why you must have a yearly eye exam

What Should You Expect If You're Long Overdue For Your Next Eye Exam?

Your vision is an important part of your health, making yearly eye examinations a crucial part of routine healthcare. Unfortunately, many people defer these visits for too long or even go for years between eye check-ups. If you can't remember the last time you saw an eye doctor, you might be apprehensive or even nervous about your next visit.

The good news is that it's never too late to get back into the swing of things to start protecting your vision and ensuring clear sight for many more years. Still, you might wonder what to expect from your first eye exam in years. Keep reading for three things that may happen during your next eye exam so that you'll know exactly what to expect.

1. Standard Visual Acuity Test

The visual acuity test is the basis of most eye exams, and it's likely the procedure you think about when you imagine a visit to the eye doctor. An acuity test uses a medical device known as a Snellen chart, and your doctor will use the test results to determine if you need glasses or contacts (or a new prescription if you already wear them).

Visual acuity tests are a part of any eye exam, whether you visited an eye doctor last year or a decade ago. The longer it's been since your last visit, the more critical it is to test your visual acuity. However, yearly exams are particularly important since they allow your doctor to monitor how your vision changes over time.

2. Pupil Dilation

Dilating your pupils is a critical and common diagnostic technique. This method forces your pupils to become larger (dilate), so your doctor can more closely examine your eye's internal structure. Pupil dilation isn't always part of a routine eye exam, but it's a common procedure for comprehensive health checks or in patients with certain risk factors for eye disease, including age.

If you haven't been to an eye doctor in a long time, there's a good chance your doctor may want to perform a pupil dilation. Since your doctor hasn't been able to monitor the health of your eyes from year to year, a pupil dilation test can make it easier to spot any issues that may have developed since your last visit.

3. Updated Prescriptions

Most people experience changes to their vision as they age. If you already have a prescription for glasses or contacts, there's a good chance your vision will change (even if only slightly) as you get older. Even if you don't wear glasses, you may eventually need them for activities that require seeing up close, such as reading.

While you might not always need a new prescription year-to-year, there's a good chance you'll receive an updated one if you haven't been to an eye doctor in several years or longer. The good news is that getting a new pair of glasses or contacts after many years of using an outdated prescription can often feel like looking out into a suddenly clearer and brighter world.