What Can You Do to Protect Your Eyes?

Do I need an annual eye examination?

Taking care of your eyes is important—and getting them checked is an important step. The American Diabetes Association recommends that adults with type 2 diabetes have their first eye exam when they are diagnosed and people with type 1 diabetes have their first eye exam within five years of diagnosis.

Following their initial eye examination, all people with diabetes should have their eyes checked yearly for any changes that may be occurring–finding out about possible eye complications as early as possible is important to treating them. Your eye doctors may recommend more frequent exams if they find evidence of retinopathy.

Getting an annual eye exam doesn’t have to be intimidating! Read on for tips on planning your visit to the eye doctor and a list of questions you should plan to ask while there.

What to think about before your eye exam:

  • Have you noticed any eye problems, such as blurry vision, flashes of light, poor night vision or double vision?
  • Do you have trouble judging distances or distinguishing between reds and greens?
  • Is your vision preventing you from doing certain activities, or impacting your ability to do them?
  • How well are you taking care of your glasses or contacts?
  • Have you had any health issues, injuries, operations, changes in medication or illness since your last visit that your eye doctor should be aware of?
  • Does your family have a history of eye problems such as glaucoma or cataracts?
  • Will you be getting your eyes dilated as part of your exam to check for any underlying diseases, such as diabetes?

What to ask your eye doctor:

  • Has anything about my eyes changed since my last visit that I should know about?
  • What are the advantages of wearing both contact lenses and glasses? How many hours per day can I wear contacts?
  • Should I look out for anything in particular when it comes to my eyes and overall health?
  • How can I protect my vision while staying active?
  • Should I be doing anything differently to care better for my eyes?
  • What are my options for improving my vision?
  • If you are experiencing vision problems: Am I a candidate for laser vision correction or Advanced Technology implants during cataract surgery?
  • Can I schedule my next eye exam?

Eye health and safety tips:

When you’re having fun outdoors, remember these three simple tips to keep your eyes healthy.

  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun—even on cloudy days.
  • Wear protective eyewear, such as safety glasses and goggles, to protect your eyes when playing sports, doing construction work, or doing home repairs.
  • Give your eyes a break every 20 minutes or so by taking in the scenery—look at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Getting your eye exam in is just one step you can take to protect your eyes. Learn more about taking charge of your eye health and find an eye care professional.