by Ginger Delafosse, OD
When most people think of an eye exam, they think of those that are needing contact lenses or glasses. What most people do not realize is that everyone needs their eyes examined at least once a year. This includes people that have excellent vision. The reason is that having your eyes dilated and thoroughly examined by an optometrist and/or ophthalmologist is to only way to truly check eye health, including: cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, hypertension, diabetes, dry eye, etc. All of those mentioned can be detected and monitored just from a dilated eye exam!
I encourage eye examinations for all ages. Most children are not going to complain about their vision. We have tools to check the youngest to the oldest, so it does not matter if your child cannot speak well or call out a letter, we have instruments that we use to find out if they need glasses or not.
Yearly eye examinations are required for diabetics. Many diabetics can have bleeding or swelling in the back of their eyes and not even know it. Having a dilated exam allows us to check for any retinopathy and further treat the eyes with lasers or medication, if needed.
There are a few rare eye disorders and diseases that can only be diagnosed from a dilated eye exam. Although those are rare, some are life threatening. That alone is a major reason for having your eyes dilated (and the sooner the better).
Whether you are young or old, and even if you have good vision, I recommend visiting your eye doctor at least once a year. Consider it another yearly to-do to keep track of your eye health and overall heath.