It’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays throughout the summer, and that continues through the final months of the season. August is National Eye Exam Month, presenting a great opportunity for people of all ages to learn about the importance of eye exams, and meet with their eye doctor for a thorough review of their vision health. An eye exam allows your eye doctor to monitor your vision health, catch potentially serious issues early, and establish a baseline to track your progress in future exams.
The Importance of Eye Exams for Vision Health
Eye exams are important for vision health in people of all ages, and the American Optometric Association offers guidelines for eye exam frequency by age-group:
- Children – Eye exams at six months of age, three years of age, before first grade, and every two years following until adulthood.
- Adults 18 to 60 – Eye exams every two years.
- Adults 61+ – Eye exams annually.
- Risk Factors – The guidelines from the AOA suggest that patients of all ages with certain risk factors may need more frequent eye exams, based on their eye doctor’s recommendations. Common risk factors can include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, wearing glasses or contact lenses, hazardous occupations, previous eye injuries, or a family history of eye disease.
National Eye Exam Month – A Good Reminder!
National Eye Exam Month is a great reminder of the reasons why exams are so crucial, and the perfect excuse to schedule a visit to the eye doctor for yourself or your child. In addition to identifying correctable vision problems, an eye exam may help your eye doctor spot potentially serious vision health issues before symptoms arise, and identify potential issues that may affect your overall health.
- Identifying Vision Problems – An eye exam is an opportunity to spot common vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, and take the first step towards treating any issues. Potential options for addressing common vision problems may include glasses, contacts, and LASIK eye surgery.
- Spotting Potential Eye Health Issues – Some potentially serious vision health issues, such as glaucoma, may not show symptoms right away, but an eye exam gives your doctor a chance to catch these issues early. August is also Cataract Awareness Month, which serves as a reminder for seniors to get tested for cataracts.
- Eye Exams and Overall Health – During an eye exam, your eye doctor looks closely at the blood vessels in your eyes. In some cases, eye doctors may be able to identify signs of overall health issues such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure during routine eye exams.
- Vision Problems and Learning for Children – For children, vision problems can lead to difficulty with learning, which is one reason why the AOA recommends eye exams at specific milestones for children. An eye exam is an opportunity to identify vision problems that a child may not realize they’re having, and find out what you can do to address them.
- Comparison for Future Exams – Each eye exam is also an opportunity to establish a baseline, so that your eye doctor has a point of comparison for future eye exams. Tracking vision health over time can be key to identifying issues if they arise.
While you’re celebrating the final weeks of summer, why not make some time to celebrate National Eye Exam Month? It’s a small investment of time, and keeping up with regular eye exams can have many benefits for your vision health.