Regular Eye Exams and When to See an Ophthalmologist

June 3, 2020

Can you remember when your last eye exam was? Don’t be surprised if you cannot. According to the CDC, nearly 35% of Americans didn’t seek eye care because they didn’t think they needed to. However, regular eye exams are critical to stay on top of as they can evaluate not just your vision but also other health conditions. As adults age, it’s important to understand that eyes can change. Also, health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, can change your vision.

Unless otherwise directed by your doctor, it’s usually recommended to see your vision provider for a comprehensive eye exam once every 1-2 years, even if you do not have any symptoms. This recommendation may vary based on age and eye health. However, sometimes vision problems can be a sign of something more serious.

Take a look at the following questions. If you answer yes to any, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment sooner. These are problems your ophthalmologist will want to address immediately.

  • Do you ever get wavy vision?
  • Can you no longer see objects at night?
  • Are you experiencing double vision?
  • Do you see halos around objects?
  • Do you feel pressure around the eyes (or are they bulging?)
  • Do you have excessive tearing?
  • Do you have a sudden decrease vision?
  • Do your eyes have prolonged, unusual redness?

Most of these first issues are easily addressed after an easy evaluation with your provider. Again, as a precaution, an eye exam is recommended to understand the cause of any of these questions.

Lastly, there is a difference between optometrists and ophthalmologists and the services or treatments they provide. Most optometrists can offer treatment for common eye problems. These can include dry eyes and common infections. However, for certain eye diseases and disorders (including glaucoma) it will usually require treatment by an ophthalmologist.

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