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Seeing Clearly in the New Year

You remember to get regular oil changes, see your primary care physician every year, and even send your uncle a birthday card before his actual birthday. But do you remember to get your eyes checked? Regular eye exams are essential for good, well-rounded health but are often overlooked. Why is that? Maybe it’s just something you put off. Or perhaps you’ve gotten used to squinting while driving at night. Whatever the case may be, the longer you put off an eye exam, the worse a severe condition may develop. But there’s no reason to fear!

Regular or yearly eye exams can help your doctor discover and address any irregularities before your vision is seriously affected. Like with primary medical care, the earlier a problem is detected, the more treatable it is. An eye exam can also help your provider find clues into your overall well-being. Sometimes your eyes can be a great indicator of health if you have diabetes, glaucoma, or high blood pressure.

But it’s just not adults who wear glasses that need to get their eyes checked out. Here’s a quick guide on who should be getting eye exams:

Babies.  Newborns should get a baseline exam by the time they are six months old to ensure no issues need to be corrected.

Children.  It’s recommended to get children’s eyes tested before starting school, as an eye exam is the only way to ensure your child sees clearly and can fully participate with their peers. While most children can pass a vision test at school, this doesn’t screen for more severe problems like myopia, lazy eye, cross-eye, or misaligned eyes. Scheduling a yearly eye exam can help give you peace of mind that your children have all the tools they need to succeed, in and out of the classroom.

People with Diabetes. The American Diabetes Association has found that 40% of people living with diabetes are likely to develop glaucoma in their life, described as having an intense pressure against the eyes, causing blindness if not treated properly. Also, being diabetic puts people at a higher risk of severe complications, meaning it’s more important to get their eyes checked at least once a year to make sure any potential issues are being appropriately treated in the correct timeframe.

Adults over 40.  Suppose you are healthy and don’t have a symptom of vision problems. In that case, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a complete eye exam starting at 40, when your vision starts to change, and eye diseases are more likely to develop. Your eye doctor can recommend a plan for future screenings based on this event. Remember, getting older doesn’t mean having to deal with worsening vision.

A few lifestyles and demographic factors also play into how often you should be getting an exam, as well as age, health, and risk of developing eye problems. You should have your eyes checked every year or two if you wear glasses, have a family history of eye diseases or loss of vision, chronic conditions like diabetes, or take any medications that have eye-related side effects.

Regular eye exams don’t have to be something you put off or dread. So make 2022 the year you finally get your eyes checked! The friendly staff at Southwest Health’s Eye Center are here to help you make any corrections or put your mind (and eyes) at ease. There are four convenient Southwest Health Eye Center locations in Darlington, Lancaster, and Platteville at both Southwest Health and McGregor Plaza. Call and make an appointment today.