It’s surprising how often we doctors are asking our patients why they haven’t been making an eye exam appointment every year. The range of responses we get never ceases to amaze us.
Here are a just a few of the excuses that we frequently hear:
“I haven’t had any problems seeing, so I figure everything must be fine.”
“Someone told me that contact lens prescriptions are good for three years.”
“Since my eyes don’t hurt and my vision doesn’t seem to be changing, it’s all good.”
“I’ve probably needed glasses for a while now, but I wasn’t ready to deal with it.”
“I don’t have insurance, and I didn’t want to spend the money when my eyesight seems okay.”
“Going to a doctor makes me uncomfortable, unless something’s wrong, I don’t go.”
“My glasses are still in pretty good shape. I usually wait until they break before I replace them.”
That last excuse on the list above reminds me of the popular phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And unfortunately, there can be a tendency to approach eye health with a similar attitude — “if it don’t hurt, I don’t need to get it checked.”
This attitude can potentially create costly and dangerous threats to the long-term health of anyone, even if they are in great shape at the moment. We all know or have heard of the person who was super fit, then was suddenly diagnosed with a life threatening illness. When this happens, everybody wants to know how it’s possible for someone to look so healthy while having a serious health condition.
The simple explanation is this — because many health problems do not have symptoms of pain or discomfort early on, they can only be detected early by regular examination and testing. Nowhere in the entire human body is this truer than for the eye!
The eye is an incredibly complex organ with connections to the brain and blood systems. It can reveal un-noticed changes which affect your health, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, brain tumor, and multiple sclerosis.
The eye can also reveal the early signs of diseases which may silently and slowly rob you of vision, and by the time you do notice that something is wrong, irreparable damage is already done. The most common examples of this are diabetes and glaucoma.
Your best precaution against these silent vision robbers is a yearly eye exam. Most eye problems can be spotted within this time frame. Early detection means that the effect on the eye health can be minimized.
Waiting two or three years between eye exams gives minor problems too much time to destroy vision.
Don’t put off regular yearly eye exams — the cost to your vision may be too great!