“The only thing to fear is fear itself” said President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He wasn’t wrong. We often avoid things that we’re afraid of, only to realize later that when we’re forced to face our fears, it’s not as bad as it once seemed. Countless people avoid going to the eye doctor each year because they think it’s going to be terrible. They avoid necessary eye exams and care because they’re afraid, and while this fear is understandable, it nearly always stems from the myths or negative past experiences and not the appointment itself.
Our eye doctors at Bayside Eye Center want to set the record straight on eye appointment myths, because no one should forego essential care out of fear. We do everything to make sure you feel comfortable at your eye exam, but in case you’re still not ready to pull the trigger and book an appointment, we’re busting apart some myths to help you feel better.
Myth #1: Eye exams take a long time.
A horrible, torturous, medieval eye exam (which that description is a myth within itself, but we’ll come back to it) is bad enough, but to have it last a long time? Absolutely not! Except, eye appointments are some of the shortest medical appointments you can have.
When you go to your eye doctor for routine, annual (unless otherwise recommended) checkups, the average appointment is likely about 30 minutes. It might be less time (some are finished in 20 minutes) and it might take slightly longer, but this is, on the whole, a pretty quick exam.
You’ll meet with an assistant who will look at the health of your eyes (similar to how a nurse checks you over before the doctor comes in), then you’ll meet with the eye doctor, who will focus on your vision. They’ll talk about your eye health and any changes to your vision, but the majority of the time, these appointments go by surprisingly fast.
Myth #2: Eye exams are painful.
A decade or so ago, there was a good chance that you’d have to have your eyes dilated, and you’d have the puff of air test that everyone knows and loathes. Modern technology has completely changed the game on eye exams. There are fast and painless procedures nowadays, such as advanced cameras and lenses, that have eliminated the old-school methods that so many people dreaded. If you haven’t gone to the eye doctor in awhile, you should book your appointment — we’d bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how things have changed.
But as another important thing to add, you are always in control at your eye appointment. An eye doctor can’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do. If you’re not comfortable with something, let them know! They might have some tips for you, or you can altogether just say you don’t want to continue with this portion of the eye exam. Eye appointments aren’t nearly as scary when you realize you have a complete say in every decision.
Myth #3: Since I have perfect vision, I don’t need an eye exam.
If you have perfect vision now, that’s awesome! You’re very lucky. However, nearly the entire population ends up needing glasses at some point in their lives. In fact, by the age of 50, more than 60 percent of people end up needing glasses, and by the age of 55, this number skyrockets to around 90 percent.
The point is, you will definitely need to see an eye doctor at some point in your life. If you haven’t noticed any discernible changes to your vision, you can probably wait. Until you hit the age of 50, you can likely go every 3-5 years instead of every year. But an eye exam isn’t just about correcting your vision — it’s also about monitoring the health of your eyes, and there can sometimes be issues that have nothing to do with how well you can see.
We hope that our eye doctors have helped clear the air on some of these myths. Even if you’re still afraid to visit the eye doctor, we are pretty sure that one visit to Bayside Eye Center in Punta Gorda will help you feel more comfortable, and have you thinking, “that wasn’t so bad!” Make your eye health a priority. Be brave! Book a visit with Dr. Lang or Dr. Cottone at Bayside Eye Center.