Eye examinations are important when vision issues occur. They are especially important as you grow older. In fact, eye examinations are so important for early detection purposes in U.S. seniors, some senior-based membership clubs help find general vision and specific glaucoma screenings for free. A surprising number of locations provide eye examinations for people of all ages. Some even offer free eyeglasses to those who qualify. Read below for the best information available on finding vital eye examination locations near you today.
Eye Examinations Are Important - Here’s Why
Scheduling regular eye examinations is an important part of maintaining strong vision and a healthy lifestyle. When you have obvious issues or irritations with your eyes or eyesight an examination helps determine the cause and a solution. Whether the issue is dry eyes, a painful scratch or blurred or diminished vision it is essential to seek professional treatment right away. The importance of scheduling regular eye examinations goes far beyond only the obvious, however.
Some vision and eye problems exhibit no initial symptoms or signs. Your first indication a problem exists might be the onset of reduced or blurry vision without any warning. Scheduling regular eye examinations is the single-best way to prevent the unexpected onset of unpleasant issues with your eyes.
Eye Exams for Children
Children with developmental issues or recurring problems in school might be suffering from undiagnosed vision issues. Underlying eye and vision problems have an adverse impact on more than a child’s ability to read. Issues with eyes or vision impede the ability to develop or utilize motor skills, as well as process and comprehend information. Underlying eye problems also adversely impact a child’s self-confidence. This typically happens when a child develops insecurities, which are initiated by confusion and embarrassment about a difficulty or inability to learn new information. Many times, this chain of events leads to outspoken episodes, which are based on frustration but present as misbehavior. Who knew eye examinations could help children excel in school? Regular eye exams help diagnose eye and vision issues in their early stages, consequently preventing multiple problematic circumstances in school.
Myopia, Glaucoma and Other Health Concerns
The development of myopia, more commonly referred to as nearsightedness, is escalating significantly in children during their earliest years. Myopia increases a child’s risk of also experiencing retinal detachment and cataracts if not corrected in its early stages. Untreated myopia potentially also leads to glaucoma. Glaucoma is described by the National Eye Institute (NIH) as a group of eye diseases, which do damage to the optic nerve and lead to partial or total vision loss (blindness). Glaucoma is especially serious because it has no cure and symptoms begin so slowly, they might initially be undetectable. Glaucoma is the overall leading cause of blindness in the U.S. today but its onset is controllable if detected early enough through eye examinations.
Your eyes are not just the metaphorical windows to your soul. The condition of your eyes helps detect the status and condition of other bodily organs and functions as well. For example, the condition of the blood vessels in your retinas helps determine the condition of the blood vessels throughout your entire body. The appearance of the eyes also helps detect hypercholesterolemia, high blood pressure and diabetes. Current medical and scientific studies are also examining the potential early detection of Alzheimer’s disease through eye examinations. Ultimately, biennial, or annual eye screenings and examinations help detect diseases and issues in their early stages. They also significantly increase the chances of mitigating the problems or eliminating them altogether.
Senior Eye Exams - Are They the Most Important of All?
Age is a major contributing factor to the onset of numerous eye and visions problems. If you are a senior citizen, scheduling regular eye examinations is a vital part of your preventative care and wellness routine. Doing so helps prolong the health of your eyes, reduce symptoms when problems do occur and even stop certain problems in their early stages - before they become unmanageable. Eye exams are so important, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) helps members and non-members alike with resources for free or discounted vision screenings. AARP members also have access to discounted and occasionally free eye examinations.
Difference Between an Eye Screening and an Eye Examination
Many people believe eye screenings and complete eye examinations are the same thing. Important distinctions exist between the two, however. Vision screenings, while important, are rudimentary tests designed to determine if a patient requires more comprehensive testing, treatments, or eyeglasses. Performing a vision screening does not necessarily require any medical education. For example, vision clinic volunteers and school nurses perform vision screenings. Only certified licensed optometrists and ophthalmologists are allowed to perform full eye examinations due to the detailed and comprehensive nature involved.
What Happens During an Eye Examination?
Comprehensive eye examinations involve several processes beyond the scope of those provided during a basic eye screening. Measuring your visual acuity determines how clearly you see with each eye. Your depth perception and eye-based muscle movements are evaluated during preliminary testing. Preliminary tests might also include the evaluation of your pupils’ reaction to light as well as the quality of your peripheral, side and color vision. Keratometry is the process of evaluating the curvature of your cornea.
A circle of light is focused on your cornea and its reflection is measured to obtain the curvature results during the keratometry process. Refraction tests are performed to determine the power of lens you require to counteract any astigmatism, farsightedness, or nearsightedness symptoms. Eye focusing tests are used to indicate the quality and functionality with which your eyes move, focus, and operate in tandem. A glaucoma test might also be administered as well as tests for additional medical and vision-related issues.
Finding an Eye Screening Location Is Easier Than You Think
Eye screenings are available at vision clinics, in public and private schools and at nationwide eyeglass retailers such as LensCrafters and America’s Best. Eye screenings might also be available at local shopping malls, pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens and Walmart and Costco. Please note: Stores and facilities such as Pearle Vision and certain vision clinics offer what they term as free “eye exams,” but these are almost always screenings only. If you need a true comprehensive eye examination, you must schedule an appointment with your licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Free Eye Exam and Eyeglasses - Resources and Providers
Multiple resources are available to help locate free eye screening, eye examination and eyeglasses providers. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) sponsors free eye exams through EyeCare America. The AAO also sponsors free screenings for glaucoma, as do:
The AARP provides multiple vision-related resources for seniors, including membership eyeglasses discounts through Glasses.com, Target Optical and LensCrafters. Medicaid provides free vision screening services for children and adolescents. Additional programs and resources for free eyeglasses and examinations include: