Published: August 16, 2021
Having your vision checked should be part of taking care of your overall health, just as you go to the dentist or get a yearly physical. As we recognize August as National Eye Exam Month, it’s the perfect time to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.
Most people get a routine eye exam each year, but check with your doctor if you should get one more frequently. If you notice certain eye changes, mention them to your doctor, as they may indicate a health concern, perhaps related to allergies, diabetes, high cholesterol, or other eye health conditions.
Your doctor can refer you to an optometrist or ophthalmologist for your annual exam. If you wear glasses or contacts, getting an exam will keep your prescriptions current.
If you have red or broken blood vessels in your eyes, it could be a sign that you are straining your eyes. And of course, a common cause of that is too much time in front of the screen.
A few quick reminders to help alleviate eye strain while using a computer or mobile device:
- Give yourself a break. American Optometric Association recommends the 20/20/20 rule: look away from the screen every 20 minutes, focus on an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.
- Reduce overhead light or a matte screen filter to reduce the screen’s glare
- Dim your screen if it is brighter than the rest of the light in the room
- Sit about an arm’s length from screens
- Increase your text size on devices so you can read without strain.
- While using computer, it is estimated that we blink approximately one-third as often as we normally do. So, remind yourself to blink!
Limit screen time for children as well. Children’s eyes should be checked regularly by an eye doctor or pediatrician. Routine eye exams may help some children's learning issues. Children may suffer from underlying vision problems that, if they go undetected, affect their ability to focus and concentrate.
Finally, people with diabetes should have a dilated eye exam every year; those with a higher risk for glaucoma, every two years.