Maintaining good eye health and vision, it is important to see an eye health care provider at least once every couple of years as an adult, or immediately if you have any degree of sudden vision loss, eye pain, or irritation. Most eye diseases can be found during a routine eye exam and treated when found in an early stage. If you have health problems such as diabetes, you may need to visit your eye doctor more frequently to detect any complications.
Some other reasons for having eyes examined annually are:
- Myopia: short-sightedness, or the inability to see things at a distance
- Hyperopia: far-sightedness, or the inability to see things at close distances
- Eyeglass prescription changes occur every 1 to 2 years
- Presbyopia: the inability to see things at near after the age of 40 years
- Contact lens wearers are at greater risk of eye infections and corneal ulcers
- It is important that your vision meets certain legal standards for driving and certain occupations
What Does It Mean to Have 20/20 Vision?
20/20 vision is your visual acuity, or the sharpness of vision at 20 feet from an object. Having 20/60 vision means that you must be at 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see at 60 feet. 20/20 does not translate into perfect vision and does not indicate other important aspects of sight such as peripheral vision, the ability to see colors, or depth perception.
What Does Visual Acuity Mean?
Visual acuity is a measure of your central vision, the ability to distinguish details and shapes of objects.
What Tests Are Used to Determine Visual Acuity?
Visual acuity tests simply consist of reading an eye chart. There are even simple tests, like the “Random E Test,” that can be used to determine the visual acuity of infants or non-readers.
Options available to Correct Impaired Vision
There are many safe and affordable choices available for those in need of vision correction. They include:
- Eyeglasses: Perhaps the most traditional form of vision correction, eyeglasses improves vision by bending light. They are practical, affordable, and safe.
- Contact Lenses: Contacts are more suitable for people with an active lifestyle. They work the same way as eyeglasses, but stay in place better during physical activities. Being outdoors also means being in the sun and contacts allow you to wear sunglasses at the same time. There are many different brands, colors, and materials, so it is best to shop around to find the contacts that work best for you.
- Corrective Surgery: Vision correction surgery improves sight by changing the refractive or light bending, properties of the eye. Refractive surgery is not cosmetic, but is functional because it restores a person’s ability to see at a moderate visual acuity, meaning a person may still need to wear glasses or contacts.
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