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A Reason for Annual Eye Exams? Try 1500 Reasons!

I have 2 primary functions as an optometrist:  address visual conditions AND assess and treat medical conditions of the eye.   But an equally important responsibility of my role as an optometrist is to relay the importance of lifelong eye care through the annual eye exam.

Unfortunately, there is the widespread belief that you need a reason to visit an optometrist:  either a visual or medical eye problem.    When this belief is held, a  person may go beyond one, two, or even three years in between eye exams.

But what if I told you there are 1500 other reasons for an eye exam?    1500 is the number of "ICD-9" insurance diagnosis codes related to the eye.   These codes are used by the optometrist to identify the presence of a particular condition to the patient's insurance carrier.

This means there are nearly 1500 possible specific conditions that could be affecting your eyes.   The include conditions affecting every different part or structure of the eye from the front surface all the way to the back.  Many of these conditions are being ruled out during the course of annual eye exam.   And many of these conditions may, in fact, not cause you any symptoms until the condition is in the difficult-to-treat stages.

So I urge you to treat eyes well by getting annual eye examinations and they should end up treating you well for a very long time.

Dr. Beach.


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