It’s always a good idea to schedule regular eye exams, but there are several reasons for visiting your optometrist between those regular appointments.
What do we mean by “regular appointments?” Well, that varies, largely depending on age. Children should have their first eye exam at six months, their second at three years, and their third before they begin first grade.
From ages six to 60, the American Optometric Academy recommends that people whose vision isn’t considered “at-risk” have an eye exam every other year, and then once every year from age 60 on. For those with “at-risk” vision, the best schedule will be determined by the optometrist.
What Does It Mean To Be “At Risk?”
Several factors can put an individual’s vision at greater risk than the general populace. These include having diabetes or hypertension. These diseases can have a severe impact on vision health. A family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration is also a major risk factor.
Many prescription drugs have eye-related side effects, like dry eye, and your optometrist will want to carefully monitor your vision health if you’re taking these types of medications. Contact lenses also present an increased risk of eye infection and other complications.
When To Throw Out The Schedule
At-risk or not, as mentioned above, there are several circumstances in which you shouldn’t wait until your next regularly scheduled appointment to pay your optometrist a visit.
You’ve Been Squinting More
If you notice that you’ve had to squint to read road signs, that’s a good sign that you’re due for a prescription change—or, if you haven’t needed glasses before now, that you might need to start wearing them. Squinting will only get you so far.
Bright Flashes And Floaters
It’s perfectly normal to have a few floaters hanging around in your eyes. They can be annoying, but they usually aren’t a problem. However, if you suddenly see a bunch of new ones, you should definitely schedule an appointment, particularly if the floaters are accompanied by bright flashes of light or loss of peripheral vision. These are symptoms of retinal detachment, and can cause permanent blindness if not treated quickly enough.
Headaches aren’t always the result of eye problems, but it isn’t uncommon for optometrists to spot the causes of chronic headaches first. You may be having these headaches because of eye strain caused by your digital screens. If so, there’s no need to continue suffering in silence when we can help.
Sometimes eye infections clear up on their own, but that isn’t a risk worth taking. If you’re experiencing blurred vision, light sensitivity, unusual discharge from your eye, itchiness, redness, or pain, visit your local Vision Source® member optometrist as soon as you can. Even if you think it’s just dry eye, it’s still important to come see us, because untreated dry eye can open the door to serious infections.
We’re Looking Out For Your Vision Health
Good vision health is crucial to a high quality of life, and we don’t want you to miss out on any opportunities or amazing views. Any reason for concern about your vision health is reason enough to schedule an early appointment.
Thank you for being a wonderful patient and friend!