See You Next Year:
The Importance of Annual Eye Health Exams
Many of us are not aware of the necessity of having routine vision care. According to a recent report in the Archives of Ophthalmology, more than 60 million American adults are at high risk of vision loss. That is one in five Americans! Yet most of us do not get an annual eye exam. There may be multiple reasons: a lack of awareness, busy schedules, cost concerns or is it covered by my health insurance?
Addressing the health insurance issue for a moment, more and more people are covered by some type of vision care benefit. In 2013, more than 50% of Americans utilized some form of a vision care plan. In 2014 due to Healthcare reform that percentage will increase. This represents a great opportunity for consumers to check vision care benefits to maintain an annual exam frequency, especially since many of us have vision insurance.
Let's talk about increasing awareness of why routine eye health evaluations are needed. First, current guidelines for eye exam frequency are confusing. Some patients may require an annual exam while others more or less frequently. A good rule of thumb is if you are over the age of 40, seeing your eye Doctor once a year is recommended. Your Optometrist will educate you on how often to have your eyes evaluated as it relates to your specific medical history and vision needs.
Did you know that seeing your Optometrist each year promotes overall health and wellness in addition to assessing your vision correction? Many people don't realize that a yearly eye exam is preventative. Sight-threatening or even life threatening conditions can be uncovered during the exam. An ocular disease like Glaucoma has a silent presentation, meaning there are no symptoms. If left untreated Glaucoma can lead to blindness. Systemic diseases like Diabetes and high blood pressure leave their tell-tale footprint in the back of the eye, known as the retina. Frequently, these diseases are detected during the normal annual eye exam and what's most shocking is that many patients were unaware that they had the disease. With the aging of the Baby Boomer population, these diagnoses have become more common and if left untreated can lead not only to loss of sight but life as well.
It is vitally important to increase public awareness of the need for annual eye health evaluations. Start today with the people you love, ensuring your family and friends are scheduling routine visits with their eye Doctor. In this way, we can rest assured we are preserving our very precious sense of sight.
Nothing on this web site is intended, nor should it be construed, as professional advice. Those reviewing the information should consult with a qualified professional.