Our eyes are arguably one of the most important tools we have, and we often rely on our vision to back up what our other senses are telling us. Unfortunately, our eyes are also extremely sensitive and are just as likely to be affected by injury as disease as any other part of our body. In many cases, problems that occur with our eyes develop very slowly, and this means that damage could be occurring before we are even aware.
Regular comprehensive eye exams are the most effective way of ensuring that your eyes are as healthy as they can be and that your vision is functioning optimally. Most people are recommended to visit their eye doctor for an eye exam at least every two years, and if you already wear prescription lenses or have a condition affecting your eyes, you may be asked to attend more frequently.
Here’s what you need to know about why getting a comprehensive eye exam is important and what you should expect from your appointment.
There are many different eye conditions and diseases that can compromise the health of our eyes and our vision. Without prompt diagnosis and treatment, some of them can even have permanent consequences for your vision. Some of the most common eye problems that can be detected during a comprehensive eye exam include the following:
Refractive eye conditions: these include nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Presbyopia: a specific refractive eye condition caused by age-related changes to the lens of the eye that cause blurred vision.
Cataracts: this occurs when the natural lens of the eye becomes clouded due to changes in the proteins that are found within it.
Glaucoma: a condition where excessive pressure within the eye causes damage to the optic nerve, which is responsible for sending images to our brain.
Macular degeneration: the natural degeneration of a part of the eye called the macula, which is responsible for our central vision.
Diabetic retinopathy: this is a complication of diabetes that affects your vision. This is because it causes damage to the blood vessels serving the retina.
Dry eye disease: a very common condition that occurs when there isn’t enough tear film, there isn’t enough oil in the tear film, or the fluid drains out of the eyes too quickly.
Retinal detachment: a serious condition occurs when the retina pulls away from the eye and stops messages being passed from the eyes to the brain.
There are various different elements involved in a comprehensive eye exam and these may vary slightly depending on what your eye doctor believes you require based on your personal circumstances. Some of the different things that you can expect include:
This is an opportunity for you to raise any concerns that you may have about the health of your eyes or your vision, and ask any questions that you want to – such as how to protect your eyes when you are out in the sunshine. Your eye doctor will also ask you questions about your general health and your eyes and vision.
Most people are familiar with this test since it is the type most often associated with an eye exam. Visual acuity testing is designed to find out how well you can see at different distances and will determine whether or not you need prescription lenses. You will be asked to look at a chart of letters some distance away, as well as read from a sheet in front of you. If you are found to need prescription lenses and you choose contact lenses to improve your vision, you will need to undergo an additional contact lens assessment since unlike glasses, contact lenses sit directly onto your eyes. A contact lens assessment will both determine the prescription required and the type of contact lenses needed to fit your eyes.
This refers to a variety of different tests that will allow your eye doctor to assess the health and condition of your eyes. These will provide information about:
How well your eyes work with one another
If there are any visible abnormalities with any of the internal or external structures of the eye
How well your eyes respond to light
How good your peripheral vision is
How well you can see different colors
What the pressure is inside your eyes
If there are any other areas of concern
The majority of these tests are non-invasive and although you might experience a little discomfort, this isn’t severe enough to require the use of anesthetic. If any issues are detected, further testing may then be necessary to make a formal diagnosis.
If you would like more information about what is involved in a comprehensive eye exam and why they are so important, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our knowledgeable team in Chicago, IL, or Orland Park, IL today.