Why an Annual Routine Eye Exam is Important For Maintaining Eye Health

Regular eye exams are crucial for maintaining good eye health and preventing vision problems. Learn why comprehensive annual routine eye exams are important.

Why an Annual Routine Eye Exam is Important For Maintaining Eye Health in Olympia

Maintaining healthy eyes is crucial for a good quality of life. Eyes provide us with the ability to perform daily activities such as reading, driving, and watching TV. However, our eyes can suffer from various conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to vision loss or blindness. Therefore, it is essential to schedule an annual routine eye exam with our optometrist to maintain healthy eyes.

American Family Vision Clinic

The Importance of an Annual Routine Eye Exam

Early Detection of Eye Diseases

Many eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration can damage your vision over time without causing noticeable symptoms in the early stages. An annual routine eye exam allows us to detect these diseases early, and provide timely treatment to prevent further damage to your eyesight.


Glaucoma is an eye condition that damages the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. It is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. An annual routine eye exam can detect glaucoma in its early stages before significant vision loss occurs. If detected early, we can prescribe medication or suggest surgery to prevent further damage to your eyesight.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that affects people with diabetes. High blood sugar levels can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina, leading to vision loss. An annual routine eye exam can detect diabetic retinopathy in its early stages, allowing our eye doctor to prescribe treatment to prevent further vision loss.


Age-related macular degeneration is a condition that affects people over 50 years of age. It damages the macula, leading to blurred or distorted vision. An annual routine eye exam can detect age-related macular degeneration in its early stages, allowing our eye doctor to provide treatment to slow down the progression of the condition.

Detection of Refractive Errors

Refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism can affect your vision and lead to eye strain, headaches, and other discomforts. An annual routine eye exam can detect these refractive errors and provide corrective measures such as glasses or contact lenses to improve your vision.

Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is a condition where you can see objects up close but have difficulty seeing objects in the distance. Farsightedness, also known as hyperopia, is a condition where you can see objects in the distance, but have difficulty seeing objects up close. Astigmatism is a condition where the curvature of the cornea is irregular, leading to distorted vision at any distance. An annual routine eye exam can detect these refractive errors and provide corrective measures such as glasses or contact lenses to improve your vision.

Detection of Refractive Errors
Evaluation of Eye Health

Evaluation of Eye Health

An annual routine eye exam provides our eye doctor with an opportunity to evaluate your eye health comprehensively. The exam includes an assessment of your eye muscles, eye movement, and your ability to focus on objects. It also includes an examination of the structures of your eyes such as the retina, cornea, and optic nerve.

An assessment of your eye muscles and eye movement can identify any conditions that may cause double vision or eye misalignment. A comprehensive examination of the structures of your eyes can detect any signs of inflammation, infection, or abnormalities that may indicate an underlying condition.

How can I find an eye doctor near me?

If you don’t already have a trusted optometrist or you live too far from our optometry clinic in Olympia, you could start your online search by typing in phrases such as "eye doctor near me," "optometrist near me," or "eye specialist near me."

Evaluation of Eye Health

Early Detection of Systemic Diseases

A comprehensive eye exam can detect early signs of systemic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. We can identify these signs through a dilated eye exam, which allows them to examine the blood vessels in your eyes.

High blood pressure can cause damage to the blood vessels in your eyes, leading to bleeding or swelling in the retina. Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina, leading to diabetic retinopathy. High cholesterol can lead to the formation of plaques in the blood vessels of your eyes, leading to a condition called retinal vein occlusion. An annual routine eye exam can detect these early signs, allowing our eye doctor to refer you to a primary care physician for further evaluation and treatment.

Prevention of Eye Strain and Discomfort

An annual routine eye exam can help prevent eye strain and discomfort associated with prolonged use of digital devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones. We can provide tips on how to reduce eye strain, such as taking frequent breaks, adjusting the lighting in your environment, and using ergonomic furniture. Our eye care services aim to help you maintain optimal vision and comfort in your daily life.

Detection of Refractive Errors
Evaluation of Eye Health

Reducing Dry Eye Symptoms

Dry eye can be caused by a variety of factors, including overuse of digital devices, hormones, environmental factors, and overwearing of contact lenses among many other causes. During an annual eye exam you can discuss with our eye doctor any symptoms that you may have such as dry, gritty, watery, and painful eyes. Our eye doctor can recommend a follow up dry eye evaluation or provide guidance on the best next steps for treatment and prevention. 

Common Questions

The American Optometric Association recommends that patients undergo regular eye exams to maintain good eye health and detect any potential problems early on. How often a patient should have an eye exam depends on their age, overall health, and whether they have any pre-existing eye conditions or risk factors. As a general rule we recommend annual eye exams for someone without known medical conditions that impact the eyes such as diabetes.
For most healthy adults, it is recommended to have a comprehensive eye exam every 1-2 years, depending on their age and other risk factors. Children and older adults may require more frequent exams. Patients with pre-existing eye conditions or those at higher risk for certain eye diseases, such as diabetes or a family history of glaucoma, should have more frequent exams as recommended by our optometrist.
A comprehensive eye exam is the best type of exam to evaluate overall eye health and detect any potential problems. It typically includes a series of tests to evaluate visual acuity, eye movements, eye pressure, and the health of the retina and optic nerve. For some patients a specialized exam is required: Functional vision exam or neuro optometric evaluation: Neuro optometrists provide in depth evaluations for those who have undergone a brain injury such as a TBI, stroke, or concussion. Developmental or Behavioral eye exams: For children and special needs population a developmental optometrist is crucial as they evaluate the full scope of vision as it relates to the developmental level of the child. Low vision evaluation: A low vision eye exam is a specialized exam assisting the almost 20 million Americans who have permanent vision loss that is not corrected by regular glasses and contact lenses
During a full eye examination, we will perform a number of tests to evaluate vision and eye health. These may include a visual acuity test, which assesses how well a patient can see at different distances, a refraction test to determine the need for glasses or contact lenses, an eye pressure test, and a dilated eye exam to evaluate the health of the retina and optic nerve.
There are three main types of vision tests: visual acuity tests, color vision tests, and visual field tests. Visual acuity tests evaluate how well a patient can see at different distances, while color vision tests evaluate the ability to distinguish different colors. Visual field tests assess the patient's peripheral vision, which can be important in detecting certain eye diseases.
During a routine eye exam, we may perform a number of tests or procedures, including a visual acuity test, refraction test, eye pressure test, dilated eye exam, and visual field test. Other tests or procedures may be performed depending on the patient's individual needs or concerns.
There are several types of poor vision, including myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia, and astigmatism (irregularly shaped cornea or lens). Other vision problems may include color blindness, amblyopia (lazy eye), and various eye diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts.
To find an optometrist near you, search online for 'optometrist near me' or visit our website to find our practice locations and contact information.
Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Schedule a Comprehensive Eye Exam at American Family Vision Clinic

Schedule a comprehensive eye exam with our eye doctor to maintain healthy eyes and receive top-quality vision care. Early detection of eye diseases, detection of refractive errors, evaluation of eye health, early detection of systemic diseases, and prevention of eye strain and discomfort are all essential reasons to schedule an annual routine eye exam. Don't wait until you experience symptoms to have your eyes checked. Schedule an appointment today by calling (360) 491-2121.

Patients searching for advanced vision care visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of eye care services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey. Our eye care services cover a wide range of vision needs, ensuring you have access to the best care possible.


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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