As one who has always enjoyed 20/20 vision, I never thought of going to the eye doctor for a regular checkup. It was only recently that I succumbed to cheaters, and if something more significant had changed with my vision, I would certainly know it. Then Dr. Evans sent us a study stating that patients with no perceived change in vision had a greater than not chance of having a change in eye health revealed during a wellness exam.

Published in the April edition of Optometry and Visual Science, the study found that 58% of patients who went in for a routine exam either had a change in ocular status or a change in care-management plan as compared to 77% of those who went in with symptoms.

So I thought maybe it was time for me to have my first exam in, probably, 20 years, and it turns out that I was one of those statistics.

The first thing I noticed was the technology to analyze every aspect of your eyes. It certainly has come a long way, and Dr. Evans and his team are very thorough. But it was the old-fashioned eye chart that made me take a second look. My right eye has become significantly weaker than my left, and my good eye has been overcompensating. It wasn’t until Dr. Evans added correction that I remembered how well I used to see! “You are right; you have very good eyes. With correction, you see better than 20/20.” He recommended a prescription glass that would maximize my vision, while alleviating the need to peek over readers going from documents to the computer – a welcome change.

He also noted retinal thickening which was not of concern at the moment, but something to watch. The floaters I have had for a while were no cause for concern, but I did show signs of dry eye. I admitted to frequent use of Visine which he strongly opposed due to preservatives, so he recommended a natural eye drop.

Seems there might be some truth to this research. Of the 6,397 patients in the study 41% had a change in eyeglass prescription; 31% had a change in management of an existing condition; and 16% had new critical diagnosis.

Turns out many people think they will know when a change in their vision occurs, but that is often not the case because your eyes are good at creating illusion. A breakdown by age surprisingly showed that both the younger (ages 20-40) and older (ages 40-65) had changes at similar rates 59% versus 74%.

I am officially one to now say, if you haven’t been to the eye doctor for a while (or ever), a wellness exam could be eye opening. You may just be surprised at what you see – and how much more you can potentially see.

For more information on the importance of regular exams, visit the National Institutes of Health Dr. Evans is the founding owner of Evans Eye Care in Palm Desert and can be reached at (760) 674.8806 or online at

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