Do I need an eye check?
When was the last time you had an eye check? Maybe it was last year, or two years ago, or perhaps you’ve never had your eyes tested at all.
Regular eye checks are essential. Not only can your eye test determine whether or not you need to wear glasses, but it can also detect common and more serious medical conditions.
Professionals recommend that adults have their eyes checked every two years. Although the frequency of eye checks will depend on your age, the health of your eyes, your family history and importantly the existence of other medical conditions.
Let’s examine all of this in a little more detail.
Who should get their eyes tested?
Eye checks are for everyone, regardless of age and family history. However,, some groups are at a higher risk of developing issues with their sight than others.
We’ve covered key eye-care concerns for some of these groups below;
Eyecare for toddlers
Typically, a toddler should have an eye test around age three or four, depending on the state or territory you live in. In Victoria your Maternal Child Health Nurse offers a vision test known as the MIST test for children aged 3.5. In NSW the STEPS program offers vision testing for 4 yr. olds.
Uncorrected vision problems can sometimes lead to learning difficulties. Early detection is key to preventing or correcting these problems.
Eyecare for children
Vision plays a significant role in any child’s development. Look out for the following signs and symptoms, which may indicate poor eyesight in a child:
- Constant eye rubbing
- Tilting their head in order to see better
- Eyes not pointing in the same direction
- Light sensitivity
- Losing their place when reading, or using their fingers to guide them
- Frequent headaches
- Sitting extremely close to the TV or holding a book close to their eyes
- Closing one eye to see better
- Complaining that computers, smartphones, or tablets ‘hurt’ their eyes
- Steering clear of tasks that require close vision, such as reading
- Avoiding tasks that require distance vision, such as sports
Eyecare for teenagers
The early teen years are the prime time for the development of myopia, also known as near-sightedness. If left undetected, myopia can have a significant negative impact on many aspects of a teenager’s life – they may find it difficult to concentrate at school, play sports, and even socialise.
If you are a parent of a teenager, encourage them to have an eye test.
Eyecare for over 40s
The most common problem from the age of 40 is difficulty focusing when reading or working on the computer. This condition is called presbyopia and it will continue to progress with age. Many people will notice they need more light when reading, or experience problems with glare. Others find they produce less tears or perhaps find it harder to distinguish between colours. It is important to have a professional assessment of these common age-related changes. Early diagnosis of many age-related eye conditions lays the foundation for easy and effective management.
Eyecare for pregnant women
Pregnancy can impact your whole body – including your eyes. Changes in hormone levels can result in blurred or distorted vision, dry or irritable eyes, or spots and floaters. More often than not, these will disappear after childbirth.
It is, however, a good idea to visit your GP or optometrist if you are experiencing changes to your vision.
Four signs you need an eye check
If you notice any of the following signs, get your eyes checked as soon as possible.
1. You experience frequent headaches
Muscle tension and inflammation in your eyes can result in frequent headaches. These painful headaches can make it difficult to complete day-to-day tasks, such as checking your email or performing your regular work duties.
If you have noticed an increase in the frequency of your headaches, or if your headaches have become more intense, visit both your optometrist and your Doctor for a full checkup.
2. You’ve noticed a reduction in your night vision
For many adults, struggling to drive at night is the first sign of a vision change. If you find it challenging to see other cars and road signs, see ring-like ‘halos’ around points of light, or struggle to differentiate objects in the dark, have your eyes checked.
3. You suffer from eye fatigue
Eye fatigue – which often feels like a straining sensation behind the eyes – usually occurs after an extended period spent on a computer. This discomfort should subside in a matter of hours.
If you suffer from eye fatigue for three or more days in a row, or your eyes hurt when performing specific movements (moving your eyes from left to right, for example), schedule an eye appointment.
4. Diagnosis of a medical condition that affects the eyes
Many medical conditions can affect the health of your eyes. If you have been recently diagnosed the diabetes, cardiovascular disease, skin cancer or an autoimmune condition please book in for an eye test.
Make eye health a priority at your organisation – find out more here.