Taking care of your health is important, especially as you continue to age. While many of us focus on eating a healthy diet, increasing physical exercise levels, practicing meditation or relaxation techniques to reduce stress, and seeing a general practitioner yearly for check-ups, we often neglect specialized care for one of our most relied upon body part—the eyes. Your eyes have millions of nerve cells and receptors that allow you to see things with crisp, colorful vision. They adjust in darkness and adapt to help you safely navigate your environment. Unfortunately, only about 54% of people get regular eye exams, leaving close to 16 million Americans living with undiagnosed conditions or impairments that can result in permanent damage. Taking care of your eyes is essential, but how important is it to get regular eye exams? We’ll explore the answer below.

The Difference between Vision Screenings and Regular Eye Exams

The first thing to understand is that vision screenings are not the same thing as regular eye exams. Vision screenings are performed as a basic test that lets a professional better understand and assess your vision. They allow for that person to determine whether you have difficulty seeing, thus giving you recommendations for the appropriate corrective measures. Visual screenings do not have to be administered by a doctor. They can be carried out by school nurses, specialized doctors, or even a volunteer at a clinic. Vision screenings also rarely focus on farsightedness and only check for nearsightedness. Chances are, you’ve undergone a vision screening while in school, at the DMV, or at your doctor’s office. Using a chart of increasingly smaller letters, you’ll need to sate what you can see up until you’re unable to make out the letters.

An eye exam is a much more thorough medical exam that can only be carried out by a licensed eye doctor, usually either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Eye exams use special equipment to check your vision and overall eye health.

Regular eye exams are essential as they can properly diagnose underlying conditions that may be causing vision problems. They’re also important preventative measures to catch any signs of disease at an early stage, thus diminishing your risk for long-term eye problems or vision loss. Eye exams can be used to help diagnose a range of other diseases, which make them important to staying healthy as you continue to age.

4 Benefits of Eye Exams

Undergoing regular eye exams is important for several reasons. Eye exams not only allow for optimized vision and everyday performance, but they also help improve learning, catch and treat myopia early, avoid problems from glaucoma, and detect serious health problems early on

1. Catch and Treat Myopia Early

In an interesting discovery, it was found that good vision is directly correlated with early childhood learning and retention. This is becoming even more important as the excessive use of screens is not good for developing children’s eye health. Make sure that your children undergo regular eye exams to catch any problems and help them get the most out of their studies.

2. Catch and Treat Myopia Early

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is becoming increasingly diagnosed in young children. This can be problematic because the earlier someone becomes nearsighted, the worse it can get over time. Eye exams can monitor for early signs of myopia, assess risk, and help slow the progression of diagnosed cases.

3. Avoid Problems from Glaucoma

Glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss when left untreated and, unfortunately, it’s not easily noticed outside of an eye exam. Early cases of glaucoma don’t have noticeable symptoms and therefore, without eye exams, you won’t know that you have glaucoma until it’s caused damage. By the time the disease has progressed, keeping it stable and controlling further vision loss is difficult. Since glaucoma can cause blindness, it’s not worth the risk. Be proactive about your health and schedule your eye exam today.

4. Detect Serious Health Problems

Some of the health problems that eye exams can help detect include diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, autoimmune disorders, cancer, and even tumors. Our eyes are the window to our souls. They are also the window into our overall health. Therefore, undergoing a comprehensive eye exam in conjunction with regular visits with your primary care doctor can ensure that you stay healthy as you age.

How Often Should You Get Eye Exams Based on Age?

The frequency in which you should undergo an eye exam depends largely on your age and whether you have chronic conditions. While in your 20s and 30s, most professionals recommend that you undergo an eye exam about every five to ten years. In your 40s and up until you’re around 54, you should get an eye exam every two to four years. From 55 to 64, it’s recommended that you get an eye exam at least every one to three years, and 65+ should undergo eye exams every one to two years. Children should get at least one initial screening during the first year of life and routine exams vision screenings as they age to help catch abnormalities early.

For individuals who have a family history of eye disease, wear corrective lenses, have chronic diseases that are associated with decreasing eye health, or have vision trouble and eye discomfort, talk to your eye doctor about how often you should get a comprehensive eye exam.

How Important is it to Get Regular Eye Exams?

At the end of the day, getting regular eye exams is extremely important. They can help evaluate your overall health, detect major health problems, and ensure that you catch any problems early to avoid long-lasting consequences. To schedule your eye exam today and ensure that you’re staying proactive with your health, contact the optometrists at Val Vista Vision. Our staff is here to help you detect, treat, and manage eye conditions that can impact your quality of life. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a consultation, contact Val Vista Vision today.