You’ve heard it said that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. That may work for machines and gadgets, but when it comes to your eyes, that hands-off philosophy doesn’t apply. In fact, it’s a dangerous gamble with your vision. More than half the adults in the United States believe they don’t need to see an eye doctor as long as they have clear vision, but avoiding these preventive appointments puts their eyesight at serious risk.
Knowing that early detection of underlying vision problems can save your eyesight, Dr. Kim Doan at Advanced Eyecare of Orange County encourages all our patients in Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, California, to see her regularly, even when nothing seems wrong.
That’s because many eye health issues develop behind the scenes, and by the time you notice the symptoms, the problem has already become a serious condition. Here are some of the key reasons you should make and keep your regular eye exam appointments.
The false security of eye charts
Whether you stood with fellow students in the school nurse’s office, complied with requirements from your employer or insurance company, or lined up at the DMV to get your driver’s license, you’ve likely taken the eye chart test at least once in your life. And if you were able to read all the lines, even down to the fine print, you may think that’s all you need to know.
But the ability to read letters on a poster across the room only indicates your visual acuity; it doesn’t reveal anything about your eye health.
Dr. Doan performs a series of tests on your eyes to look deeper and determine if any changes or health issues are developing behind your lids.
What potential problems can regular eye exams detect?
Just because you have no complaints about your vision, doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem taking hold inside your eyes. Most eye health issues develop gradually and may not show any symptoms until significant damage has been done.
That’s where routine eye exams come in. Even if your eyes are perfectly healthy, it’s important for us to establish a baseline that lets us know what’s normal for you. Then, when we check your eyes again next year, we can clearly see any changes that may have occurred. As you age, your risk increases for eye conditions, such as:
- Macular degeneration
By catching these problems early and treating them, we can help you prevent significant damage and vision loss.
A word about digital eye strain
One of the most common eye problems we see is digital eye strain. Thanks to all our electronic devices, like computers, tablets, laptops, and smartphones, we spend countless hours staring at screens, which puts a lot of stress on our eyes.
If your eyes are tired, scratchy, irritated, red, and blurry, it could be a direct result of excess screen time. When your job or hobby has you continuously staring at a digital screen, it retrains your eyes to blink less, which triggers all these symptoms.
It can also lead to dry eye syndrome, when your eyes don’t produce enough tears, don’t distribute your tears efficiently, or produce low-quality tears. At your regular eye exam, Dr. Doan can determine what’s causing your symptoms, offer you treatments to resolve your dry eyes, and give you suggestions for monitoring your monitor time.
Your eyes are the window into your overall health
Regular eye exams are not only the ideal way to keep tabs on your eye health, they also reveal a lot about your overall well being. Often, an optometrist is the first to discover the warning signs of systemic diseases and illnesses, even before you experience symptoms.
Dr. Doan may be able to detect early onset of diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain autoimmune disorders. Eye pain and double vision are two classic warning signs of potential health problems, so make sure to come in for an eye exam if you’re experiencing these symptoms.
Determining how often to schedule your regular eye exam
If your eyes are healthy and your vision is clear, Dr. Doan recommends coming in for your regular eye exam every two years. But if any of the following factors relate to you, you should plan to come in once a year:
- You’re over 40
- You wear corrective lenses
- You have diabetes
- Cataracts or glaucoma run in your family
- You have high blood pressure
Your age, current health, and family history all contribute to your eye health, so talk with Dr. Doan about your specific eye needs. And if you notice any blurry vision, flashing lights, floating specks, or eye pain, call us today or request an appointment online at our Huntington Beach office or either of our two Newport Beach locations.