Regular eye exams important for seniors

Many seniors will be glad to learn that there are steps they can take to protect against vision problems — starting with an eye exam.

A regular exam is key for seniors because some eye conditions and diseases do not show warning signs.

As part of an overall health-maintenance strategy, the American Academy of Ophthalmology urges seniors to have a comprehensive eye exam, especially if they have not had one in the past two years, regardless of whether there are symptoms.

The academy also encourages seniors, their loved ones and caregivers to be aware of signs that indicate vision problems that require an eye exam.

These problems can include:

• Bumping into or knocking over objects.

• Stepping hesitantly.

• Squinting or tilting the head when trying to focus.

• Missing objects when reaching.

• Discontinuing everyday activities such as reading and writing.

Despite medical evidence that healthy vision plays a critical role in overall health and happiness, many older adults in the United States do not seek regular eye care or face difficulty accessing and paying for health care services.

To ensure that all seniors throughout the country have access to eye care services, nearly 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists are available to provide eye care at no out-of-pocket cost to qualifying seniors 65 and older through EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The program is sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation with additional support from Alcon.

To learn more and to see if you qualify, visit