If you’re seeing fine and aren’t experiencing any uncomfortable eye related symptoms do you really need to have a comprehensive eye exam?
The answer is yes, see why below.
Vision Screenings vs. Comprehensive Eye Exams
Many people believe because they have had a routine vision screening recently they don’t need to have a comprehensive eye exam. Vision screenings are designed to detect major vision problems and abnormalities for as little cost as possible. They are an efficient way to screen for major sight issues but are generally ineffective in detecting any diseases or subtle problems.
Comprehensive eye exams on the other hand are performed by eye doctors and look at the complete health of your eyes, not simply visual acuity. A comprehensive eye exam is the first step in picking up problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and more.
Additionally, similar to the common saying ‘the eyes are the windows to your soul’ they are also the main window to your overall health. Your eye doctor may be able to detect signs of serious health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and risk of stroke. He or she will be able to do this by looking at the structures within the eye.
Children and comprehensive eye exams
While many schools offer routine vision screenings, it is still a good idea for children to receive a comprehensive eye exam. Vision screenings, as explained, will likely only pick up on major vision abnormalities and little else. As much of what children learn in school is presented visually, it is pertinent to ensure their eyes are functioning properly.
Additionally, children are using screens more and more and spending less time outdoors. These two trends have led to an increase in both myopia (short sightedness) and dry eye symptoms. Both of these conditions can affect a child’s ability to focus on something in the distance, such as a whiteboard in the classroom.
If the myopia is subtle it may still be affecting a child’s ability to focus but it won’t necessarily show up in a vision screening. The same is definitely true for dry eye.
Older adults and comprehensive eye exams
Many older adults forego comprehensive eye exams for free, routine vision screenings as well. While it may be less important that they can focus on a whiteboard comprehensive eye exams are just as, if not more important, for older adults.
Many eye diseases, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy increase with age. These diseases are largely symptomless until permanent damage is already done. Generally speaking, a person will only know they’re in the early stages of glaucoma is if it is diagnosed by their eye doctor during a comprehensive eye exam.
Depending on your health, family history, genetics and a few other factors you may be recommended to have a comprehensive eye exam more frequently. To determine a routine which is best for you, schedule an eye exam and consult with your eye doctor.