Eye Exams: The Windows to Your Health

About 11 million Americans over the age of 12 need vision correction. An annual eye exam is the number one way you can protect your vision. Eye exams detect not only changes in your vision but can also detect sight threatening diseases and other serious medical conditions.

 “The eyes are the window to your health.” That’s true. Optometrists are able to identify the following health concerns through an eye exam:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Tumors in or around the eye
  • High cholesterol
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Types of arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis

These diseases can often go unnoticed. A comprehensive dilated eye exam, administered by an optometrist or ophthalmologist, is necessary to diagnose eye diseases.

Those with diabetes are 25 times more likely to lose vision than those who are not. Diabetic eye disease is often asymptomatic in its early stages.  However, it is the most preventable cause of vision loss and blindness.

The American Optometric Association suggests the following frequencies for adult eye exams based on age:

  • 18 to 39: at least every 2 years
  • 40 to 64: every 2-4 years
  • 65+: annually

Even children need routine eye exams. Vision screenings at school are valuable, however, they do not replace a comprehensive eye exam by an eye care professional. The American Optometric Association suggests eye exams at age six months, age three, before starting school, and annually while in school.

Want other ways to protect your eyes? Try these:

  • Eat a balanced diet rich in leafy greens like kale.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Stay up to date on your family’s eye health history.
  • Quit smoking, today.
  • Wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV-A and UV-B rays.