There are several reasons for individuals to get their eyes tested regularly. Individuals at different ages are recommended to get eye exams at different intervals. Throughout childhood, doctors and school nurses test children's eyes frequently to determine whether their eyesight is developing properly. Once individuals reach adulthood, the recommendation is to get an eye examination every two to three years. This frequency often increases for patients who wear glasses or work a job that deteriorates their vision, such as staring at a screen all day. As individuals get older, it's recommended for them to receive eye exams more frequently, with patients over sixty-five years old told to get an exam every six months.
Whether an individual is overdue for a checkup or not, however, there are some warning signs they should be aware of, as they will indicate an eye exam is needed, regardless of when the patient's last one was. Get to know these signs now.
Chronic Eye Fatigue
Chronic eye fatigue is one of the most common signs of an eye issue. Several things can lead to eye strain and fatigue, which means nearly everyone experiences these feelings once in a while. Eye strain occurs when individuals spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen or reading a book, especially if the text is small. The harder individuals try to focus, the more tired their eyes are going to get. It's also common for an individual's eyes to feel tired when they've been awake for a while or haven't gotten enough sleep. Doctors consider eye fatigue chronic when it persists for at least three days, especially if patients don't have a known underlying cause. Persistent eye fatigue can indicate individuals have an eye infection or there's another condition making them tired. On top of this, patients should schedule an eye exam if their eyes hurt when they move them in certain directions.
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The lens of an individual's eyes curves to focus on objects. By adjusting the amount of light that's hitting their retina, individuals can focus on things both near and far away from them. However, the majority of individuals have an imperfectly shaped cornea. This means the light is focused directly in front of or behind the retina instead of on it, which leads to blurring. If patients are experiencing sudden difficulty focusing or blurring in their vision, they should schedule an eye exam. Some individuals have inconsistent problems with focus, and rather than everything being blurry, patients might notice they only have vision issues when they try to look at details in certain objects. Another example would be individuals who have trouble focusing on objects in light, but don't struggle at night, or individuals who have focus issues that seem to move between eyes. Even if the problems don't impair a patient's day-to-day life, they should still schedule an exam to rule out potentially serious eye issues.
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When individuals experience headaches, their eyes usually aren't the first thing they think of when trying to identify the culprit. Headaches can be caused by dozens of different issues in different parts of the body. Muscle tension and fatigue can cause them, as can neurological issues. But frequent headaches are also often a sign a patient's vision is changing. If individuals are experiencing unexplained headaches with greater intensity or frequency than usual, they should see their regular doctor or optometrist. Individuals suffering from migraines might experience vision disturbances during the episode. The vision disturbances sometimes occur directly before an episode like a warning, and they might persist after the pain is gone. It's common for spots, auras, and other obstructions to occur. They tend to be harmless, but there have been cases where these disturbances indicate a more serious underlying condition that needs treatment. For this reason, if patients experience eye disturbances during migraines, they should consult a doctor.
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Night Vision Changes
Night vision changes can sometimes be among the first signs something is different with a patient's eyes. Their night vision is governed by different parts of the eye than their vision during the day. Several conditions can affect an individual's ability to see at night without affecting their daytime vision. Most patients first notice a decline in night vision when they try to drive at night. The glare of oncoming headlights or street lamps might be blinding whether or not the brights are on. Individuals might also struggle to read road signs they wouldn't normally have problems with. Difficulty with night driving is the first sign of vision changes for many adults. If individuals can't distinguish telephone poles and other objects, can't read signs, or see halos surrounding lights in the night, they should get in contact with an optometrist. If they suspect an underlying condition, they may refer the patient to an ophthalmologist to receive a diagnosis and treatment. Almost all adults experience a decline in night vision as they get older. In many cases, there are treatment options to help.
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Diagnosis Of A Condition That Could Affect The Eyes
The diagnosis of a condition that could affect the eyes is certainly a reason for patients to get an eye exam. If individuals know their health condition might cause vision deterioration or changes, they should get an exam immediately after diagnosis and at regular intervals thereafter. Their eye doctor will typically tell them how often they should come back for exams. Some conditions affect the entire body, and a patient's overall physical health can affect the function of their eyes. Sleep habits and nutrition affect the ability of an individual's eyes to focus without pain. Diabetes can cause blindness if not treated properly, and diabetes-related blindness is one of the leading causes of total blindness in United States adults. Other conditions that can affect the eyes include lupus and varying thyroid problems. Patients should talk to an eye doctor about their diagnosis and undergo a vision test.