Although correcting your vision is very important, a comprehensive eye exam does a lot more than that. The exam allows the eye doctor to evaluate the health of your eyes to screen for cataract, glaucoma and macular degeneration, some of which you would feel no obvious symptoms until irreversible damage is done. Early diagnosis and treatment of these conditions make big differences in the prognosis.
Not only are eye exams important for your eye health, but also for your general health. Comprehensive eye exams may also detect serious health problems such as high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes before the symptoms show up elsewhere in the body. Early detection of these diseases means proper treatments and early referral to necessary specialists.
Your individual concerns and symptoms, along with the professional judgment of the doctor, may significantly influence the tests. A comprehensive eye examination may include the following tests.
• Patient history: to determine any problems you are experiencing, personal and family medical/ocular history and medications taken
• Visual acuity: to determine how clearly each eye is seeing
• Peripheral vision test: to determine how well you can see off to the side
• Eye muscle testing: to evaluate eye alignment and eye movement
• Pupil testing: to evaluate neurologic integrity
• Refraction: to determine the appropriate lens power needed to correct vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or presbyopia
• Eye pressure test: to check for glaucoma
• Eye health evaluation: to check for eye diseases like dry eyes, cataract, glaucoma, macula degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and more.
Yearly eye exams are recommended for most people, but more frequent exams are recommended for people who have history of eye or systemic disease.