Yearly eye examinations are an important part of preventive health care. Many ocular health and vision problems have no obvious signs or symptoms, and several of these conditions can have serious systemic associations. This is why early detection and prompt treatment of many types of eye diseases is essential.
Your comprehensive eye examination will start with a thorough case history where any symptoms you are experiencing as well as your health history will be discussed. Next, preliminary testing will be done to evaluate specific aspects of eye health and visual function. These will include visual acuity, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, eye muscle movements, and pupil function. A refraction will be performed if you are updating your glasses or contact lens prescription. A refraction is used to determine the appropriate lens power needed to compensate for any nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism you may have.
Your eyes will then be examined with a microscope called a slit lamp. This allows the doctor to view the various tissues of the front of the eyes under bright light and magnification. The slit lamp will also be used to check the pressure inside your eyes. Dilating drops will be used to allow the doctor to view the structures of the back of the eye. These drops open up your pupil so the doctor has a larger field of view to look into your eyes. During this part of the examination the doctor is looking for signs of eye disease such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration as well as ocular symptoms of systemic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
At the conclusion of the examination the doctor will review the results of the testing with you and discuss the nature of any problems that were uncovered. Treatment options will be discussed which sometimes may include additional testing to provide a more detailed assessment of the exam findings.