Who should get their eyes examined?
Routine Eye examinations are an important part of health maintenance for everyone. We recommend a comprehensive eye exam every one to three years, depending on your age, risk of disease and overall physical condition. Adults should have their eyes tested to keep their prescriptions current and to check for early signs of eye disease.
Children should have regular tests to ensure the proper development of their vision and prevent any interference with their academic achievements, since vision is closely linked to the learning process. Children with undetected vision problems often have trouble with their schoolwork. Many times, children will not complain of vision problems simply because they don’t know what “normal” vision looks like. If your child is performing poorly at school, be sure to have their eyes examined to rule out an underlying visual cause.
Older adults have a higher risk for eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. Annual comprehensive dilated eye exams are recommended starting at age 60. However, African Americans are advised to start having comprehensive dilated eye exams starting at age 40 because of their higher risk of glaucoma. It’s also especially important for people with diabetes to have a comprehensive dilated exam at least once a year. Even if your eyes are healthy, you should still have a regular eye exam to detect any problems as soon as possible and begin necessary treatment.
What happens during an eye examination?
During a comprehensive eye exam, our eye doctors do much more than just determine your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses. They also check your eyes for common eye diseases, assess how your eyes work together as a team and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health.
During an eye exam at Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute, we evaluate your eyes for refractive errors, as well as common conditions such as:
Key elements of a comprehensive dilated eye examination can include:
Dilation – an important part of a comprehensive eye exam because it enables us to view the inside of the eye. Drops are placed in each eye to widen the pupil, which is the opening in the center of the colored part of the eye (the iris). Dilating the pupil allows more light to enter the eye the same way opening a door allows light into a dark room. Once dilated, your eye is examined using a special magnifying lens that provides a clear view of important tissues at the back of the eye, including the retina, the macula, and the optic nerve.
Tonometry – a test that helps detect glaucoma. By directing a quick puff of air onto the eye, or gently applying a pressure-sensitive tip near or against the eye, we can detect elevated eye pressure, which can be a risk factor for glaucoma.
Visual Field Test – measures your side (peripheral) vision. A loss of peripheral vision may be a sign of glaucoma.
Visual Acuity Test – tests how you read an eye chart, which allows us to gauge how well you see at various distances.
Other Glaucoma Tests – such as Ophthalmoscopy, Perimetry, Gonioscopy and Pachymetry.
Slit-Lamp Examination – a low-power microscope combined with a high-intensity light source that is focused to shine in a thin beam allowing us to look at the front parts of the eye.
Cover Test – one eye is covered to measure eye alignment and to see if one eye is working harder than the other.
Retinoscopy – determines the refractive error of the eye (farsighted, nearsighted, astigmatism) and the need for glasses.
Refraction Test – defines your prescription for eyeglasses, contact lenses or reading glasses.
We use a wide variety of equipment and tests to examine all aspects of the eye, including those listed above and more, depending on your circumstances. These tests are all performed in our office, using the latest technology and are safe for all patients.
Eye Exams vs. Vision Screenings
An eye exam is different from a vision screening, which is a limited eye test that only tests vision, commonly performed by a school nurse, pediatrician or other health care provider. The eye test that you take when you get your driver’s license renewed is an example of a vision screening. Vision screenings can indicate that you need to get your eyes checked, but they do not serve as a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam. Only an eye doctor can perform a comprehensive eye exam that carefully tests all aspects of your vision to evaluate the overall health of the eye and detect any changes that indicate a vision disorder.
Correction and Treatment Plans
After completing the comprehensive exam and coming to an accurate diagnosis, your Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute doctor will discuss the findings. They will then offer a correction and treatment plan based on the findings best suited to your needs. This plan can include a prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses, medication, vision therapy, eye vitamins, vision supplements or surgery for serious conditions.
Remember, a comprehensive eye exam is your best tool for maintaining eye health by detecting and preventing disease.