Do I Really Need an Eye Exam Every Year?

If you have to ask yourself or anyone else this question, odds are you already know the answer. Yes, you REALLY do need to have an eye exam each and every year. For the same reason the oil in your car needs changing every couple of months to maintain quality, and your teeth need to be cleaned and checked every six months to avoid cavities—yearly eye exams are recommended to maintain healthy vision. Here are five reasons why yearly eye exams are so important.

Prevention, prevention, prevention

Yearly eye exams not only stop vision problems from getting worse but also prevent future vision problems from developing. According to a study conducted by World Health Organization, approximately 80 percent of vision impairment globally is considered avoidable. These yearly eye exams are exactly how eye doctors can prevent vision problems. Even if you feel your eyes are healthy, nearly 90 percent of adults who use a computer at least three hours a day suffer from vision problems associated with computer eye strain, problems that can worsen over time if not checked by an eye doctor.

Vision over time

Vision changes are a normal part of aging, but if these changes are not monitored and taken care of with yearly eye exams, you may be facing unwanted vision problems. The same goes for eyeglass or contact wearers—having vision correctors does not mean that your eye exams should stop or happen less frequently. Similar to individuals without vision correctors, your eyes will change with age, even with glasses or contacts.

It’s not all about your eyes

Eye exams are not only important to prevent vision problems from developing or worsening but to also provide doctors a look into your overall health. Routine eye exams can help doctors detect signs of serious health conditions, like diabetes, brain tumors, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Only by dilating the eyes can doctors detect these serious signs. This is done by looking at the blood vessels, arteries and cranial nerves located in the eyes. This is important because some of the symptoms for these health conditions do not appear until it is too late.

Your prescription may have changed since your last visit

For eyeglass wearers, it is important for you to visit an eye doctor yearly to ensure your prescription is up to date. The eyes change as we age, and with an out-of-date prescription, you risk eye strain and headaches.

Symptomless eye diseases

Common eye diseases like glaucoma develop gradually, showing few or no symptoms, but if left untreated, they can result in vision loss. An eye exam is the only solution to catching this eyesight thief. This is done by assessing eye pressure, the health of the optic nerve and the state of the cornea, things only an eye professional can examine.   

There are many reasons why scheduling a yearly eye exam is important. Find an eye doctor near you to schedule a yearly exam before another year has come and gone.