4 Signs You May Need An Eye Exam

Eye exams are one of the most important procedures for maintaining healthy vision. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to discern which symptoms are minor or temporary visual disturbances and which are potential indicators of a more serious vision problem. Here are four signs that it may be time to see your optometrist for an eye exam.

Frequent Headaches

Headaches occur due to a wide variety of causes, many of which are not even related to your vision. Considering the times at which headaches most often occur is the best way to determine if they might be related to your vision. If you frequently get headaches while reading, using a computer, or doing other activities that require prolonged focus, it is likely that your headaches are a sign of vision problems.

It is important not to disregard headaches that may be related to vision problems, especially if you are considering an eye exam for your child. Headaches are often the first symptom to develop, as vision degradation can be so minor and so gradual to begin with that you do not notice it until the problem has reached a more advanced stage.

Difficulty Reading on Paper or Screens

Changes in your vision will almost always be accompanied by changes in your reading habits. If you notice that you are holding books or newspapers either further away or closer to your eyes while you read, it could be a sign that you are becoming nearsighted or farsighted. General blurriness and trouble reading at any distance could be a sign of astigmatism.

Vision changes while using a computer can be harder to notice. You may find yourself sitting closer or further away from the screen, but in some cases you may get in the habit of changing the font size without noticing it. A good way to test for degrading vision is to visit the same page on a monthly basis, sit at a set distance away from the screen, and see if you can still read the page comfortably.

Recent Head Injury or Health Changes

Significant head trauma can sometimes cause temporary vision changes such as blurred vision or double vision. Even if your doctor or an emergency responder informed you that these effects were temporary, you should still visit an optometrist for a specialist's opinion. Some injuries can lead to long-term vision problems that do not immediately surface even after the temporary visual distortions have subsided.

Some other changes to your health can bring a risk of vision damage with them. Eye infections are an obvious candidate, and you should always visit an optometrist after an infection that causes redness, swelling, or oozing around the eyes. Motion sickness or dizziness without an obvious cause can also be signs of undiagnosed eye problems.

Too Long Since Last Exam

Just because you haven't been experiencing any vision problems doesn't mean that you can forego eye exams altogether. Eye exams are meant to be a regular procedure for everyone, as they serve both diagnostic and preventative purposes. Having your eyes examined regularly will allow your optometrist to catch some problems early and provide treatment before any symptoms have developed.

How frequently you should get an eye exam will vary based on your age. According to the American Optometric Association, asymptomatic adults between the ages of 18 and 60 should have an eye exam every two years. Children should have eye exams at six months old, three years old, and before starting first grade, and then continue with an exam every two years. A yearly eye exam is recommended for adults over 60.

Keep these warning signs in mind and attend eye exams when necessary to have vision problems treated before they become too serious and maintain healthy eyesight for years to come.