(BPT) - If you've been procrastinating in setting up an eye exam, you're far from alone.

Even though good eyesight is essential to our health and well-being, some 87 percent of Americans dealing with vision issues still put off such appointments, says a 2016 study. And that's true even if their symptoms are as potentially serious as blurred eyesight, double vision or flashes of optical light.

The excuses people give for not contacting an eye doctor include uncertainty or downright fear about what takes place during a routine exam. But the truth is, an eye exam is almost always painless and is nothing to avoid, especially if you go in with a full understanding of what will happen. In that spirit, here are five facts you'll want to know before walking through the door for your next routine eye checkup.

1. A typical evaluation takes 60 minutes or less and includes several simple tests regarding your eyesight and the anatomy of your eyes. The tests are painless.

2. You're bound to be more at ease if you know ahead of time what the appointment will cost and how you'll pay for it. Many people get peace of mind by investing in affordable vision insurance offered through companies such as VSP Direct. Choose a plan that's compatible with thousands of doctors nationwide so you can find a quality doctor that's conveniently located. Having a plan also lets you spread your cost over 12 months rather than paying a lump sum at the time of service.

3. In most cases, the doctor will not need to touch your eye. Usually he/she will perform a test with a non-contact device that tests your eye pressure with a mere puff of air. The puff test is quick and painless. You'll look at a light inside a machine while the doctor gently puffs air into your open eye. It'll calculate your eye pressure to see if you're at risk for diseases such as glaucoma.

4. To get a better view of your internal eye structure, your doctor will likely place two to three drops of solution in each eye that will dilate your pupils for one to four hours. The drops can feel a bit numbing and will temporarily make your eyes sensitive to light. Dilating your eyes is important because it helps give doctors a window into your overall health. Did you know a routine eye exam can detect serious health conditions like diabetes, a brain tumor or high cholesterol? Eye exams are a great way to keep tabs on what's happening in your body and to prevent serious health issues.

5. All VSP network doctors meet our high industry standards and have had years of schooling. Eye care professionals such as ophthalmologists and optometrists provide a variety of eye care services. Most people think eye care professionals only do eye exams and provide prescriptions for glasses and contacts, but both are qualified to help identify a number of eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Still have questions or concerns? Rather than avoiding your appointment for another year, contact your local eye care professional to get answers. The health of your eyes is way too important to risk an undiagnosed issue.

'Many adults around age 40 begin taking steps to prevent their risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other issues,' notes Dr. Rebecca J. Taylor on the American Academy of Ophthalmology website. 'Having regular exams to prevent potentially blinding eye disease should also be part of this overall health maintenance plan.'

Alleviate worry and save hundreds of dollars on your eye care needs by enrolling in vision insurance through VSP Direct.