If you feel that you're able to see clearly, you may be tempted to skip your annual eye exam. However, visual acuity is not the only thing your eye doctor assesses during an
exam. An optometrist will do a lot more than have you read an eye chart.
For these reasons, it's never a good idea to skip an eye exam, even if you don't have trouble, seeing the television or reading a book. This post goes into more detail about why you should never skip an eye exam.
Glaucoma Does Not Have Any Early Symptoms
Glaucoma accounts for between 9 and 12 percent of all blindness in the United States. However, while an estimated 3 millio
n Americans have glaucoma, only half of those people are aware that they have it because glaucoma does not have any early symptoms.
By the time glaucoma begins causing symptoms, such as blurry vision and loss of peripheral vision, the condition has already been developing for years.
Your eye doctor can spot the early signs of glaucoma, and glaucoma testing is a part of a standard eye exam. Early detection is very important with glaucoma since there are medications which, when taken as the condition develops, can slow its progression and prevent blindness. If you wait too long, you may end up losing your vision completely.
Your Eye Doctor Screens You for Cancer
Ocular melanoma, a form of cancer that forms in the pigment-producing cells in the back of your eye, is another condition that does not have any early symptoms. Cancer screening is a part of a standard eye exam, so if you have regular exams, your eye doctor will detect the melanoma early.
When ocular melanoma is detected early enough, treatment may just require the removal the damaged tissue and a course of chemotherapy or radiation.
If ocular melanoma is allowed to develop until it causes symptoms, there's a chance you'll need to have your eye removed as a part of treatment. Melanoma is also a very metastatic cancer, which means it may spread to other organs and may have deadly consequences.
You Could Have Mild Vision Loss and Not Know it
Visual acuity is measured on a scale in which 20/20 is normal or ideal. Someone with 20/20 vision can see, at 20 feet away, what someone should be able to see from 20 feet away. Someone with 20/40 vision can see, at 20 feet away, what someone with ideal 20/20 vision can see from 40 feet away.
You can still pass a driver's test with 20/40 vision, and this degree of minor vision loss may easily go unnoticed. In other words, while you may think your vision is fine, in reality, you could benefit from a pair of glasses or contacts.
Discovering this mild vision loss during an eye exam - and getting the recommended glasses - can help ease headaches and prevent your eyes from getting tired at the end of the day.
Your Eye Doctor May Notice Signs of Systemic Diseases
There's an old saying, "the eyes are the windows to the soul." While your eye doctor may not be able to see your soul through your eyes, they do get a good picture of your overall health. Sometimes, the first signs of systemic diseases show up in your eyes.
For example, diabetes may cause the blood vessels in your eyes to swell and burst before you notice any other symptoms. Issues like high blood pressure may not have any symptoms other than increased eye pressure.
A visit to the eye doctor may result in the diagnosis of a systemic disease that would otherwise have gone undetected until it was harder to treat or manage.
Even if you think you can see clearly, make sure you set up and keep your annual appointments with your eye doctor. If you're looking for a new eye doctor in the Canton or Plymouth area, come visit Vision Without Limits to learn more about our practice or to schedule an appointment today