If the last time you had your eyes checked was when you renewed your driver's license years ago, you could be cruising for trouble. The American Optometric Association recommends that adults get their eyes checked every two years (or every year for those ages 61 and older). Yet in a 2007 survey the group conducted, 35 percent of the respondents who do not use corrective lenses admitted that they haven't had their eyes checked in five years or more (22 percent said they have never had their eyes checked by a specialist). And that's despite the fact that nearly half of those surveyed said they feared blindness more than losing their memory, hearing, or the ability to walk.
Regular eye exams can help you stay ahead of vision problems like glaucoma and macular degeneration. But an eye exam has benefits beyond preserving your vision. Failing eyesight can be a sign of other illnesses. In some people, a comprehensive eye exam can detect serious illnesses including diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and some cancers.