You head to the doctor for a fever or a physical and to the dentist for a sore tooth or a cleaning, but what about your eye health? If words on the page seem a bit out of focus, or your night vision isn't as sharp as it used to be, do you head to the eye doctor? You may not, but you should.
You've probably heard that the eyes are windows to the soul. While this may be true, your eyes also reveal a number of important clues about your overall health. Did you know that early signs of health conditions can be detected by your eye doctor during an exam? Interestingly, through an eye exam, your doctor can detect conditions like diabetes years before you show signs of the disease. In addition, eye exams can identify both eye and general health conditions, such as:
• Macular degeneration
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Heart Disease
"Good health starts with wellness care, and that includes a thorough eye exam to detect signs that threaten a person's sight or whole body health," said Leonard J. Mendez, O.D., M.S., and doctor with VSP, a not-for-profit vision service provider. "Families and individuals can enroll directly in affordable individual vision plans that cover eye exams, lenses and frames."
In an age where medical insurance makes most of us picture red tape and expensive premiums, vision insurance is affordable and easy to obtain. Even if your employer doesn't offer vision insurance, you can purchase an indivudal plan, like the one Dr. Mendez mentions, for approximately $200 a year - and you can do it online in minutes. VSP, for example, offers individual vision insurance plans nationwide for starting at $13 a month. And when you consider that frams alone cost more than $200, individual vision insurance includes an eye exam, frames, lenses plus other benefits is a genuine value.
What can you expect from an eye exam? If you immediately picture a chart with rows of letters in different sizes, you're not far off the mark. The Snellen Chart is still used in an eye exam, along with a few other simple procedures used to evaluate your health. These include the use of light and various lenses to determine your eyewear prescription, a puff of air in each eye to detect glaucoma, dilating drops to allow for a better look at the inside view of your eye. Once your doctor determines your prescription and eye health, it's time to shop for contact lenses or the perfect frames that complete your individual style.
So, the next time you catch yourself squinting at the computer screen, know that there are affordable vision plan options that make an eye exam possible.