Not sure when your last eye exam was? Although eye exams should be routine, it’s still fairly common to forget to schedule them on a regular basis.

Many people forget to have their yearly eye exams. They may put them off even when their prescription is out of date or they are having problems with their vision.

Even if you don’t need glasses or contacts, you should have an eye exam at least every year or two, especially if you’re over 40. There’s more to having an eye exam than keeping your prescription up to date.

They are also an important way of ensuring that your eyes are healthy. If you know it’s been too long since your last eye exam, you owe it to yourself to schedule as soon as possible.

To get the most benefit, you should also familiarize yourself with what you should and shouldn’t do before an eye exam. Seeing your eye doctor doesn’t take a lot of preparation, but you should still follow these small tips to make sure you get the most out of your visit.

Keep reading for some do’s and don’ts to follow before your next eye exam!

Don’t: Strain Your Eyes

doctor at computer

Whenever possible, you should avoid straining your eyes. Eye strain can cause many issues. Straining your eyes can lead to drying them out and even headaches and trouble sleeping.

It’s not hard to suffer from eye strain, either. One easy way to strain your eyes? Spending too much time looking at screens of digital devices, especially if you don’t take any breaks.

It can be hard to avoid screens altogether, so be sure to give yourself a break if your eyes start to feel tired. You can follow the 20-20-20 rule for this.

The 20-20-20 rule allows your eyes to get the small break they need if you’re working on a computer or using other digital devices for a long time. To follow it, take a brief break every 20 minutes to look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

It’s a small thing, but it gives your eyes a moment to relax. You can also take this time to put in eye drops if your eyes feel dry.

Don’t forget to blink as well, since this is something that you don’t do enough of when you’re looking at a screen.

Do: Wear Sunglasses

smiling woman wearing sunglasses

Sunglasses are great on sunny days, but as a rule of thumb, you should wear them any time of year. Now, if you’re preparing for an eye exam, it makes sense to have a pair of sunglasses with you before your appointment.

If you have a comprehensive eye exam, this usually includes a retinal exam. To get a good look at your retina, your eye doctor will likely need to dilate your pupils.

This is the best way to see the back of the eye. Dilating your eyes makes them very sensitive to light, so you’ll need sunglasses to get home.

Even if it’s cloudy outside, you’ll still need to wear sunglasses. Most offices provide disposable sunglasses, but these can be flimsy, so it’s better to be prepared and bring your own.

After your eye exam, protect your eyes in any season by wearing sunglasses that provide UVA and UVB protection. You can also wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover all your bases.

Don’t: Have Too Much Caffeine

Caffeine can affect your blood pressure, which is something that many eye doctors take when you have an eye exam. Elevated blood pressure can be a sign of an increased risk for glaucoma.

Coffee Caffeine GIF by One Day At A Time

Expect your eye doctor to measure your eye pressure during your eye exam. Cut back on the caffeine to ensure they can get the best and clearest possible reading.

Having caffeine before your appointment shouldn’t have too much of an effect, but it could make it more difficult to get an accurate reading. Try your best not to have a big cup of coffee right before your exam.

Do: Stay Hydrated

woman drinking water bottle

Staying hydrated is always important, but it’s something that’s easy to forget. Drinking plenty of water helps your eyes stay healthy and ensures they don’t get too dry.

When you have an eye exam, you may need to hold your eyes open so your ophthalmologist can look at them. If you aren’t drinking enough water and your eyes are dry, this could feel uncomfortable.

Staying hydrated can help you feel more comfortable throughout the exam and will lead to healthier eyes.

Don’t: Forget Your Insurance Information

Want to have a successful eye exam? Make sure you remember to bring your insurance card with you!

It’s the easiest way to ensure you fill out all pertinent information and your appointment can be charged appropriately. If you find that you often forget your card because it’s not in your wallet, take a picture on your phone.

This way, you’ll have the information with you, even if you don’t have the physical card!

Do: Talk To Your Eye Doctor About Any Concerns You Have

eye doctor performing an eye exam on patient

Don’t be afraid to ask your eye doctor about any issues or concerns you may have. Even if it’s something minor, like allergies, it can be helpful to ask about what kind of medication you should be taking.

Your eye doctor is there to answer your questions and make sure your eyes function properly! They may be able to recommend treatments you can try at home or medications you can get a sample for.

Based on your concerns, they may also diagnose you with a condition, helping you get the relief you need. Prompt treatment is key when it comes to happy eyes!

Don’t: Wear Your Contacts To Your Eye Exam

If you wear your contacts to your exam, you’ll probably have to take them out before the exam. It’s best to wear your glasses and take them off when asked. To be safe, bring your contact lenses to your appointment.

Do: Bring Your Current Prescription, Glasses, and Contacts

eyeglasses and contact lenses

Bringing your current prescription for glasses and contacts is always a good idea, as your eye doctor may want to test your vision in them. It’s especially important if you’re seeing a new eye doctor.

If you have a prescription card, be sure to bring it. Otherwise, have your information sent over by your previous eye doctor.

Feel like you’re ready to have an eye exam? Schedule yours at Loden Vision Centers in Nashville, TN, today, and make your eyes a priority!