Eye Health Awareness Week 2010 – Day 2: The importance of regular Eye Testing


Eye Examinations

An eye test is both painless and inexpensive – it may even be free – and could literally save your life, but not nearly enough people are getting themselves checked on a regular basis. Everyone knows they should go to the dentist once a year but the same awareness is yet to apply to a visit to the optician every two years, as recommended.

Just because you can see OK – or think you can – it doesn’t mean you don’t need your eyes examined. The eyes are the window to the body and can reveal many medical conditions that will respond well to treatment but can lead to loss of vision if allowed to deteriorate.

Advances in medical research mean that an eye test can detect critical conditions that need immediate action such as a brain tumours or diabetes as well as predict long-term problems. Scientists have recently developed a test that can spot the likelihood of Alzheimer’s 20 years before symptoms occur and whilst there isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s now, there may well be in 20 years’ time.

Think of the children

Children should also have an eye test before they start school. A child under five is very unlikely to be able to communicate a problem with their vision so professional assessment is the only way to ensure they get the best start in life. Simple poor vision can have a devastating effect on their education and social development so an eye test should be as routine as a visit to the dentist.

Driver’s ignorance about eye tests

Driving with poor vision is another risk not worth taking but the worrying fact is that according to a nationwide poll of 3,000 drivers, one in three motorists has not been for an eye examination in more than two years. Apart from the obvious fact that it could cause an accident, if the police catch you it can result in a hefty fine and penalty points. Regular eye exams will reveal eyesight problems that can be treated early to ensure your eyesight is safeguarded for longer.

A bit of an eye-opener?

Having an eye test every two years doesn’t seem like too much bother when you consider the immense benefits to be gained.

What’s next?

Are you a contact lens wearer? Tomorrow we have an article on contact lenses, so this could be interesting for those who wear them and equally those who are thinking about ditching the glasses for a contact lens world.  A contact lens check is an entirely different procedure to an eye test. Both are essential in order to maintain healthy eyes and good vision, it’s not one or the other. Eye shape as well as vision changes with age so yearly checks up’s are essential. See you tomorrow…

Tony (SelectSpecs)

Tony is the resident optician at SelectSpecs.com, you'll normally find him blogging about eye health and sharing his general optical knowledge.

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