Good vision is critical to just about everything we do, yet when we have good vision – with or without corrective lenses – it’s easy to take it for granted. After all, we don’t give a lot of thought to the “act” of seeing – it’s something that happens naturally, and keeping our vision clear and our eyes healthy isn’t something we tend to put a lot of thought into.
Of course, the truth is, good vision isn’t something that happens “naturally.” Seeing clearly depends on maintaining good eye health and avoiding diseases and conditions that can threaten sight temporarily or permanently. And the best way to maintain good vision and to avoid serious eye diseases is to have regular comprehensive eye exams.
What does a comprehensive eye exam include?
Comprehensive eye exams evaluate an array of vision issues as well as the health and structure of your eye, the optic nerve and the muscles that control eye movement. During the exam, a series of assessments are performed using different types of equipment to evaluate how well your eyes function under different conditions and at varying distances. Tests also look at how well your eyes work together and how well you see peripherally. Special drops will be used to gently (and painlessly) dilate the pupils to enable the optometrist to look at the optic nerve and the retina at the back of your eye. And finally, a special test may be conducted to check for glaucoma.
If the doctor identifies a problem with your ability to see, a second series of evaluations will be performed to determine if corrective lenses can help, and if so, which prescription is best suited for your needs.
Vision Screenings vs. Eye Exams
Vision screenings are often offered at schools or in the workplace, and they can do a good job of identifying some common and easy-to-spot problems – but they’re no substitute for a comprehensive eye exam. Screenings look for obvious signs and symptoms of eye problems to help determine when an exam is needed; they’re not designed to gain in-depth and detailed information about the eyes or underlying vision problems, nor are the designed to diagnose eye diseases.
Plenty of serious eye diseases and conditions cause very few (or no) symptoms in their earliest stages, and some diseases, like glaucoma and macular degeneration, may cause no symptoms until permanent vision loss occurs. Screenings aren’t intended to identify these problems; instead, you must have a comprehensive eye exam with a licensed optometrist to examine the entire structure of your eye and assess all aspects of your vision to ensure even the tiniest symptoms are identified.
How often should I have a comprehensive eye exam?
Most eye care specialists and optometrist associations recommend comprehensive exams every one to two years for adults, depending on age, risk factors and whether or not prescription lenses are worn. Having a baseline exam is important for determining how frequently you should be examined. And of course, if you wear lenses, you should be examined yearly to ensure your prescription remains optimized for your needs.
Children need regular eye exams too. During childhood and the teenage years, the eyes and muscles are still developing and growing, and having regular annual exams is important not just for spotting problems in their earliest stages so they can be treated, but also for ensuring children can do their school work and enjoy sports and social activities.
Schedule your eye exam with Arlington Optometrists today
At First Eyecare North Arlington, our team of eye care specialists is dedicated to helping patients in Arlington, TX, and throughout the surrounding area receive the best care so they can enjoy clear vision and optimal eye health. To schedule your eye exam, call First Eyecare at 817-860-9050 today and take the first step toward better eye health.