Take time to visit the eye doctor

Published 7:00 am Friday, February 2, 2018

Many people in the community visit their physician for an annual physical exam but not everyone takes the time to make a visit to the eye doctor.

Optometrist David Schwarz, from Eye Care for Picayune, said the benefits of having an annual eye exam varies based on the person’s age, but everyone should get their eyes checked annually.

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“Vision is an important aspect of everyone’s childhood and life and they should visit the eye doctor for the first time at about the age of three and once again before starting school,” Schwarz said. “… children gain 80 percent of their knowledge through their eyes, such as physical coordination, being able to recognize shapes, learning letters and any other physical movements. By visiting the eye doctor early in their childhood, we can help them avoid any issues that might develop later on.”

An optometrist not only checks the health of a patient’s eyes but they can also identify other diseases one might suffer when conducting a regular eye exam.

Because eye doctors are able to look at the blood vessels behind a person’s eye, they can identify diseases such as diabetes and high cholesterol, problems that can lead to a stroke and even cancer, Schwarz said.

Nowadays, people have the choice to either wear glasses or contacts, but it’s important to remember that contacts should only be worn for a certain period of time before they have to be replaced with a new pair.

When a person wears a pair of contacts beyond that timeframe, they start to degrade and it compromises the health of the person’s eye, Schwarz said.

“Some of the symptoms of wearing contacts longer than prescribed might include eye inflammation, eye pain and blurred vision,” Schwarz said. “The contact could also start to tear apart, which would leave a permanent scar in a person’s eye.”

According to the National Eye Institute, although it is recommended a person visits the eye doctor only once a year, there are things a person can do at home to make sure their eyes stay healthy.

Those people who may look at computer screens at work could experience dry eyes. Schwarz recommends the use of artificial tears for those people.

Other things people can do to keep their eyes healthy include getting plenty of exercise, maintaining a good diet and wearing sunglasses to keep the eyes away from ultraviolet rays.

“Anytime a person has an eye irritation or any other vision problem that lasts a couple of days, they should quickly visit their eye doctor,” Schwarz said.