When Should I Visit an Eye Doctor?
An eye exam is more than checking your vision to determine if corrective lenses are needed. Regular visits with an eye doctor are foundational to protecting your overall health.
Even if you don’t wear glasses or contact lenses, it’s important to maintain regular visits with an optometrist. There might be other health issues that are affecting your eyes.
As you learn more about the importance of eye exams, you will understand when and why you need to schedule an eye appointment. Our experienced team at EyesNY is here to provide full-service solutions, helping to protect your vision and more.
The Importance of Eye Exams
When an eye doctor looks into your eyes, they see a clear view of the inner areas of the eyes – including the blood vessels. The health of your eye circulation gives a clue about your general health.
Did you know that an eye exam can help with early identification of a variety of health conditions? For example, your eye doctor might notice signs of:
- Macular degeneration
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Regular eye exams increase the likelihood of catching these health conditions in the earliest stages. Then, you can work with your optometrist and other medical specialists to find the ideal treatment plan for your unique situation.
Early detection is key to prevent unnecessary complications in the future. A diagnosis points you in the right direction to make the lifestyle changes and medication decisions that help to control or stop the progression of the disease.
Recommended Schedule for Eye Exams
How often should you schedule an eye exam? It depends on your age and overall health. If you aren’t having any vision problems or symptoms, then this is the recommended schedule:
- Under 3 Years Old: Pediatricians can complete basic screenings for common childhood issues, such as crossed eyes or a lazy eye. You might be referred to a pediatric optometrist if the pediatrician detects any suspicious symptoms.
- Grade School Children: Parents should schedule a full eye exam before a child enters school. Then, maintain regular eye exams every 1 – 2 years.
For adults who aren’t having any vision issues, these eye exams can be spread out a little more – depending on the doctor’s recommendations.
- Ages 20 – 54: Every 2 years
- Ages 55 and Up: every 1 – 2 years
Keep in mind that most eye doctors recommend more frequent appointments for people with other health complications. For example, if your healthcare providers are monitoring serious diabetes or high blood pressure symptoms, then your eye doctor might want to see you as frequently as every 6 months.
While there are industry recommendations, each patient has unique needs. The best solution is to talk to your eye doctor to determine the ideal schedule for your checkups.
10 Signs You Should Visit an Eye Doctor
Not only should you maintain a routine schedule for eye exams, but there are times when you might need to visit an eye doctor right away. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then call our office immediately:
1. Eye Infection
Schedule an eye exam as soon as possible if you suspect an infection. Common signs include eye discharge, redness, itching, pain, and/or swelling. Most infections can be treated with medication to prevent permanent damage to the eyes.
2. Vision Problems
Pay attention if you are having problems focusing or you are experiencing blurry vision. Whether it is a sudden change in your vision, or it is a problem that comes and goes, you should talk to an eye doctor about your symptoms without delay.
Keep in mind that it’s normal for vision to change slowly with time – so there’s no need to panic. Your eye doctor can determine your new prescription to optimize your vision as much as possible.
3. Spots and Floaters
It’s common for patients to be concerned if they notice spots or floaters in their line of vision. Typically, these symptoms are no cause for concern – they are caused by bits of tissue or protein in the vitreous part of the eye.
But floaters can also be an indication of a detached retina. If you experience a cloud of floaters, as well as swirly mists, flashes of light, or a sensation of having a curtain over part of the eye, then you should go to the ER or call your eye doctor immediately.
4. Foreign Object
When a foreign object gets in your eye, it can cause serious pain and injury. You need immediate medical attention if you have anything in your eyes, such as dirt, chemicals, metal, glass, and more.
Don’t rub your eyes! Flush the eyes with cool, clean water right away – continue flushing for 15 minutes. If there is an object stuck in the eye, then you should visit an eye doctor without delay.
5. Dryness and Itching
Itchy, dry eyes can occur due to prolonged screen time, or if you are experiencing seasonal allergies. You don’t need to live with this discomfort! Your eye doctor can provide a diagnosis and offer recommendations to alleviate your symptoms.
6. Vision Fatigue
How much time do you spend looking at a computer or smartphone screen during the day? Digital activities can cause eye fatigue, leading to problems in the future. Follow the 20/20/20 rule to give your eyes a break. If you still notice that your eyes are tired throughout the day, then talk to an eye doctor about protective glasses or other solutions.
7. Eye Pain
Do you have frequent or intense pain in your eyes? It could be a symptom of an underlying condition that needs to be addressed. Eye pain can be an indicator of an infection or more serious health problem. We’ll determine a diagnosis and put together a treatment plan to relieve your discomfort.
8. Light Sensitivity
When your eyes are unusually sensitive to light exposure, then it could be a sign of a serious issue. Book an exam as soon as possible since light sensitivity can be a symptom of a variety of diseases, eye disorders, or infections.
9. Double Vision
If you are experiencing double vision in one or both eyes, then it could be caused by keratoconus, dry eye, or astigmatism. The diagnosis could also be other abnormalities in the eye, affecting the nerves, retina, lens, or cornea. Schedule an eye exam without delay to determine the underlying cause.
10. Night Vision Problems
Are you finding it harder to drive at night? Low lighting conditions can change your vision and could be a sign of cataract development. Your eye doctor can complete a diagnosis and provide treatment recommendations to help you drive safely in the dark.
Schedule an Exam with an Eye Expert
At EyesNY, our team offers a variety of services to help you maintain healthy vision. If you need to schedule an exam, then you can reach out to us for an appointment. We have multiple locations – providing your family with convenient access near your home.