Among your senses—sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch—which one would you rather not lose? If your answer is sight, then you’re one of the many people who give top significance to their vision. That’s where the problem (and irony) rests. In the U.S. alone, a study shows that 84 percent rank vision as the most important sense, but only half of them get annual eye exams. These people give importance to eyesight but give little to no priority on eyesight tests.
This is mainly because many don’t know or fully understand the truth and urgency of having our eyes checked regularly—even those with 20/20 vision. Here are four myths about eye exams that will make you think twice about your eye habits:
MYTH 1: You don’t need to get your eyes checked if you don’t have eye problems
The truth is, eye diseases can manifest and worsen without eye symptoms. Eye symptoms can be tricky because they’re often dismissed as a “normal” occurrence—annoying little things that happen out of the blue, like itchy or teary eyes. People think it’s a small symptom of a cold, fatigue, or infection, to the point that they hold it at bay until it becomes a serious illness. Many eye problems can be prevented or corrected through regular eye exams and early detection.
MYTH 2: You only need to do one eye test for the entirety of your life
When it comes to vision, it’s important to understand what’s considered to be part of aging and which signs indicate trouble. According to the National Eye Institute, these are the normal changes your eyes experience as you age:
• Loss of focus and difficulty in seeing or reading things from up close.
• Having a hard time distinguishing colors, such as blue from black.
• Needing more light to see clearly and more time to adjust when leaving a dark area into a brightly lit one.
To be certain about your eye health, follow the frequency of eye exams based on your age group:
• 20s and 30s: every 5-10 years
• 40 to 54: every 2-4 years
• 55 to 64: every 1-3 years
• 65 and above: every 1-2 years
On the other hand, people with these conditions may need eye check-ups more frequently as they are outside the scope of the normal aging process:
• Those with serious eye or vision problems
• Wearing corrective lenses
• Those with a family history of eye diseases
• Have chronic disease that increases the risk of eye problems
MYTH 3: Eye exams are only for detecting eye problems or eye diseases
Besides checking for eye problems, eye exams have the ability to detect something as serious as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, and even sexually transmitted diseases. Unfortunately, only 1% of the population knows this, as shown in a study conducted by VSP Vision Care and YouGov. Early detection is more than just taking precaution, it can outright curb a life-threatening disease and can help eliminate or ease the symptoms patients are experiencing.
MYTH 4: Vision screenings are enough to ensure your eye health
Given that eye exams are important and that they help in maintaining overall health, you have to make sure you’re getting an actual comprehensive eye exam rather than just a vision test. Here’s a comparison between the two:
• Has limited testing that may only check for distance acuity
• Can be done by administrative personnel or volunteers with little training
• Takes less time
• Can only detect the presence or possibility of a vision problem
Comprehensive testing that involves the dissecting of one’s medical history; vision history; eye health evaluation; refractive assessment and visual acuity testing; evaluation of eye focusing, eye teaming, and eye movement abilities; and additional tests as needed
• Can only be executed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist
• Takes 30 to 60 minutes
• Can diagnose eye diseases and more, as well as prescribe eye treatments and medication
Now you know!
There’s more to eyesight tests than meets the eye. Your sense of sight is an essential part of your daily life. It makes sense that comprehensive eye exams should be integrated into your regular health check ups. Without it, there’s a chance you might lose more than your ability to see things clearly. Don’t deprive yourself of the opportunity of a health intervention that not only saves vision, but more importantly, saves lives.
It’s also good to know that you can get a FREE COMPREHENSIVE EYE EXAM at Vision Express. Our exam can check for refractive errors, visual sharpness, the ability of the eyes to focus and adjust, and their ability to work together. Just book an appointment online and we’ll see you there!
1. American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2020, January 13). Survey Reveals Most Americans Know a Lot Less about Eye Health than They Think They Do: Here’s Why That’s a Problem. Retrieved from https://www.aao.org/newsroom/news-releases/detail/survey-reveals-most-americans-know-less-eye-health
2. Scott, Adrienne. (2016, August 4). Survey: Vision Health a Priority. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160804140509.htm
3. Canopy Health. Windows to Your Health: The Importance of Routine Eye Exams. Retrieved from https://www.canopyhealth.com/en/members/articles/the-importance-of-routine-eye-exams.html
4. VSP Vision Care. Surprising Eye Health Stats that Might Surprise You. Retrieved from https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/eye-health-survey-results
5. Levine, Hallie. (2019, January 7). How Your Eyes Change with Age. Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2019/eye-changes-with-age.html
6. Moran Eye Center. (2016, September 9). Vision Changes as We Age: What’s Normal, What’s Not? Retrieved from https://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2016/09/vision.changes.php
7. James, Susan Donaldson. (2012, April 11). Get an Eye Exam: Arthritis to Cancer Seen in Eye. Retrieved from https://abcnews.go.com/Health/dozens-diseases-diagnosed-simple-eye-exam/story?id=16111097
8. American Optometric Association. Limitations of Vision Screening Programs. Retrieved from https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/comprehensive-eye-and-vision-examination/limitations-of-vision-screening-programs
9. Duffy, Maureen. The Difference Between a Vision Screening and a Comprehensive Eye Examination. Retrieved from https://www.visionaware.org/info/your-eye-condition/eye-health/eye-examination/125