Contrary to popular belief an eye exam is so much more than checking to see if you need glasses or if you need to update your current pair of glasses. Of course this gets done during every comprehensive eye exam, but as part of your regular eye exam we also extensively check the health of the eyes:
Some medications (including common ones!) can have side effects on your eyes. These medications can cause your eyes to become irritated, reduce your ability to see clearly, or even permanently affect your vision. During your eye exam we look for any ocular side effects that may be caused by medications you are taking. The same goes for health conditions you may have, as these can affect your vision as well. Some common examples include diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and high blood pressure.
Curvature of the Eyes
The front of your eye is curved, much like a beach ball. During your eye exam we check to see how curved your eye is and if it is changing over time. Changes in the curvature of the eye may indicate that your contact lenses are not fitting correctly or that an ocular disease is present.
Have you ever had the “puff of air test” during an eye exam? If so, you might be wondering what its purpose is and why it is important. This test indicates how much pressure is inside each of your eyes. This is crucial to the health check of your eyes, as high pressures can be one of the first signs of glaucoma.
During your eye exam your peripheral vision, also known as your side vision, is checked. Trauma, tumours, and vascular abnormalities are among a few things that can affect your side vision. Oddly enough, we tend to not notice if a loss in side vision has occurred, which makes getting this test done at your regular eye exam invaluable.
Eyes that are aligned and work together allow you to be able to read comfortably without eyestrain or headaches. When the eyes are misaligned or struggle to stay aligned problems can occur, putting stress on common daily activities. In the working population these eye coordination issues can manifest as the eyes feeling tired after working on the computer. In children these issues can lead to an avoidance of school work, a lack of motivation to learn, and sometimes can even lead to a child being diagnosed with a learning or behavioral disability when one is not really present. During your eye exam we check to see that the eyes are aligned and working together. We also have specialty appointments and training for those who do not have adequate eye coordination. You might be surprised to know that about 20% of the population suffers from a lack of eye coordination!
Ensuring you can see to the best of your ability is the goal of every comprehensive eye examination, and this involves looking at the eyes to evaluate their health. We have specialized instruments that allow us to look not only at the surface of the eyes, but the inside of the eyes as well. Often times the early signs of health conditions can be seen in the eyes before you start to notice anything is wrong with your vision. Diabetes and high blood pressure are two common examples where signs can sometimes be first detected during an eye exam. Signs of glaucoma and macular degeneration can also be detected during your eye exam before you have any symptoms, which means that treatment or preventative measures can be taken before severe vision loss occurs.