Your vision should be checked routinely at least every two years. A regular, professional eye examination can detect refractive errors, eye disease and other diseases that can affect the eyes. A complete exam takes approximately 60 minutes and includes:
- A complete history of your current eye symptoms, as well as your general health
- A measurement of your vision, and determination of the power for your current glasses
- An eye pressure test for glaucoma
- Dilation of your pupils that allows a comprehensive medical exam of the back of your eye
Dilated Eye Exam
Your eye exam at Clarus Eye Centre begins with a thorough investigation of the lids, lashes, conjunctiva, sclera and cornea – the external surfaces. Using a microscope and a bright light, the doctor will move in for a closer look at the anterior chamber, iris and crystalline lens. The iris is very similar to the shutter of a camera. When you take a picture on a bright sunny day, the shutter becomes smaller, allowing less light to enter.
Likewise, your pupil becomes smaller when we shine a bright light at your eye, making it very difficult to peer inside. That’s where the dilating drops come in.
Dilating drops work on one of two principles: they either stimulate the iris muscle that opens the pupil (the dilator), or prevent action of the iris muscle that closes the pupil (the sphincter). After the drops take effect, your doctor can get a much better view of your retina, optic nerve and vessels in the back of the eye. This is a very important part of your preventative eye care as well as some eye surgeries. From this simple step, we are able to gather a lot of important information about your eyes. In fact, some systemic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes are first discovered during the dilated eye exam.
Some dilating drops also prevent accommodation. The natural lens is able to accommodate or adjust the eye’s focus until about the age of 40. Children and young adults are especially good at this, and their ability to accommodate sometimes prevents the doctor from getting an accurate refraction for glasses. That’s why young eyes are often dilated for a “wet” refraction so the doctor can get a true picture of what the child’s prescription really is.
There are a few things you can do to make your visit a bit more comfortable:
- Don’t plan any activity after your appointment that requires crisp vision.
- Bring along a pair of dark sunglasses for the ride home. Don’t worry if you forget, we’ll provide you with a disposable pair as you check out.
- If you know you’ll have trouble seeing to drive home (even with the sunglasses), please bring a friend.
Visual Acuity Tests
These are the most common tests used to evaluate your eyesight. They measure the eye’s ability to see details at near and far distances. The tests usually involve reading letters or looking at symbols of different sizes on an eye chart. Usually, each eye is tested individually and then both eyes are tested together with and/or without corrective lenses. Several types of visual acuity tests may be used.
This test measures the eyes’ need for corrective lenses (refractive error). It is usually done after a visual acuity test. Refractive errors, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness, occur when light rays entering the eye do not focus exactly on the nerve layer (retina) at the back of the eye. This causes blurred vision. Refraction may be done as a part of a routine eye examination for people who already wear glasses or contact lenses, or if the results of the other visual acuity tests show that your eyesight is below normal and can be corrected by glasses. It can also be performed to help follow the progress of treatments or diseases of the eye.
Visual Field Tests
These tests check for gaps in your side (peripheral) vision. Your complete visual field is the entire area seen when your gaze is fixed in one direction. The complete visual field is seen by both eyes at the same time and it includes the central visual field-which detects the highest degree of detail and the peripheral visual fields.
Slit Lamp Exams
The slit lamp is a special microscope that is used to look into the eye. It provides a magnified, three-dimensional view of the structures within the eye. Using the slit lamp alone, your doctor can examine the front (anterior) chamber of the eye to detect disorders such as clouding of the lens (cataracts),glaucoma or abnormalities of the cornea. Special lenses can be used to view deeper structures of the eye such as the optic nerve, located in the back of the eye.
Healthy Vision For Kids
It is estimated that 5-10% of preschoolers and 25% of all school-aged children have vision problems. Get your kids off to a good start in school or sports by scheduling a complete eye exam today!
Contact us today to schedule your eye exam in Olympia, Washington.