Fact or Fiction: Do You Really Need an Annual Eye Exam?


Jun 22, 2010, 09:00 ET from VSP Global

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif., June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding the need for comprehensive eye exams. If I see fine, do I really need to go to the eye doctor on an annual basis?  If I wear someone else's glasses will that hurt my eyes?  Will wearing glasses make my eyes weaker?  To debunk many of the myths surrounding annual eye exams, VSP® Vision Care today released its third online video in the VSP EyeFiles(SM) series starring Emmy award-winning Bill Nye the Science Guy.

During an eye exam, eye doctors do more than just check for a change in prescription, they play a critical role in overall health, as well as preventative health. In fact, eye doctors can detect signs of chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, prior to diagnosis.  Under optimal vision plan designs, 60 percent of Americans will see their eye doctor versus 21 percent of Americans that get annual physicals.

VSP EyeFiles featuring Bill Nye, educates Americans on eye health and debunks common myths. As part of the VSP EyeFiles initiative, VSP Vision Care sent an online survey to VSP doctors across the country, asking them for the most common vision-related myths they hear from their patients on a regular basis.  Some of the myths related to the importance of annual eye exams included:

  • Myth: Wearing glasses tends to weaken the eyes.
    • Fact: Glasses do not weaken eyes. Eyes lose the ability to focus on near objects as people get older, a natural digression called presbyopia. Presbyopia, which means "old eye" in Greek, becomes noticeable between the ages of 38 and 42. The bottom line is glasses do not weaken eyes; rather eyes naturally become weaker with age.

  • Myth: Children do not need to have their vision tested until they are at least 5.
    • Fact: The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends a six-month eye exam to make sure the baby's eyes are developing correctly and to scan for serious problems such as cataracts and tumors. Eighty percent of what we learn is through our eyes, and one in four students has a visual impairment problem. One study shows a whopping 85 percent of America's preschoolers haven't received a vision exam by age five. Experts recommend that children see their eye doctor at six months, between the ages of 2 and 3, before entering kindergarten, and annually thereafter to ensure their eye health and learning progression.

  • Myth: If you can see fine, your eyes are healthy and you don't need an exam.
    • Fact: Many eye and vision problems have no obvious signs or symptoms. It is important to make annual visits to an eye doctor to receive comprehensive eye exams. Through an exam an eye doctor can detect signs of serious health conditions including diabetes, brain tumors, and high cholesterol, before physical symptoms are present.

To view Bill Nye's VSP EyeFiles, please visit http://www.youtube.com/vspvisioncare or the "My Eyes" tab at http://www.facebook.com/vspvisioncare.

About VSP Global

VSP Global(SM) includes VSP Vision Care, the largest not-for-profit vision benefits and services company in the United States with 55 million members; Marchon® Eyewear Inc., one of the world's largest manufacturers, designers and distributors of quality fashion and technologically-advanced eyewear and sunwear; Eyefinity®/Officemate® which offer innovative solutions and the premier management software and technology to improve overall practice management and patient experience; VSP Labs, industry leaders in new technologies, production processes, service and logistics.

Since 1997, VSP has provided more than 557,309 low-income, uninsured children with free eyecare. Through relationships including those with the American Diabetes Association and Prevent Blindness America, VSP promotes the importance of annual eye exams for maintaining eye health and overall wellness.

Contact: Danielle Devoren

Phone: (212) 896-1272

Cell: 215.206.3111