Getting an eye exam is an important part of staying healthy. But do you know when you and your family members should get eye exams? Do you know what a complete eye exam should cover?
From birth through the teenage years, children's eyes are growing and changing quickly. Ophthalmology and Strabismus have developed specific childhood eye screening guidelines Follow these guidelines to get your child screened at the right times. These screenings help identify when your child might need a complete eye exam.
If your eyes are healthy and vision is good, you should have a complete exam by your ophthalmologist once in your 20s and twice in your 30s.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that adults get a complete eye examination at age 40. This is when early signs of disease or changes in vision may appear. It is important to find eye diseases early. Early treatment can help preserve your vision.
Some adults shouldn't wait until they are 40 to have a complete eye exam. See an ophthalmologist now if you have an eye disease or risk factors such as:
After an exam, your ophthalmologist can tell you how often you should have your eyes checked in the future. It's important to follow the schedule your ophthalmologist gives you, especially as you age. Your risk for eye disease increases as you get older.
If you are 65 or older, make sure you have your eyes checked every year or two. Your ophthalmologist will check for signs of age-related eye diseases such as:
Remember, always follow the schedule your ophthalmologist recommends for future eye exams.
A comprehensive eye exam is simple and comfortable. It shouldn't take more than 45 to 90 minutes. Your doctor may have a staff member do portions of this exam. Here is what the exam should include:
Your doctor will ask you about your vision and your general health. They will ask about: your family's medical history, what medications you take, and whether you wear corrective lenses.
This is the part of an eye exam people are most familiar with. You will read an eye chart to determine how well you see at various distances. You cover one eye while the other is being tested. This exam will determine whether you have 20/20 vision or not.
Your doctor will ask you to look at an eye chart through a device called a phoroptor. The phoroptor contains different lenses. It will help determine the best eyeglass or contact lens prescription for you.
Your doctor may check how your pupils respond to light by shining a bright beam of light into your eye. Pupils usually respond by getting smaller. If your pupils widen or don't respond, this may reveal an underlying problem.
Loss of side vision (peripheral vision) may be a symptom of glaucoma. This test can find eye problems you aren't aware of because you can lose side vision without noticing.
Eye pressure testing, called tonometry, measures the pressure within your eye ( intraocular eye pressure, or IOP). Elevated IOP is one sign of glaucoma. The test may involve a quick puff of air onto the eye or gently applying a pressure-sensitive tip near or against your eye. Your ophthalmologist may use numbing eye drops for this test for your comfort.
Your ophthalmologist uses a slit-lamp microscope to light up the front part of the eye. This includes the eyelids, cornea, iris and lens. This test checks for cataracts or any scars or scratches on your cornea.
Your ophthalmologist will put dilating eye drops in your eye to dilate, or widen, your pupil. This will allow them to examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage from disease. Your eyes might be sensitive to light for a few hours after dilation.
Your ophthalmologist may suggest other tests to further examine your eye. This can include specialized imaging techniques such as:
These tests help your ophthalmologist detect problems in the back of the eye, on the eye's surface or inside the eye to diagnose diseases early.
Each part of the comprehensive eye exam provides important information about the health of your eyes. Make sure that you get a complete eye exam as part of your care for your overall health.