Vision is an important component of overall health. The eyes are the window through which we see the world. Eye problems impair function. They can limit your ability to drive, see a golf ball, or thread a needle. Poor vision can also increase risks of falls, worsen balance, and affect mood and depression. Fortunately, we have the means to repair a wide variety of visual impairments and diseases.
But like our bodies, regular maintenance plays an important role. One of the best ways to maintain good eye health is with regular eye exams.
When should you have an eye exam?
If you wear glasses for nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, have an exam yearly. This helps you maintain an accurate prescription.
Especially if you are a young adult, your eyeglass prescription will change often. This is also the case if you’re pregnant, going through menopause, or change a medication.
For those with natural 20/20 vision, having regular eye exams is still a good idea. If you have diabetes, hypertension, or a family history of eye disease, you need a yearly exam. This is still the case even if you don’t have any visual problems!
At the age of 40, you should have an eye exam, regardless of if you have vision problems or not. After you’ve turned 40, you should get eye exams every two years. Once you are 50, you should have an eye exam yearly.
When should your child have an eye exam?
Children should have regular eye exams regardless of how well they can see. When a child is learning to read and write, visual impairment can hinder them. If left undiagnosed and untreated, vision problems could hold your child back academically.
When a child is an infant, they should be screened for any visual problems at least once. They should have another exam when they reach age 3 or 4. Once they reach school age, they should have yearly eye exams.
Often, elementary schools will perform basic tests for their students to test how well they can see and hear. If there are any problems during the exams, the parents are notified.
If your child does poorly on a sight exam at school, they should have a comprehensive eye exam as soon as possible.
What does a routine eye exam entail?
A comprehensive eye exam examines a patient’s vision and their general ocular health. Usually, this includes examining the following things:
- Visual acuity
- Eye movement (with both eyes working together and separately)
- Peripheral vision
- The retina and optic nerve
- Eye pressure
If a patient’s visual acuity is below average, a refraction is given in each eye. This determines their exact prescription.
Does a routine eye exam include a contact exam?
A routine comprehensive eye exam includes refraction. Refraction can determine a patient’s eyeglass prescription or any changes.
A separate exam is required to determine a patient’s contact lens prescription, type of lens best suited to the patient, and fit.
How do you get fitted for contacts?
If you want contacts, you need to have a full contact lens exam. If you currently wear contacts, you should have a contact lens exam on a regular basis. This should be in addition to a comprehensive eye exam.
A contact lens exam involves first measuring the surface of the patient’s eye. This will help determine what size and kind of contact is best suited for them.
Contact lens exams can also involve a tear film evaluation. This evaluation determines how well the eye produces tears. Since contacts tend to dry out the eye, it’s important to know how dry your eyes are before being fit for them.
This can give your eye doctor a better understanding about what contacts are right for you. After testing dryness, your eye doctor will test for your contact lens prescription.
This is different from your eyeglass prescription. Glasses sit a distance from the eye, while contact lenses set on the surface of the eye. This means that you’ll need different refractive powers to correct vision.
Contacts can take more time to get used to than glasses. A contact exam usually requires follow-up after the first week of wearing contacts.
Once you get used to your contacts, you shouldn’t need more than one exam a year to check up on how they’re working.
Can’t remember the last time you had a comprehensive eye exam? It’s time to schedule one! Contact Tuscaloosa Ophthalmology for an appointment today!