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Why Is Eye Screening Important?

Regardless of your age or overall health, regularly visiting your doctor for comprehensive eye screening exams can help detect vision-threatening conditions in their early stages while they are still most treatable.

Most eye conditions don’t cause symptoms until the later stages when the damage has already progressed and may even be irreversible. With regular check-ups, eye specialists can check the patient’s risk of developing certain eye conditions and eye infections, and prescribe immediate and appropriate treatment to prevent further vision loss.

For those diagnosed with myopia or presbyopia, an eye screening will ensure that you obtain the appropriate spectacles and contact lenses as early as possible, which is crucial to minimize progression.


How Often Should You Go for an Eye Exam?

To help keep one’s eye health and vision in check, adults aged 18 to 60 are advised to undergo a full eye exam every two years. On the other hand, annual screenings are recommended for those who:

  • are 61 years old and older
  • have a family history of eye conditions such as glaucoma or diabetes
  • have had eye infections, injuries or surgery to the eye
  • have been prescribed eyeglasses or contact lens

For teenagers and children, vision tests should be conducted as early as 4 years old, with routine check-ups and eye examinations done every one to two years. Babies and toddlers will typically have their eyes checked during their regular pediatrics appointments. These include screening for strabismus, amblyopia and childhood myopia.


Common Eye Conditions Found After an Eye Screening

With regular eye screening, you can help protect your eyes from potentially serious conditions that may result in vision loss or even irreversible blindness. These include:

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – Commonly associated with old age, AMD refers to damage in the retina’s macula, resulting in no or blurry central vision. One of the leading causes of vision loss, this condition has no cure, but its progression can be prevented using vitamins, medicines and laser therapy.
  • Cataract – Like AMD, the development of cataracts is closely related with age. Cataracts refer to the clouding of the eye’s lenses, caused by the breakdown and clumping of proteins in the eyes. This results in dim or blurry vision. The condition is typically treated via bladeless cataract surgery, which replaces the cloudy lens with a clear one.
  • Glaucoma – Caused by damage in the optic nerve, glaucoma results in progressive and irreversible vision loss if left untreated. The condition may be incurable, but its progression can be slowed down with immediate treatment in the form of special eyedrops or surgery.
  • Refractive errors – Myopia (nearsightedness) and presbyopia (farsightedness) can be detected through eye screenings. Immediate detection of these conditions can help doctors prescribe spectacles or surgical options (in serious cases) to correct vision and prevent the condition from worsening.
  • Retinal detachment – This serious condition occurs when the retina pulls or tears away from its original position, leading to permanent vision loss. If diagnosed early, its effects can be stopped, though damage to the vision is irreversible.
  • For children, eye screening can also detect strabismus (crossed eyes), amblyopia (lazy eyes), cataracts due to a genetic illness or eye infections, conjunctivitis and retinoblastoma.