A comprehensive eye exam is one of the most powerful tools at the disposal of a physician treating the human eye. As the name implies, it is an opportunity for your eye care professional to conduct a thorough examination of your eye to determine its overall health and assess any issues that may be present. While other tests are narrowly focused on a perceived problem, a comprehensive eye exam is designed to examine all corners of the eye and look for sneaky conditions that do not have noticeable symptoms like macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.
One of the most unique and challenging aspects of treating the human eyes is the fact that with many conditions, the damage has already been done by the time a problem is uncovered. Furthermore, it is difficult, and, in some cases, impossible to restore vision that has been lost to ocular conditions like glaucoma. This is why a preventative and proactive approach to eye health is so critical, a cornerstone of which is the annual comprehensive eye exam.
We recommend that everyone young and old undergo a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years. For people with known eye issues or complicating comorbidities, this should be an even tighter timeframe.
What to Expect
A truly comprehensive eye exam can take upwards of an hour to complete due to the sheer numbers of tests that will need to be conducted. However, this is a very small price to pay to ensure that your vision, one of the keenest and most irreplaceable senses humans possess, is safeguarded.
During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye care professional will use a number of different tests to fully assess your eyes, including:
- Visual acuity tests, which are designed to quantify the sharpness of your vision and usually require you to read a projected eye chart or other material from a set distance.
- Eye movement testing, also known as ocular motility testing, which helps your eye care professional determine how well your eyes are able to follow a moving object. To complete this test, you will have to hold your head still and you’ll be asked to follow the movement of a hand-held light or similar object using only your eyes, not your neck.
- Refraction testing, which is used to determine the level of hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), astigmatism or presbyopia you have.
- Slit lamp exams, which involve your eye care professional using a piece of equipment called a binocular microscope to examine small sections of your eye in great detail.
- Glaucoma testing, which involves measuring the pressure on the inside of your eye.
- Visual field testing, which tests your peripheral vision for the presence of blind spots, which could be a sign of a larger issue.
- Dilated eye exam, which requires your physician to use eye drops to dilate your pupils and give them a better view of the inside of your eye. Dilation will make your eyes much more sensitive to light, so you may be asked to wear sunglasses for a few hours following the exam.
In addition to these tests, your eye care professional will take a detailed family and medical history to determine the status of your symptoms and the genetic profile you might carry for eye disease. They will also seek to gain a sense of your environmental exposures–where you work, live and play–to determine whether or not those factors could be at play in an ocular disorder.
If you’d like to schedule a comprehensive exam, call Center for Sight at 850-476-9236.