Why are eye exams important?

Eye exams are important because they help detect vision problems and general health issues. They are recommended once a year and are covered by most health insurance plans. There are various tests done during an eye exam, from an overall health check of the eyes, to vision correction/prescription, if necessary.

Here is what a typical eye exam may look like:
Testing starts with checking your eye pressure using a Tonometer (which is a quick puff of air). Based on the test results, the optometrist determines if you are at risk of glaucoma (excessive buildup of fluid within the eye which elevates internal pressure and can damage the retina).
The next step is Visual Acuity Testing using Snellen Eye Chart. Based on test results, the optometrist will determine whether vision correction is needed . Normal vision is 20/20. An example of an abnormal vision 20/200; this means that a person has to be as close as 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision would see at 200 feet. After the Visual Acuity test, the optometrist will use a penlight to perform the Eye Muscle and Pupil Light Reflex Test. This test is extremely important, as it can detect eye muscle defects or neurological problems. Afterwards, the optometrist will determine if vision correction is necessary using an instrument called Phoroptor. If this test is failed, prescription lenses are required to help correct vision.

A Biomicroscope is then used to observe the front surface of your eyes for any abnormalities. Finally, the last step is the Dilation. The optometrist will put drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils in order to evaluate the back of your eyes for any problems. He/she will check for rental detachments, high blood pressure, diabetes, retinal tears, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

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