Healthy Vision: When Should You Get an Eye Exam
If your eyes feel healthy and you are able to see well, it’s easy to assume your eyes are healthy and have no issues. However, many eye diseases don’t have any warning signs, meaning you could have an eye problem and not know it. The good news is, there’s a lot you can do to set yourself up for a lifetime of seeing well.
This year during Healthy Vision Month, HealthCore Clinic is putting a spotlight on the importance of increasing diversity in the eye health field — and how that can help everyone have an equal opportunity for healthy vision. We look at when to get a vision check, health vision, tips for healthy vision, when should you get an eye exam, tips for healthy vision, how to protect your eyes, when to get a child eye exam, eye doctors in Wichita, and more.
When Should You Get An Eye Exam
When Should You See an Eye Doctor
There are many factors that can determine how frequently you need an eye exam such as your age, health, and risk of developing eye problems. Here are some general guidelines on when should you see an eye doctor:
Children 3 years and younger
Your child’s pediatrician will likely check your child’s eyes for healthy eye development and look for the most common childhood eye problems such as lazy eye, cross-eyes, or misaligned eyes. A more comprehensive child eye exam between the ages of 3 and 5 will look for problems with vision and eye alignment. An eye exam for children is a great time to find an eye doctor for kids, your pediatrician can recommend an optometrist in Wichita or an ophthalmologist in Wichita depending on your child’s vision needs.
School-age children and adolescents
Have your child’s vision checked before he or she enters kindergarten. Your child’s doctor or medical provider can recommend how frequent eye exams should be after that and recommend where to schedule an eye exam. A vision check may reveal your child needs glasses to increase their health vision.
In general, if you are healthy and you have no symptoms of vision problems, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends having a complete eye exam at age 40. This is often when some vision changes and eye diseases are likely to start. Based on the results of your vision check, your eye doctor can recommend how often you should have future eye exams.
If you’re 60 or older, it is recommended to have your eyes checked every 1-2 years.
You should have your eyes checked more often if you:
- Wear glasses or contact lenses
- Have a family history of eye disease or loss of vision
- Have a chronic disease that puts you at greater risk of eye disease, such as diabetes
- Take medications that have serious eye side effects
8 Signs You Should Schedule an Eye Exam
- Your eyes are red, dry, itchy, or you are seeing spots, flashes of light, or floaters.
- You have diabetes or another health condition that affects your eyes. Also, if you have a family history of conditions like diabetes or glaucoma you may need exams more often, especially as you move into your 50s and beyond.
- You can’t remember when you last had an eye exam. If it’s been longer than a year, you’re overdue.
- You have difficulty driving at night and seeing street signs in the dark.
- You experience eye strain, headaches and/or blurred vision after spending an extended amount of time in front of a computer screen.
- You get motion sick, dizzy, or have trouble following a moving target.
- You hold books or the newspaper further away from your face and squint or close one eye to read them clearly.
- You notice any changes in your vision, especially after an incident of head trauma.
What to Expect at Your Eye Exam
There are three types of eye specialists. Which specialist you choose might be a matter of preference or will depend on the nature of your eye problem.
- OphthalmologistsAn ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who provides full eye care, such as performing complete eye exams, prescribing corrective lenses, diagnosing and treating complex eye diseases, and performing eye surgery.
- OptometristsAn optometrist is a doctor who provides many of the same services as ophthalmologists, such as performing complete eye exams, evaluating your vision, prescribing corrective lenses, diagnosing common eye disorders and treating selected eye diseases with drugs. If you have a complex eye problem or need surgery, your optometrist can refer you to an ophthalmologist.
- OpticiansAn optician can fill prescriptions for eyeglasses, including assembling, fitting and selling them. Some opticians also sell contact lenses. Opticians do not provide eye health evaluations.
Before the Eye Exam
If you’re seeing a new eye doctor or if you’re having your first eye exam or vision check, the doctor will ask you questions about your vision and general health history. Your answers help your eye doctor understand your risk of eye disease and vision problems. Questions might include:
- Are you having eye problems now?
- Have you had eye problems in the past?
- Do you wear glasses or contacts? If so, are you satisfied with them?
- What health problems have you had in recent years?
- Were you born prematurely?
- What medications do you take?
- Do you have allergies to medications, food or other substances?
- Have you had eye surgery?
- Does anyone in your family have eye problems, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma or retinal detachments?
- Do you or does anyone in your family have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or any other health problems that can affect the whole body?
During the Eye Exam
A clinical assistant or technician might do part of the examination before your vision check, such as taking your medical history and giving an initial eye test. An eye exam usually involves these steps:
- Measuring your visual acuity to see if you need glasses or contact lenses to improve your vision.
- Measuring your eye pressure. You’ll be given a numbing drop in your eyes. To make it easier for your doctor to examine the inside of your eye, he or she will likely give you eyedrops to dilate your eyes.
- Evaluating the health of your eyes. After the dilating drops take effect, your eye doctor might use several lights or imaging to evaluate the front of the eye and the inside of each eye.
Your eye doctor might use several tests to check your vision as well as the appearance and function of all parts of your eyes.
After the Eye Exam
At the end of your eye exam, you and your eye doctor will discuss the results of all testing, including an assessment of your vision, your risk of eye disease, tips for healthy vision, how to protect your eyes, and how to protect your vision moving forward.
Tips For Healthy Vision
Healthy Eye Tips
You can take simple steps every day to keep your eyes healthy. Use these tips for healthy vision to protect your eyes from things that can harm them:
- Wear Sunglasses OutsideProtect your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses — even on cloudy days! Be sure to look for sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.
- Wear Protective EyewearSafety glasses and goggles are designed to protect your eyes during certain activities, like playing sports, doing construction work, or doing home repairs. You can buy them from most eye care providers and some sporting goods stores. Be sure to protect your kids’ eyes when they play sports.
- Give Your Eyes a RestLooking at a computer for a long time can tire your eyes. Rest your eyes by taking a break every 20 minutes to look at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Studies have shown taking breaks from screens not only is good for your eyes, but can improve your mood and metal health as well.
- Keep Contacts Lenses CleanIf you wear contacts, take steps to prevent eye infections. Always wash your hands before you put your contact lenses in or take them out. Be sure to disinfect your contact lenses and replace them regularly.
How To Protect Your Eyes
Protecting Your Vision
It is important to have a plan on how to protect your eyes and how to protect your vision. Here are more tips for healthy vision:
Find an eye doctor you trust
Many eye diseases don’t have any early symptoms, so you could have a problem and not know it. The good news is that an eye doctor can help you stay on top of your eye health! Find an eye doctor you trust by asking friends and family if they like their doctor. You can also check with your health insurance plan to find eye doctors near you.
Ask how often you need a dilated eye exam
Getting a dilated eye exam is the single best thing you can do for your eye health. It’s the only way to find eye diseases early when they’re easier to treat — and before they cause vision loss. Your eye doctor will decide how often you need an exam based on your risk for eye diseases. Ask your eye doctor what’s right for you.
Add more movement to your day.
Physical activity can lower your risk for health conditions that can affect your vision, like diabetes and high blood pressure. And bonus: it can help you feel your best. If you have trouble finding time for physical activity (normal!), try building it into other activities. Walk around while you’re on the phone, do push-ups or stretch while you watch TV, dance while you’re doing chores. Anything that gets your heart pumping counts!
Get your family talking about eye health history
Some eye diseases like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration can run in families. While it may not be the most exciting topic of conversation, talking about your family health history can help everyone stay healthy. The next time you’re chatting with relatives, ask if anyone knows about eye problems in your family. Be sure to share what you learn with your eye doctor to see if you need to take steps to lower your risk.
Eat healthier foods
Eating healthy foods helps prevent health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure that can put you at risk for eye problems. Eat right for your sight by adding more eye-healthy foods to your plate! Try dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens. And pick up some fish high in omega-3 fatty acids like halibut, salmon, and tuna.
Wear sunglasses, even on cloudy days
The sun’s UV rays can harm your skin, but did you know the same goes for your eyes? It’s true. Wearing sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation can protect your eyes and lower your risk for cataracts. So be sure to add sunglasses to your must-have list before you leave the house.
Stay on top of long-term health conditions
Long-term health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure can increase your risk for some eye diseases, like glaucoma. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, ask your doctor about steps you can take to manage your condition and lower your risk of vision loss.
If you smoke, make a plan to stop
Quitting smoking is good for almost every part of your body, including your eyes. Stopping smoking will help lower your risk for eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts. Stopping smoking is hard, but it’s possible. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for free support or contact a member of our team to make a plan to quit smoking for good!
Eye Doctors In Wichita
Finding an Eye Doctor in Wichita
Looking for eye doctors in Wichita? There are different kinds of eye care professionals such as optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians. The simple way to find vision doctors in Wichita is to schedule an appointment with HealthCore Clinic for a vision check and ask which type of eye doctors in Wichita are right for you.
Another way to find an eye doctor in Wichita is by searching reviews on Google. You can search “ophthalmologist in Wichita,” “optometrist in Wichita,” “eye doctors in Wichita,” or “vision doctors in Wichita.” However, sometimes the doctor with the most reviews may not be the right doctor for your needs. The best bet is to schedule an appointment at HealthCore Clinic or with your medical provider to get a referral.
- Do eye doctors take Medicaid?Yes, many do (but not all). HealthCore Clinic accepts KanCare / Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP and private insurance. If you require an eye specialist, we can make a referral to a doctor who accepts your insurance type.
- How much does it cost to see an eye doctor?Costs will vary by doctor and insurance. HealthCore Clinic beleives financial concerns should not be a barrier to receiving high quality healthcare services. We offer sliding scale fees and prescription assistance for those not covered by insurance.
- Do eye doctors accept walk-in patients?Some do, typically if it is an eye emergency. Most prefer you schedule an appointment in advance. To see a member of our team, please schedule an appointment online or call us today.
- Should I see an optometrist or an ophthalmologist?This will depend on your specific needs. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who provides full eye care, such as performing complete eye exams, prescribing corrective lenses, diagnosing and treating complex eye diseases, and performing eye surgery. An optometrist provides many of the same services except surgery. After a vision check at HealthCore Clinic, we can refer you to an eye doctor that meets your specific needs.
- Are there eye doctors for kids?Yes, there are eye doctors who specialize in child eye exams and kids’ vision needs. When you bring your little one in for an eye exam for children at HealthCore Clinic, we can make a referral to a specialist if need be.
- Do I need glasses?Asking yourself “Do I need glasses?” or “Do I need contact lenses?” A vision check can help answer these questions. Schedule an appointment today.