The Importance of Eye Exams by an Optometrist

June 23, 2023


Visiting your local independent optometrist is essential to maintaining good eye health. Besides keeping your prescriptions for eyeglasses and contacts current, eye exams can spot other problems like a bulging thyroid, high blood pressure, or an autoimmune disease. Most vision and eye diseases have no early symptoms, so it is challenging to detect them until they are in the advanced stages. This is why a comprehensive eye exam is so important.


Many eye health conditions, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, are either irreversible or difficult to cure once fully developed. Therefore, they should be identified early in a regular full-eye checkup. A complete eye exam includes a series of tests that evaluate the health of your eyes, including visual acuity (which is determined by reading charts) and an evaluation of how well your eyes focus and work together. This is also when your optometrist can update your prescription if necessary. Besides detecting vision problems, eye exams provide doctors with a view of the blood vessels in your retina that are a good indicator of other medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Visiting your eye doctor annually is a good idea, especially after age 40. This is when the risk of developing other health conditions increases. You should also see your eye doctor if you wear contact lenses.

Eye Health

Eye exams also assess the health of your eyes and can detect many conditions that are difficult to notice in their early stages. These can include blurred vision, a loss of your side or peripheral vision, halos around lights, and the appearance of floaters or flashes of light. Eye doctors can spot these symptoms using a visual field test and tonometry, measuring the pressure inside your eye. Eye doctors can also use a dilated exam to get a clear view of your retina, lens, and optic nerve. In addition to vision screenings that compare your eyesight to the 20/20 standard, a comprehensive eye exam will evaluate other essential aspects of your eye health, including depth perception, color vision, how your eyes move and focus together, and your optical prescription. This means that a regular eye exam should be an integral part of your preventive healthcare regimen, alongside your annual physical with your primary care physician!

Eye Allergies

When you have eye allergies, your eyes become itchy, watery, and swollen. The irritants that trigger these symptoms typically include indoor allergens like dust and pet dander and outdoor ones such as pollen and smoke from cigarettes or diesel exhaust. A regular exam allows the doctor to find the source of these symptoms and provide you with treatment. In addition, an optometrist can spot signs of broader health conditions that affect the eyes, including diabetes and high blood pressure. Everyone must get an eye exam at every stage of life. Not only can it help you preserve your vision, but it may also prevent other health problems from arising down the road.

Eye Diseases

The main reason for having a comprehensive eye exam is to detect signs and symptoms of refractive eye errors, like myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (far-sightedness). Your optometrist can also check for dry eyes, a chronic problem affecting people with age. Your eye doctor can also check for other health problems during your eye exam, including diabetes and high blood pressure, which may affect the health of your eyes. Additionally, your optometrist can look for abnormalities on the retina and optic nerve to check for glaucoma and macular degeneration signs. People of all ages should have regular comprehensive eye exams. Children 3 and under are typically examined at every well-child visit to monitor strabismus (crossed eyes) and amblyopia (lazy eye). Adults over 40 should have an eye exam at least once a year. For those with a history of eye or medical conditions, it is recommended to have an exam more frequently.

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