optometrist performing eye exam

3 Reasons Why a Yearly Eye Exam Is So Important

Did you know that two-thirds of Canadian adults report vision problems, but only half of those people ever see an optometrist? Unfortunately, what those delays add up to are, at best, a life lived blurrily and out of focus, and at worse, potentially undiagnosed disease. 

So if you are unsure about whether you need to visit the optometrist, let this eye exam guide educate you on its benefits. Continue reading to learn more about how your yearly eye exam can better your health and well-being. 



1. Quality of Life 

Do you find yourself squinting at the television from bed? Or maybe when you're riding your bike, you notice it takes a few extra metres before street signs become clear. If this sounds familiar, you are a part of the 30% of the  Canadian population with myopia or nearsightedness.  

This is why one part of your exam measures how well you can see in the distance. This is called the visual acuity test, but you may know it better as the eye chart. During this test, your doctor will measure how well you can identify different letters, numbers or symbols as you move down the chart and the type becomes smaller.  

Another kind of test will also determine if you have hyperopia or farsightedness. Keep in mind these aren't tests with wrong answers. The end goal is for you to be able to enjoy your life without the headaches or hindrances of straining your eyes to see it. 

2. A Yearly Eye Exam Is More Than a Vision Screening 

That's right, even those with no apparent vision problems should still schedule their annual eye exam. This is because several eye disorders have no obvious early symptoms and are only detectable by your optometrist.  

One disorder is cataracts, which, contrary to popular belief, does not only affect the elderly. It is characterized by the clouding of your eye's lens. Your doctor will use the visual acuity test, as well as a slit lamp test and the dilation of your pupils to get an up-close look at your lens to diagnose and determine the severity of the cataract.  

The other eye disease diagnosed during a yearly eye exam is glaucoma. For this, your optometrist will use a test called non-contact tonometry, AKA the puff-of-air test. During this test, your doctor will use (yes, you guessed it!) a puff-of-air to measure the pressure inside of your eye.  

While these diseases differ in diagnosis and symptoms, what they all have in common is that they are much more manageable when caught in the earliest stages. This means it's best not to wait until you have issues before you schedule an appointment at an eye exam clinic. 

3. Your Eyes Are a Window to the Rest of Your Health 

Vision problems and eye diseases aren't the only disorders detected during a comprehensive eye exam. This is because your doctor will examine your retina under magnification, giving them a view of all of the tiny arteries in your eye. Like the arteries in the rest of your body, they can appear swollen or damaged, like with diabetes or hypertension, or have plaque, a symptom of heart disease. 

Just as with eye diseases, early detection is possible during yearly eye exams.  

Eye Exam Tips to Make Your Next Appointment a Breeze 

Your doctor will go over your and your family's health history at your appointment, including any eye health issues. To avoid leaving any details out, compile this list beforehand. It's also handy to include any medications and their dosages as a part of this list.  

If you already wear glasses or contacts, bring those along with you. And, most importantly, remember taking charge of your health is a positive thing, so try to relax. Now that you know how vital a yearly eye exam is and what to expect at your visit, you're ready to schedule an appointment.  

At St. Albert Vision Centre, your eye health has been our number one priority since 1996. You can find us in Tudor Glen Market, and with convenient after-work and weekend hours, scheduling an appointment is always stress-free. Get in touch with us today to schedule yours!