Why are eye exams important? - KOTA Territory News

Why are eye exams important?

Why are eye exams important?

Routine eye exams are important – regardless of your age or your physical health.

During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor does much more than just determines your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses.  He will also check your eyes for common eye diseases, assess how your eyes work together as a team and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health.

Who should get their eyes examined?

Eye examinations are an important part of health maintenance for everyone.  Adults should have their eyes tested to keep their prescriptions current and to check for early signs of eye disease. 

What does the Ophthalmologist checking for?

In addition to evaluating your eyes for glasses and contacts, your Ophthalmologist will check your eyes for eye diseases and other problems that could lead to vision loss.

 Examples of eye conditions that your Ophthalmologist looks for.

  • Refractive error. This refers to nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.  Refractive errors are corrected with eyeglasses, contacts or refractive surgery.
  • Amblyopia.  This occurs when the eyes are turned or when one eye has a much different prescription than the other.  The brain will "shut off" the image from the turned or blurry eye.  Left untreated, amblyopia can stunt the visual development of the affected eye, resulting in permanent vision impairment.  Amblyopia is often treated by patching the stronger eye for periods of time.
  • Strabismus.  Strabismus is defined as crossed or turned eyes.  The Ophthalmologist will check your eyes alignment to be sure that they are working together.  Strabismus causes problems with depth perception and can lead to amblyopia.
  • Eye teaming problems.  Even if your eyes appear to be properly aligned, it's possible they do not work together efficiently as a team.  Such binocular vision problems can cause headaches, eye strain and other problems that can affect reading and other near vision tasks.
  • Focusing problems.  These problems can range from incompletely developed focusing skills in children to normal age-related declines in focusing ability among older adults.
  • Eye diseases. Many eye diseases, such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, have no symptoms in their early stages.  Your eye doctor will check the health of your eyes inside and out for signs of early problems.  In most cases, early detection and treatment of eye diseases can help reduce your risk for permanent vision loss.
  • Other diseases.  Ophthalmologists can detect early signs of some conditions and diseases by looking at your eye's blood vessels, retina and so forth.  Your eye doctor may be able to tell you if you are developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol or other problems.  For example, diabetes can cause small blood vessel leaks or bleeding in the eye, as well as swelling of the macula, which can lead to vision loss.  Your eye doctor will likely detect this during a complete eye exam.

Why vision screenings are no substitute for a complete eye exam. 

Vision screenings are limited eye tests that help identify people who are at risk for vision problems.  The eye test that you take when you get your driver's license renewed is an example of a vision screening.

Depending on who is performing the test and where the test is given, vision screenings may include tests for blur, muscle coordination and/or common eye diseases.  A vision screening can indicate that you need to get your eyes checked, but it does not serve as a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam.

A comprehensive eye examination is performed by an eye doctor and includes careful testing of all aspects of your vision.  Based on the results of your exam, your eye doctor will then recommend a treatment plan for your individual needs. 

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