You're young, so you have plenty of time before you have to start thinking about your eye health, right?
By the time you're in your 20s, you've likely either been wearing glasses for years already, or you've figured out that you're one of the relatively few adults who will enjoy 20/20 vision forever.
When it comes to your eyes, it seems like nothing will ever change. So why change the way you care for them?
In many ways, twentysomethings have more to gain than anyone from being super-vigilant about their eye health. Here's why going beyond the shady vision screening at your local DMV is super important.
1. You could be seeing so much more clearly right now
Rattling off E-F-P-T-O-Z to be approved for a driver's license isn't proof that your vision—or your eye health—is good. A true eye exam is quite different from a simple screening, which only categorizes you as someone who A) is likely to hit a fire hydrant with their Zipcar or B) not.
A comprehensive eye exam, in which a skilled optometrist uses special equipment to examine every aspect of your eyes, determines the nature and severity of even budding vision problems, and detects larger health issues that may need to be addressed (see below).
Lenscrafters' AccuExam uses advanced digital technology to basically map your eyes, enabling the optometrist to zero in much more specifically on the exact prescription you need—and even whether you need something different in the daytime versus night (get headaches after dark? It's a lot more common than you may think).
This all adds up to a much more accurate prescription for your lenses, and crisper, clearer vision than you realized was possible.
2. Advanced exams can uncover already existing, festering problems that you're not aware of
Getting a thorough eye exam from a skilled optometrist isn't just about finding out if you need a better (or your first!) glasses Rx. These evals, which actually map the topography of your eye inside and out, can also reveal a lot about your eyes' health and your overall wellbeing.
Lots of health issues, including eye problems like diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, and diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, can be detected by an eye exam. And your optometrist might be the first to discover them, since many of these problems are completely devoid of symptoms in the beginning.
Catching these diseases in their early stages significantly reduces your risk of major vision damage. And, news flash: You don't have to be old; people of all ages are at risk. About a third of Americans with diabetes don't realize they have it. No joke.
3. It's a good nudge to learn how to take care of your eyes
Remember when everyone was like, OMG, that's how you eat cupcakes? You're doing it wrong. This is like that, but for eye care.
You may not be aware, but there's a right way to take care of your eyes on an ongoing basis, just like you take care of your skin or nails or hair or abs.
To see well, and to see well for a really long time, you have to eat well (leafy greens, oily fish and citrus are a good start), protect your eyes from the sun, and give yourself a break from the screens you stare at all day—we're talking a 15-minute break every two hours. Seriously.
There's more, too! Your optometrist-slash-new-BFF can fill you in. Try to get your eyes checked once a year.
4. You could trade in your fake Urban Outfitter frames for real glasses
Nerd-chic specs are the hottest accessory right now—to the point that popular retailers make them available even to those with perfect eyesight.
Your ticket to an authentic runway look? A real eye exam, which could reveal that it's time to trade in your fake frames for the real deal.
Signs that your vision isn't what it used to be: headaches, neck strain, squinting to see the drinks menu in your favorite dimly lit bar. Go ahead—get your eyes checked out (and don't just do it one time: studies show an annual check up is essential for good eye health) When you can see without effort, it frees up energy for all the other fun things you want to do.