Each August, National Eye Exam Month encourages everyone to maintain healthy vision by getting their annual eye exam. While most of us have yearly physicals and dental exams, eye exams are often overlooked in terms of preventative healthcare. It usually isn’t until something is wrong that we visit an optometrist or ophthalmologist. The Vision Council of America notes that 12.2 million Americans require some sort of vision correction but do not use any. Nearly 50% of parents with children under 12 have never taken their children to an eye care professional.
It is important to get into good habits at a young age to avoid eye complications. Healthy vision improves daily tasks, overall work performance and can reveal other issues or diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, brain tumors, and glaucoma.
What is the difference?
There are several types of eye professionals that all perform different functions and can assist with vision care. An ophthalmologist is an M.D. that can perform eye exams, diagnose and treat eye diseases and perform eye surgeries. An optometrist specializes in sight testing and can perform eye exams and prescribe and fit corrective lenses. Opticians are not eye doctors, but they do fit and sell contact lenses and glasses to correct vision.
Vision Care Changes Over Time
The four leading age-related eye disorders include cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. As our eyes change over time, it is imperative to get dilated eye exams. Dilated eye exams are the best way to check for eye diseases early on – before they cause vision loss. It is a painless procedure and helps the doctor see the inner parts of your eye.
Ways to Observe National Eye Exam Month
- Make an appointment and get annual eye exams, including dilated eye exams.
- Know your family’s eye health history.
- Maintain a healthy weight and don’t smoke.
- Wear protective sunglasses that block 99-100% of UV rays.
- Eat right for your sight! Fish, citrus, leafy vegetables, carrots, and eggs are vision-nutrient foods.
The good news is that there are continuous clinical advances through technology and eye imaging. But it is up to us to maintain healthy eye exam habits. That is our best chance of preserving vision for years to come.
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