November 28, 2017
No pun intended but eye care professionals would like you to keep an EYE on your eye health. We all know that going to the doctor and dentist are all part of taking care of your overall health. What about your eye health? If you see well or think you see well does that mean you don’t need to see an eye doctor? Does a passing result on the visual acuity test at the school, DMV, health fair or doctor’s office count as an eye exam?
What eye doctors wish you, the patient knew…
Although people tend to have more vision problems as they age, children need eye exams to ensure healthy vision too. Currently, less than 15 % of preschool children get an eye exam and less than 22% receive vision screenings (CDC, 2016). The most common cause of vision loss in children is amblyopia (2 to 3 children out of 100 children affected) and without prompt treatment, this can be permanent. The key is timely detection with a comprehensive dilated eye exam that starts early on. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends children have their first exam at 6 to 12 months of age, then at least once between 3 to 5 years of age, then before first grade and thereafter annually until age 18. Before calling for your child’s eye appointment make sure to ask the office if the eye doctor routinely sees pediatric patients or specializes in children’s eye health.
As we age, eye diseases are more common and often go unnoticed for a long time before symptoms arise. During a regular eye exam, age-related eye diseases are detected including cataracts (clouding of the lens), diabetic retinopathy (damaged blood vessels in the back of the eye), glaucoma (progressive optic neuropathy) and age-related macular degeneration. Early treatment is critically important in preventing permanent vision loss or blindness. Waiting for symptoms to occur before seeking eye care decreases your chances of preserving your sight.
Upon scheduling an exam, you may be asked about your insurance. Most optometrists and ophthalmologists accept both vision and medical insurance. Bear in mind there are similarities and differences between the two. Some vision plans only cover basic refraction for glasses with eye exam while others include additional services such as a diabetic retinal exam with photographs. It’s important to find out what your vision plan covers before your visit. If you are not sure, ask when you arrive at the office. Another poorly understood fact is your medical insurance covers medical conditions affecting the eyes including conjunctivitis, dry eye, new symptoms such as flashes or floaters, eye pain, etc. and diabetic retinal exams. Never hesitate to obtain timely eye care and always bring both your vision and medical insurance card with you to the visit.
To better serve your eye care needs here are a few tips of things to bring to your next eye care appointment. Remember to bring your most recent glasses with you, even if they never worked well for you. Bring older pairs of glasses that you liked or felt worked better than the last pair. Sometimes this is helpful in assuring your next pair works well for you. Another important item to bring is your contact lens boxes with a current pair either worn or with you on the day of the visit. Equally important is to bring a current list of medications (including over-the-counter), especially if this is your first visit to an eye doctor or a new one.
Lastly, visit our website, www.eyeque.com for helpful articles highlighting important facts about your vision and reminders. Also, learn more about how you can track your vision between visits with your eye doctor, helping you and your eye doctor to stay in the know.