We rely on our vision but do not often think about it unless there is a problem. However, even if your vision is clear and you see well, you need to ask yourself, “Do I need an eye test?” The answer to that question is almost always yes.
The same answer is true for your spouse, kids, mum, and everyone else you know. Yes, get an eye examination. While the best-case scenario is your eyes are healthy and your vision accurate, the chance of undiagnosed issues also exists. The good news is the sooner a problem is diagnosed, the greater the chances of successful treatment.
Vision Screening – The perfect example of a vision screening is the eye chart you read in primary school with one eye covered. This was not an actual eye exam but a way to spot the potential for a vision problem or a vision issue already occurring.
An Eye Examination – Also called an Eyesight Test, an eye exam carried out by an optometry professional will look at the complexities of your eye on a deeper level than your ability to read an eye chart. In addition to vision issues, eye tests can detect diseases of the eye, issues such as macular degeneration, and underlying health issues such as diabetes.
How Often Do I Need an Eye Test?
The answer to this question varies depending on the situation.
If you have no complaints of headaches, blurred vision, or dry eyes, an eye exam every two years should be enough.
School-age children should have an exam annually before the start of the school year.
If you are older and you or a family has high blood pressure, or a history of strokes, glaucoma, or diabetes, an exam is in order once a year or more frequently.
Your doctor may want to check your vision more frequently if you have an eye disease diagnosis.
Ten Reasons You Need an Eye Examination
1. Problems are not always obvious. Often, when there is a problem with a part of the body, you experience pain or other symptoms that something is wrong, and you need medical attention. However, eyes do not always have pain, and some eye diseases advance slowly, making it hard to notice any vision changes over time. While how often you need an eye test varies with age and medical history, every year or every two years is average.
2. You only have one pair of eyes. While it may seem obvious that your eyes and eyesight are irreplaceable, it is easy to take good vision for granted. This is especially true for adults in their 20s through early 50s. Life is generally hectic at this stage. Also, many people have the idea that if something is not broken, do not fix it, so they avoid all health exams.
3. Poor eyesight is dangerous. While most people understand the danger of getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking, few consider how dangerous poor vision can be if you are driving. It is easy to discount how vital sharp eyesight is, but if you struggle to see road signs or traffic signals, it is a sign of a problem that needs attention.
Additionally, there are legal requirements regarding vision that need to be met.
4. Good vision is necessary for good learning. Many parents are careful to ensure their child has everything material thing needed to succeed in school. However, good eyesight is also essential for doing well in school. An eye examination before every new school year is optimal and will help ensure success.
5. An eye exam can find health problems. Many people are surprised at the number of serious health issues that can be discovered through eye examinations, including:
Rheumatoid Arthritis – Inflammation, particularly inflammation of the thin white outer coating of the eye
Thyroid Disorder – Protruding eyeballs and retracting lids
Parkinson’s Disease – Presence of ocular tremors, usually in the very early stages before other symptoms are noted
Heart Disease – Plaque deposits inside the eye that have broken away from buildup on the carotid artery
Diabetes – Diabetic retinopathy is found with retinal imaging devices
6. Correct your vision problems. One common reason people visit the eye doctor is that they notice vision problems and need help with corrective lenses. The vision changes can come on gradually until you notice some difficulty reading fine print or street signs. Generally, this is when people realise they need an eye test.
7. Help prevent more significant problems. There is a common misconception that once an eye disease is detected, blindness automatically follows. However, in the majority of cases, early detection and intervention can protect your vision and prevent your issue from spiralling out of control. With early detection, your sight can be saved.
8. Poor vision is not inevitable. Aging does cause the eyes to lose elasticity, brings about vision changes, and cataracts often occur after a certain age.
However, proper eye care can improve your vision as well as your ability to lead a full and rewarding life.
9. Find issues other screenings cannot. Only a comprehensive dilated eye exam can detect many vision problems. During the exam, eye drops are used to make your pupils larger so your eye doctor can see inside your eyes and check for signs of health problems. The test is painless, but you may need to wear special dark glasses to protect your eyes from light sensitivity when you leave.
10. Alert you to medication issues that can impact your vision. Often, when you receive new medication, the list of interactions and side effects is so long that you skip reading it. However, you are not protected just because you are unaware of an issue. With an accurate list of your medications, your eye doctor can cross reference side effects and interactions which could jeopardise your sight.
At E Eye Place, our vision experts offer comprehensive eye care. While this includes an eye examination, we help our patients with other vision issues such as myopia, presbyopia, glaucoma screening, and many more. For a complete list of eye tests or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office. We are here for all of your vision needs.
Stephanie is an owner optometrist, researcher and educator. She has held clinical, teaching and research roles in Australia and overseas, and has extensive training and clinical experience. Stephanie is also the head optometrist at E Eye Place, on top of this, she is also currently a PhD candidate at UNSW. Dr Stephanie Yeo Optometrist BOptom (HC1) GradCertOcTher DOPT (Merit) CO Ophthalmic Medicines Prescriber.