An eye examination is vitally important to your health, as the exam can provide early detection for many eye conditions, diseases and changes in vision. We test for many things during an eye exam using test charts, a phoropter and more. For those with vision abnormalities (such as nearsightedness or farsightedness), we can detect changes in your vision very easily and provide you with the proper tools to see clearly in your day-to-day life. The bottom line, you should see your eye doctor often just as you would a dentist.
It has been reccommended for one to be receiving an eye exam at least every 2 years, but depending on different eye conditions or vision problems, you may have to come in more often. We suggest that children and adults with contact lenses and eyeglasses should receive annual eye exams to keep their eyes healthy and monitored. For adults 18-60 years of age, its been suggested that an eye exam every 2 years and for those 61 and older, an eye exam every year. The eyes change rapidly later in life and are when we see many progressive eye problems.
Children who are at-risk for eye problems (family history, prematurity, low birth weight, etc.) should have an eye exam at 6 months of age. We generally recommend that your child receives an eye exam every year starting at the age of 3 as well. Children’s eyes develop continually until they reach about the age of 10, so childhood is a critical period when visual acuity is developing. If your child does receive an eye exam at age 3 and there are no visible findings for eye problems, they do not need to be examined again until they are 5. Vision screenings at school also don’t make the cut as the sole eye exam your child needs, as they have been shown to miss up to 60% of children with vision problems. That just doesn’t happen with an eye doctor. For children who are not considered “at-risk”, they should continue to see the eye doctor every 2 years until age 18.
When it comes to health, it is usual for your doctor to get a full health history that includes the medications you take, family health and eye history and the type of eye problems you are experiencing. We generally provide tests via a machine called a phoropter that you will view a series of lenses through. Using a handheld instrument called a retinoscope, we measure how the lenses focus light and what lens best works for you to see as clearly as possible. The phoropter, as well as vision charts, are used to determine if you are nearsighted, farsighted, astigmatic, presbyopic or if you have several of these conditions. It is very common to have any one of these types of eyesight. We will also administer a test to see if both eyes are working together as a team or if one lags behind.
An eye exam is actually quite amazing. We have the ability to assess the health of your eyes all the way through your lens and into the back of the eye. We sometimes use an ophthalmoscope and a microscope to view each individual eye with light. You may not be able to see inside your eye by looking in a mirror, but with our technology, we can see through your eye and examine the tissues and muscles that make up the inner workings of how your eye functions. That’s where many eye problems begin and why it’s so important for you to see a professional; some problems just aren’t visible on the surface.
Eye exams help detect subtle changes in the health of your eye. Many eye problems do not become noticeable until more progressed damage is done, meaning that some eye problems can’t be reversed by the time you finally see a doctor. Eye exams are how we detect instances of glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal detachment and more. As an example, we view the interior of your eyes to detect macular degeneration and retinal detachment, whereas an eye pressure test is used to examine the optic nerve to detect the presence of glaucoma. We actually offer about 100 different types of tests that we can perform on your eye depending on your unique symptoms and family history. Some of these include Depth Perception, Color Vision (such as for color blindness), Visual Fields and Eye Pressures. We will discuss your eye health with you after your exam and decide the best course of action if there is an eye problem present.
Eye examinations are one of the most important things we do for our patients, as an eye exam can determine how you see, what type of vision you have, the visual problems that are beginning to develop and what steps need to be taken to prevent vision loss and halt diseases.