August is National Eye Exam Month, and whether you’re preparing to send your kids back to school or just going about your normal end-of-summer business, it’s a good time to think about your eye health. While there are different schools of thought from ophthalmologists and optometrists on how often you should get an eye exam, it’s clear that regular visits are important.
We’ve already explained the difference between the different types of eye healthcare professionals, but you may still be wondering why you need an eye exam in the first place. To answer that, you have to take a second to appreciate how special the eye really is.
The eyes are a window into your body
The unique positioning of the eyes to the brain, as well as the high number of blood vessels in the area, makes the eyes a great indicator of a variety of health issues. A look into your eyes by a trained professional can help identify early stages of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Recent research even suggests that certain scans of the eye could be an early detector of Alzheimer’s.
That’s not to mention the variety of eye health issues that, if not caught during a regular screening, could result in serious health complications. Cataracts, retinal detachment, glaucoma, and more are all screened for during routine eye checkups. In each case, early detection can save you from damage to your eyes and vision.
Eyesight changes throughout your life
As a young child you may have had perfect vision but then found the need for corrective glasses to take notes in college, or as a once-vibrant, eagle-eyed 20-something you could suddenly find reading the computer screen a strain in your forties. Everyone’s experience is different.
Poor vision can also have a negative impact on your ability to drive and react to sudden changes in your environment. If you can’t see well, it could even prevent you from excelling in work or school. For those already wearing glasses or contacts, an outdated prescription can lead to eye strain, headaches and blurred vision.
Modern lifestyles present unique eye risks
The device on which you’re reading this article presents another reason to have routine eye exams. The screens on our phones, tablets and computers emit blue and violet light at such a high-energy and short wavelength that it is causing, what doctors are referring to as, digital eye strain.
Digital eye strain is known to cause headaches, blurred or doubled vision, and eye fatigue. These symptoms are often temporary and minor, but overexposure to computer light can also lead to more serious conditions like macular degeneration.
Protect your eyes
With each of these compelling explanations of what an eye exam will detect, you can begin to see the importance of routine eye care appointments. The best way to keep your eyes healthy—and have confidence that there isn’t an underlying issue—is with regular screening. Making an appointment today could be the first step to protecting your vision—and your health—for years to come.