Eye Health Examination
Routine comprehensive eye health examinations are an important part of health maintenance for everyone regardless of your age or physical health.
Adults should have their eyes examined to keep their prescription current and to check for early signs of eye disease.
During our comprehensive eye health examination we will do much more than determine your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses. We will also check your eyes for eye diseases, vision loss, assess how your eyes work together as a team and evaluate your eyes as an indication of your overall health.
If you are interested in contact lenses, please be sure to say so when you schedule your eye exam. We will need extra time for a contact lens fitting which includes measurement of your eye surface.
We will dilate a patient at your first visit and check for any eye disease unless you request otherwise. Some specific examples of what we will be looking for while you are dilated are cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetes and high blood pressure.
We will monitor serious conditions and provide referrals to highly qualified ophthalmologists for surgery and other appropriate physicians when needed.
Vision screening is not a substitute for a comprehensive eye health examination as performed in our office. Only an eye doctor can provide a comprehensive eye exam. Family physicians, pediatricians and school nurses are not fully trained to perform a comprehensive eye examination and can often miss important vision problems that require treatment.
Our comprehensive eye health exam includes careful testing of all aspects of your vision. Based upon the results of your exam we will recommend a treatment plan for your individual needs.
Glaucoma – Glaucoma refers to a category of eye disorders often associated with a dangerous buildup of internal eye pressure which can damage the eye’s optic nerve that transmits visual information to the brain. With untreated or uncontrolled glaucoma, you might eventually notice decreased ability to see at the edges of your vision (peripheral vision). Progressive eye damage could then lead to blindness. During routine eye health exams, a tonometer is used to measure your intraocular pressure. Your eye typically is numbed with eye drops, and a small probe gently rests against your eye’s surface. Visual field testing is a way of your eye doctor to determine if you are experiencing vision loss from glaucoma. Glaucoma is often called the “silent thief of sight,” because most types typically cause no pain and produce no symptoms until noticeable vision loss occurs.
Cataracts – A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. The lens works much like a camera lens, focusing light onto the retina at the back of the eye. The lens also adjusts the eye’s focus, letting us see things clearly both up close and far away.
The lens is mostly made of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it. As we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens, this is a cataract.
Over time, it may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it more difficult to see. When symptoms begin to appear, you may be able to improve your vision for a while using new glasses, strong bifocals, progressives, magnification, appropriate lighting or visual aids.
Think about surgery when your cataracts have progressed enough to seriously impair your vision and affect your daily activities. Many people consider poor vision and inevitable fact of aging, but cataract surgery is a simple, relatively painless procedure to regain vision. During surgery, the surgeon will remove your clouded lens and in most cases replace it with a clear, plastic intraocular lens.
Age-Related Macular degeneration – Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among Americans who are age 65 or older. Because people in this group represent an increasingly larger percentage of the general population, vision loss from macular degeneration is a growing problem. Dry macular degeneration is not nearly as severe as wet macular degeneration but can progress to a gradual degradation that can also cause severe vision loss.
Eye doctors recommend that dry patients wear sunglasses with UV protection against harmful affects from the sun.
Age-related macular degeneration usually produces a slow, painless loss of vision. Occasionally the vision loss can be sudden.
Eye care practitioners often detect early signs before symptoms occur through a retinal exam. When it is suspected a referral will be made to a retinal specialist.
For those who have vision loss from macular degeneration, many low vision devices are available to help with mobility and specific visual tasks.
Eye exams for children play an important role in ensuring normal vision development and academic achievement. As a parent or caretaker, you may wonder whether your pre-school child has a vision problem or when it may be appropriate to schedule your child's first eye exam.
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at six months of age. Babies should be able to see as well as adults in terms of focusing ability, color vision, and depth perception by three or four months of age.
Children should receive additional eye exams at three years of age. Some parents are surprised to learn that children of pre-school ages do not need to know their letters in order to undergo certain eye tests. Your child's eyes should be examined for early detection of vision problems such as lazy eye or amblyopia, in which one eye is weaker than the other. With amblyopia, eye patching often is used to help strengthen the weaker eye.
Children should be examined again just before they enter kindergarten or the first grade at about age five or six. For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required. Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually or according to their eye doctor’s recommendations. Early eye exams also are important because children need basic skills related to good eyesight for learning and are crucial to make sure children have normal, healthy vision so that they can perform better in schoolwork or play.
When scheduling an eye exam for your child, make sure to choose a time when he or she is usually alert and happy. Specifics of how eye exams are conducted depend on your child's age, but generally will involve a case history, vision testing, determination of whether eyeglasses are needed, testing of eye alignment, eye health examination, and parent education.
Be sure to tell your eye doctor if your child was born prematurely, has delayed motor development, engages in frequent eye rubbing, blinks excessively, fails to maintain eye contact, cannot seem to maintain a gaze while looking at objects, has poor eye tracking skills, or has failed a pediatrician or pre-school vision screening Your eye doctor will also want to know about previous ocular diagnoses and treatments involving your child, such as possible surgeries and glasses or contact lens wear. Be sure you inform your eye doctor if you have a family history of eye problems requiring vision correction.
Remember that appropriate eye examination at an early age ultimately can be vital in terms of how well your child performs in school. A child who is unable to see print or view a blackboard can become easily frustrated, leading to poor performance in school work. Some vision problems, such as lazy eye, must be detected and corrected as early as possible while the child's vision system is still developing.
The American Optometric Association (AOA) says 25 percent of all school-age children have vision problems.