Routine Eye care
Regular eye exams are an invaluable tool in maintaining eye health by detecting and preventing disease. Some diseases, such as glaucoma, develop gradually without causing pain or vision loss, so patients may not notice that anything is wrong until significant and irreversible damage has been done. Early detection of eye diseases can allow for a choice of treatment options and reduced risk of permanent damage.
Who should get an eye exam?
Patients should see their doctor for a comprehensive eye exam every one to three years, depending on their age, risk of disease and overall physical condition. Children should have regular tests to ensure the proper development of their vision and prevent any interference with their academic achievements. Older adults are often at a higher risk for eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. Even if your eyes are healthy, you should still have a regular eye exam to detect any problems as soon as possible and begin necessary treatment.
What happens during an eye exam?
An eye exam is different from a vision screening, which only tests vision and is commonly performed by a school nurse, pediatrician or other health care provider. Only your eye doctor can perform a comprehensive eye exam to evaluate the overall health of the eye and detect any changes that may indicate a vision disorder. During a routine eye exam, your doctor will evaluate your eyes for refractive errors, as well as common conditions such as:
- Diabetic eye disease
School Eye Exams
Clear vision and healthy eyes are important not only to your child’s overall health and well-being, but are also directly related to their academic performance in school. Comprehensive eye exams are essential in the diagnosis and treatment of vision problems, injury and disease. While vision is likely tested at your child’s school each year, these exams only evaluate eyesight and do not test the overall health of the eyes.
A professional eye exam performed by a certified eye doctor tests vision, while also evaluating the eyes for more serious conditions and diseases. At Associates in Ophthalmology, we perform eye exams and vision screenings for children of all ages, including school-age children whose performance is dependent on strong, healthy eyes.
Vision screenings are recommended every other year while your child is in school, or every year for children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses. Regular testing helps detect any problems early, which allows treatment to begin before the child experiences difficulty in school due to poor vision, or before any permanent damage has occurred.
Your Child’s Eye Exam
During your child’s eye exam, the doctor will evaluate:
- Near vision
- Distance vision
- Eye coordination
- Focusing skills
- Peripheral awareness
These vision aspects are assessed through traditional eye charts, including charts that use special symbols instead of letters for young children; retinoscopy, which shines a light into the eye to examine the retina; and random dot stereopsis, which uses dot patterns to detect any differences between the two eyes.
Older children undergo testing very similar to those used for adults, including a visual field test, dilation, slit-lamp examination, cover test, retinoscopy and refraction. After the exam is completed and an accurate diagnosis has been made, your child’s doctor will develop a treatment plan that may include an eyeglasses prescription, medication, vision therapy or surgery if any conditions do exist.
Common Childhood Eye Conditions
In addition to detecting vision problems, our school eye exams also check for common childhood conditions such as a lazy eye (amblyopia) or crossed eyes (strabismus). These conditions are often present at birth as a result of genetic factors, and should be treated early to reduce the risk of complications. Treatment may include glasses to improve focusing.
It is important for parents to explain the importance of professional eye care and treatment to their children in order to promote proper eye health and a lifetime of strong, healthy eyes.
To schedule a comprehensive eye exam for your child, please call us today.