Did you know that scheduling annual eye exams should rank high on your to-do list, even if you have 20/20 vision? Reason being that signs of serious health conditions can be detected through a comprehensive eye exam including diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma and brain tumors, among others.
And to be completely honest, I too skipped getting them as I assumed everything was fine because my vision was 20/20. However, I recently became aware of some pretty alarming findings. You see, after I married my husband, I became insured through his employer for VSP Vision Care (the largest not-for-profit vision benefits provider in the United States). And recently VSP released findings from a new survey which shows that many people in the U.S. are neglecting their eyes, primarily because they don’t understand the importance of annual eye exams and how it is connected to their overall health.
So get this, the results from the survey revealed that the majority of us see vision as the most important sense we have but half of us skip annual eye exams altogether.
- 8 in 10 people (84 percent) rate vision as the most important sense, and nearly everyone (97 percent) agrees that having healthy eyes is important, but only half of people get annual eye exams. This is concerning because many vision problems have no obvious signs or symptoms, so you might not know a problem exists.
- Virtually no one (1 percent each) knows that signs of serious diseases and conditions like high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, thyroid diseases and certain types of cancers can be detected through an eye exam.
- 6 in 10 (61 percent) people worry about diabetes impacting their family’s health, but only 4 percent know that eye doctors can detect signs of diabetes through an eye exam.
And if you’re a parent you’ll definitely want to take note on these.
- More than two-thirds of parents worry about their children’s eye health more than their own, but only 12 percent of parents know children should receive their first eye exam at six months old.
- 8 in 10 parents (84 percent) agree that a regular eye exam helps kids do their best in school, but 4 in 10 (41 percent) wait until their child complains about their vision to schedule an eye exam.
- Twice as many parents worry about their children’s dental problems (15 percent) than their vision issues (7 percent), even though most children lose their baby teeth by age 12 or 13.
I had no idea about when kids should get their first eye exam and wish we did. Unfortunately, we learned the hard way. Back when our oldest daughter Mia was born, we quickly got medical and dental insurance. We neglected to get vision as we thought we still had time as she wouldn’t need it for a few years. Boy were we wrong!
At age 2, Mia developed excessive allergies and began getting chalazions (a lump or swelling that appears on an eyelid. A blocked meibomian or oil gland causes this condition. A chalazion is sometimes confused with an internal or external stye. An internal stye is an infection of a meibomian gland. A chalazion is not an infection.) They got so huge that we had to take her to a children’s eye doctor as it was hard for her to see and they were so troublesome. The problem we faced as parents was that we did not have vision insurance for her at the time. So we were forced to pay full doctor visit costs. And eventually even had to pay for an eye surgery to get a chalazion removed that was just not budging. And we quickly added her to VSP as soon as we could. The eye surgery costs was covered via our medical plan not our vision plan.
With VSP, your wellness comes first. As the only national not-for-profit vision insurance company, they put members first. We could not be happier with our network doctor. He’s so knowledgeable, responsive and a real sweetheart with the kids.
Oh and if you missed it, check out what my results were from my first annual exam. You won’t believe what our doctor told me. So grateful I went in.