Why a Periodic Eye Exam Is More Important Than You Think

11:19 AM, Jul 06, 2017

“Regular preventive maintenance” is a term we usually associate with keeping our cars in good shape, but it also applies to protecting our vision.

Many eye conditions actually display few symptoms. If you wait to have an exam until there’s an obvious problem, you could be putting yourself at risk for vision loss. According to the National Eye Institute, more than 11 million Americans have an uncorrected visual impairment that could affect their quality of life.

“Despite the fact that half of all blindness cases can be prevented, the population of those experiencing vision loss continues to increase,” says Dr. Bill Simons of Montana Eyecare.

In addition to picking up on vision issues, routine eye exams can also detect other serious health conditions such as diabetes, brain tumors, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

“The eye provides a unique view into the functioning of blood vessels, arteries and the cranial nerve,” says Dr. Simons. “It can reveal a lot about your overall health.”

How often you should visit the eye doctor depends on your age, ethnicity, medical history, family history and occupation, among other factors. Those experiencing symptoms should, of course, schedule an exam without delay, but for others, certain risk factors may call for more frequent exams to prevent any issues.

The American Optometrist Association recommends these guidelines for regular eye care:

1. Infants and Children

At birth, newborns are screened for congenital eye disorders. If abnormalities or certain risk factors appear, experts recommend infants receive an eye evaluation at six months of age or sooner.

“Early diagnosis and treatment are vital in promoting visual development, preventing vision loss and managing hereditary or congenital conditions such as crossed eyes or a lazy eye,” says Dr. Simons.

If there are no problems, a re-examination at age three and prior to entry into school are suggested.

2. School-Aged Children: Biennial

Because vision can change frequently during school years, exams every two years are recommended. The most common problems arise from the development of nearsightedness, but issues with focusing and eye coordination can also affect school performance.

If a child is experiencing learning problems, it’s important that an eye exam be included as part of an overall evaluation.

3. Adults: Biannual

Young adults – who use technology on an increasing basis – should come in twice yearly. This time frame is also recommended for adults in their forties and fifties, when changes in the ability to see clearly at close range appear.

For those diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension, those with a family history of glaucoma (particularly African Americans), and those taking medications with ocular side effects, biennial exams may be advised.

4. Older Adults: Annual

Yearly exams are especially important for adults over 60, when the risk for glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration as well as other systemic health conditions, increases.

If you’re looking to schedule an eye exam or have any other questions about your eyesight, the team at Montana Eyecare is dedicated to preventive maintenance to guarantee your visual well-being. Call 406-443-2121 to set up an appointment or visit MontanaEyecare.com for more information.

Our Location
550 North Montana Avenue
Helena, MT 59601
Montana Eye Care

At Montana Eyecare, our professional eye care staff will be happy to assist you with your vision needs.  We have treatment options available for everyone. Whether you are interested in making an appointment for a LASIK consultation, have cataracts, need an annual eye exam, or just need glasses, we can help!

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