The health exam you didn’t know you needed

If you’re like most Americans surveyed in a recent Harris Poll, you probably thought you would notice a change in your vision if you had an eye disease.

The fact is, some of the leading causes of blindness—such as glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy—can begin without any symptoms. That’s why Aspirus Health and the American Academy of Ophthalmology urge all healthy adults to get an eye exam at age 40, even if their vision seems fine. Early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to happen at this age.

“Even if you think you have 20/20 vision, set up a time to get your eyes checked. It may save your sight,” said Dianna Seldomridge, MD, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

“People may think vision loss is inevitable as we age. Yes, changes in your eyesight can happen as we age; however, it needs evaluation,” said Shalini Johnson, MD, ophthalmologist at Aspirus Health.

Need more motivation to get your eyes examined? Aspirus Health along with the American Academy of Ophthalmology are sharing four good reasons to see an ophthalmologist:

  1. Your brain adapts to vision loss, making some eye diseases go unnoticed until it is too late. In some cases, once vision is lost, it cannot be restored. Ophthalmologists can spot eye disease before vision is compromised and protect your sight.
  2.  Seeing an ophthalmologist can improve not just your eye health, but your overall health. Because the blood vessels and nerves in your eye are reflective of the rest of your body, ophthalmologists are sometimes the first to diagnose diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis or vitamin deficiencies.
  3.  Your eye health is dependent on different factors, including family history, ethnicity, age and overall health. An ophthalmologist can help evaluate your personal risk factors and recommend the best steps for disease prevention.
  4. Eye disease is also a looming problem for the U.S. health care system. As our population ages, the number of people afflicted with vision loss is expected to double by 2050.

Healthy living is extremely important as you age. Proper exercise, eating well and other healthy habits are important for every aspect of your health. Reducing the risk of certain health conditions such as diabetes and obesity will protect your eyes too.

For more information on eye health, visit