Based on statistics alone, there’s a pretty big chance that you or your child haven’t had a comprehensive eye exam in over a year. A mid-2017 report by VisionWatch showed that just 45.4% of the U.S. adult population received an eye exam in the last year. And according to ThinkAboutYourEyes.com, 60% of parents don't feel a pediatric eye exam is a necessary part of a child's healthy checkup routine. So even if YOU regularly visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist, you probably have a relative, friend or neighbor who doesn’t. Why is that?
A Healthy Mindset
A 2018 study by the American Heart Association showed that 90% of Americans have the mindset to improve their health. While guidelines exist, the exact “what” included on the list for improving health can vary from person to person.
Your list might already include:
- Eating colorful and healthier foods
- Moving or exercising more
- Getting regular physicals
- Dental checkups every six months
- An annual mammogram
But where does a comprehensive eye exam fit into your health routine?
As children, we’re taught health care regimens that most of us continue throughout our lives. Our parents teach us to brush our teeth twice-a-day and to floss regularly. Vaccinations and annual check-ups at the pediatrician are the norm. Adults are advised to receive certain screenings and exams based on their age or family history. The health and medical communities have worked tirelessly over decades to evaluate and educate patients about the benefits of preventative habits.
Why People Skip Eye Exams
So, why is it that such a high percentage of people choose to skip comprehensive eye exams? We’re here to help educate our Long Grove friends and neighbors about the importance of these exams for their vision and overall health. Let’s look at some common reasons people often skip eye exams.
No Obvious Vision Problems
Samuel T. from Buffalo Grove has always had 20/20 vision, so he didn’t think he needed to have his eyes checked. Or, patients say that because they have not been noticing any issues or their quality of vision hasn’t changed, they assumed everything was fine. This misconception is a huge concern for Dr. Cohan and Dr. Pott because it can lead to serious health and vision issues for patients.
The public is really undereducated about how certain optical diseases can lead to permanent vision loss or even blindness. Many optical conditions (glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy) don’t have any noticeable symptoms in the early stages. But having an eye exam allows an optometrist or ophthalmologist to diagnose a condition and provide early intervention which can slow or even stop the progression of some diseases.
The rising cost of healthcare in the U.S. is impacting us all. The fear of how much an eye appointment will cost can influence the decision to schedule an exam. But we hope the value of what’s learned at that appointment will greatly outweigh the cost.
Patients with vision insurance (e.g. VSP, Eyemed) should be taking advantage of the benefits included in their plan. If an annual exam is covered, don’t ignore the benefit. That’s like flushing money down the drain. And certain medical conditions related to vision are actually covered by health insurance plans, often reducing the out-of-pocket costs.
Mary (who doesn’t have vision insurance) is a newer patient at the practice, with young kids active in sports at their Buffalo Grove middle school. Regardless of the need for glasses or contacts, her family should still budget for and make comprehensive eye exams a priority because it impacts each person's overall health and quality of life. Choosing to skip eye exams can lead to catastrophic results physically and even financially. Is that a gamble you’re willing to take for you or your child?
Inconvenient and Uncomfortable
Time and comfort are valuable to everyone. We’ve probably all had a below average experience at some point—waiting endlessly for an appointment we barely had time to schedule in the first place. And who really loves visiting the doctor?
At Forsight Vision, we strive for you to have the best patient experience you’ve ever had. We make it easy to schedule appointments, with early and extended hours and convenient online appointment requests so you can do it right from your phone—no matter the time of day or where you are. We have a comfy waiting area with coffee and cookies and even a room just for kids—with toys, movies, and an Xbox, so the kiddos have something to do while waiting for parents or siblings. Our staff is super friendly, offering thorough explanations of tests, guidance through insurance questions and assistance selecting frames and lenses appropriate for your needs. Our optometrists are knowledgeable, approachable and available.
Have we convinced you?
We hope we’ve shed some light on some of the misconceptions related to eye health. And we hope you’ve learned a thing or two that will change the way you think about annual eye exams. If you don’t know the last time you visited an eye doctor—the time is now. Call us at 847-955-9393 or visit us at ForsightVisionCare.com to learn more about our office of optometry and schedule online.