Oral & Vision Health Blog

May is Healthy Vision Awareness Month: Get an Eye Exam

May is Healthy Vision Awareness Month and we have to ask -- when was the last time you had an eye exam? You probably think you don't need an eye exam because you see just fine, you don't wear glasses or your current prescription is still adequate. But an eye exam is much more than just a vision screening, it ensures you and your eyes are healthy! If you haven’t seen your eye doctor recently and gotten an exam, consider the following:

Exams aren’t just for prescriptions

If you currently wear prescription eyeglass lenses or contact lenses, you will be provided with an update when you go to take your eye exam. But what if you don't currently wear any? An eye exam can help you see if your vision is still 20/20 or if you need some help with your eyesight! The eye doctor will evaluate your eyes to see if you have any common eye diseases, and the earlier a disease is identified the earlier treatment can begin resulting in the best chance for a positive outcome.

Keep in mind that eye diseases typically don't have any noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy are two examples. At an eye exam these diseases can be detected so treatment can begin right away reducing the chance that permanent vision loss will occur. 

Your eye health correlates with your overall health

Believe it or not, some aspects of overall health can be determined through an eye exam! Systemic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure can be detected by an eye doctor during an eye exam before they would be obvious to a primary care physician. Diabetes can cause swelling of the macula and small blood vessel leaks in the eye. These would be identified during an eye exam so you could start treating the disease before more serious issues occur.

Make sure all the members of your family have had an eye exam within the last year. If not, schedule an eye exam this month! Don't wait until an issue occurs to schedule an eye exam. For some people, it may be necessary to have an exam more than once a year. This is especially true for people over the age of 50 who may find they are experiencing changes or issues within a year of their last exam. Consider the following reasons to schedule an eye exam this month:

  • You haven't been to the eye doctor in over a year or you can't remember the last time you had an eye exam.
  • You have difficulty seeing or driving at night.
  • You are experiencing an issue such as dry, itchy eyes, seeing spots, blurred vision, headaches, or you are seeing floaters.
  • It is difficult to read books or the newspaper. You have to hold it far away, squint or shut one eye to read.
  • You have a family history of conditions like diabetes or glaucoma.
Exams are for ALL age groups

While it may seem obvious that adults should have regular eye exams to verify they have a current prescription and to look for early signs of eye diseases, kids also need eye exams. The doctor will make sure the vision development is normal. Also, sometimes a child struggling in school turns out to have vision problems that are causing the academic issues. The child may not realize that they are having trouble seeing so they don't alert an adult to the problem. If it goes unrecognized they fall further and further behind. A simple eye exam can make a huge difference in school success.

There you have it! Next time you’re debating whether or not you should take a trip to the eye doctor, make the effort to go. Take care of your eyes – they’re the only pair you have! And if you want to check on your eyesight before your appointment, download our FREE eye-exam today!