Does Everyone Need An Annual Eye Exam?
You’re not having any problems with your eyes, and you’re pretty sure that your prescription hasn’t changed recently. Do you really need to schedule an appointment with an eye care professional?
The answer: it depends.
Here, we’ll explore whether everyone really needs an annual eye appointment, and when it’s ok to skip your yearly exam.
First question: do you wear glasses or contacts?
If you wear glasses or contacts, you’ll need an eye exam everyone to two years. If you’re having trouble seeing, find yourself squinting, or struggling to see in the dark, it’s a good idea to schedule an exam sooner rather than later. While wearing the wrong prescription isn’t likely to cause any long-term problems with your eye health, it can cause headaches, make it unsafe to drive, and get in the way of your productivity. It’s also a good idea to schedule an exam if you’re having trouble wearing your contacts, or you’re thinking about switching to a different brand. Your eye doctor will be able to talk with you about your eye health concerns and recommend a brand that’s a better fit for you.
If you don’t wear glasses or contacts, you don’t need eye exams as frequently as someone who does need vision correction. Every three to four years is a good idea for people who do not currently wear glasses or contacts. Most people find that they need glasses or contacts as the get older, and the only way to know whether your vision is beginning to decline is to get regular eye exams. In the vast majority of cases, vision doesn’t change overnight – it slowly gets worse with time. These changes can be tough to track or notice on your own, and an eye care professional can help.
Second question: are you experiencing concerns about your eye health?
If you’re experiencing eye pain, burning, redness, dry eyes, excessive tearing, or other eye health issues, it’s important that you don’t wait for your annual exam, and you get in to see your eye doctor right away. While a full exam might not be necessary, your eye doctor will be able to work with you to correct any eye health issues. Left untreated, eye health issues can quickly become severe, so it’s important to be seen right away, no matter how long it’s been since your last eye care appointment.
Third question: are you dealing with headaches?
If you’re experiencing headaches or migraines, it’s quite possible that changes in your vision may be to blame. If you find that you’re experiencing headaches and can’t pinpoint the cause, schedule an eye exam to find out whether you need to start wearing glasses or contacts (or to find out whether you need an updated prescription).