When it comes to your eyes, most people think, “If I see fine, then there are no problems”. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The vision test or “sight test” is only a small part of an eye exam. There is more to an eye exam then just reading the chart. Checking your vision is just one component of a full comprehensive exam. But there are many other tests that are preformed when checking the eyes. Along with having your vision checked, it is really important to routinely check the health of the eyes as well. As good vision has a direct relationship to healthy eyes.
Your Optometrist Cares About More Then Just Your Eyes
Many health related conditions and medications also effect the health of the eye. Diseases such as diabetes and certain types of arthritis are just a few health conditions that can affect the health of the eyes. Because many health problems can manifest in the eyes, it is important for your optometrist to be aware of any health problems or conditions which you may have. It is also important they he knows what medications you are taking. Certain drugs can alter vision and eye health. Prescription drugs, such as Plaquenel and Viagra are just a few names of medications which can affect your eyes.
An Eye Exam Is More Then Just An Assessment Of Your Vision
During your comprehensive exam, your optometrist will also have you undergo additional testing to help him assess and monitor changes to vision and eye health. Testing such as, intraocular pressure, peripheral fields testing and photos and scans of the back of the eye all help your optometrist assess your vision and eye health. The health check is an important component of your exam because many eye diseases and disorders do not present themselves until they are in the advanced stages. Conditions like macular degeneration and glaucoma must be diagnosed early and managed with proper care to preserve vision and eye health. If left undiagnosed, these conditions can be life altering and lead to blindness. If caught early enough, these problems can be diagnosed and treated. By assessing the health of your eyes, your doctor will also have a glimpse as to what may be happening with the rest of your body. The saying “your eyes are the windows to your soul” is true! If your eyes are unhealthy, then chances are, so are you.
Eye Health And Vision Should Be Checked Routinely
A full comprehensive exam should be done yearly on all people under the age of 18. For people between the ages of 18 to 64, eye exams should be done a minimum of every two years. If you are a contact lens wearer, an eye exam as well as evaluation of the contact lenses that you are wearing, is recommended yearly. Patients over the age of 65 should be seen annually as well. Our provincial government acknowledges that eye health and vision is important. Therefor, Alberta Health Care covers routine annual eye exams for patients between the ages of 0-18 and 65 and over.
Article Written By: Karen McAulay