This post was last updated on April 12, 2016\nExercise. Eat healthy. Head to the doctor for regular checkups.\nWhat\u2019s missing?\nRegular visits to the eye doctor are a critical part of any healthy lifestyle \u2014 regardless of your current ability to see.\u00a0In addition to adjusting your prescription, eye doctors can help identify chronic diseases, like diabetes or glaucoma. And for kids, eye examinations help ensure normal vision development needed for schoolwork and athletics.\nScott Drexler, OD, optometrist at the UPMC Eye Center, tells us why it\u2019s important to schedule routine eye exams.\nHow Often Should You See an Eye Doctor?\nYou should have a routine eye exam every two years, particularly if you\u2019re between the ages of 6 and 20, when changes in vision are common. Many people who are nearsighted or farsighted experience vision changes during this time of their lives.\nIf you\u2019re older than 60, you should have an eye exam each year, as age-related eye problems are common.\nIt may be important to see a doctor more frequently if you\u2019re experiencing any of the following:\n\nBlurry vision or loss of vision. If you notice it\u2019s more difficult to see things near and\/or far away, and perform basic tasks\nFlashing light in your eye\nEye floaters, or small spots that appear in your vision\nIf you\u2019ve been diagnosed with significant health issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure, or thyroid disease\n\nWhy Should You Have Regular Eye Exams?\nVision changes can have a profound effect on your day-to-day life, and it\u2019s important to identify and treat these common issues. Additionally, a comprehensive eye exam with pupil dilation can detect systemic conditions well before you experience other symptoms.\nSome progressive eye diseases are not immediately apparent, and you should be tested for them during your regular eye examination. These include:\n\nGlaucoma: A chronic, progressive eye disease that leads to damage of the optic nerve.\nMacular degeneration: An eye condition that causes damage to the retina.\nCataracts: The most common cause of blindness in the world.\n\nWhat Does an Eye Doctor Check for During the Eye Exam?\nYour eye doctor will first check these factors:\n\nVisual sharpness\nColor vision\nEye muscle balance\nGross visual field\nRefractive error, or your eyeglass prescription\n\nYour doctor will then check the health of your cornea and iris, using a slit lamp microscope. Eye pressure will be checked to determine if you are at risk for glaucoma.\nAfter inserting dilating drops, your doctor will check the health of your retina and look for problems like macular degeneration, cataracts, retinal detachments, and other complications.\nTo schedule an appointment at one of the UPMC Eye Center locations, call 412-647-2200.