Eye exams and what to expect

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Eye Exam

Introduction – What is An Eye Exam?

An opthamologist or optometrist tests your vision through a series of tests that are collectively known as the eye exam. You may need several tests during one doctor’s visit or just a couple depending on the condition of your vision in the first place. At the end of the exam you are usually advised whether or not you need to be prescribed glasses or be treated with eye surgery or laser vision surgery.

Many eye disorders do not have warning sign which is why the American Opthamology association recommends that you check your eyes at least twice a year if you are over the age of thirty. If you are under the age of thirty you can get away with a check up every two years. Of course if you have an eye problem or need glasses you should always follow the suggestions of your opthamologist or optometrist regarding your vision.

Your eyes may also need to be checked more frequently if you have a disease such as glaucoma or diabetes or if you have a predisposition to those two diseases because you are of Afro-American descent.

The Benefits of An Eye Exam

Regular eye exams are vital to monitor the health of your eyes. Eye examination allows the doctor to find out if your vision needs further correction or if you are suffering from a condition like a detached retina. The exam also helps the doctor correct diseases and conditions that could eventually lead to blindness

Symptoms of Eye Problems and Eye Diseases

There are many symptoms that can indicate a serious problem when it comes to your eyes. You should see an eye doctor immediately if you are seeing floating white dots, pains in your eyes, blind spots, headaches, bloody discharge, a lack of tears, flashes of lights or troubles opening or shutting an eyelid.

Preparing for a Eye Exam

Unless your eye doctor has instructed you to do otherwise (like put drops in your eyes to widen your pupils) there are no special instructions. Some doctors prefer you wear contacts to the examination. You should also bring glasses that you wear.

You should also bring a list of the medications that you are on in case a side effect from one of them is affecting your eyes.

If you have a specialized problem with your eyes, such as an upcoming operation for glaucoma, bring a list of questions for your doctor.

During the Eye Exam

Before your eyes are examined your doctor will ask you about your vision in general. The optometrist or opthamologist will also ask how long you have been wearing your glasses and if you use contact lenses be prepared to answer questions about the cleaning solutions you are using.

The eye doctor will test you for near or farsighted eye conditions by have you read an eye chart with letters of the alphabet on it out loud. If you have problems reading the chart he will also use a device that simulates the strength of prescription lenses to find the right eyeglass prescription for you. If you are being fitted for contact lenses too the doctor may measure your eyeball and determine your eye shape.

The optometrist or ophthalmologist may also check your eye health by using a special type of optical microscope intended solely for eye examinations that can look deep into the pupil of the eye. However first he may use a solution to dilate your pupils. This allows him to check your retina for any sign of cataracts, retinal detachment or macular degeneration. Using this microscope he can also check for symptoms of diabetes, glaucoma and high blood pressure.

After the eye examination is over, the optometrist or ophthalmologist will prescribe glasses or contacts for you. The typical vision examination usually lasts from half an hour to an hour. Some optometrist or ophthalmologist offices will fit you right on the spot with contact lenses and many eye doctors nowadays also have eye glass shops right on their premises.

Post Eye Exam Considerations

If your eye doctor has put drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils you will have to wait four to six hours for your vision to return to normal. Until then you may be sensitive to light, experience a headache and have blurry vision. If you are prescribed contact lenses you might be asked to return to the doctor so that he can make sure that they are fitted correctly.