It seems as though America’s eyesight is getting worse. In 2016, almost 65% of adults in the United States wore some type of prescription eyeglasses and over 40% of us between the ages of 12 to 54 are nearsighted. However, vision insurance isn’t always guaranteed in health plans and many people — if their vision is relatively stable — can go years without getting their eyes checked out by an optometrist or other eye specialist. Though it tends to be more important for older people or children to get regular eye exams, since their vision tends to have the most rapid changes, it’s important for people of all ages to be visiting their optometrist on an annual basis. We’ll get into why it’s a good appointment to have on your calendar every year, how to find a good optometrist, and how to choose the best frames for your face.
Why Should I Prioritize My Eye Appointments?
For one, your comfort level when it comes to reading and seeing things will be vastly improved if you get regular vision check-ups. Updating your prescription regularly can also help with eye strain, which is always something you want to reduce. This is further important because we do enough straining, thanks to our digital age. According to a recent Live Well survey, full-time workers and members of Gen-Y spend an average of eight hours a day during the week in front of some type of screen. This can lead to eye strain, as well as contribute to sore or dry eyes.
Eye exams also let eye specialists check for common eye issues and can be a preventive measure against eye diseases.
How Do I Find a Good Eye Specialist?
If you’ve moved to a new area or are a young adult going off your parents’ plan, you likely need to find a new eye specialist to set up appointments. However, if you’ve moved to a place where the options are numerous, it can seem a bit overwhelming at first. How do you know who to choose?
You’ll likely want to find a good optometrist — an ophthalmologist can prescribe glasses and contact lenses, but they also specialize in treating eye diseases and doing surgery, which you likely won’t need for an annual check up. And an optician won’t actually do a vision test — they’re more instrumental in fitting and correcting your glasses.
If you’ve already got a primary care physician set up, ask if he or she can refer you to an eye specialist. Check and make sure that their referral takes your insurance, which is another good way of narrowing down the playing field if you’re starting from scratch. Friends in the area are also a good resource to use for referrals! Of course, ultimately, you’ll want to make an appointment and test the waters yourself. If you don’t feel well taken care of, it’s time to move on to the next one on your list!
How Do I Find the Best Glasses for My Face?
For those who choose to go with glasses instead of contact lenses (bear in mind that you will need a separate appointment for contact lenses), your optometrist will certainly be able to help you choose a pair that are flattering to you. It can sometimes be difficult to figure out what suits your face shape best, but if you’re not totally satisfied with the optometrist’s recommendation, there are plenty of guides online.
You can also bring a friend along to help you choose or take selfies of yourself with different glasses to poll your friends and family later. Only you can really decide what type of glasses shape looks best on your face, so if you find a pair that make you happy and feel good, go with those!
Make sure that your vision exams are just as prioritized as your annual check-ups with the doctor. Your eyes can say a lot about how healthy the rest of you is as well and any type of preventive care should never be taken lightly.