They have been called many names—Millennials, Generation Y, or as Time Magazine puts it, the Me, Me, Me Generation. This demographic cohort, born between the early 1980s and 2000s, is certainly an interesting bunch. They are labeled as lazy, entitled, and narcissistic, but they are also dubbed as open-minded, tech-savvy, and confident.
Every generation is marked with unique traits, and millennials are certainly known for a lot of things. They are the selfie-generation and the social-media obsessed digital natives. And who can blame them? Millennials grew up with technology and the Internet.
How much time do millennials spend in front of screens?
In the US, millennials are the top smartphone users with studies showing that they spend around 10 hours a day glued to a screen.
The situation is no different in the Philippines, as Filipinos are reported to be one of the most active social media users across the globe. On average, Filipinos spend 3.2 hours browsing the Internet on a mobile device and 5.2 hours on a desktop and tablet.
In a lifetime, we will spend roughly five years online. These statistics may sound like great news for app developers, phone companies, and online marketers, but for eye doctors, not so much.
Too much screen time can strain the eyes causing discomfort and headaches. It can also aggravate eye dryness. Now, how do you avoid these? Relax, you don’t need to give up your gadgets completely, as a regular eye checkup will just do the trick.
What is an eye checkup?
So, what exactly is an eye checkup? Simply put, an eye checkup is a series of tests done by an optometrist to check your eye health. Yes, you read that right. Your eyes need some care too!
For anyone under 18, it’s best to get an eye checkup every 6 months. As children’s eyes are still in the developmental stages, getting biannual eye checkups can help identify vision problems early on. On the other hand, pre-teens and adolescents are advised to get eye checkups every 6 months as well because pubescent hormones have a certain effect on the eyesight.
Adults wearing prescription glasses or those who have known eye problems should also get regular eye checkups every 6 months to track their eye health. Meanwhile, healthy adults should at least pay their optometrists a visit annually.
Getting regular checkups are not only good for your eyes but more importantly, it will greatly benefit your overall health. Signs of serious health conditions such as diabetes, macular degeneration, and glaucoma can be detected from an eye checkup. It can also prevent common eye diseases that cause permanent vision loss. This is important given that in the Philippines since there are about 500,000 people who are blind.
Who should you see for an eye exam?
If you experience constant headaches while reading or if your eyes are strained from too much screen time, it is best to consult an optometrist. Eye pain and other vision problems should be taken seriously. Consult an optometrist for routine eye exams and primary eye care services like the prescription of eyeglasses in the Philippines or contact lenses.
Optometrists are health care providers specializing in eye health and vision care. They are licensed to conduct comprehensive eye exams, determine specific eye conditions, and prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses, as well as medication for certain eye problems.
If you are experiencing more serious eye health problems, however, consulting an ophthalmologist is recommended. Ophthalmologists also specialize in vision care but, unlike optometrists, they are licensed to perform eye surgeries.
Ophthalmologists are medical professionals who are trained to treat and diagnose ocular symptoms of grave systemic diseases. Choosing an eye specialist will largely depend on your needs. Both specialists provide comprehensive eye care, but if the nature of your eye problem is severe, it is best to seek medical care from an ophthalmologist.
What to expect from an eye checkup?
An eye checkup is not rocket science, trust me. It lasts about half an hour to one hour tops. To prepare, here are a few things to remember:
- List down all the questions that you might want to ask your optometrist.
- Bring your current eyeglasses or contact lenses, if you have one.
- Bring a copy of your last prescription, if you have one.
- Inform your optometrist about your lifestyle (i.e. studying, working, driving) and daily activities (indoor and outdoor) so he or she can tailor your eyeglasses according to your needs.
- Don’t forget to mention if you are experiencing any eye pain or vision problems.
No, you will not get an injection for an eye checkup, you can relax now. Your optometrist will perform a series of tests to check visual acuity and eye movement, among others.
Remember the Snellen chart from your PE and Health classes way back in elementary school? You will probably be asked to read one of those to check if you might need to wear glasses or contact lenses.
At the end of your checkup, your optometrist will discuss with you the health of your eyes. If you need your vision corrected, he/she will prescribe you with glasses or contact lenses. If not, you get a high five (or at least, you can give your optometrist a high five).
Most likely, you’re reading this article on your phone or computer. How long have you been staring at that small screen? An hour? Maybe, three? Be honest, now. You see, if you are going to spend around five years, in your entire lifetime, online, you might as well care for your eyes so that you can continuously double tap and hit that like button without straining your precious peepers.
Remember that old saying, “Prevention is better than cure?” That popular adage is still true even in today’s technology-saturated world. Don’t wait to experience severe eye pain and other vision problems before getting an eye checkup. Give your eyes some love and get that eye checkup because, in the words of this generation’s Shakespeare, you only live once.
Have your eyes checked today! Visit Vision Express in one of its 27 locations nationwide to get top notch eye care services.