We often hear about the importance of having a yearly eye exam, but if your vision has not changed and you are not having any issues with your eyes, why is it necessary?
An annual eye exam involves more than assessing changes in your vision which might require an update to your specs! It is a yearly “physical” for your eyes where your Optometrist can detect eye health concerns and conditions. That’s why everyone should be seeing an eye doctor, even if you don’t wear glasses.
During your eye examination, the Optometrist looks for any abnormalities and issues in your eyes and, can even detect problems with your overall health. They are able to detect several conditions before you even show any symptoms which can, if left untreated, cause permanent damage to your vision. A comprehensive examination of your eye health is the only way to detect any problem with your eyes early on. Your Optometrist can work out a detailed treatment plan with you or, if necessary, refer you to the appropriate healthcare professional.
Some symptoms that may seem mild to you may hide more serious eye problems and do require prompt consultation. Here are 3 examples:
Blurred vision can be a nuisance during your daily activities making simple tasks difficult and, in some cases, impossible. It can be caused by near-sightedness, far-sightedness, or astigmatism, common refractive errors that are easily corrected with prescription glasses or contact lenses.
But blurry vision can also indicate other issues like:
It is important that you make an appointment with your Optometrist anytime you notice a significant change to your vision.
If blurred vision comes with other symptoms like headaches, difficulty speaking, loss of muscle control, call 911 and seek immediate medical attention.
Floaters are dots or specks that “float” across your field of vision. They dart away when you try to look at them. The main culprit is the jelly-like liquid in your eye, called the vitreous. As we age, the fibres that make up the vitreous start to clump and cast shadows on the retina.
This is relatively common but should still be discussed with your eye care professional.
If the floaters appear in large numbers or increase suddenly, or if they are combined with light flashes or darkness in areas of your peripheral vision an emergency appointment is required.
These symptoms are painless but can be indicators of serious issues:
- Inflammation at the back of the eye
- Torn retina
- Internal bleeding of the eye
People over 50, those who are nearsighted, who have had eye trauma or complications from cataracts surgery or who suffer from diabetic retinopathy are the most at risk.
Gradual loss of peripheral or central vision
This symptom is quite noticeable, and for most, it would be an immediate sign to call an eye doctor. While people who suffer from migraines know that the onset of a major headache can cause this temporary loss of vision but for anyone else an eye examination is needed. If a sudden loss of vision happens to you for the first time, you should see your optometrist as soon as possible.
But in most cases, the loss of field of vision is so gradual that it is difficult for the patient to notice it. It is during a routine exam that your Optometrist will be able to tell if your field of vision is narrowing over time. The Optometrist can then perform the necessary tests to determine the cause of this shrinkage. Loss of field of vision can be associated with many eye and general diseases such as:
There are solutions to treat most of these eye conditions. Speak to your IRIS Optometrist for your specific treatment and for a comprehensive eye health assessment.