When and Why?
Going in for eye exams every six months or annually is a good idea, even if you do not notice any vision problems and have good sight. Periodic eye exams should be considered a part of your primary health care concerns, especially because eye diseases can go unnoticed or you may be qualified to get lenses.
If you go in regularly, you can stop potentially blinding diseases, detect signs of tumors in the brain, or ocular manifestations of systemic diseases. Therefore, make sure to go in at least once a year or if you notice anything abnormal with your vision. You do not need to already have or know of a problem with your eyes to qualify to go in for an eye exam.
What to Expect
There are several different things to expect when getting an eye exam. Some eye exams are more thorough, while others are general and basic. A minimal eye exam will always check the appearance of your eye and it’s outer exterior, such as your eyelids, pupils, irises, and surrounding eye tissues. A simple chart will also be displayed for you to read off of to see and test your ability to see letters up close or far away, and being able to discern them correctly. This test is called the visual activity test, as it judges your overall ability to see details.
Another thing to expect during an eye exam is the refraction tests. There are two types: objective and subjective. The objective test is done by the doctor shining light into your pupil, and observing your eye’s movement and reflexes. The doctor measures themselves and does not need patient feedback. With subjective, however, you will be required to respond and answer questions. The test is easy, as you the patient look through different lenses and decide which lens is more blurry and which lens is clearer.
Ocular motility is another test that should always be taken even at basic exams and is one to be expected. You are asked to follow an object with your eyes. The doctor will simply study your eye movement and make sure the movement of your eyes seems correct.
You will also be asked to do a retinal examination. The doctor may use eye drops to dilate your eye, which makes the observing process of the peripheral retina easier. The optic disc and retinal vasculature appearances are recorded as well.
Lastly, an ophthalmoscope is used to see directly through your eye to test the red reflex. It’s basically a red light shown through the eye to make sure it bounces from the back of your eye correctly. If opacity is detected, you may be suffering from cataracts.
Beyond the basic tests, there are specialized ones that you can discuss with your doctor, such as a color blind test. However, basic eye exams are typically all that is needed and they are fast and easy. Not to mention they give you a peace of mind afterward or get you into a new pair of glasses or contacts.
Do not miss going to these routine exams or else you put yourself at risk for not catching a problem early on, because most diseases of the eye have acute symptoms. All in all, there is nothing to worry about. Leave it to the professionals and simply make sure to keep your eyes checked and in good health!