Eyes on the road: when to visit your doctor, and when you shouldn’t drive yourself home

67902379_MDo you know when to schedule an eye exam? Do you know what symptoms warrant a visit? Should you bring a friend to drive you home? Today we answer all of those questions, and more.

When your vision is good and you’re feeling healthy, it’s tempting to put off a visit to see an ophthalmologist. But in general, you should be scheduling a visit every 1-2 years, depending on age and risk factors, symptoms, and whether or not you wear glasses or contacts to correct your vision. So, what should you expect when you get there?

Your eye doctor will give you a comprehensive vision check and eye exam. He or she will run tests for glaucoma and cataracts, and look for signs of degeneration. The doctor will ask questions about your medical history to know if you have any risks for eye-related conditions, such as those that often accompany diabetes, and will want to know if you’re taking any medications for the same reason.

Sometimes your eye doctor will find it necessary to dilate your eyes to conduct a more thorough check. She or he will use eye drops that open the pupils, and will shine a light into the eye to get a better look at the blood vessels and nerve in the eye. It doesn’t hurt, but it will leave your vision temporarily cloudy.

That’s when you don’t want to drive. If you think you’ll need your pupils dilated, bring a friend to drive you home or plan to spend a little extra time in the waiting room for the dilation to wear off.

Still not sure if you should schedule a visit? The following milestone are the guiding signs to lead you to schedule an appointment:

  • You can’t remember the last time you went to see an eye doctor
  • You have difficulty seeing street signs in the dark, or other trouble driving at night and in the early morning
  • Your eyes feel dry, red and itchy constantly, or you’re seeing “floaters” in your vision, spots, or flashes of light
  • You notice any vision changes, or that your eyes feel strained easily

Have questions about your vision, how to prevent eye damage, or need to talk through an issue? Please reach out to us at Utah Eye Centers! We can help you to examine your options. We look forward to meeting with you!