Regular eye examinations are essential to maintaining eye health since many blinding eye diseases have no warning signs until they have taken away some or all of our vision.
We will diagnose and help treat diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal disorders, low-vision rehabilitation, and eye injuries.
How Often Should You Have an Eye Exam?
Children and Teenagers should have their first eye exam at 3 years old before they begin kindergarten to help determine whether they need glasses for schoolwork and to verify that their eyes are healthy. After this, their vision should be measured every 1-2 years to make sure that sight is developing normally.
Adults should have an eye exam every year or two, and at least once a year after age 50, when blinding diseases listed above become more common.
There are a few exceptions to these guidelines:
- People with diabetes should have an eye examination every year starting when they are diagnosed with diabetes, no matter how old they are.
- Younger adults with medical conditions should have dilated eye exams annually to check for cataracts or other vision problems.
- People who have relatives with eye diseases, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, should have examinations once a year beginning as early as age 30.
What to Expect
Eye doctors use a wide variety of tests and procedures to examine your eyes. These tests range from simple ones, like having you read an eye chart, to complex tests, such as using a high-powered lens to visualize the tiny structures inside of your eyes.
When you have an eye exam, it will take from a half-hour to a full hour or more, depending on the number and complexity of tests required for your eyes.
The doctor puts dilating drops in your eyes to make the pupils bigger, to get a better view of the internal structures of your eyes.
These drops take 15-20 minutes to start working and will make you more sensitive to light (because more light is getting into your eye). You may notice difficulty focusing on objects up close and, to a lesser extent, distance vision may be affected for three to five hours.
Once the drops have taken effect, the doctor will use a variety of instruments and light sources to look at your eyes. At the end of your exam, you may drive home, with caution. We will provide you with sunglasses if needed.
Dilation is very important, because it allows for the most thorough evaluation of the health of the inside of your eyes.
Visual Field Test
In some cases, your doctor may want to check for the presence of blind spots in your peripheral or "side" vision by performing a visual field test. These types of blind spots can originate from eye diseases such as glaucoma.
Analysis of blind spots also may help identify specific areas of brain damage caused by a stroke or tumor. When the test is complete, the doctor will have a complete map of your peripheral vision. The pattern of this map tells your doctor where you can and can’t see.
Contact-lens evaluations, laser-surgery work-ups and pediatric eye exams often require additional, more specialized tests. Your doctor will select the right tests for your eyes and explain each test as it is performed.
Regardless of the type of test being performed, it is important that you follow directions closely and be honest in your answers. This will ensure accurate results and the most thorough evaluation of your eyes.