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Why do I need a Routine Eye Exam?

Here are common some questions that patients ask Dr. Johan Tran, Ph.D., O.D.

Patient:  “I see fine without glasses.  Why do I need a routine eye exam?”

Eye Exam

Dr. Johan Tran:  “Clear vision alone does not mean that your eyes are perfectly healthy.  Here are the possible reasons why you need a regular eye exam:

  1.  Your vision may still be not good enough for many activities such as driving, certain jobs and a number of sports (as many people surprisingly find out when they take the vision test for driving, jobs, etc…). In the office, the eye doctor will determine what your optimal vision would be and will recommend different ways to maintain your eye health and improve your vision.
  1.  If you have unequal vision, the “better” eye does most of the focusing while the other less active eye may gradually lose its function over time.  This is critical, especially for pre-teens and teens whose vision is still in the development stage. Children usually are not aware of this low vision condition (amblyopia, or “lazy” eye).  They do not complain about their unequal vision, thus their poor vision is not noticed and will not be treated.
  1.  There are many eye diseases (such as glaucoma, eye cancer, diabetic or hypertensive retinopathy…) which show no symptoms but will eventually cause serious irreversible damage to your vision if they are not detected early and acted upon promptly. Also, if all members of your family and extended family have regular eye exams, the eye doctor will have a better history of any genetic eye disease in your family.
  1. Researchers have established that more than 80% of learning are through the visual system. Any deficiency in vision has a negative impact on learning and performance. A child’s critical eye development period is between 6 – 12 yrs old. Please make sure that children start their routine eye exams early in their life to maximize their learning efficiency.

Patient: ”How frequently should I have my eyes checked?”

Photo2Dr. Johan Tran: “The eye doctor will determine how frequent one’s routine eye exam should be. The frequency depends on the person’s age, current general health, family eye history and life style. For example, a child or an elderly person may misplace, mishandle their glasses or neglect to wear protective sunglasses outdoors, therefore needs more frequent eye exams; a diabetic patient needs more frequent eye care because uncontrolled sugar level causes the eyes to swell and bleed; a person with a family history of glaucoma or cancer has a higher risk of having these diseases; and a smoker has a very high risk of macular degeneration.

In summary, even though you have no apparent vision problem or experience no vision change, a routine eye exam is always recommended to ensure healthy eyes and continued good vision.”

Johan Tran, Ph.D., O.D.

To learn more about what is involved in an annual eye exam, click here.