Have you had an eye exam recently? While many insurance companies cover routine eye exams once every one to two years, people tend to skip them if they don't feel that they need a new prescription. But your optometrist isn't just there to strengthen your prescription, they also provide screening tests that can catch diseases early, reducing your risk of more serious complications down the line.
If you are on the fence about going to see an optometrist for an eye exam, here are three signs that you might want to schedule an appointment.
1. It's in Your Genes
Many eye diseases tend to run in families, so be sure to check your family history and determine if you are at higher risk. Find out when your family member(s) were initially diagnosed, the name of their condition, and their treatment plan if anyone has a history of eye disease.
Also consider if you are regularly straining your eyes or are exposed to harsh environments, such as direct sunlight for most of the day or hours of close-up work that involves reading without breaks.
2. You Notice Odd Symptoms
Vision problems can pop up in obvious ways, such as when you're wearing glasses and yet are still squinting to see the words that the lecturer is writing on the board, and in these cases, you likely already know that you need your prescription adjusted.
Some people avoid the optometrist because they may be afraid of aging or acknowledging that their vision is getting worse. Remember that there is technology available now that wasn't in the past, and your worst-case scenario is likely not as bad as you think.
Other times, vision problems can present in atypical ways, such as neck pain, sensitivity to light, and dizziness. If you have any odd symptoms that you have been unable to resolve by talking to your primary care doctor, be sure to bring it up with your optometrist during your eye exam so they can ensure it isn't vision-related.
3. You Keep Seeing Light Flashes
If you keep feeling like someone is suddenly shining a light in your face, but there is no external cause, you could be experiencing a retinal detachment. If caught soon enough, your chances of retaining your vision and making a full recovery are much higher, so be sure to see an optometrist quickly.
Outside of having eye exams regularly, making good lifestyle choices, like eating nutritious food and staying physically active, can keep your eyes healthy throughout your life!