Daleen Slabbert consults to the optometric industry. Her services include: new practice set-up, implementing practice systems, implementing financial check points, staff training, implementing marketing strategies, human resources management, motivating staff, etc. She has amassed an incredible library of information and has vast experience in the running of high performance optometric practices. Daleen offers an on-site service, where she will be at the fore front of implementation of her systems. She has also developed an outstanding online course for optometric staff.

Is an annual eye examination necessary? Below are some answers and explanations regarding the importance of having regular eye examinations.

Why an eye exam?

It is a misconception to believe that we only need to see an optometrist when there is something wrong with the way we see.

One must understand that an eye examination is not just a simple vision check. A comprehensive eye examination is a complicated series of tests that not only determines the refractive status of your eyes, but also neurological function, eye pressure, eye muscle coordination and health of the external and internal ocular structures.

Several serious eye diseases are asymptomatic (you won’t know you have it), but can be treated if diagnosed early. Young people with hyperopia (farsightedness) can overcome it by focusing to retain good vision, but will suffer from strain or headaches. Young kids with amblyopia (lazy eye) need to be diagnosed early to be treated successfully.

Binocular vision (extra ocular muscles) problems can cause lots of issues, but may not affect vision per se. The bottom line is, everybody should have an eye examination to rule out any problems and should continue to have check-ups, because visual problems can develop later in life.

An annual eye exam for adults?

For young adults who have no family history of eye disease and have good vision, an eye examination, every two years may be sufficient. In today’s world, however, digital device usage is soaring while the awareness of digital eyestrain is still low. If you are experiencing visual discomfort while using your cellular phone or while surfing the internet, you may want to schedule your eye exam a bit sooner.

At forty years of age, a baseline eye examination is recommended regardless of the absence of symptoms. Why forty? This is the time when early signs of ocular disease and changes in your vision may occur. If you wear glasses and you are in good health, an eye examination, every eighteen months may be sufficient. If you notice anything different or strange about your eyes or your vision, seek care immediately. The cause of headaches could be visual problems.

Annual eye exam for older adults?

At around sixty years of age, there is an increased risk of developing cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and other eye diseases. An annual visual examination is necessary to detect early signs of any such conditions.

Do kids need a yearly eye exam?

Children are not exempt from the annual eye exam. At around six months and again at three years of age, most paediatricians screen children for potential eye problems. A full comprehensive eye examination should be performed between the ages of four and six years of age. At this point children are entering school. Undetected vision problems at a young age can severely handicap learning and result in bad behavior and poor grades. A family history of eye problems, increases the risk that your child may encounter eye problems.

Diabetics and eye exams

Diabetic patients have a higher risk of developing glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Early detection is critical in the treatment of diabetes related eye disease. For this reason, an annual eye exam should be mandatory. If your diabetes is not under control, your doctor or optometrist may recommend an examination every three to six months.

Contact lens wearers need an annual eye exam

If you wear contact lenses, an annual eye consultation and contact lens evaluation is necessary. Please don’t give your optometrist a hard time when she refuses to provide you with contact lenses when your examination is overdue. They are only doing it because they care for the health of your eyes and because it is a legal requirement! Besides making sure your prescription is up-to-date, the optometrist checks your corneal health and looks for early signs of complications related to wearing a contact lens. Vision is a precious sense – take care of it.

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