Whether you’re looking for a new pair of frames or the right online contact lenses, eye examinations are an essential part of determining the correct eye prescription for you. But during an eye exam, your optometrist will do far more than just determine your prescription. Regardless of your physical health or age, eye tests allow your optometrist to check for serious eye conditions, and indicators of your overall health too. As well as revealing eye problems, eye exams are often the first indicators of more general, and more serious, health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Who Needs Regular Eye Check-Ups?
Whether you feel you have problems with your vision or not, everyone should have their eyes tested periodically as an important part of maintaining our overall health, not just for keeping our eye prescriptions up to date. It’s important for children to have their eyes tested regularly too, as vision problems in young children can lead to slowed learning development, while the earlier these eye problems are detected in young children, the easier they can be to treat.
What your Optometrist is looking For
During an eye exam, besides determining corrective eye prescriptions for glasses and online contact lenses, your optometrist will check for a range of common, and more serious, eye conditions, as well as serious bodily health issues. Some of the things that your eye doctor will routinely look for include:
- Refractive and Focusing Errors. Refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, are common, and are corrected easily with glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery. Your optician will also check to see if you have any focusing problems, such as presbyopia. While focusing issues commonly occur as we age, children can suffer from focusing issues too.
- Amblyopia. This condition can lead to permanent vision impairment if left untreated. With amblyopia, one of the eyes is turned, or has a significantly different prescription to the other. Images received via the blurry eye will automatically be turned off by the brain as it tries to create a clear visual picture, but by patching the stronger eye for a period, the blurry eye will gain strength, and the eyesight balance will be restored.
- Strabismus. This is the medical term for crossed, or turned, eyes. During your eye exam, your optometrist will check to see that your eyes are working together in unison. It’s important to check for this condition as, left long term, strabismus can lead to amblyopia and problems with depth perception.
- Eye Alignment. Even the slightest eye misalignment can lead to binocular vision problems, near vision problems, as well as painful eye strain and headaches. Your eye examiner can check for even the most minute misalignment issues and help you correct them.
- Diseases. As well as problems with vision, optometrists are able to detect a whole range of health problems during an eye exam, including eye diseases like glaucoma. Early detection often means that any permanent vision impairment is avoided and that the condition is easier to treat. Besides diseases of the eye itself, your eyes act as indicators of other health problems, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Tell tale signs of diabetes can appear in the form of swollen macula, and small eye blood vessel leaks.
So eye exams do so much more than just help us correct our vision. The eyes are truly a window to our general overall health, and with such a wide range of conditions so easily detected with a simple eye exam, we all owe it to ourselves to make routine eye tests part of our everyday health care.