The Ophthalmologists and Optometrists at The Eye Center provide the full range of comprehensive eye care services. In order to maintain good eye health and vision, our doctors recommend that all patients have routine eye exams on a regular basis.
How Often Should I Have An Eye Examination?
There are many factors that determine how often your eyes should be examined. These factors include your age and health, your family history of eye diseases, and if you have had any previous eye conditions. Depending on this information, we will be able to determine how often you should schedule your visits, as well as what types of examinations are necessary.
A general eye exam will include the complete testing of your vision in order to be certain you are seeing as clearly as you should. It will also include a comprehensive medical evaluation of the health of your eyes.
What Happens At A General Eye Examination?
First, a thorough history of your general health, previous eye conditions, or any problems concerning your eyes will be assessed. This will be important information to provide the doctors during the screening process. If you have any chronic health problems such as diabetes, heart disease or hypertension, it is important that you relay this information. Please tell the doctor about any medications you are taking, including over the counter medications or eye drops. Next, we will review your family history. Please tell us about any health problems that run in your family. In addition, please tell us about any eye problems that family members may have experienced such as glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration as these tend to run in families.
The Eye Examination
Your eye examination will begin with a technician measuring your vision with your current glasses or contact lenses. Chances are, if you wear glasses or contacts, some letters on the eye chart will be blurry without them. The technician will then ask you to read a chart projected across the examination room that consists of numbers and letters. The numbers and letters get progressively smaller and more difficult to read as you move down the chart. This test, called the “Snellen Acuity” test is an important first step to understanding how well you see.
Next, the movement of your eyes is evaluated in order to understand how well the eye muscles function together. It will also evaluate how effectively your eye muscles move your eyes into the different positions of gaze. A fairly bright light is shined in your eyes. This will test the reaction of your pupils. By shining the light into your eyes in different directions, we can learn a great deal about how well your optic nerve is functioning.
The Slit Lamp
You will then sit behind the Slit Lamp Biomicroscope instrument. This instrument provides the doctors with both high magnification, and special illumination. Using this instrument, it is possible to examine the condition of your eyelids, eye lashes, eyelid margins, and tear film. The Slit Lamp will also carefully examine the white of your eye, as well as the Cornea. By focusing the Slit Lamp through the pupil, your doctor will be able to examine the health of the Crystalline Lens, which is where cataracts form.
To check for Glaucoma, the doctor will place a few eye drops in your eyes. These drops measure the Intraocular Pressure of your eye. This can also be measured with a Tono Pen, which is a handheld instrument. This is an important diagnostic test for Glaucoma.
If you wear glasses or contacts, you have likely undergone multiple vision tests with an instrument called a Phoroptor. This instrument presents a number of lens combinations in order to see which corrects your vision most precisely. This test is called a refraction. We will then check your refraction in order to determine the most accurate prescription necessary to fully correct your vision.
Once your doctor has completed examination of the front of the eye, they will examine the back of the eye. In order to dilate your pupils, additional eye drops are placed in your eyes. Pupil dilation is important because it allows the doctors to examine the structures in the back of your eye. These include the Retina, its blood vessels, and the optic nerve. After the dilation drops are placed in your eyes, it takes 15 to 30 minutes for the eye drops to dilate your pupil.
After the Examination
Finally, you will relax in our comfortable waiting area while the eye drops work. The thorough examination of the Retina and optic nerve through a dilated pupil is not uncomfortable. However, the fully widened pupil may make you sensitive to light and blur your vision for a few hours, especially at near distances. If you have not had a dilated exam in the past, it is a good idea to have a driver on your exam day. It is important to bring a good pair of sunglasses with you in order to lessen your light sensitivity.
The Eye Center provides comprehensive eye examinations, as well as testing for glasses and contact lenses. To schedule an eye exam, call 303-777-5455.