August: National Eye Exam Month
August is National Eye Exam Month so it’s a great time to have your eyes checked. Ocular diseases and conditions are common. Most can be corrected with prescription vision correction, medication or other techniques. Other conditions are more serious. Glaucoma is an eye disease that is often associated with elevated pressure, in which damage to the eye (optic) nerve can lead to loss of vision and even blindness.
Cataracts also can be spotted and effectively dealt with early on, but many people ignore those early symptoms or just use dime-store reading glasses and over-the-counter eye drops as a solution and hope the problem will go away. That can lead to major surgery and reduced visual acuity later on.
Retinopathy – typically, but not always, caused by diabetes or high blood pressure – is the leading cause of loss of eyesight among working-age adults. It is the subtle and gradual reshaping of the retina as a result of higher than normal pressures in the eye itself, and, for all practical purposes, it is irreversible if allowed to progress beyond the very early stages.
Getting a regular eye exam is the best way to catch these and other conditions early, have the right vision correction and keep your eyes healthy.
In addition, there are conditions that can only be found in an earlier more treatable timeframe through a dilated eye exam by your eye doctor.
How often should you get an eye exam?
Adults, ages 18-60, should have comprehensive eye exams every two years. Adults over 60 should have exams yearly as the potential for serious eye problems increases with age.
More reasons to have an eye exam:
- If you have frequent headaches, a vision issue could be to blame. Untreated vision problems strain your eyes and may cause headaches.
- It can be hard to focus in school if you are having vision problems. Approximately 25 percent of school age children have problems with their sight and this may contribute to learning issues.
- Your vision will change over time and your prescription may need to be adjusted.
- Serious diseases such as diabetes, glaucoma, high cholesterol and high blood pressure can all be detected during an eye exam.