Having regular eye exams is critical to maintaining good overall health. Yet many people neglect this essential health service unless they’re experiencing specific problems with their vision. The following article discusses why you should have regular eye exams, and what they involve. OptiExpress offers comprehensive eye care services, helping the Cape Coral and Fort Myers communities keep their vision strong and maintain their healthy eyes.
How often should we have eye exams?
Eye exams are much-overlooked parts of maintaining our health and should be undertaken periodically throughout our lives. Not only should we have our eyes checked if we notice any changes in the quality of our vision, but we should also have eye exams as a part of our comprehensive medical assessments. In addition to having vision screenings in childhood – children’s eyes develop and grow very quickly – we should have them regularly throughout our adolescence and adulthood. Moreover, adults who may be at risk for the following conditions should have eye exams regularly.
- High blood pressure
- Inherited eye conditions
Your eye doctor will give you a follow-up schedule for future eye exams based upon his/her assessment. As you grow older, your eye disease risk increases, so it is especially important to adhere to your eye doctor’s recommendations. Seniors should have their eyes checked yearly, even if they do not require prescription lenses, to screen for cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration, among other conditions.
How do eye doctors conduct eye exams?
When you have an eye exam, your eye doctor will check the following:
- Medical history. Your overall medical history is a significant determiner of your eye health. Based on your health and your family’s medical history, your doctor can gain valuable insight into how your eyes will age and what conditions you could be at-risk for.
- Visual sharpness. The visual acuity portion is what people most associate with eye exams – it tests whether the patient has 20/20 vision. This checks the patient’s distance vision and utilizes an eye chart, where the patient covers one eye and reads letters of varying sizes.
- Need for corrective lenses. The eye chart test will also be conducted using what’s called a phoropter. This is an instrument that holds corrective lenses of different strengths; the patient views a chart through a combination of lenses and tells the optometrist which lenses yield the sharpest results.
- Pupil responsiveness. Healthy pupils shrink when exposed to direct light, as when a flashlight is shone at them. The optometrist shines a light into the pupils to check for shrinkage, as any other response indicates a potential concern.
- Peripheral vision. When peripheral – side – vision begins to deteriorate, this could be a sign of glaucoma. This is a particularly important test because many patients experience a deficiency of peripheral vision without recognizing it.
- Movement of the eye. This tests the health and functionality of the muscles of the eye, as well as eye alignment. This is known as an ocular motility test.
- Elevated eye pressure. Elevated eye fluid pressure is one of the symptoms of glaucoma; your eye doctor will conduct an eye pressure test either using a tonometer, which applies light pressure to the eye and measures the force with which the eye resists.
- Cataracts. Your eye doctor checks for cataracts and scratches or scars on the cornea.
- The health of the optic nerve. The condition of the retina and optic nerve is checked with the application of pupil dilating eye drops. This allows your eye doctor to thoroughly examine the retina for any indication of infection-related damage.
While the above examinations aren’t the only tests that might be recommended, they are essential to making an accurate determination of your eye health and visual acuity. These tests can help not only detect problems with the eyes, but they can also indicate other health conditions that should be addressed quickly.
OptiExpress: Ft. Myers and Cape Coral’s Leading Optometry Center
OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is a respected physician and one of Cape Coral’s top-ranked optometrists. Since 1999, OptiExpress has helped diverse communities in South Florida maintain their vision and ocular health. With friendly, Florida-licensed clinicians, a one-hour lab, and a wide selection of designer frames, OptiExpress is a one-stop-shop for all of your eye care essentials.
OptiExpress eye centers are located in Ft. Myers and Cape Coral, Florida. To schedule an appointment for an eye exam, please visit our contact page.