Eye health and exams for adults
Some optical stores offer sight tests, which often rely on automated machinery to generate a record from which to dispense glasses. However, the accuracy of a sight test is limited, and the sight test itself may also not be performed by a trained and licensed professional.
Furthermore, these tests completely overlook many serious eye or health problems and diseases, as the eye itself is not examined during a sight test. Many serious conditions do not blur a person’s vision, or only do so once the disease is more advanced. Some of the eye and health conditions that cannot be detected through a sight test include:
• Glaucoma: a progressive eye disease affecting the optic nerve (a structure that connects the eye to the brain) and which can lead to permanent vision loss if not detected and treated
• Diabetic retinopathy: a weakening or swelling of the tiny blood vessels in the retina, and sometimes the growth of new blood vessels. If diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, blindness can result
• Tumors of the brain or eye (whether cancerous or benign)
• High blood pressure, which can lead to stroke, heart attack, and other health problems
• Retinal detachment: a condition where the retina partially or completely peels away from the back of the eye. Once it is detached, the retina stops working and light signals cannot get back to the brain to be processed. To the patient, some degree of vision loss occurs. Depending on the severity of the detachment, vision loss can be severe and permanent
What is a comprehensive eye exam?
An eye exam performed by an optometrist looks at the entire eye health and visual system, as well as your prescription. It is an important part of preventative health care: think of an eye exam as a physical for your eyes. Eye exams can detect eye diseases and disorders such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment, and macular degeneration. It can also detect other health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and brain tumors.
An optometrist may use automated computerized instruments to provide an estimate of the prescription prior to providing a more detailed refraction; however, they use their extensive training and experience, together with professional judgment, to direct the testing and interpret the results. Only on this basis can an accurate optical prescription be determined and customized to the patient’s visual needs.
An eye exam includes:
• A case history, including past and present vision and medical issues, as well as a detailed family history.
• An analysis of the patient’s visual needs at home, work, school and play
• Measurement of the visual acuity (sharpness of vision) of each eye
• Binocular vision assessment: determining how well the eyes work together
• Diagnosis of the refractive status of the eye (focusing power of the eye)
• Eye health check: assessment of the internal and external health of the eye with specially designed instruments to uncover anything from a minor lid inflammation to a major retinal disease, or even a serious condition elsewhere in the body.
• A neurological assessment of the visual system, including a review of the pupil reactions, eye muscle movement, and an assessment of the peripheral vision.
All of these tests are used in the final analysis to determine the appropriate prescription lenses to treat refractive and visual problems, to develop a program of eye training exercises, or to recommend medical or surgical treatment. Recommendations for future eye care can be made based on the history of eye health and the results of the examination. The final analysis of the eye exam includes an optometrist’s professional knowledge, training, experience and judgment.
The Eye Exam
Optometrists play an essential and ongoing role in ensuring yours and your family’s health. They diagnose, treat and help prevent diseases and disorders affecting the visual system, the eye and related structures. They also assist in identifying general health conditions that are often first detected through an eye exam, provide referrals to specialists and can help manage post-eye-surgery health. From infants and grade-schoolers to grandparents, optometrists ensure quality of vision, eye health and life.
Optometrists evaluate many factors affecting your vision and eye health. They review your case history, conduct an external and internal exam of your eyes and measure vision qualities. This includes:
• Eye movements
• Vision sharpness
• Peripheral vision
They also evaluate your ability to adjust focus and to see colour and depth normally. If an optometrist detect problems, they may recommend glasses, contact lenses, exercises, medication or surgery.
Many serious eye conditions don’t have obvious symptoms. Some eye diseases only show symptoms when the condition is advanced, difficult, or even impossible to treat. A comprehensive eye exam provides the full assurance of vision and eye health. A store sight test or a school vision screening does nothing to determine if your eyes are healthy.
A sight test can only determine a lens power by relying on a combination of computerized tests using automated equipment. These automated sight tests are not comprehensive or accurate.
Routine eye exams by an optometrist ensures good vision, eye health and peace of mind. If you do not already have an optometrist, you do not need a referral to book an exam. Find an optometrist near you and call for your appointment today.
Good vision is about making good choices. Your best choice is to see your optometrist for a routine eye exam, ensuring good vision and eye health. Early diagnosis and treatment are keys to preventing vision loss.
Don’t assume red eyes, pain or unusual visual symptoms will go away on their own. You can never be sure. Some eye diseases only show symptoms when the condition is advanced, difficult, or even impossible to treat.
Here are some tips to ensure good eye health choices:
• Sit five times further away than the width of your TV screen
• Eat the right foods to help deter the onset of certain eye conditions
• Adhere to the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 second.
• Wear proper protective eyewear when undertaking most major indoor or outdoor work
• Have your child wear sunglasses outside when the sun is shining
Good vision and eye health means making smart choices at work, too. At the office, being farsighted, nearsighted, or having astigmatism can make computer use uncomfortable. Depending on your condition, your eyes could be exerting extra focus, forcing them to work harder to maintain a clear image when viewing the screen.
Optometrists provide expert eye health and leading prescription safety eyewear to industries as diverse as forestry and IT. They offer comprehensive eye examinations, professional consultation and individually tailored programs to help employees work safely and effectively.
Through comprehensive eye health services, such as visual field assessments and vision training, optometrist can detect, manage and treat conditions such as job-related eyestrain, age-related vision change and disease. Talk to your optometrist to ensure you are making the right choices.
Find an optometrist near you.