Routine eye exams are an important and effective form of preventative medicine for all age groups. Whether someone is eight or 80, eye exams are critical for vision and eye health, as well as offering a way to identify myriad other health conditions.
Eleven million Americans over age 12 need vision correction. Many people think their eyesight is fine until they get their first pair of glasses or contact lenses – and then they finally see what they were missing!
Eye exams not only identify vision problems but can also protect you from the impact of devastating eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration that are among the leading causes of blindness. Treatment for these diseases is more effective when they are caught in their early stages. Equally important, eye exams allow eye care professionals to take a noninvasive look inside the body, providing an opportunity to detect up to 30 chronic medical conditions, from diabetes and heart disease to hypertension and even cognitive dysfunction – even before symptoms occur.
Routine eye exams should begin in childhood because vision plays a major role in learning, even before a child begins school. Did you know that 80 percent of what children are expected to learn in and outside the classroom requires good vision?
Young children may not be able to communicate their vision challenges, making routine eye exams even more critical for them. Students engage in many vision-dependent learning activities such as reading, writing, using computers, chalkboard work and sports. Although myopia (nearsightedness) is their most common vision challenge, some children exhibit other forms of refractive error such as astigmatism and farsightedness.
Regular eye exams are increasingly important, as we get older. In fact, as our population ages, the number of blind and visually impaired people in the United States is estimated to double by 2030. Paying attention to our vision and eye health can significantly reduce that number and improve quality of life for millions of Americans.