Unlike going to the dentist, it’s generally not necessary to see your eye doctor every 6 months for an eye exam. Typically, having a comprehensive eye exam every 1-2 years will ensure that your eyes stay healthy and your vision remains sharp. Some patients, such as those with medical conditions like diabetes, eye disorders, high prescriptions or a family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration require more frequent eye exams.
However, even if you aren’t due for a regular eye exam, there are some signs and symptoms that should alert you to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. If you experience any of the following symptoms, schedule an eye exam as soon as possible:
Blurry Vision: Blurry vision may be an indication that it’s time for new glasses. It may also be a sign of a larger health issue and should always be taken seriously.
Sudden Appearance of Visual Disturbances: A sudden onset of visual disturbances such as floaters, flashes of light or obstruction of vision could be a sign of a serious vision-threatening issue such as retinal tear, hole or detachment.
Headaches: Headaches can be one of the early warning signs of a change in vision.
Eye Pain or Eye Fatigue: Having some infrequent eye pain or eye strain isn’t usually a big problem. However, if you experience ongoing eye pain for more than a few days, or if you experience ongoing eye pain with eye movements, it’s important to get it checked out.
Squinting: Frequent squinting is the quintessential sign that it’s probably time for an eye exam. We squint when we’re having difficulties seeing because the act of squinting reduces extraneous light entering the eye and reduces light scattering, improving vision.
An Eye Infection: If you experience swelling of the eyelids, itchiness, redness, a pink discoloration of the whites of your eyes and/or discharge – you may have an eye infection.
Regular eye exams are an important part of maintaining your vision and overall health. Eye exams can often reveal developing health issues that aren’t easily found even with a physical by a family doctor.