What to Expect During an Annual Eye Exam
| 4 min read
Questions to ask an optometrist
- Although eye care providers may choose to approach the elements of an eye exam differently, their goal remains the same: to address any vision concerns and preserve the patient’s vision. Routine tests are typically performed including reading an eye chart and a series of screening tests. These tests are used to evaluate how well the eye muscles work together, how efficiently they detect and transmit light and as well how they react to different stimuli, such as color or movement.
- Optometrists may have to perform a dilated eye exam by administering a combination of eye drops that temporarily enlarge the pupil. This is done to examine various structures inside the eye that are vital to sight. Dilation can result in mild light sensitivity for a few hours after the exam and a reduced ability to see well up-close. As a result, patients are advised to arrange transportation home from their eye exam, consider using sunglasses to improve comfort in bright light and avoid prolonged strain to see up-close without reading aids.
- Since the eye is a complex network of tissues all working together to provide sight, it’s impossible to assign an overarching risk profile for the visual systems. However, an eye care provider is best equipped to diagnose and manage any current or future problems that interfere with a patient’s vision. Early detection or diligent prevention are the best strategies to mitigate the risk of visual impairment. Seeking routine eye care and sharing pertinent details, including current medications, allergies, overall health history and family health, as well any substance use, will greatly assist the eye care provider in determining vision risks.
- Two of the most common eye diseases – glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration – are almost always hereditary. Individuals should learn about their family medical history and discuss it with an optometrist to determine potential risks.
- Make sure to share any health conditions during your appointment, including obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, all of which can contribute to vision changes. In fact, diabetic retinopathy, a diabetes-related eye disease, is the number one cause of blindness in U.S. adults.
What lifestyle changes can be implemented to ensure healthy eyes?
- Eye care providers can advise patients on numerous strategies to help sustain healthy eyes, some of which may include lifestyle modifications. Changes that significantly improve the likelihood of maintaining good vision include quitting smoking, wearing protective eyewear during high-risk activities, wearing sunglasses while outdoors, pursuing a diet rich in leafy, green vegetables and regular exercise.