Both adults and children should have annual eye examinations as part of their routine health care plan. Your optometrist not only prescribes prescriptions for corrective lenses, but also determines your overall eye health and identifies any signs of disease or serious illness. Here are a number of ways your eye exams are important to your health:

Children

It is always important to keep an eye on your child’s optical health as their eyes develop from birth until the age of nine to twelve. As the eye develops issues can occur, which may be cause for concern. This is why it is a critical to see your optometrist regularly to avoid serious and common eye problems. Some common problems that may occur include:

Amblyopia or Lazy Eye: When one eye is functioning better than the other the brain actually stops the weaker eye from working and allows the strong eye to compensate. If this is not caught early the damage to the weaker eye will be permanent. Annual eye exams for small children will allow your doctor to spot an issue such as lazy eye. They can then provide the treatment that will allow the weaker eye to be trained to function in hand with the stronger eye.

Strabismus: This condition is crossed or turned eyes. Many babies have crossed eyes at birth but they usually correct themselves by six months. If this does not happen an eye doctor will check your baby’s eyes to be sure that they are working together. If not caught early on strabismus can lead to a lazy eye as well as problems with depth perception.

As your child becomes older an eye exam will check for vision issues caused by refractive errors including:

• Nearsightedness
• Farsightedness
• Astigmatism
• Eye teaming problem

Adult Eye Exam

As an adult your eye doctor will evaluate your vision for refractive errors and a need for new corrective lenses. Your doctor will also check for glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and other diseases such a cataracts. Many eye diseases can be caught in the early stages allowing you to avoid permanent vision loss. However your eye doctor can often spot general health issues and conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Many health conditions affect the blood vessels in your eyes. During your eye exam your optometrist will be able to identify issues you can then discuss with your family doctor.

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