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The Importance of Eye Exams


Photo credit: @rounderrounder

It might not be the most recognized ‘holiday’ but every year on the second Thursday of October, eye health specialists, doctors, and surgeons celebrate World Sight Day.


Sounds a bit geeky, right? I mean, what goes on for World Sight Day, anyway? Do all the eye doctors raise empty champagne flutes for a toast to the famous fictional Ophthalmologist ‘Dr. Richard Burke’ and say: “Who needs glasses?” (Ok we, love that joke almost as much as we loved Tom Selleck on Friends...or in general)


World Sight Day is a reminder of the importance of eye health and the prevention of blindness. Because, in many cases, if we really understand the hows and whys of eye health, then booking regular eye exams be a no brainer!


Unfortunately, many of us neglect our eye health because we think we can “see just fine” and that’s where it ends.


The truth is that vision and ocular health issues don’t always come with obvious symptoms, and because we use our vision every day, incremental changes might not seem noticeable until something serious occurs.

The World Health Organization states that over 80% of vision problems worldwide avoidable, or even curable, with proper detection and treatment.

That’s great news! Because it means that by seeing your eye doctor regularly, you can drastically decrease the risk of encountering serious and sometimes irreversible ocular health issues and diseases.


So what’s your eye doctor looking for during a comprehensive eye exam?

1. Vision Acuity

Vision acuity screening is just the start of any comprehensive eye exam. Just because you think you can see clearly, doesn’t mean you actually can. Until you are guided through experiencing the different tests your Optometrist or Ophthalmologist administers, you cannot know for sure how flawless your vision truly is.

At this stage, your eye doctor can diagnose sight conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Yup - the main conditions that would lead you to pick out your next set of frames or contacts!


2. Ocular Health

This is where the complete health of your eyes, from the front to the back of your eyes is determined. During this part of your appointment you might have air puffed into your eye, or a pupil dilating solution dropped into your eye, allowing your eye doctor to determine the pressure in your eyes as well as see all the way inside to the back of your eyes. Of course these tests are painless, but we do recommend waiting to put your mascara on after it’s done (or wear waterproof) just in case your eyes water!

Your eye doctor is looking at the muscles in your eye, for issues like amblyopia (misalignment of the eyes, or very different prescriptions across the eyes) and strabismus (crossed or turned eyes), as well as for any signs of diseases like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, macular degeneration, and detached retina.

The great news is that if any of these diseases are diagnosed early, there are great opportunities to heal, repair, or slow the progression of the disease.

Without early detection? You really don’t want to go there. Without early detection, any of these diseases will lead to a number of vision impairments, including blindness.


3. Overall Health

You’d think that vision acuity and eye disease detection would be enough reason to maintain your comprehensive eye exam schedule, but wait - there’s more!

See, the eyes aren’t just the window to the soul. Your eye health can actually be a window to your overall health. By looking deep into your eyes, your Optometrist or Ophthalmologist can identify a host of general health indicators...

Eleven General Health Issues Your Eye Doctor Can See:

  1. Diabetes
  2. High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
  3. High Cholesterol
  4. Stroke
  5. Sickle Cell Disease
  6. Thyroid Disorders
  7. Cancer
  8. Rheumatoid Arthritis
  9. Autoimmune Disorders
  10. Multiple Sclerosis
  11. Tumors

OK, this list can look a bit scary, but this isn’t meant to frighten you. It’s actually meant to empower you!


As a part of your overall healthcare team, your eye doctor is on the look-out for any early indications of general health issues. If your eye doctor finds any reason for concern, you’re then able to follow up with your primary physician or a specialist accordingly and nip that issue in the bud! And that should be a great relief to anyone.


Not sure how soon you should have your next comprehensive eye exam? There’s a chart for that….

Infants and Toddlers

(Birth to 24 months)

Infants and toddlers should undergo their first eye examination between the ages of 6 and 9 months

Preschool Children

(2 to 5 years)

Preschool children should undergo at least one eye examination between the ages of 2 and 5 years

School Age Children

(6 to 19 years)

School children aged 6 to 19 years should undergo an eye examination annually


(20 to 39 years)

Adults aged 20 to 39 years should undergo an eye examination every 2 years.


(40 to 64 years)

Adults aged 40 to 64 years should undergo an eye examination every 2 years.


(65 years +)

Adults aged 65 years or older should undergo an eye examination annually


If you’re a contact lens wearer, this changes a little bit. Since contacts wearers apply their contacts daily, they tend to encounter more sensitivity, dryness, and lesions (be careful!) that require extra care and follow up. For these reasons we recommend that contact lens wearers have a comprehensive exam annually.


So - next time you shrug off booking a comprehensive eye exam, remember that in conjunction with your regular physical exam, an eye exam can help keep your body healthy and your vision clear. And that’s what we want for everyone - happy, healthy eyes and a happy, healthy body!


Did you know that you can book your next comprehensive eye exam with HOLLY Eyewear? Call us at 416 700 2391 to book your exam today!

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