Given how important they are, it feels like the eyes get overlooked. Measures to protect your eyes, like an annual eye exam and glasses are too often put on the back burner to the detriment of your health (if that sounds like you, set an appointment today). Your eyes matter! If you ignore them until your vision becomes compromised, you'll quickly discover how much you've taken them for granted. If you're still thinking, "No big deal. I can always squint to see," you'll want to keep reading - even if you have to squint. Vision and health are inextricably linked.
Here are just a few areas of your life that an annual eye exam and glasses (if you need them) can greatly affect. Improve your vision and improve these things:
The most obvious example of vision keeping you safe is driving. Driving requires wielding a heavy machine on a roadway with several other highly unpredictable heavy machines. It calls for quick reflexes, sound decision-making, and a keen set of eyes. The phrase 'keep your eyes on the road' doesn't mean much if your eyes aren't functioning properly. Setting driving aside, your eyes keep you safe all day long. Whether you're nailing a picture frame to the wall, grabbing the right cleaning product out of the cabinet, or reading instructions on a medicine bottle, your eyes are the safety MVP of your day-to-day life.
Quality of Life
Life is full of special moments. Much of that emotion and meaning enters into our brains and memories through the eyes. Imagine the college graduation of a child or sibling - they walk across the stage and you can see every line in their beaming smile. If you're squinting during that moment or can't pick up on those details, you're missing out on the full experience. The same holds true for the drama of sporting events, subtle acting in movies, and concerts where you're seats are further back. Being able to see every detail is a luxury that shouldn't be taken lightly. If your eyes aren't performing up to their potential, your quality of life isn't what it could be.
If you like to be active, better vision is going to lead to a better result. Take sports, for example. Most team sports rely on 'hand to eye coordination.' That is, your hands and eyes working together to create the most accurate action possible (hitting a baseball, driving a golf ball, catching a football). If your hands are asked to do all the work, don't expect to be carried off the field in victory. Your eyes play an enormous role in recreation. If you're planning on being active - make sure your eyes are in their best shape. Getting an annual eye exam and glasses can catapult you into first place, in whatever activity you choose.
If relaxing is supposed to be ... uh ... relaxing, why is it so difficult? There are multiple factors working against adequate R&R (like constant phone distractions, interpersonal conflict, loud neighbors). Don't let your strained eyes be one of them. Chances are, you sit in front of a screen at least part of your workday. That, combined with rampant smartphone use, leaves your eyes exhausted. If your vision is compromised, that's an entire day of squinting and straining on top of everything else. By the time you're able to plant yourself on your couch, your eyes are ready to quit. That doesn't bode well for that Netflix marathon. Improve your vision and improve your ability to relax.
Your eyes are like a terrible poker player: they always give away their hand. 'Their hand' being your overall health. For you, this is great thing. Your eyes can tell you (and your optometrist) a lot. With an eye exam, your optometrist will be able to spot warning signs of deeper health issues. That detection is critical to getting treatment right away. The sooner treatment can start on most conditions, the better the outcome will be. Getting an annual eye exam is an excellent way to help keep tabs on your overall health. Your eyes want to tell you these things, if you'll just make the appointment.
As you can clearly see: your vision matters. Make sure that you're seeing your optometrist at least once a year and that you have glasses (or other contact lenses) if you need them.