the Plan Wizard to see which one works for your needs. Eye insurance plans can save you money each year, especially if you wear glasses or contacts.
Remember, even if you are retired regular eye exams should be part of your healthcare routine, just like visiting your primary care physician. Schedule an appointment if you notice any changes in your vision or experience eye discomfort — even if you have recently had an eye exam!
As you step into retirement, prioritizing your health becomes even more important. One aspect that should not be overlooked is the health of your eyes. Regular eye exams are not just about maintaining clear vision; they play a crucial role in detecting and preventing serious eye conditions that can impact your overall well-being.
By understanding the importance of eye exams, knowing what to expect during these check-ups, and finding the right eye care professional, you are taking a proactive step toward ensuring a vibrant and independent retirement. Answer your VSP Vision Insurance Plan questions to help make the right choice for you.
Don’t let your golden years be clouded by preventable vision issues; schedule that eye exam today and continue to see the world with clarity and confidence. Your eyes are worth the investment in your future happiness and health.
Information received through VSP Individual Vision Plans' social media channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Healthy vision association discounts
Some plans can only be accessed through membership in the Healthy Vision Association (HVA), which helps its members see well and stay healthy.
For $1.50/mo, your membership will give you access to exclusive discount programs* on everyday goods and services including:
Plus, your membership supports vision-related charities too.
*All rebates and special offers are subject to change