The Vision Council of America estimates that around 75% of Americans use a form of vision correction, such as glasses or contact lenses. Over 60% of this figure wear glasses, while the remaining portion opt for corrective lenses. With such a high percentage of our society using vision correction, it could seem unexpected that vision problems can go unnoticed for long periods of time.
However, vision problems often form so slowly that people don’t immediately notice them. Regular check-ups with the optometrist can detect issues before they lead to bigger problems.
Yearly Eye Exam
Attending an eye exam every year is one of the best ways to take care of your eye health. During the exam, your eye doctor will assess your level of vision to ensure there have been no notable changes. If you currently use correction devices, your optometrist may alter your prescription slightly if there’s been a change in your sight. If you are told your vision is not 20/20, the optometrist will likely recommend eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Natural Aging Process
People’s vision changes as they get older. Many people begin needing glasses to see up close, such as when they’re reading, as they age. Some problems, such as macular degeneration and cataracts, also typically present themselves with age.
Older people are also more susceptible to developing cataracts in later years. Cataracts are a milky and cloudy growth that can develop on the lens of the eye over time. Cataracts can make it very difficult to see through the discoloration, and this issue can make it difficult for a person to see well enough to drive or go about their daily activities.
If you are experiencing vision problems, they could be caused by ocular migraines, which can cause temporary blindness in one of your eyes. Normal migraines can also cause vision problems such as flashing and “blind spots”, but usually both eyes are affected during these episodes. If you experience any of these headaches, it’s important to bring this information to the optometrist’s attention.
One of the most common reasons people put off going to the eye doctor is because they are worried about the cost. Vision insurance is available to help cover the costs of routine eye care. Typically, vision plans are among the most low-cost insurance options, often only amounting to a couple of dollars a month. Additionally, vision insurance usually covers basic eye exams and covers a percentage of the costs for glasses or contacts.
One of the best ways to prevent major eye problems is to make going to an eye exam each year a priority. Even for patients without insurance, routine eye exams are usually relatively low-cost, and many discount eye centers are available. As with any major change in your health status, it’s important that you let your doctor know if you’re experiencing any sudden changes in your eye, such as pain, vision loss, or discoloration.