When was the last time you had an eye exam? Chances are, you are overdue for your next eye test. You may not realize this, but eye exams are also about a lot more than just your vision. It’s important to make sure that you and your family are getting eye exams at the recommended frequencies, and in this post we’ll explain why.
What is an Eye Exam?
According to the Mayo Clinic, an eye exam is “a series of tests to evaluate your vision and check for eye diseases.”
Making sure you get regular eye exams can help detect eye problems at the earliest stage possible, when they’re the easiest to treat.
When it comes to children and eye tests, there are some additional important factors to consider. Kids’ eye exams are absolutely critical for school performance, as experts estimate that 80% of all learning occurs visually.
What are the Types of Eye Exams?
Contrary to popular belief, an eye exam is not the same as a simple vision test that your kids get at school or you get at the DMV to make sure your eyesight isn’t blurry.
During an eye exam, an ophthalmologist will check a wide variety of aspects about your eye health and test for possible underlying disease. The different aspects of a comprehensive eye exam are enumerated in detail later on in this article.
In addition to a comprehensive eye exam, there are other types of exams you may need depending on your age, family history and general eye health. For example, you may need to get a specific eye exam for contact lenses, or you may need to have your eyes tested for optic nerve damage if you suffer from a condition like glaucoma or diabetes.
How Often Should You Get an Eye Exam?
The recommended frequency of eye exams differs depending on age, risk factors, and if you’re already wearing corrective lenses, but the general rule is that you should have a comprehensive eye exam once every one or two years.
Babies typically have their eyesight examined by a pediatrician when they’re 6 months old, and older children should have a kid’s eye exam before they start school. After that, it’s recommended to have their eyes checked every two years until they’re 18, provided there aren’t any risk factors or corrective lenses involved.
For adults up to the age of 60, it is recommended to get your eyes examined every two years, unless there are certain risk factors like a family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration. In those cases, it’s best to ask an eyecare professional to determine how frequently you should get an exam. Typically, they will recommend a yearly test.
If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you should likely be undergoing more frequent testing, since those conditions can potentially cause major damage to the blood vessels in your eyes. Also, make sure to let your ophthalmologist know if you’re taking certain prescription medication, as some drugs may have a negative effect on your eyesight.
And of course, if you suffer an eye injury, such as an object scratching your eye, exposure to chemicals or acid, or even a sporting injury, you should get checked out by a professional right away to be safe.
After you turn 61, you should be seeing an eye doctor at least once a year to increase chances of early detection of glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and other potential issues.
What Is Involved in an Eye Exam Procedure?
If you’re worried about what’s involved in an eye exam procedure, don’t be. Eye exams are incredibly simple and comfortable, but an eye test involves more than just a basic vision screening. Your ophthalmologist will likely check some or all of the following:
- Visual Acuity: A basic indicator of how well you see letters and symbols from various distances, this is what you likely think of with regards to an eye exam.
- Your Prescription for Corrective Lenses: If you wear corrective lenses, your doctor will conduct a test to confirm and determine the best prescription for you, if any.
- Your Pupils: By shining a bright light into your eye, your doctor will check how your pupils react. If your pupils don’t respond correctly, it may indicate a potential underlying issue.
- Peripheral (Side) Vision Test: A loss of side, or peripheral vision as it’s more commonly known, is one symptom of glaucoma. This test is crucial because you may not even notice an issue with your side vision.
- Movement Test: Your doctor will check to see if your eyes are aligned and moving correctly.
- Eye Pressure Test: Your doctor will likely measure the pressure within your eye to check for signs of glaucoma.
- The Front Part of Your Eye: Your doctor will check for cataracts or any scratches or scars on your cornea.
- Retina and Optic Nerve: By dilating your pupils with eye drops, your doctor can examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of disease.
It’s important to remember that you should not drive home after a dilated exam, since this type of exam can cause blurry vision and make you exceptionally sensitive to light. Make sure you have a friend or family member drive you home after having your eyes dilated, or take a taxi or Uber. Your eye doctor will likely provide a pair of disposable sunglasses after the procedure, but just in case, make sure to bring sunglasses with good UV protection along with you.
How Much Does an Eye Exam Cost?
The cost of an eye exam can vary depending on your insurance and the type of eye exam you’d need to get. Typically, a comprehensive eye exam can run between $170-$200, without insurance.
Healthy eyes and vision are critical to your quality of life. Luckily, eye exams are quick, easy and painless. So if you’re overdue, don’t hesitate to book your next appointment. The team of highly rated doctors at Kraff Eye Institute can conduct your comprehensive eye exam and consult with you if any additional procedures are deemed necessary. To schedule an appointment, call (312) 444-1111 or fill out this consultation form.