If you’re making an effort to improve your overall health and wellness, there’s one area you might be overlooking. In addition to diet, exercise and annual physicals, don’t neglect the importance of your sight.

Comprehensive eye exams are a vital component of a health and wellness regimen. Comprehensive eye exams are different from the vision screening a child may receive at school or that you may receive at your primary care doctor’s office or at the DMV when renewing your driver’s license. While a vision screening may show that a comprehensive exam is needed, it will not catch more subtle forms of vision loss or other health problems that an ophthalmologist or optometrist would be able to diagnose with an eye exam.

Beyond the common problems of near or farsightedness, comprehensive eye exams can also diagnose issues such as ocular surface disease, retinal tears and other eye diseases such as glaucoma or macular degeneration. Furthermore, eye exams often help detect signs of high blood pressure or other cardiovascular problems by examining the blood vessels inside the eye.  In rare cases, more alarming conditions such as ocular melanomas can be diagnosed.

Glaucoma is one of the most serious eye diseases that can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated. An annual eye exam is the best tool for diagnosing the early signs of glaucoma.  Your eye doctor may perform tests to further examine the health of your optic nerve and help determine if vision has been loss if your eyes show to be at risk for glaucoma.

Adults aren’t the only ones who should receive comprehensive eye exams. Ensuring normal vision development in children is vital to helping them succeed in school.

Children with vision problems often don’t realize there is a problem, because they’ve never known what “normal” vision should look like. Poor vision can lead to difficulty reading and keeping pace with classmates. If your child has difficulty in school, consider scheduling an eye exam to rule out potential vision problems.

So when you schedule your annual physical, don’t forget to schedule annual eye exams for you and your family as well. It’s easier than going on a diet or starting an exercise regimen, but it could be just as critical for your health.

To schedule a comprehensive eye exam or if you have any other concerns about your vision, Dr. E. Trevor Elmquist, Dr. Kate Wagner, Dr. Nina Burt, and Dr. Sarah Eccles-Brown of Elmquist Eye Group are available to answer your questions. With 25 years of service to the Southwest Florida community, Elmquist Eye Group offers experienced doctors that are dedicated to patient care. For more information, visit www.Elmquist.com, call 239-936-2020 or stop by an Optical Boutique location in Fort Myers or Cape Coral.