Visiting the Optometrist: How to Prepare
Optometrists are primary healthcare specialists who are trained to examine your eyes and detect a variety of problems, including: vision defects, signs of injury, diseases or conditions and problems associated with general health.
The broad scope of problems that they are able to identify just goes to show how important regular check-ups with your optometrist can be. In this article, we’re going to look at why regular eye examinations are so essential, how often you should visit your optometrist, and tips to take heed of before and during your visit.
Why do you need to visit an optometrist?
If you think that there is no need to visit an optometrist because, from your perspective, you have no form of vision impairment, you're likely to be wrong. Eye examinations aren’t only required for people with poor vision. They offer a means of detecting eye problems early on, potentially before symptoms arise, allowing for treatment and advice before problems can get worse. This is important because it can be difficult to reverse the damage caused by some eye conditions if they are left untreated for too long.
Optometrists are also able to see signs of serious diseases in the back of the eye. For example, dilation of the eyes can be an indicator of high blood pressure and diabetes, long before other symptoms become evident. As such, a visit to your optometrist can act as a form of health check, not just an eye examination.
How often should you visit an optometrist?
It is essential that you consider visiting your optometrist on a regular basis, regardless of how good your sight is. Regular visits are critical for identifying conditions which necessitate specialist care, such as diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. The NHS suggests that you book yourself in for an eye exam once every two years, and possibly more often if advised by an expert.
People with diabetes are advised to book eye examinations more often as there are potential complications of diabetes that can be associated with blindness. Similarly, people who have a family history of eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma, should also visit an optometrist more frequently as they can be of higher risk themselves.
Tips for when you visit the optometrist
Here are a few things for you to consider prior to your eye examination.
- An eye diary of any problems since your last visit
It could pay off to document any problems you might have with your eyes between visits. Eye examinations can be as far as two years apart and a lot can happen in that time. If you are able to inform your optometrist of any problems you have had, and can pinpoint when they happened, it could help them to establish a cause and provide a solution.
- Pre-visit assessment of your glasses or contact lenses
If you happen to wear glasses or contact lenses, you might want to have them assessed prior to an eye examination. This way, any vision problems caused by glasses or lenses could be attributed to them and corrected separately.
- Preparing questions so you won’t forget
As mentioned, eye examinations can be far between, and so you’ll want to make the most of your time with your optometrist. In order to ensure you are fully informed regarding your eye health, you might want to prepare questions to ask your optometrist. So try to remember to note them down if or as they arise, so you won't forget.
Asking for advice on eye treatments
Whilst we certainly hope it won't be the case, your visit to the optometrist could uncover numerous conditions, ranging from physical damage to ocular diseases. Some may require medical treatment and others could be treatable at home. Should you find there to be problems with your eyes, you’ll want to make sure that you come away fully informed. So you may want to consider questions such as:
- What different kinds of treatment are available to me?
- What would you recommend?
- Are they easy to use?
- How frequently should I use them?
- Should I keep a supply?
In the meantime, there are numerous solutions available over the counter which can help to maintain eye health, as well as some which fight symptoms of certain ocular diseases, such as conjunctivitis. For example, Optrex Infected Eye Drops contains chloramphenicol. These eye drops are an easy-to-use eye care solution that can help to reduce the symptoms of acute bacterial conjunctivitis. To find out more, or to explore other eye care products within the Optrex range, feel free to click this link.
Always read the label.