Choosing to have LASIKmeans you decided to invest in your eyesight. Laser vision correction improves your vision and reduces your dependence on glasses and contact lenses. However, even after a successful procedure, annual eye exams are critical to protecting your eye health.
Window to Your Health
Regardless of your age or physical health, it is important to get a regular comprehensive eye exam that includes both testing your vision and evaluating your eyes. Your eyes provide a clear view of your blood vessels, enabling them to serve as windows into your body that tell your doctor a lot about your overall eye health. In addition to looking for conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, optometrists are trained to look for diseases and other problems that can lead to vision loss and even some other health issues.
Prompt detection allows for prompter treatment and better outcome for most people. Some diseases have no obvious symptoms and cause early and irreversible damage. Serious eye diseases, such as glaucoma, often have no symptoms until permanent vision loss occurs. Annual eye exams are also important for patients who have diabetes, cancer or other chronic medical conditions, particularly if they are taking medications that may affect the eyes.
Examples of the conditions your optometrist looks for during a comprehensive eye exam include:
- Glaucoma– Glaucoma is a disease caused by an increase in pressure in the eye that can’t be felt. If left untreated, glaucoma damages the optic nerve and leads to blindness. Early detection is key to preserving vision.
- Cataracts – A cataract is a change in the eye’s lens as a result of aging. Over time, this leads to hazy vision. Cataracts are most often treated with surgery.
- Macular degeneration– Macular degeneration affects your central vision and usually occurs as a result of aging. Depending on the type of macular degeneration, you may experience drastic changes in a fairly short period of time.
- Hypertension – With ocular hypertension, the pressure in your eyes is higher than normal and can cause glaucoma and vision loss if untreated.
- Diabetes – Diabetes can affect the eyes and lead to blindness. People with diabetes need to have an annual eye exam to check for diabetic retinopathy, in which high blood sugar damages the retina.
Long-Term Eye Health After LASIK
Yearly eye exams also help ensure that LASIK patients maintain and fully enjoy the benefits of the procedure. For example, some patients experience dry eyes due to seasonal allergies. Your eye doctor can prescribe eyedrops to provide relief.
Additionally, as part of the natural process of aging, some people’s eyesight deteriorates, requiring future re-treatments or corrective lenses for activities such as reading or driving. Discuss options with your eye doctor, who can work with your LASIK surgeon as necessary to ensure you are able to maximize the benefits of your procedure for years to come.
For LASIK surgeons who provide a lifetime guarantee on laser-corrected vision results, eligibility for future enhancements may be based on having an annual eye exam.
Visiting your optometrist once a year provides a baseline against which to measure potential vision changes and the progression of eye conditions or other medical problems. It makes a significant difference in your vision, your health and your quality of life.