What You and Your Family Should Expect from Your Visit to the Optometrist
You should make it a point to get regular checkups with an ophthalmologist or an optometrist even if you have never needed contacts or glasses. Eye exams can help you improve your vision if you are having problems with eyestrain or blurriness and even to simply check on your eye health. Annual eye exams can help you rule out other potential problems like some forms of cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, as well as eye diseases. Adults are advised to get eye exams every year and fortunately, most health insurers will provide eye coverage, which is inclusive of a standard checkup.
Choosing the Right Eye Doctor
When you are looking for a doctor of optometry, you should consider any of your overall health needs and your eye health needs. Consider your comfort, specialties, memberships in professional associations, location, and most importantly, credentials. You should also note that there is a difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist but your choice will depend on the extent of care you need. An optometrist is an eye doctor who conducts eye exams and gives prescriptions for the necessary corrective lenses. An ophthalmologist is a medical eye doctor specializing in care inclusive of ocular diseases while also having the capacity to conduct eye surgery such as Lasik eye surgery. For advanced care, optometrists usually coordinate their treatment with that of ophthalmologists.
What Does An Eye Exam Involve?
During an appointment, the optometrist will perform a comprehensive eye examination to assess your eye health and your vision. The patient’s symptoms and the doctor’s professional judgment will ascertain the type of tests to be conducted. A typical comprehensive eye examination for each individual will have multiple steps but the doctor can adjust them depending on one’s personal needs. Prior to the physical exam, the optometrist will ask about your previous patient history which may include social history, family history, current medications, medical problems, overall health history, and any current vision or eye problems. After getting this information, the optometrist will start the exam by observing all structures and surrounding areas of the eye. He or she will test the patient’s visual abilities including peripheral vision, eye muscle movements, color vision, depth perception, visual acuity, and the pupils’ response to light. Additionally, the optometrist will observe how the eyes work in coordination to view a single, clear image by checking the focus and movement of the eyes.
Even though most of us know about vision tests, such as those taken when one is getting or renewing a driver’s license, eye examinations are more complex as they include several inspections and tests. Regardless, getting a comprehensive eye examination should not be something that scares you, as it is typically painless and lasts about 20-30 minutes.
While the usual outcome of an eye examination will be a new prescription for contact lenses or glasses, if there is a diagnosis for any other health condition during the exam, then the optometrist will help you develop the right prevention plan. He or she will also help you navigate the next steps in managing the health condition. Based on the doctor’s findings after the exam, additional tests might be necessary to help in giving a deeper assessment, clarifying uncertain findings, and ruling out potential problems. Following the examination, the optometrist will describe his or her findings to you and discuss any other eye or visual health problems then explain treatment alternatives.