The What

Comprehensive eye teats and eye exams are imperative for both children adults. Many children have eye screenings through their doctors offices  or through schools. Adults may get screenings through their annual check up at their doctors’ office. But theses screenings are not comprehensive dilated eye exams.

The Why

Comprehensive dilated eye exams are important because many eye diseases do not have warning signs. These exams are really the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages when they can be treated more easily.

Comprehensive eye exams includes several tests:

  • A visual field test to measure your side (peripheral) vision. A loss of peripheral vision may be a sign of glaucoma.
  • A visual acuity test, where you read an eye chart about 20 feet away, to check on how well you see at various distances
  • Tonometry, which measures your eye’s interior pressure. It helps to detect glaucoma.
  • Dilation, which involves getting eye drops that dilate (widen) your pupils. This allows more light to enter the eye. Your eye care provider examines your eyes using a special magnifying lens. This provides a clear view of important tissues at the back of your eye, including the retina, macula, and optic nerve.

Many people have refractive errors and will require glasses or contact lenses to correct their vision. If you do you will need a refractive test. Refractive tests require looking through different lenses of different strengths to determine what lenses will give you clear vision.

The When

When you should start getting these exams and how often depends on many factors. The factors include your age, race and overall health. If you are African American, you are at a higher risk for glaucoma and you should start getting your exams ealy. if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you should get an exam every year. Check with your health care provider to find out what tests you need and when you need them.

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