Your eye exams and parents’ visits to college are similar. Both are necessary types of checkups, even when you don’t suspect a problem.
I have two kids in college and had simultaneous parents’ weekends. We drove to southern Maryland (SMCM) on Saturday and I went to Pennsylvania (DelVal) solo on Sunday (our pee wee hockey players had games on Sunday). Parents’ weekends are part of every college fall schedule. It is routine…and extremely important for the student and family.
I was once told by a psychiatrist friend that the reason for so many holidays and breaks (e.g. Homecoming, Parents’/Family Weekend, Fall Break, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, etc.) was really to make the freshmen transition to college easier. It allows the freshmen to breakaway from home more gradually.
Now, with a sophomore and freshman in college, I think he’s right.
I like to think that I am pretty close to both college kids. I talk, email and text with them several times a week. I’d seen both of them both since school started, once for my birthday and once since then. I didn’t speak, email or text about any obvious problems, but I still needed to see them.
So why did I go? I needed to check on them. I needed the reassurance of seeing them in their school environment. I wanted to visually examine them at school. I gave them the chance to show us off to their friends and also let them boast about their school (and new life!). It is my way of gauging their happiness and integration. Happily, I wasn’t disappointed. Both seemed pretty happy and have a nice group of friends.
Just as with Parents’ Weekend, regular eye exams are important. Even if you see well and don’t suspect any problems a routine visit with your doctor is probably warranted. It may not have to be an annual event, but it should be regular and routine. Ask your eye doctor about his opinion based on your own history.
If you have a condition such as diabetes, at the very least, you’ll need an annual eye exam for diabetic retinopathy. I shared my opinion about regular examination for macular degeneration before. Basically, if you don’t have a change in symptoms, you are probably okay, whereas in cases of diabetic retinopathy, the absence of symptoms means nothing. To say another way, macular degeneration is a disease that requires self-monitoring where diabetic retinopathy is not.
Regular eye exams are also needed to check for other developing problems that may be “silent.” Glaucoma and cataracts are both relatively “silent” eye problems as they are very slow to progress.
What Does This Mean? Just as with your college kids, regular exams are important…even if you don’t suspect a problem. Early diagnosis, just like an unhappy kid at school, is much easier to deal with than letting a problem grow and fester.
Certain eye disease require routine evaluation. Not every eye disease has obvious symptoms. Subtle signs of disease can only be detected with a proper eye examination.
Regardless, don’t let the lack of problems and your “good” vision mislead you to think your eyes are healthy.
Go ahead and get checked.