Many factors contribute to healthy eyes, including heredity, lifestyle, and even diet. But perhaps the single most important element in maintaining your vision is undergoing regularly scheduled eye exams. While you may think your eyes are healthy, many eye and vision problems have no obvious signs or symptoms, so undergoing a comprehensive eye exam is really the best way to diagnose and treat eye problems early, before they can cause long term vision loss.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends that all children receive vision testing every one to two years, during regular pediatric or family physician check-up appointments, starting at around 3 years of age and lasting through their teenage years. The AAO further strongly suggests that all men and women undergo a complete eye exam at least once between the ages of 20 and 29, at least twice between the ages of 30 and 39, and a baseline eye disease screening at age 40, the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. Based on the results of this baseline screening, an ophthalmologist will prescribe the necessary intervals for follow-up exams, but seniors age 65 and over should have complete eye exams every one to two years to check for cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other eye conditions.
A full, comprehensive eye exam can take up to an hour or more, depending on the doctor and the individual patient’s specific needs. At Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. William Segal or Dr. Marc Lay perform a number of thorough, specialized tests in order to fully evaluate your vision and the health of your eyes, including:
Visual Acuity Tests: using a projected eye chart to measure your distance visual acuity and a small, hand-held acuity chart to measure your near vision
Color Blindness Test: to detect hereditary color blindness and alert your eye doctor to possible eye health problems that may affect your color vision.
Cover Test: to check how well your eyes work together to focus on an object in order to detect strabismus or other binocular vision problems that could cause eye strain or amblyopia (“lazy eye”).
Retinoscopy: where we observe the way light reflects from the eye in order to evaluate refractive errors or astigmatism.
Refraction Tests: to determine your exact level of hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), astigmatism and presbyopia and determine the correct prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Slit-Lamp Examination: which allows Dr. Segal or Dr. Lay to get a magnified view of the structures of your eye to thoroughly evaluate your eye health and detect any signs of infection or disease.
Glaucoma Test: where a small puff of air is used to measure the pressure in your eyes to help determine whether you have glaucoma.
Visual Field Test: to check for the presence of blind spots (scotomas) in your peripheral or “side” vision which can originate from eye diseases such as glaucoma.
Other, more specialized tests may also be performed as needed for patients who have a history of eye disease or injury, or who display certain risk-factors. If you have questions about the function or diseases of the eye, or would like to schedule an appointment for an eye exam, please contact Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons today to make an appointment. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips for healthy eyes.