A recent study showed that dilated eye exams were a low-cost method of increasing quality of life for seniors. The study revealed that, in patients with no previously diagnosed eye problems, a dilated eye exam increased the quality of life of the individual 7 x more than just a simple check of the vision chart at the primary care doctor's office.
In fact, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recently withdrew their support for simple vision chart screenings with a primary care doctor as a meaningful way to increase a person's quality of life.
Why? A simple vision chart test may not accurately reflect a person's ability to see clearly and effectively in all situations. But, even more importantly, it fails to assess many ocular conditions which threaten a person's quality of life. Just a few of these conditions are glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. A dilated eye examination with an eye care provider could identify many other eye conditions and even signs of systemic diseases that may have gone unnoticed during regular physicals with the primary care physician.
I cannot stress enough how important the annual comprehensive eye exam is to a person's vision, long-term ocular health, their overall health, and (as this study shows) quality of life.