Visiting the Eye Doctor Regularly, Even if You Have 20/20 Vision


| 3 min read

If you have perfect vision, there’s no need to have regular check-ups with an optometrist, right? Wrong. According to the American Optometric Association, everyone under the age of 60 should have their eyes examined every two years (that jumps to annually if you’re older than 60). And that includes people who don’t have any issues with their eyesight. Why go to the optometrist when you have 20/20 vision? A number of diseases—including some that may lead to blindness—may not have noticeable symptoms, meaning they can only be detected by an eye doctor during a check-up. Here are four specific health issues and diseases that could get caught in a routine visit to the optometrist:
  1. Glaucoma: Only an eye doctor can diagnose glaucoma, which is the leading cause of vision loss. Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, shows no symptoms, so you may not notice something is wrong until you’ve already lost significant vision.
  2. Macular Degeneration: More than 10 million Americans are affected by Age-Related Macular Degeneration. This dangerous disease is the leading cause of vision loss for Americans aged 65 and older. Regularly visiting an eye doctor can lead to early diagnosis, which will ensure proper treatment and improve your outcome.
  3. High Blood Pressure: If you’re not seeing your primary doctor often, eye doctors can test for high blood pressure and hypertension, which have been found to affect your vision. Hypertension has been linked to issues with the retina that can prematurely impact your sight.
  4. Diabetes: As with high blood pressure, eye doctors regularly check for diabetes by looking closely at the blood vessels of the eye. Diabetes shows no visible symptoms, and can lead to a number of health issues including diabetic retinopathy and vision loss.
Regularly seeing specialty doctors like optometrists may help you get treatment for current issues and could prevent more damaging health problems in the future. For other ways to keep your eyes healthy, check out these posts from both this blog as well as A Healthier Michigan:
About the Author: Susan Mithoff Quade Dr. Mithoff Quade is a 20+ year member of the American Optometric Association and the Michigan Optometric Association. She is the third generation optometrist with more than 20 years in private practice in Trenton, MI. At her family vision care practice, Dr. Mithoff Quade treats patients ages six months and older, internal and external eye diseases and specializes in children's vision disorders, dry eye therapies and specialty fit contact lens. Dr. Mithoff Quade is a graduate of Illinois College of Optometry and an externship with Great Lakes Naval Hospital. Photo credit: H. Michael Karshis

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Blues Perspectives

Oct 5, 2018 at 5:53pm

Thanks for sharing, Rhianna!

Rhianna Hawk

Oct 5, 2018 at 5:13pm

I've never had any vision issues, so I didn't think that I needed to see an eye doctor, but getting a check-up may be a good idea, as you said. My insurance has just been updated to allow for yearly checkup appointments with an eye doctor, and the fact that they can find issues like diabetes and high blood pressure early, both something that I have a family history in, makes it sound like the checkup would be well worth my while. I'll have to find an optometrist in my area to see soon, and I'll definitely take your advice and set up yearly appointments.

Luke Smith

Sep 11, 2017 at 11:59pm

I appreciate you sharing this article with us, Dr. Quade! I think a common misconception -- as you've pointed out in your article -- is the idea that if you have 20/20 vision you don't need to see your ophthalmologist. I feel very confident and grateful that we live in a world in which we can prevent many eye diseases. I have high blood pressure (I have for my entire life), and I didn't know that it affected your vision. I'll be sure to talk with my doctor about this! Thanks again, Dr. Quade!

Lillian Schaeffer

Nov 10, 2016 at 4:32pm

This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that an eye doctor can catch signs of glaucoma. I've never had problems with my vision before, so I didn't think I needed to visit an optometrist. Knowing that they can catch signs of otherwise undetectable diseases, I'll definitely look into visiting regularly. Thanks for the great post!

Charles Kemp

Jul 28, 2016 at 4:33pm

I don't know if it is just me or if a lot of people just don't go visit the optometrist. You would think that people would go more regularly to get checked for glaucoma or macular degeneration but I think a lot of people don't deal with their eyes the same as their teeth or other parts of their body. I am thinking that it would help out a lot to start going more often.

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