The quality of life for all people is highly dependent on the ability to see. Our everyday function is reliant on our vision and we become greatly immobilized without it, preventing us from fully participating in everyday activities. Many people would not argue against a visit to the eye doctor if they are experiencing vision loss, eye pain, or eye problems, but what about those who are asymptomatic? Is it important to see an optometrist if your eyes feel healthy?
Current research shows that on average, optometrists and ophthalmologists recommend a routine eye exam every two years, from ages 5-601. Before the age of 5, and after age of 60, the frequency increases, and patients should be seen every year1. Often times, patients may not feel the need to have an exam if their vision seems to be unaffected, but research shows that patients who have regular exams feel better and experience less vision loss from undetected diseases such as glaucoma1. Glaucoma is a disease that has no outward signs or symptoms and can lead to blindness if it is not detected early enough.
The Waterloo Eye Study, conducted at the University of Waterloo Optometry Clinic, found that 41% of asymptomatic patients had a significant change in their glasses prescription, 16% had a critical diagnosis, and 31% had a change in their disease management1 ; all would have gone unnoticed had the patients skipped the exam. This study also found that as the age of patients increased, so did the chance of a significant change in eye health1. This means that when patients wait longer in between eye exams, they are at a greater risk for significant changes in vision, eye health, and eye management. This risk increases if the patient is above the age of 651. A longer interval of time between exams allows for diseases to appear and advance, sometimes past the point of treatment1. The Waterloo Study concluded that given the significance of detection in asymptomatic patients, routine eye exams are useful and are extremely important in managing eye health1.
In correspondence with this new research, Doctor Riggs also recommends that patients be seen every one to two years. Most insurance companies cover routine eye exams every two years, and in the case of disease, some cover exams and appropriate treatments as needed. It is important to take care of your eyes, your vision, and your future with sight. Call us today and book your comprehensive eye exam with Doctor Riggs!
1Irving, EL, et al. Value of Routine Eye Examinations in Asymptomatic Patients. Optom. Vis. Sci. 2015;93:660-666.