Why are eye exams important? What should you expect?

Published on 24 May 2023

Maintaining optimal vision and health requires regular eye exams. These examinations allow for the early detection of eye diseases and visual impairments, facilitating timely treatment and intervention. 

In this article, we will explore the various reasons why eye exams are crucial, from early detection of eye diseases to addressing developmental concerns in children. We will also delve into the assessment process itself, discussing the common tests conducted by optometrists to evaluate your vision and eye health. 

Learn more about the significance of eye exams and how they can enhance your quality of life.

Why are eye exams important?

Systemic health

Systemic health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and autoimmune diseases, can manifest in the eyes. An optometrist's examination can raise red flags, prompting further consultation with a specialist.

Vision assessments

Vision tests (vision eye exams) determine whether you require corrective lenses, such as glasses or contact lenses. This evaluation promotes your eyes' health and ensures clearer vision in your daily life.

Developmental concerns

Kid eye exams or children's eye exams are vital for their overall development. Undiagnosed vision problems can impact learning, physical development, and social skills.

Eye coordination and function

Eye exams evaluate how well your eyes are functioning. Conditions, such as strabismus (misaligned eye) and amblyopia (lazy eye), can be detected thanks to eye exams. It is important to book eye exams regularly as these types of conditions can significantly affect depth perception, focusing ability, and overall visual acuity.

Prevention of digital eye strain

As digital device usage increases, digital eye strain becomes more prevalent. Our optometrists and opticians can offer you recommendations for maintaining eye comfort and reducing the negative effects of blue light emitted by these devices. 

Eye health

Eye exams can identify various diseases, including glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. Early detection is crucial for preventing or slowing the progression of these eye conditions.

The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends that adults undergo eye exams every two years.

What happens during an eye exam?

An eye examination consists of an optometrist conducting tests and procedures to assess your vision and eye health. The most common tests include:

Visual acuity test: You will read letters from a Snellen Chart at a specific distance. This test allows the optometrist to evaluate your distance vision.

Refraction test: Light shines on your cornea to identify conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism.

Slit lamp test: This test can rule out many eye diseases and conditions. You will rest your forehead and chin on a machine, and the optometrist will examine multiple areas of your eye.

Eye movement test: You will follow an object with your eyes, allowing the optometrist to assess your eye muscles and coordination.

Eye pressure test: A tonometer measures the pressure in your eyes, determining your risk of glaucoma.

In addition to these tests, your optometrist may conduct a visual field test to assess peripheral vision or a retinal examination.

How should you prepare for and follow up on an eye exam?

Before visiting an optometrist, compile a list of all medications you are currently taking. You will likely need to complete medical history forms, allowing the optometrist to evaluate your eyes' health and risk factors. And if you wear prescription eyeglasses, remember to bring them with you for your eye exam.

After the exam, the optometrist will discuss the results with you and recommend treatments or follow-up appointments with eye specialists. If you have been prescribed glasses, our opticians will assist you in selecting suitable frames and lenses for your vision needs.

If you have never had an eye exam in any vision center or have not had one in a few years, schedule an appointment with an optometrist at Pineault & Rouleau.

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