The Importance of an Annual Eye Exam
Your eyes continually change, which is why the American Optometry Association recommends an annual eye exam to ensure your overall eye health is in good shape. According to a Pearle Vision survey of 500 people, over half (56%) of U.S. adults who wear prescription glasses or contact lenses see an optometrist at least once a year.
Yearly eye exams not only check your vision, but more importantly, help detect eye health issues. At Pearle Vision, our eye care experts will take the time to ask you the right questions, so they can give you the quality of care you deserve.
How Eye Exams Can Help Detect Serious Health Issues
Many people don’t realize the importance of an annual eye exam. Having 20/20 vision doesn’t necessarily mean your eyes are perfectly healthy. And just because you didn’t have eye issues as a child, doesn’t mean they can’t develop in adulthood. According to that same Pearle Vision survey, more than one in four adults (28%) who currently wear glasses or contact lenses say their vision issues only developed later in life.
Serious eye diseases don’t often show any signs or symptoms early on, and having an eye doctor check your eyes yearly can help detect concerns and prevent complications.
A routine eye check-up can help identify and avoid common eye conditions like:
- Glaucoma: A condition in which the pressure inside your eyes increases. Glaucoma can damage the optic nerve, causing tunnel vision and pain if not treated. Early detection is key to minimizing eye damage. Symptoms will vary, but many people will not experience any pain or symptoms until vision loss has occurred.
- Cataracts: A medical condition where the lens of the eye becomes cloudy over time. Cataracts is the most common cause of vision loss in the United States. Luckily, vision loss caused by cataracts can be treated. Your Pearle Vision optometrist can refer you to a specialist for treatment.
- Diabetic eye disease: A diabetes complication that damages the blood vessels in the retina. People with diabetic retinopathy may not experience any symptoms until vision loss occurs. This is the leading cause of blindness in adults. Permanent vision loss may occur if untreated.
At Pearle Vision, our optometrists can administer a series of tests to help detect early signs of these conditions. Don’t wait until symptoms begin appearing to visit your eye doctor. Early prevention is key to keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear.
How Often Do I Need to Get My Eyes Checked?
The recommended frequency of eye exams can vary based on your age, risk factors, and whether you're already wearing corrective lenses. Here's a general guideline on how often you should get your eyes checked, according to the American Optometry Association:
- Birth to 2 years: At least one eye exam between the ages of 6 and 12 months
- 3 to 5 years: At least one eye exam between these ages
- 6 to 17 years: Before first grade and annually thereafter
- 18 to 39 years: At least every two years
- 40 to 64 years: At least every two years
- 65 years and older: Annually
However, if you are at risk, you may need to have eye exams more frequently. Risk factors include:
- A personal or family history of ocular disease
- Systemic health conditions with potential ocular manifestations
- Occupations that are highly demanding visually or have a high potential of being hazardous to the eyes
- Taking prescription or nonprescription drugs with ocular side effects
- Functional vision in only one eye
- Wearing contact lenses
- Eye surgery or previous eye injury
- High or progressive refractive error
Remember, these are just guidelines. Always consult with your eye doctor to determine the best eye exam schedule for your specific needs.
Signs You Should See an Optometrist
If you’re continuously experiencing any of the following eye problems, you should visit your neighborhood Pearle Vision optometrist immediately:
- Decreased vision
- Redness of the eye
- Excessive/constant watering of eyes
- Eye pain
- Double or blurry vision
- Tiny speck appearing to float in front of your eyes
- Circles or halos around lights
- Computer eye strain
While some symptoms may be the result of exhaustion or fatigue, others could be a sign of a more serious eye condition. If issues like blurred vision persist, it is recommended you see one of our eye care experts for diagnosis and treatment.
What Happens During an Annual Eye Exam?
Our eye care experts are dedicated to your eye health. We’re here to make the process of scheduling and completing your routine eye exams quick and easy.
Our eye exams last about 20-30 minutes and include:
- A review of your patient history: During this time your doctor may ask about your family history, any symptoms you are experiencing, and medications you are taking.
- Eye and vision examination: Tests will vary depending on the patient, but the most common to expect are visual acuity, ocular movement tests, and a health check of your eyes. More on the tests below.
- Optional contact lens testing: Patients who wish to use contact lenses instead of eyeglasses will have to complete additional tests to ensure the lenses fit correctly and determine what material is best for their eyes. Furthermore, your eye doctor can go over a proper wearing schedule for your lenses.
Different Types of Vision Tests
Our eye care experts use a variety of tests help determine the clarity, acuity, and overall health of your eyes. Here are some of the different types of vision tests you can expect at your eye exam:
Visual acuity test: This test measures your ability to see details at a specific distance using an eye chart. It helps determine your visual clarity and may involve reading letters or symbols of varying sizes.
Refraction test: The refraction test determines the appropriate correction for prescription glasses or contacts by fine-tuning lenses to achieve clear vision. It involves looking through a series of lenses while the optometrist or ophthalmologist assesses which combination provides the clearest vision for you.
Visual field test: The visual field test evaluates your peripheral vision, helping to detect blind spots or abnormalities.
Color vision test: Color vision tests assess your ability to perceive and differentiate colors accurately. These tests are helpful in detecting color vision deficiencies or color blindness.
Retinal examination: A retinal examination involves examining the back of the eye, including the retina, optic nerve, and blood vessels. It helps detect conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, or other retinal abnormalities that can affect vision.
Slit-Lamp examination: The slit-lamp examination allows eye care professionals to examine the front structures of the eye, such as the cornea and lens, in detail. It helps detect abnormalities or conditions like cataracts, corneal diseases, or eye infections.
Tonometry: Tonometry measures the pressure inside the eyes, which is essential for screening and monitoring glaucoma, a condition characterized by increased intraocular pressure that can damage the optic nerve.
Additionally, the optometrist or ophthalmologist may also measure your pupillary distance, which is the distance between the pupils. This measurement helps ensure that eyeglasses are properly aligned with your eyes for optimal vision correction.
Schedule Your Annual Eye Exam with Pearle Vision
Is it time for your annual exam?
Routine eye exams are essential for maintaining optimal eye health and detecting any potential issues early on.
Don't delay, book an appointment today at your neighborhood Pearle Vision EyeCare Center to ensure that you receive the comprehensive care and attention your eyes deserve.
Annual Eye Exam FAQ
How often do I need an eye exam?
It is generally recommended to have an annual eye exam to ensure ongoing eye health and to detect any potential changes or issues in a timely manner. However, the frequency of eye exams may vary depending on individual factors such as age, overall health, and any existing eye conditions. Your eye care professional can provide guidance on the appropriate frequency of exams based on your specific needs.
What's included in an annual eye exam?
An annual eye exam typically includes several important components to assess your overall eye health and vision. These may include:
- Visual acuity test to measure your clarity of vision.
- Refraction test to determine your prescription for glasses or contact lenses.
- Evaluation of eye movements, coordination, and focusing ability.
- Assessment of eye health, including the examination of the retina, optic nerve, and other structures.
- Measurement of eye pressure to screen for glaucoma.
- Additional tests as deemed necessary by the eye care professional based on individual factors and concerns.