Despite the fact that regular visits to one's general physician and dentist are recommended, many people go without regular eye care. This goes beyond simply getting checked to see if you need glasses. If you're not seeing an ophthalmologist to have the health of your eyes checked on a regular basis, you may be doing yourself a disservice. Here's why you should be seeing one annually.
What They Do
Eye doctors, otherwise known as ophthalmologists, don't typically check your vision to see if you need prescription lenses or an update to your prescription. Instead, they use their education and specialized equipment to look deeply into the various parts of your eyes to look for problems.
The eye equipment used is a lot like a microscope for eyes. Eye doctors can look at the deeper parts of the eye, like the retina, as well as the surface like the lens. Issues with blood vessels, abnormal cells, and tissue damage can all be detected this way.
Why Early Detection is Needed
Vision problems may seem to come on suddenly, but typically, they do anything but. Damage is done to the eyes over a gradual basis, and finding it early means you can put a stop to it. For example, an eye doctor can detect the early warning signs of damage from blue light, which can ultimately lead to macular degeneration.
In addition, there are many eye diseases that can't be detected by a general physician until they become severe. While your general doctor may look into your eyes using a scope, the equipment is nowhere near as sophisticated as what ophthalmologists have access to. Eye diseases can develop at any age, even childhood, so regular examinations are just the right thing to do.
What to Expect
Seeing an eye doctor is typically a painless and stress-free experience. Your eye doctor or their assistant will perform a simple vision check with an eye chart. Once that's complete, your doctor will have you sit down in front of a machine called an ophthalmoscope. You'll sit forward, place your chin on a little chin-rest that's built into it, and your doctor will take a long look at your eyes.
During this time, a light will be shined into both eyes. It isn't painful, and your eye doctor will likely direct you to keep your eyes looking in one direction slightly away from where the light originates so that it won't be irritating. After a few minutes, your eye doctor should know whether your eyes are healthy or not.
If you visit an eye doctor or optometrist and find out that your eyes have some issues, don't panic. That's why you're there! Your eye doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan to reverse any damage and to prevent more damage from occurring, so make an appointment right away.