How important is it to have regular comprehensive eye exams? It could be much more important than you might think. A study led by Elizabeth Irving of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, suggests that regular eye exams are essential for diagnosing eye issues, especially in older adults.
Many degenerative eye diseases like cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma are not accompanied by pain or symptoms in the early stages. After several years of advancement, these eye diseases can cause significant vision loss. The best defense against eye disease is having regular comprehensive eye exams.
Irving and her research team examined data on 6,400 patients who visited a university eye clinic over a year’s time and discovered the following:
- Over half of the patients who had no symptoms (such as headaches or blurred vision) got new prescriptions or had treatment changes after their eye exams
- 16 percent of patients were diagnosed with a new eye condition
- 31 percent of patients had a change in their ongoing care
- 8 percent of children had changes resulting from their eye exam
- 78 percent of older adults had changes resulting from their eye exams
- The age group with the most changes was the group over the age of 65
The group that waited the longest between eye exams was the young and middle-aged adults, averaging about three years between examinations. This group, as a result, had a higher rate of significant changes in their vision.
Comprehensive eye exams are an essential part of maintaining healthy vision. A dilated eye exam can diagnose more than just nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. It can actually serve as a window into your overall heath and detect conditions like hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. Your eye doctor can play a key role in helping to diagnose and manage chronic conditions, so make an appointment today for a comprehensive eye exam.