Why It’s Essential To Get An Annual Eye Exam

No matter your age, keeping up with annual exams for your body is essential for promoting good health. That’s why things like well-baby checks are recommended by pediatricians; they allow providers to catch any inconsistencies or concerns before they become more complex. Similarly, annual eye exams allow your eye doctor to capture eye problems, diagnose conditions, and track existing eye diagnoses. Read on to learn more about why maintaining these exams is so important for every member of your family and how they keep your eyesight strong.

What happens during an annual eye exam?

Annual eye exams include a series of tests to evaluate your vision and monitor you for eye diseases. Each test that happens during an eye exam includes tasks or questions for you that help your eye provider assess you. A clinical assistant or technician may do parts of your examination, like taking a complete medical history and doing basic assessments. Some of the other things that will be assessed are:

  • Measuring your visual acuity to determine if you need glasses or contact lenses
  • Measuring your eye pressure: Many providers recommend dilation at your annual eye exams, so please prepare for this and plan accordingly. You’ll be provided numbing drops to make it easier for your doctor to examine inside your eye and enhance your comfort level.
  • Evaluating the general health of your eye: Your eye doctor will use light and/or imaging to see the front of your eye and inside of your eye.

At the end of your eye exam, your eye doctor will sit down with you and go over the results of your testing and assessments, your risk of eye disease, and practical steps that you can take to preserve and protect your eyes.

What can a provider find during an annual eye exam?

Some of the top diseases or disorders that can be discovered or monitored by an annual eye exam include glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal problems. Discovering these conditions early can allow you to seek treatment and achieve more positive outcomes. In addition to these three important eye conditions, there are also other general health problems that can be indicated during an annual eye exam, including:

  • Diabetes: This disorder can affect the tiny capillaries in the retina, causing them to bleed or excrete yellowish fluid. If your eye doctor sees these symptoms, you may have diabetic retinopathy, which is damage to the retina due to long-term diabetes.
  • Hypertension: Your eye doctor may see that the blood vessels in the eye have bends, kinks, or tears which can indicate high blood pressure.
  • Autoimmune disorders like Lupus: If the eye is inflamed, it can be a sign of an autoimmune disorder.
  • Thyroid Disease: One hallmark of thyroid disease is bulging or protruding eyeballs. This is also known as Graves’ Disease.
  • Cancer and/or tumors: The structure of your eye can be an indicator of melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma can appear on the eyelid and can spread to the brain through the eye. Additionally, droopy eyelids or irregularly shaped pupils can indicate an aneurysm or a neck tumor.

Although many severe conditions can be discovered and treated early through annual eye exams, they’re just as important for those who simply want to monitor the efficacy of eyeglasses or contacts. This will help prevent strain on your vision and keep you seeing clearly.

How often should I have my eyes examined?

Although it’s often called an annual or comprehensive eye exam, most children and adults should have their eyes checked as often as their provider recommends. Patients with a higher risk of eye disease or vision problems should be checked more frequently. Here are some primary risk factors:

  • If you are over age 60
  • If you are of African or Hispanic descent
  • Are overweight or obese
  • If you have a family history of eye disease.
  • If you have a health condition that impacts the eye, like diabetes.
  • If you have had eye surgery, injury, or eye damage.

Many schools routinely do eye screenings for children, and so do pediatricians. It’s important to note that screenings do not replace annual or comprehensive eye exams. They are a simple tool and not a full assessment of your child’s vision.

How do I find an eye doctor in Southern Oregon?

Finding a caring provider is the first step in scheduling your annual exam, and we have many skilled clinicians here at Medical Eye Center. If you live in the Southern Oregon area, you have the option of our two Medford locations and our Grants Pass facility. We encourage all our patients (no matter their age) to care for their vision as part of their overall health and wellness practices.

Schedule Your Eye Exam Today