Why People of All Ages Should Get an Annual Eye Exam by Charles Ho, MD

August 30, 2018

Charles Ho, MD discusses why you should get an eye exam.

As you schedule your yearly health and wellness appointments, who are you including on your list? You’ll likely think to schedule an annual visit to your dentist and primary care physician, but what about your eye doctor? No matter your age or life stage, regular eye exams can help keep your vision healthy, which is why annual visits to your optometrist should also be a part of your health care routine.

Many people think that improving your eyesight through corrective lenses, contacts or LASIK is the only reason to visit an ophthalmologist or optometrist in Marietta. However, just as our bodies require evolving care, so do our eyes. Continue reading to discover the importance of annual eye exams at every age.

Eye Exams for Infants and Children

During the early years of a child’s life, much of what they learn is through their eyes. Healthy vision allows them to develop and discover more about the world around them. If an infant or young child’s vision is impaired, it can cause developmental problems – both neurologically and physically.

Visual development occurs throughout school age, and if not properly treated in childhood – will have impact through an entire lifetime. Vision and depth perception problems that are undetected can hinder a child’s ability to learn and grow. According to the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health, more than one in five preschool-age children enrolled in Head Start have a vision disorder.1

Fortunately, parents can schedule a comprehensive eye exam for children as young as six months old, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. A parent should have his/her child’s eyes examined at least once before starting kindergarten. Problems treated early almost always have a good outcome, so a child can have a healthy start to their education.2

Annual Eye Exams for Adults

Once a person has reached adulthood, the assumption is that vision changes will no longer occur. However, regular eye exams is recommended. An ophthalmologist or optometrist will diagnose not only need for glasses, but eye diseases that have no symptoms. Young adult should have a baseline exam, and if normal – once every several years thereafter. It is recommended to have an annual eye exam after age 45, because the risk of eye disease increases significantly.

Computer vision problems, dry eyes, allergies, and other problems are common in young adults. Glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration become more prevalent if you are over age 45. The need for reading glasses arises universally over age 40. Regular eye exams can lead to early detection and treatment of diseases in their early stages, before they become severe or difficult to manage.

Regular Eye Exams for Seniors

As a patient ages, they become more susceptible to all eye diseases. Glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration are the triad of most common eye diseases. Glaucoma is treatable, and with advances in modern eye drops – one can be almost guaranteed to avoid blindness if managed in the early stages. Retinopathy due to diabetes can be avoided with good blood sugar management and regular eye exams. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness and vision loss in Americans over the age of 65, as stated in an article by the American Academy of Family Physicians.4 Once untreatable, advanced stages can now be controlled with laser in combination with modern chemical agents. Although vision problems occur more often for seniors, they can be treated if caught early. Annual eye exams can help detect, diagnose and treat eye problems before they can impact a person’s quality of life.

Cataract is not a disease but a normal aging process, which will cause visual blurriness or glare as it progresses. It can start as early as age 40’s. By age 65, over 90 percent of people have cataracts according to the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center.3   With modern advances of surgery techniques and technology, patients are having cataract surgery much earlier – due to having benefits similar to LASIK in addition to remedying cataracts.

Ultimately, no one is too young or too old – or even “too healthy” for an eye exam. Visit your trusted ophthalmologist or optometrist at Marietta Eye Clinic.

Schedule your next eye exam TODAY. We look forward to seeing you soon!

References

  1. The National Center for Children’s Vision & Eye Health at Prevent Blindness report titled, Children’s Vision and Eye Health: A Snapshot of Current National Issues. Retrieved from https://www.preventblindness.org/sites/default/files/national/documents/Children’s_Vision_Chartbook.pdf.
  2. The American Academy of Ophthalmology article titled, Eye Screening for Children. Retrieved from https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/children-eye-screening.
  3. The University of Michigan Medicine’s Kellogg Eye Center. Retrieved on 12/11/2017 from http://www.umkelloggeye.org/conditions-treatments/cataract.
  4. The American Academy of Family Physicians in the American Family Physician, July 1, 1999. Retrieved from http://www.aafp.org/afp/1999/0701/p99.html.

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