Most people think frequently about preventive dental and medical care, and make it a priority to schedule regular checkups in advance with their dentists and general physicians in order to catch any potential issues early. However, they often don’t apply the same logic to their eye health, even though receiving annual eye exams is crucial to detecting signs of disease early and staving off vision loss.
Why is early detection so important for eye-related issues?
Many of the most common and serious eye-related diseases are degenerative, meaning that their effects will naturally increase as time progresses, even if nothing else changes. Once these degenerative conditions start to affect your eye health there is often no going back, and the damage that has already occurred cannot be undone.
The very best defense you have against degenerative conditions is to discover them as early as possible so that corrective measures can be taken. Conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma affect millions of Americans every year, and there are surgeries and other corrective procedures that can be used to treat many diseases and halt the loss of vision. If you’re able to catch them early, your ophthalmologist may be able to treat the condition with minimal vision loss.
Do I need to have a separate exam if I already get a vision screening?
Many people receive regular vision screenings and may confuse them with a comprehensive eye exam. The fact is that vision screenings are only designed to test your visual acuity at a given time, and they can be performed by anyone, anywhere. You probably have a vision screening kiosk at your local mall, and it’s the same procedure they perform at the DMV when you apply for a driver’s license.
This is very different from an eye health exam, which must be conducted by a medical eye specialist (typically an ophthalmologist or optometrist), and is designed to check for signs of conditions that can cause vision loss. Even if you get regular vision screenings to test the effectiveness of your eyeglasses or contact lenses, it’s vital for everyone to undergo a comprehensive eye exam that will test for potentially dangerous diseases.
What steps can I take to safeguard my long-term eye health?
Early detection is only possible if you undergo regular and frequent eye exams conducted by a medical professional. If you have never suffered from any eye conditions and you know you don’t have a family history of eye-related diseases, you should get an exam every other year at a minimum. For most people, an annual exam is recommended.
At Florida Eye Specialists, our goal is to make early detection of eye diseases a common outcome, so that more patients can have their conditions corrected before lasting damage is done. We are dedicated to improving the eye health of the northeast Florida community, so contact us today to schedule your annual eye health exam and learn more about how early detection can save your vision.