Eating healthy, exercising, and regular health check-ups are essential to good health. Equally as important to your health is having regular eye exams. Scott Drexler, OD, optometrist at the UPMC Eye Center, explains why regardless of a person’s age or ability to see, routine eye exams are important.
1. How often should you see your eye doctor?
If you are between the ages of 6 and 60 years old, it is recommended to have an eye exam every two years. Unless you are experiencing any warning signs, such as:
- Blurred vision or loss of vision
- Flashing light
- New floaters
- Significant health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, or thyroid disease
- Over 60 years old yearly exams are recommended
2. Why are regular eye exams important?
The most common reasons for regular eye exams between the ages of 6 and 20 are because of a change in vision. Typically, people who are nearsighted or farsighted will have gradual eyeglass prescription changes during this time. Additionally, a comprehensive eye exam with pupil dilation can detect a variety of systemic conditions even before symptoms are experienced
Later in life it is important to check for progressive, but not initially visually apparent, eye diseases including:
Certainly, if you have health issues, it is important to monitor for eye involvement that could be associated.
3. What will your doctor check for during the eye exam?
Typically, the first things checked are:
- Visual sharpness
- Color vision
- Muscle balance
- Gross visual field
- Refractive error (eyeglass prescription)
Then, using a slit lamp microscope, the doctor is able to check the health of your cornea and iris along with your eye pressure to look for glaucoma. After inserting dilating drops, the doctor can use the same instrument to check the health of the retina and look for problems like macular degeneration, cataracts, retinal detachments, and complications from systemic diseases like diabetes.