The Importance of Eye Exams
Remember an eye exam is an essential part of your overall health routine A lot of people make the assumption that good vision means healthy eyes. Whether you have good vision or not this is not always a good indication of when to have an eye exam. Vision and ocular health conditions are not always accompanied by obvious symptoms.
Through routine eye examinations your eyecare practitioner can detect early stages of such diseases as diabetes high blood pressure glaucoma cataracts and retinal problems. Your eyes change over time. Some of these changes may be quite noticeable while others can go unnoticed. Your optometrist will review your personal health and family health history and will then conduct various tests to check the status of your eyes. Remember an eye exam is an essential part of your overall health routine. Regular visits help to ensure a lifetime of clear vision and healthy eyes.
Here is what you can expect during your eye exam:
Your optometrist will review your personal health and family health history any visual problems that you are experiencing current medications as well as specific visual demands of your occupation and hobbies.
Using a Snellen letter chart (or picture chart for children) your optometrist will assess your ability to see small detail clearly at both near and far distances.
By using an instrument called a retinoscope your optometrist can check for nearsightedness farsightedness and astigmatism. If corrective eyewear is necessary another instrument called a phoropter (consisting of hundreds of lens combinations) is used to refine your prescription.
Eye Movement / Binocular Vision
Using a series of different tests it is determined how well your eyes align or coordinate when working together and individually.
Peripheral (side) vision
Your eyecare practitioner will use handheld targets or a visual field perimeter to measure how well you see objects that are not directly in front of you. This can help to detect such conditions as glaucoma certain neurological problems and diseases of the retina.
Pupil response to light
By shining a light in your eyes and watching the pupil s reaction your optometrist can detect possible neurological problems.
Your optometrist will ask you to describe figures in a series of illustrations made up of numerous coloured dots or circles. This tests your ability to differentiate colours.
This is part of the examination that checks the health of the internal and external structures of the eye. An instrument called a slit-lamp is used to assess the health of the external structures of the eye. Your optometrist will use an instrument called an ophthalmoscope to see the retina and optic nerve at the back of the eye. This is where clues to many diseases specific to the eye as well as to the entire body such as diabetes and hypertension first appear. Special drops are often used to dilate your pupils to allow a better view of the back of the eyes.
Your optometrist will choose those tests required to adequately evaluate YOUR visual system! If you want to read more about how to prepare for an eye exam click here.
How often should you have an eye examination?
Routine eyecare is important and the need for eye exams depends on age and risk factors:
Children should have their eyes examined at 6 months 3 years and yearly thereafter. Adults and seniors should be examined annually. People with certain health conditions or those at risk of eye disease may require more frequent visits.
Your eyes are for life. Routine eye exams will help to ensure proper eye health and a lifetime of clear vision.