May is Vision Health Month, and the B.C. Doctors of Optometry are speaking out about the importance of eye exams.
According to doctors, over 50 per cent of people will put off having their regular eye exam if their vision seems fine, something a Tsawwassen optometrist, Dr. Sara Kirby, says is a mistake.
"Vision is only one component to a comprehensive eye examination," Kirby says. "If you think about an eye exam kind of like a physical for your eyes, it's something where, yes, we're checking the eye inside and out for eye health problems, but we can also detect some other health problems going on through your entire body."
Kirby has detected diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and multiple sclerosis in patients through eye exams. It's also possible to detect autoimmune conditions, Parkinson's disease and brain tumors.
Kirby says early detection is key in dealing with these issues.
"If we pick up on something before you're actually noticing it and having problems, we can start treatment earlier, start making lifestyle changes earlier, and that can potentially save your vision as well as your life."
Kirby recommends people from 19 to 64 get an eye exam every two years, and those who fall outside that age bracket, or have an eye condition, should be seen yearly.