Eye Health and Your Eye Doctor

To keep your eyes in good shape, it’s important to see an eye doctor at least once every couple of years as an adult. Go right away if you have sudden vision loss, eye pain, or irritation. Your doctor can find most eye diseases during a routine exam. Many can be treated with success when you start early. If you have health problems, like diabetes, you may need to go to the eye doctor more often to keep tabs on any complications.

What Does It Mean to Have 20/20 Vision?

It measures the sharpness of your sight at 20 feet from an object. Having 20/60 vision means that you must be at 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see at 60 feet. It doesn’t mean you have perfect vision. Nor does it give details on other important aspects of sight like side or peripheral vision, how you see colors, or depth perception.

What Does Visual Acuity Mean?

This checks your central vision -- how you make out the fine details of objects.

How Is It Tested?

It’s easy -- you’ll read an eye chart. Simple tests, like the "Random E Test," can determine the visual acuity of infants or nonreaders.

How Do You Correct Vision?

There are many safe and affordable choices:

Eyeglasses are the most traditional form. They bend light to improve your sight. They’re practical, affordable, and safe.

Contact lenses are good if you have an active lifestyle or don't like wearing eyeglasses. They work the same way as glasses but stay in place when you’re on the move. Plus you can wear sunglasses with them, which helps if you spend a lot of time outside. There are many different brands, colors, and materials, so get yours fitted by an eye health pro.

Corrective surgery changes the way your eye bends light. You don’t get it done for looks. You do it because it helps you depend less on glasses or contacts. You may not need to correct your vision at all after it.

What Does Health Insurance Cover?

Most vision health insurance plans cover some or all costs of nonmedical-related vision care. Check with your provider to figure out what’s covered. If you don’t have vision health insurance, some doctors will set up a payment plan you can afford. If you have a medical eye problem, your regular health insurance will usually cover treatment.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky, MD on June 1, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

CDC: "About Vision Health."

National Eye Institute: "Eye Health Information."

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