Why is it important NOT to miss your eye examination appointment?
There are two types of people in the world of examination and appointments: Those who go to it always right on schedule, even if it’s with a sense of begrudging duty, and those who…don’t. If you fall into the latter group, we get it. It’s so, so easy to ignore the fact that the human body is not bionic and does, in fact, need regular maintenance.
But we’re also not going to lie about how important it is to show up to your eye exams just the way you would to a date with someone you’re kind of obsessed with. You should be obsessed with your eyes, too! Here are a few signs you should go get them examined.
If it feels like tiny, evil elves have used tiny, evil vacuums to suck all the moisture from your eyeballs, there’s a solid chance you could have dry eye. This condition happens when you don’t produce sufficient tears. As its name implies, dry eye can make your eyes feel super parched. It can also cause symptoms like scratchiness, burning, stinging, redness, discharge, and pain. Don’t ignore these signs. Dry eye is a very common issue that can progress to a very significant issue if not managed appropriately. A lot of factors can add to the emergence of dry eye such as regularly being in a windy, smoky, or dry environment, seasonal allergies, certain medications, and being in front of a digital screen a lot can also contribute to it.
2. You’re having a harder time seeing things.
Deterioration in your vision is a definite sign that you should have your eyes checked. There could be a few things causing the change in vision. It may be as simple as you needing glasses or needing to update your glasses or contacts prescription. Or you could be dealing with dry eye (which can blur your vision) or a vision-threatening illness like glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage your optic nerve, which allows you to see by transmitting visual messages to your brain. If it is left untreated it can be a very dangerous eye condition.
Seeing double can be pretty freaky, but it could just be that you had a change in your vision therefore need a stronger or weaker prescription.
Double vision can also indicate a problem with the muscles that control your eye movement, problems with the shape of your cornea (the thin membrane covering part of the front of your eye), cataracts (when the lens of your eye gets cloudy), and more.
If you’re having double vision but no other symptoms, get to your optometrist to get checked out. If you’re experiencing double vision along with symptoms like trouble speaking, paralysis or numbness on one side of your body, and trouble walking, go to A&E immediately.
Your peripheral vision allows you to give side eye and is thus crucial to, well, life. Seriously, though, if you see patchy spots in your peripheral vision, it’s suddenly blocked off a little, or you can’t use your peripheral vision at all, you should see your Optician immediately.
This could happen as a result of glaucoma.
It could also be a sign of retinal detachment, which is when your retina (the thin, light-filtering layer of tissue at the back of your eye) recedes from its proper position. This can happen due to things like age or an eye injury, and it separates your retinal cells from the layer of blood vessels that give your retina oxygen and nutrients.
The longer this detachment goes untreated, the higher your risk of lasting vision loss in that eye. Other symptoms of retinal detachment to keep in mind: seeing floaters (little flecks wafting through the air), having flashes of light in one or both eyes, blurry vision, and seeing a curtain-like shadow over your vision.
Sure, your eyes may feel a little uncomfortable here and there. But any eye pain lasting longer than 24 hours, even if mild, should be investigated by an eye care provider.
6. Your eyes are constantly pink or red.
OK, so if you constantly have red eyes after staying up too late, the root of your problem is pretty obvious. Otherwise, persistently red eyes are usually a sign that something with your eye health is off. A good general rule is to have your eyes examined by an eye care provider for any redness persisting beyond 24 hours.
Pink eye is an inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball. It can happen due to allergies, viruses, bacteria, or irritation from something like a foreign object in your eye. Along with eye redness, it can cause itchiness, a gritty feeling, discharge, and tearing.
Dry eye is a surprising potential factor that can cause excessively watery eyes. Basically your eyes are so dry, your tear glands are trying to help rectify this. Your eyes could also be tearing up from pink eye, a problem with your cornea, or a blockage in the drainage system for your tears.
Even if your eyes feel like perfection, you need to see your eye doctor regularly. That’s the only way to detect and get ahead of conditions like glaucoma that can progress without you realising it.
The followings are the recommended eye examination intervals by age. Babies should be screened once between 6 and 12 months, kids should be checked once between ages 3 and 5, and 6- to 18-year-olds should be examined every year provided they don’t have any eye-related symptoms. After you turn 18 and through the age of 64, you should get your eyes examined at least every two years. Once you hit 65, it’s recommended you get checked out every year.
Keep in mind that if you wear glasses or contacts, your prescription will likely expire every year, meaning you should see your eye doctor more frequently than once every two years. Same goes if you have any other eye health issues, like a family history of cataracts.
Beyond all the eye conditions above an eye examination can also indicate problems about your general health such as diabetes, high blood pressure, nutritional deficits.