Getting an eye exam is an important part of taking care of your health. When should you or your family members get an eye exam? How frequently should you get your eyes checked? What is covered in an eye exam? We’ll answer these questions in this blog.
Getting an eye exam at the right time is essential to ensure that you have great vision that lasts a lifetime.
When should you have an eye exam?
Childhood vision screening
From birth through the teenage years, children’s eyes are growing and changing quickly. These screenings help identify when your child might need a complete eye exam. How often your child should receive an eye exam is dependent on age, family history, and medical history.
It is recommended for an infant’s first eye exam to be between the ages of six and nine months. Between the ages of two and five years, children should have at least one other eye exam, and school-aged children should have a comprehensive eye exam annually.
Eye exams for adults
For adults, regular eye exams are an important part of maintaining overall health and vision. Adults aged 20 to 64 should have a comprehensive eye exam at least every two years. Adults with other health or visual conditions, such as diabetes, may warrant more frequent partial or comprehensive eye examinations.
Adults over the age of 40 may be at an increased risk for age-related eye conditions. This is when early signs of changes in vision or possibly disease may appear. Early detection and treatment can help preserve your vision.
There are some exceptions to the guideline:
If you have an infection, injury, or eye pain.
If you wear contact lenses, it’s recommended that you see your eye specialist every year.
If you have diabetes or have a family history of eye disease.
Seniors and eye exams
If you’re 65 or older, it’s important to have your eyes checked at least once a year. Your eye doctor will check for signs of age-related eye diseases such as:
Age-related macular degeneration
What do optometrists check during eye exams?
A comprehensive eye exam is simple and comfortable, and generally takes between 45 and 90 minutes.
Here is what the exam should include:
1. Your medical history
Your doctor will ask you about your vision and your overall general health:
Family’s medical history
Medications you take
Whether you wear corrective lenses
2. Your prescription for corrective lenses
Your eye doctor will ask you to look at an eye chart through a phoroptor, which contains different lenses. The test will help determine the best eye prescription for you.
3. Your pupils
Your doctor may check how your pupils respond to light by shining a beam of light directly into your eye, which normally responds by getting smaller. If your pupils widen or don’t respond, it may reveal an underlying problem with your eyes.
4. Your side vision
Loss of peripheral vision, also known as side vision, may be a symptom of glaucoma or other conditions. Since people normally lose peripheral vision without noticing, this test may help find eye problems you aren’t aware of.
5. Your eye movement
Ocular motility is a test that helps evaluate the movement of your eyes. For this test, your eye doctor will look to see if your eyes are aligned, as well as check that your eye muscles are working properly.
6. Your eye pressure
Eye pressure testing, known as tonometry, measures the pressure within your eye (intraocular eye pressure, or IOP). It involves a quick puff of air onto the eye or gently applying a pressure-sensitive tip near or against your eye. Elevated IOP is considered one sign of glaucoma.
7. The front part of your eye
Your eye doctor will use a slit-lamp microscope to light up the front part of the eye, including the cornea, eyelids, iris, and lens. This test checks for scars or scratches on your cornea as well as for cataracts.
8. Your retina and optic nerve
Your eye doctor will put dilating eye drops in your eye to help dilate, or widen, your pupil. This allows your retina and optic nerve to be examined for signs of damage from disease. Your eyes may be sensitive to light for a few hours after dilation.
9. Other tests during an eye examination
Your eye doctor may suggest other tests. This may include specialized imaging techniques such as:
Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
Fluorescein angiography (FA)
Automated visual field
Topography, which is a scan of the surface of your cornea
Your Local Optometrist
Regular checkups with an eye doctor are very important because a professional eye exam will determine what type of care your eyes need and whether or not your vision is healthy. If you’re looking for an optometrist in the Toronto area, contact Tonic Eye Care today for all of your vision needs!
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