Eye Exams

The Importance of a regular eye exam for adults

During your eye exam the optometrist is not only evaluating your eyes for visual correction (if you need eye glasses or contact lenses), but he is also checking the overall health and function of your eye.

Most eye diseases have very little or slow symptoms and cannot be detected unless you have a comprehensive eye exam. It is important to catch eye diseases early as some diseases, like Glaucoma, are not reversible, but they can be managed and prevented.

Examples of what the doctor is looking for:

  • Refractive error: This refers to your prescription and is corrected with eye glasses, contact lenses or surgery
  • Strabismus: This has to do with the muscular function in the eye
  • Eye Diseases: These can be detected by looking at the eye’s blood vessels, retina and so forth. Diseases include Glaucoma, Cancer, Cataracts, Retinitis Pigmentosa and many others.
  • Eye Problems like dry eyes or computer syndrome

The importance of an eye exam for children and infants

Since many eye problems arise from conditions that can be identified by an eye doctor in an infant’s first year of life, a parent can give an infant a great gift by seeking an eye assessment in addition to the wellness evaluation of the eyes that is done by a pediatrician or family practice doctor.

Did you know?

  • 80% of a child’s learning is based on vision
  • 1 in 5 children have a vision problem
  • 1 in 6 school-aged children experience learning difficulties which are a result of unknown or uncorrected vision conditions
  • One in 30 children will be affected by amblyopia — often referred to as lazy eye — a leading cause of vision loss in people younger than 45 years.
  • One in 25 will develop strabismus — more commonly known as cross-eyes — a risk factor for amblyopia.
  • One in 33 will show significant refractive error such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism — irregularly shaped cornea.
  • One in 100 will exhibit evidence of eye diseases such as glaucoma.
  • Correction of Strabismus is most effective when diagnosed and treated before the age of 2
  • Motor skills among children 3-5 improved significantly after appropriate eyewear was prescribed and worn
  • Detecting and correcting vision problems in children could contribute to a reduction of illiteracy and drop-outs

Source: BC Association of Optometry, Archives of Ophthalmology, allaboutvision.com an InfantSEE

How often should I get an eye exam?

Children: An assessment between six and 12 months of age is recommended to determine if an infant is at risk for eye or vision disorders. Children should at least have had one eye examination by the age of three, and then every two years after that (more often if recommended by the optometrist).

Adults: We recommended every two years, especially after the age of 40 as age increases the risk of many eye diseases.

Seniors: Over the age of 70 an annual eye exam is recommended.

What to expect during an eye exam?

Before you begin: You will undergo a series of tests that will be performed by an optical assistant. These results provide vital information that the Optometrist will use in determining the overall health of your eyes. The optometrist will also take a thorough case history to determine factors like hereditary eye diseases, eye injuries, diabetes and various medications that may influence your eye examination.

The examination:
A standard examination takes about 30 minutes. The optometrist will take the power measurement of your eyes to determine if you require eyeglasses and what strength they should be. He will also determine how well your eyes work together as a team.

Next he will examine the front of your eye, including the eyelids, cornea and your pupil reflexes.

In order to examine the interior of your eye for cataracts and other diseases, the optometrist will insert dilation drops – these take about 15 minutes to take effect. This procedure will not hurt, but you will notice that your vision becomes blurry as they take effect. Your eyes will also be sensitive after this procedure, so make sure you bring a pair of sunglasses along for the trip home.