Did you know that August is National Eye Exam Month? I know it seems that every time we turn around, it is National This or That Month or Day. I get it. It’s hard to keep track of them all. But some of these National Days are worth considering, if not observed. Like National Donut Day… obviously.
Do you know the last time you had your eyes checked? Has it been awhile? If you can’t remember, then it probably has been more than a year. Use this opportunity to go ahead and make an appointment with your optometrist.
You may think that you don’t have a need to see an optometrist because you don’t wear glasses. But you still have your eye health to consider. Just because you may not need corrective lenses in the form of glasses or contacts, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make sure the rest of your eye is in tip top shape.
In addition to checking your vision, optometrists are also looking for a few potential issues:
Cataracts: More common in the elderly, but that doesn’t mean they won’t find it in a younger person.
Glaucoma: This is an ugly word, isn’t it? It made me think of surgery, but I wasn’t exactly sure what it was. Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that damages the optic nerve that can result in vision loss or even blindness. According to the National Eye Institute, with early detection and treatment, you can protect your eyes from serious vision loss. There are typically no warning signs, until you have significant vision loss. Your optometrist needs to measure the pressure in your eye to detect this disease. There are a few ways for this test to be performed, but generally, you’ll feel a puff of air. It sounds unpleasant, but you really should be checked.
Eye Movement: This is an easy, “follow the tip of my pen” test. Your optometrist is looking to see how well your eye is following the object in front of you. If you have restricted eye movement, you may have problems reading, or you may notice delayed reactions in sports.
Eye disease: Your eye doctor doesn’t dilate your eyes to annoy you. The dilation causes your pupil to widen so your eye doctor can see to the back of your eye more clearly. With a regular eye exam with dilation, your optometrist may be the first doctor to discover high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, a tumor, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Dilation will also help in diagnosing macular degeneration, a detached retina, and diabetes related eye diseases.
Your family’s vision is important! Regular visits to your optometrist (for both you AND your kids!) will help keep your vision crisp, but also ensure you haven’t developed any eye disease since the last time you visited. If you haven’t been in awhile, make your appointment now!