A lot of insight into your health can be gleaned from an eye examination. For example, eye testing can reveal that you have high blood pressure. At Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA, we strongly believe in the importance of regular eye examinations. Keep reading to discover how often you should get your eyes evaluated and much more.
How Often Should You Get Eye Testing?
You should get eye testing every one to five years depending on your age, assuming you do not have any vision problems or symptoms of eye-related medical conditions. Also, the recommended frequency of vision testing for you is affected by your family history of eye disease and whether you suffer from a chronic condition that increases your risk of vision loss.
If you’re in relatively good health, you should have your vision tested every five years if you are between the ages of 20 and 39. If you are in relatively good health, you should come in for eye testing every two to four years if you are between the ages of 40 and 54. If you are between the ages of 55 and 64, you should come in every one to three years for vision testing. Vision testing should occur every year or two if you are over the age of 65.
Under What Circumstances Would I Need to Schedule More Frequent Eye Examinations?
You should schedule more frequent eye examinations if you suffer from diabetes because it increases your risk of vision loss. Also, you should have your eyes examined more regularly if eye disease is in your family history or you wear contact lenses or glasses.
How Often Should Children Have Their Eyes Tested?
If you have a child under the age of three, their pediatrician can look at their eyes and identify common eye problems faced by young children, like crossed eyes or a lazy eye. However, it is highly advisable that an eye doctor evaluates your child’s eyes before they enter first grade. After that, assuming there are no issues and there is no family history of vision problems, eyes should be tested every year or two until adulthood.
What Should I Expect During My Eye Examination?
You should expect your vision to be evaluated during your comprehensive eye testing appointment. To determine how sharp your vision is both up close and at a difference, we will ask you to read letters from an eye chart while standing at different distances from it. We will also evaluate your color perception, the range of your peripheral vision, and the quality of your 3D vision.
We will also evaluate the health of your eyes, taking particular care to look for signs of such eye diseases as cataracts and glaucoma. Also, we will discuss all of the medications you currently take, your current health, and your family health history. There are a couple of ways that glaucoma can be tested for, but neither of them is painful. A common technique is to direct a puff of air at your eye.
Will My Pupils Be Dilated?
You can generally expect your pupils to be dilated during your comprehensive eye examination. Dilating your pupils allows us to see the nerve and blood vessels in the back of your eye, so we can look for any problems. However, if you don’t have a ride back to work after your appointment, let us know. We can still evaluate your eyes without dilating your pupils.
Why Should I Have My Eyes Tested?
You should have your eyes tested because your eye health says a lot about your overall health. For example, by getting a clear view of your blood vessels through the window of your eye, an eye doctor can identify signs of serious medical conditions.
A comprehensive eye examination can identify such problems as high cholesterol, hypertension, lupus, diabetes, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. When your eyes are tested regularly, these conditions can be caught when they are in their early stages. This means that they have less time to do serious damage. Also, the earlier problems are identified, the more likely they are to be treated successfully.
What Can I Do to Keep My Eyes Healthy?
To keep your eyes healthy, do not smoke. Nicotine consumption has been positively linked to a number of eye problems, like:
- Optic nerve damage
- Age-related macular degeneration
Another important step you can take to maintain the health of your eyes is to wear sunglasses. According to the National Eye Institute, macular degeneration is the most common cause of blindness in the country. There are several potential causes of macular degeneration, and one of them is damage caused by UV rays. Also, one-fifth of cataracts are caused by extended sun exposure.
What Else Can I Do to Keep My Eyes Healthy?
Another important step you can take to keep your eyes healthy is to eat carrots and other foods rich in carotenoids regularly. If you find yourself struggling to get your RDI of carotenoids, try adding kale or spinach to fruit smoothies. You’ll get the micronutrients you’ll need, but you’ll only be able to taste the fruit.
Carotenoids are important for the health of your eyes due to their role in maintaining the integrity of the cornea. The cornea is the part of the eye that protects your eyes from pollen, bacteria, and other irritants. Also, research results show that people who eat plenty of carotenoids are significantly less likely to develop macular degeneration as they age.
Can I Sleep in Contact Lenses?
No, you cannot sleep in your contact lenses. There are certain corrective lenses that were approved by the FDA for night-time wear. Nonetheless, the CDC, otherwise known as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strongly recommends not sleeping with any contact lenses. If you choose to sleep with your contacts in, your chance of developing an eye infection increases six to eight times.
Will Watching TV Affect My Eye Health?
Screens, including TV screens, computer monitors, and tablet screens aren’t necessarily bad for your eye health. However, to mitigate your risk of macular degeneration and eyestrain in the future, keep in mind the CDC’s 20-20-20 rule. Make a point to look 20 feet ahead for one-third of a minute three times per hour. This brief 20-second break taken every 20 minutes gives your eyes a chance to recalibrate and rest.
What If My Job Has Me Staring At a Screen All Day?
If your occupation has you staring at a screen all day, you should take steps to reduce your exposure to blue light. Ask your boss if you can get a computer compatible with reducing blue wavelengths. If this isn’t possible, remember the CDC’s 20-20-20 rule. If you have trouble remembering, set alarms on your phone.
What Are the Most Common Eye Conditions?
The most common eye conditions are dry eye syndrome, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Some of the most common symptoms of dry eye syndrome are red eyes that burn or feel itchy, feeling like something is trapped within your eye, extreme light sensitivity, and blurry vision. If your eyes feel uncomfortable when reading or using a computer, you may suffer from this condition.
Glaucoma is common in individuals who are 41 years of age or older. In individuals who are at least 61 years of age, it is the number one cause of blindness. Regular eye examinations to check for glaucoma are important because this condition often presents without symptoms in its early stages. Over time, you may start to develop symptoms, like:
- Tunnel vision
- Loss of peripheral vision
- Red eyes
Schedule Your Eye Examination Today
If it’s been a while since the last time your eyes were tested, it is time to have your vision and eye health tested again. If you’re in relatively good health and your vision is normal, you should schedule follow-up examinations every one to five years depending on your age. If you have certain risk factors of poor eye health, like diabetes or a family health history of eye disease, you should come in for comprehensive examinations more regularly.
Contact us today at Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA to schedule your eye examination. We’ll advise you on the health of your eyes, the quality of your vision, and the next steps you should take to maintain or improve your eye health.