Regular Eye Exams Are Not a Waste of Time – Now More than Ever, Optometrists Are Needed to Protect and Preserve Healthy Vision

by | Tuesday, January 7, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

Here in the United States, annual comprehensive eye exams are a requirement. Which means if it’s been more than a year since you last ordered new eyeglasses or contact lenses, you’ll need to pay a visit to your optometrist to get a new vision prescription.

Some argue that these regular eye exams are unnecessary and an inconvenient roadblock to purchasing a new pair of glasses or lenses; however, this could not be further from the truth. Here’s why:

An estimated 61 million adults in this country are at high risk for vision loss.

Unfortunately, only half have seen an optometrist in the last year.

What’s more, poor vision is one of the top 10 disabilities among U.S. adults and one of the most prevalent among our nation’s children.

By the year 2050, nearly 9 million older adults are expected to suffer from uncorrectable vision impairment because of the steady rise in diabetes and other chronic diseases.

These statistics come directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who recently launched a nationwide program to combat vision loss. In truth, America’s poor vision problem is growing, and it’s a problem that cannot be ignored.

Optometrists are the first line of defense against widespread vision loss.

Because vision problems can develop at any time and without any signs or symptoms, a regular eye exam with a qualified doctor of optometry is critical for maintaining good vision.

More often than not, optometrists are the first ones to identify early warning signs of serious eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, all of which are becoming more common in this country. If the doctor notices a problem during an annual exam, they can quickly take the necessary steps to resolve the issue and safeguard their patient’s eyesight.

Why is glaucoma so dangerous?

There is a reason glaucoma has been called the “silent thief of sight.” A serious condition that causes damage to the optic nerve, glaucoma currently affects more than 3 million Americans—a number expected to surge to 4 million in just ten more years.

Glaucoma is sneaky; it can cause damage to the eye without someone noticing any changes in their vision or any other symptoms. And by the time a person does start to notice the symptoms of glaucoma, it’s too late. From that point on, the condition can only be treated and managed but not cured.

The good news is that annual eye exams allow optometrists to detect the early signs of glaucoma using modern equipment such as tonometers and perimetry devices. However, if people ignore these exams or dismiss them as unimportant, the health of their eyes may be in serious danger.

Another silent threat: retinal tears.

The retina is the inner lining of the eye, made up of a thin layer of tissue through which light is converted into impulses and transmitted to the brain’s optic nerve. Those impulses are then interpreted as images.

Because the retina is so fragile, retinal tears can occur at any time, either as the result of trauma or normal aging. If left untreated, they may lead to retinal detachment and permanent vision loss.

As with glaucoma, many people with retinal tears often don’t know the problem exists until it is too late and their vision has been damaged beyond repair. Luckily, it is also something that can be caught during a regular eye exam so that the problem can be treated as quickly as possible.

Bottom line: A simple yearly eye exam is a small price to pay for safeguarding lifelong healthy vision.

Nowadays, most exams only take about 20 to 25 minutes, and a vision prescription is only a small part of the process.

Optometrists will also evaluate the overall health of their patients’ eyes—including the optic nerve, retina, veins and arteries, macula, and vitreous body—to make sure everything looks good and that no new issues have emerged.

With the right equipment, routine examinations make early detection and diagnosis possible, and parents especially should understand that school vision screenings are no substitute for a comprehensive eye exam.

Veatch stands behind optometrists and their dedication to their patients.

Eye doctors understand more than anyone the dangers of eye disease, which is why they insist upon regular exams. These exams are the key to preserving healthy eyesight in patients of all ages and the first step toward reversing the trend of vision impairment in the United States.

A family-owned company in business for 30 years, Veatch Ophthalmic Instruments has built a reputation for being an honest, value-oriented, and service-minded equipment provider. We are proud to serve optometry professionals nationwide and will continue to help you advance your practice and better serve your patients.

Call Veatch today at (800) 447-7511 or contact us online.

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