Routine eye exams are often ignored, yet a very fundamental feature of a thorough, holistic health program. While many people get complete body checkups regularly, few visit an eye doctor for an eye exam as often. The end result is that vision problems get neglected and develop into far more serious conditions than they should be. It is estimated that vision related problems cost America upwards of $51Bn every year. A lot of these problems can be avoided through early detection, saving billions of dollars annually.
A routine eye exam can have several components. One kind of eye exam that is designed largely to detect vision problems like weak eyesight (nearsightedness or farsightedness) is carried out by an optometrist. An optometrist is not an actual doctor and can only detect above mentioned eye problems and write prescriptions for the same (that is, prescriptions for corrective glasses, lenses, etc.). An eye exam conducted by an optometrist would be quite cheap. Major retail stores like Wal-Mart offer such eye tests within the store itself, and you can simply walk in without an appointment to get your eyes checked. More often than not, you can even order corrective glasses and lenses from the optometrist himself.
A more thorough eye exam that would not only measure your eyesight but also provide insights into any other vision problems you may have would be carried out by a trained eye doctor (called an ‘ophthalmologist’). These exams are far more thorough and are essential for maintaining healthy eyes. An ophthalmologist would be able to detect glaucoma, presbyopia, and astigmatism, Dry Eye Syndrome, etc. and provide medication for the same. Many eye related problems such as blurry vision, seeing spots before the eyes, etc. may be early symptoms of far more serious diseases like diabetes, strokes, etc. Regular eye exams would make early detection of these diseases possible.
Visiting an eye doctor can be quite expensive, which is perhaps one reason why many people tend to ignore their eye health. Further, most health insurance plans do not have adequate coverage for regular eye exams and other vision related problems, further deterring people. Considering the importance of routine eye exams in maintaining eye health, it is recommended that you obtain a vision insurance plan in addition to your health plan that would provide coverage for any vision related problems. Such a vision insurance plan won’t set you back by a few dollars a month, but will end up saving you hundreds of dollars over time.
Routine eye exams, conducted preferably by an ophthalmologist than an optometrist, are essential components of any comprehensive health plan. No matter what your age is, visiting the eye doctor regularly should be given top priority. Older people who tend to suffer from more eye problems than their younger counterparts should make a particular effort to get routine check-ups done. With the increasing use of computers, instances of vision related problems are growing, even among young children. This only goes to show that no matter your age, you should get a complete eye exam done every 4-6 months.