How Often Should I Visit the Optician?

Maintaining the general health of your eyes can be as simple as arranging regular check-ups with a qualified professional able to assess your vision and provide you with advice and treatment (usually in the form of corrective lenses) if you need it. The NHS recommends visiting an optician at least once every two years, although this is a bare minimum and it is suggested in some instances that you should go more often.

Should I go to the opticians more than once every two years?

In an ideal world the more regular your eye checks the better, but practically speaking you should only consider it a must to have your eyes checked more often if you suffer from a family history of glaucoma, or if you suffer from a disease like diabetes which can affect your eyes.

Glaucoma and more regular eye checks

Glaucoma is a condition affecting a large nerve that is responsible for transmitting information from your eyes to your brain where it becomes your vision. This structure is called the optic nerve, and feeds into the back of the eyes where it receives information from the retina, the part of the eye responsible for receiving light from your surroundings and making it into a signal that can be understood by your brain. The main mechanism of damage to the optic nerve in glaucoma is through a change in the pressure that keeps your eye in shape. An increase in this pressure results in damage to the optic nerve. In some instances a weakness in the optic nerve can be the causative factor. If you have close family members suffering from glaucoma then you should make sure you go in for more regular checks, at least once a year, so your optician can pick up any symptoms early on and provide you with any advice you need.

Diabetes and more regular eye checks

You may think that diabetes is a disease that has nothing to do with the eye, and while that is strictly true in the causes and mechanisms of the illness happen elsewhere, the consequences of the condition on your body as a whole can have a negative effect on your eyesight. Diabetics are more susceptible to conditions like glaucoma (discussed above), cataracts (a clouding of the lens of your eye), and diabetic retinopathy.  Retinopathy is perhaps the most significant of these as if untreated it can lead to blindness.

Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the retina that occurs because of changes in the blood vessels within the retina caused by diabetes. Diabetics can have problems with their blood pressure and blood composition that can cause vessels in the retina to leak, or in some cases, cause new vessels to form where they don’t belong on the surface of your retina. The result is a degenerative condition in which your retina becomes more and more damaged, resulting in a progressively worsening loss of vision. The best way to avoid the disease developing in the first place is to stick to your diabetes treatment and also arrange regular visits to the optician’s to make sure your retinas remain healthy.

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