3 Reasons Why Eye Exams Are Important


People who enjoy excellent vision often wonder whether they really need to schedule an eye exam. But an eye exam is just as much about checking the healthiness of your eyes as it is evaluating how well you can see.

Review three reasons why exams are important.

1. Eye diseases – According to the National Eye Institute, many Americans have been diagnosed with these vision issues:

  • 7 million have glaucoma
  • 7 million have diabetic retinopathy
  • 1 million have age-related macular degeneration
  • 24 million have cataracts

Some diseases do not give early warning signs. By the time people notice a difference in their vision, the disease may be in an advanced stage. However, your eye doctor can detect signs of these diseases during a comprehensive exam.

2. Vision problems – Changes in your eyes can affect your sight:

  • Nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism – These refractive errors can be corrected with prescription eyeglasses, contacts or laser surgery.
  • Amblyopia – Looking in a mirror, your eyes may look normal, but during a vision exam the doctor may detect amblyopia, a condition where one or both eyes are misaligned or one eye needs higher correction than the other.
  • Focusing – Children and adults who struggle to focus their eyes can experience problems seeing and reading.
  • Teaming – For proper vision, both eyes must work together. If they don’t, people may experience headache and eyestrain, and struggle to read correctly.
  • Strabismus – Described as crossed or turned eyes, strabismus can affect depth perception. If not corrected, amblyopia may develop.

3. Health concerns – In addition to looking for eye diseases, the eye doctor may detect early signs of other medical problems that require attention. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, some cancers and high cholesterol.

Schedule regular eye exams
Children need regular eye exams to make sure their eyes develop correctly and catch vision problems that may affect their ability to read and learn in school. The American Optometric Association recommends scheduling eye exams at 6 months, age 3 and before starting school. Set up additional exams as recommended by your eye doctor.

Adults should have a comprehensive eye exam every two years between ages 18 and 60, and an annual exam starting at age 61.

Vision insurance can help defray costs for eye exams and prescription eyewear.


All About Vision
Huffington Post
National Eye Institute

  • Jen Pack ,

    I have a friend that hasn’t had an eye exam in years, and I keep trying to tell him that he needs to get on that. He says that he doesn’t need to because he doesn’t have vision problems, so I like how you point out that exams are to look for other heath concerns as well. I imagine that I will need to help him find a good eye doctor that will make him feel comfortable so that he starts going regularly. Thanks for the information!

    • Ameritas Insight ,

      Thanks for the feedback. Glad you liked the article.
      It is hard to think about going to the eye doctor (or any doctor) when you don’t feel like anything is wrong.
      They can help detect issues you’re not aware of, though.

      • Rockford Johnson ,

        My sister is looking for a way to improve her eyesight. I like how you explained that regular eye exams help to prevent eye diseases from occurring. I hope that sharing this article with my sister can help her to know how to maintain her eyesight.

        • Kate Hansen ,

          I didn’t know that 24 million people have cataracts – that’s a lot of people! I bet going to your optometrist regularly increases the chance your doctor will catch it and be able to successfully treat it. I bet your doctor can inform you of the warning signs to look out for in your eyes so you know when something is wrong.

          • Ava Murphy ,

            It was really helpful to know that comprehensive eye exams can help you to easily detect signs of eye diseases that do not give early warning signs such as glaucoma. My family has glaucoma history, and I don’t want to suffer the same eye problem. I will make sure to visit a professional that can conduct regular eye exams to ensure that I can treat any eye diseases that I may have immediately.

            • Ellen Hughes ,

              You got my attention when you said that there are eye problems that don’t give early signs and can only be detected during a comprehensive exam. Both my parents suffered from glaucoma before, and I want to make sure that I will be able to prevent myself from having severe glaucoma. I will be sure to see an eye doctor for an eye exam.

              • Frances Anderson ,

                You got my attention when you said that there are eye diseases that don’t give early warning signs, so you must consider a comprehensive eye exam. My daughter keeps on experiencing eye blurriness and double vision. I want to be aware of her eye condition so I can have peace of mind that her eyes are in good condition. Thanks!

                • Rhianna Hawk ,

                  I think I might be somewhat nearsighted, not enough that I can’t see but enough that sometimes it’s a strain to see far-away things. I’m considering going in for an eye exam because I’ve been getting headaches from eyestrain, as you mentioned happens with Teaming, though I think it’s because I have to strain harder to see further things, which is a problem for my college courses. It’s good to know that my nearsightedness can be easily treated with contacts or glasses.

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