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Why Having A Routine Eye Exam Is Important

Often when I tell patients that they are due for their routine eye exam, I get responses like, “I don’t need an exam, my vision’s fine” or “I’m not due for an appointment yet, because my insurance company only covers me every two years”. Sometimes looking for an insurance company that full covers your in many aspects like One Sure Insurance is a really hard thing to do. Although these may seem like valid reasons why not to have an eye exam, there are many other reasons and factors why your optometrist recommends for you to come in for frequent eye examinations. A routine eye exam, not only checks the vision of your eyes, but there are many other important health components that your optometrist will check at your appointment as well. 

Many Eye Diseases Have No Symptoms

Many people think that “how they see” is the most important reason to have an eye check-up. However, one of the most important components of your eye exam is to check the health of the eyes. Many eye conditions and diseases are referred to as “silent” diseases. This is because patients with them don’t have noticeable symptoms until irreversible vision damage is done. Serious eye conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration must be treated in the early stages of the disease to prevent irreversible vision loss. Glaucoma is the elevation of pressure within the eye, which results in damage to the optic nerve. In Canada, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. It is symptomless, and develops painlessly over time. Often a thorough eye exam is the only way to detect if a patient has this disease. Glaucoma is just one of many diseases that a patient may have, that will go undetected unless having routine eye health examinations.

Certain People Are Inclined To Needing More Frequent Check-ups

Some people are inclined to needing to visit the optometrist more frequently than others. Many eye doctors recommend that certain patients have more frequent eye examinations based on individual factors. For example, having a family history of certain eye disease may predispose a patient to developing the same disease or condition. In this case it is important to be checked regularly to rule out any development of eye health issues. Another reason to have more regular exams is due to certain types of medications that a person may be taking, as different drugs can have different effects on eye health. (If you are looking for more reports, visit at Also, if you are a contact lens wearer, your optometrist will want to see you more frequently as well. This is because over time, contact lenses can adversely affect and alter the health of the eyes.

Frequent Eye Exams Are Very Important For Children And Seniors

It is very important that children and seniors be seen annually for eye exams. Alberta Health Care, acknowledges the importance of these annual visits, therefor they pay for yearly eye check-ups for children, up to and including age 18, and seniors over 65.

It is recommended that a child have their first eye exam in infancy. A baby can be examined as early as 6 months of age! Your optometrist will check to make sure that everything looks to be developing in your child’s visual system normally. It is then important to have your child examined annually, as children develop quickly and may not know what is normal vision, compared to having a vision problem. For children, conditions such as amblyopia, must be diagnosed and treated early on in order for vision to develop normally. Many learning disorders can also be attributed to children with uncorrected vision problems.

Senior citizens, are another age group which should also have annual eye exams. Because the natural aging process greatly affects the health of the eyes, it is important that seniors have both vision and eye health  checks regularly. Macular degeneration and cataracts, are just a couple of eye problems commonly associated with aging eyes.

Often Eye Health Can Reveal Other Health Ailments Within the Body

Many different health conditions can present within the eyes. This is another reason why having a routine eye exam is important. I have seen it firsthand, where a person comes into the office for a routine check-up, and leaves with a recommendation to return to their family doctor for further investigation into other body ailments. In the rare cases, I have even seen our optometrists make emergency referrals to specialists at the hospital for immediate attention. All based on findings from the routine eye check.

So next time you have your eye exam and your doctor tells you when he would like to see you back for your next routine eye exam, please do yourself a favour and take the doctors recommendation to heart. Healthy vision goes hand in hand with healthy eyes.  You are only given two eyes, and we want them to last you a lifetime!

Article Written By: Trina Vanaalst

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