SOURCE: VSP

October 10, 2013 05:00 ET

Routine Eye Exams Could Save More Than Your Sight

MISSION, KS--(Marketwired - Oct 10, 2013) - (Family Features) Regular eye exams are crucial to more than just good vision. They can also aid in early detection of health problems, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. This is possible because the eye is a unique window into one's overall health. It's the only place in the body where, without surgery, medical professionals can see blood vessels, arteries and a cranial nerve.

During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye care professional will use drops to view the back of your eyes to check for damage or disease. There are several different eye conditions and diseases your eye doctor will be looking for during an exam, including but not limited to the following:

Diabetic Eye Disease: This disease occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels inside the retina. It is the most common cause of blindness.

Dry Eye: This occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly. It can make it difficult to perform some activities, including reading or using a computer for an extended period of time.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration: AMD for people aged 50 and over in the U.S. has increased by 25 percent over the last decade. The disease causes dim images or black holes at the center of vision. AMD rarely causes complete blindness, but there is currently no cure.

While annual eye exams are critical to your overall health routine, if you're among the 50 million households in the United States without access to vision insurance, it's tempting to forgo when cost is an issue. For those without vision insurance, the only options were to work for an employer that offered vision coverage, pay out-of-pocket or simply go without.

Now, affordable individual and family vision plans are available directly to the consumer from VSP Vision Care, the nation's only not-for-profit vision care company. Through VSP Direct, VSP's individual vision insurance product, consumers in every state can receive high-quality vision care. These plans allow for individuals and families to gain direct access to the same high-quality vision coverage many employers offer.

Even if you think your vision is fine and your eyes are healthy, an eye exam is the only way to be sure. Individual plans from VSP Direct cover eye exams with a low co-payment. They also provide fully covered lens options with allowances for a wide selection of glasses or contacts. To find out more, visit www.vspdirectplans.com.

Annual eye exams are an important part of your overall health routine. Remember, vision care isn't just about seeing well -- it's about being well.

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