Some of us have always experienced problems with our eyes, while others were blessed with perfect vision for our entire lifetimes. If you fall into that second group, you might not be in the habit of visiting an eye doctor for regular exams. But that could be a mistake, as vision difficulties and various diseases of the eye can affect anyone at any time.
If you haven’t scheduled an appointment with an eye doctor recently, it is probably time to do so for the following reasons:
Age. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that everyone have their eyes checked after reaching age 40, regardless of whether their vision has always been healthy. Then, once you reach age 60, you should have your eyes checked every one to two years.
Vision problems. If you already wear contact lenses or glasses, continue your regular annual checkups. Ask your provider if you need to seek more frequent screenings after age 60.
Family history. If you have a family history of eye diseases, seek more frequent vision exams. Don’t wait until you begin to experience symptoms, because the problem might already be more advanced at that point.
Other health conditions. If you suffer other health conditions that put your eyes at risk, such as diabetes, remember to seek regular vision exams. At these appointments your provider can detect the early signs of complications. In some cases, they might even detect early indicators that your other health condition is worsening, so that you can be referred back to your primary care physician.
Medications that affect your eyes. Certain medications can increase your risk of eye health problems. Your primary care doctor or pharmacist can inform you of this risk, so that you can seek vision screenings more regularly.
Any time you suspect a problem. And of course, any time you notice a change in vision, experience frequent headaches, or experience redness, dryness, pain or discomfort in your eyes, you should call an eye health professional right away to schedule an appointment.