Every year we are reminded about the health checks we should do to help prevent more serious problems. Visit your MD for a physical, the Dentist for a check and cleaning and have other special tests like mammograms. Often at the bottom of the list is an annual eye exam.
Most people if asked would say you only need an eye exam every two years, and if we only looked at your glasses they would be right. Our office recommends a yearly eye exam because today we do much more than determine your eyeglass prescription.
During your eye exam we use a combination of technology and experience to do a full evaluation of the health of your eyes as well as the type of correction that will best suit the needs of your vision and lifestyle.
This evaluation begins when you fill out a health history and then go over it with an assistant and the doctor. Patients often ask me why we need to know so much information about their general health. We tend to forget that what affects the rest of the body can affect our eyes as well. Different medications can cause dryness of the eyes, blood sugar changes can cause blurred vision, and some arthritis medications can cause changes on the retina in the back of the eye. These are just a few examples of the many things that can affect the eye due to health problems and the medications we use to treat them.
All eye exams should include a test for glaucoma, examination of the front of the eye, dilation to examine the back of the eye, and determination of the eyeglass prescription. Other special tests may then be necessary depending on what is found during the exam
Glaucoma is a disease where the pressure in the eye goes up and causes damage to the optic nerve. It is absolutely painless and has no symptoms until it is very advanced. Treatment with drops can control the process. Without an annual eye exam glaucoma can silently steal our vision away. Our office not only uses a check of the pressure but adds visual field testing and if needed a special instrument called the OCT which can measure (using a special laser) the area of the optic nerve where glaucoma does its damage. This instrument can give us a precise picture of the health of your optic nerve and show whether any damage has occurred.
During the dilated portion of the exam we will look for any signs of problems on the retina. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, this portion of the exam is very important, here we can see if there are any changes on the retina. If changes are found we can use the OCT to determine whether these changes are serious or not. We will also document any changes by taking a high resolution photo of the back of your eye Even if you are in perfect health the dilated portion of the exam is important. Remember the eye is the one place in the body where you can view working nerves and blood vessels and any thing that affects them can be seen here first.
Many people don;t like their eyes dilated because of the blurriness the drops cause. Our office gives you the choice of using a drop called Nu Rev. This drop reverses the effects of dilation in about 30-45 minutes, allowing you to return to work and normal activities.
Eye exams are thorough painless examinations that can reveal a great deal about not only the health of our eyes but our general health as well. Why put it off any longer? Schedule your appointment with Bogart-Smith Optometry today.