Comprehensive Primary Eye Care

Proactive Eye Care

Your eyesight is one of your most precious senses, and protecting it should be a top priority. Your everyday activities, and even your safety, depend on maintaining good vision. It is estimated that one person becomes blind every 11 minutes due to injury, aging, or disease. The Eye Associates believe a proactive approach of early detection and treatment can prevent the occurrence of half of these tragedies. Many eye diseases develop slowly without symptoms, so yearly eye exams are the most crucial step to ensure that problems are caught early.

Eye Exams are More Than Just Eye Exams

Perhaps you think that your eye doctor is only evaluating your eyes for glasses and contacts during your eye examination. Because your eyes are an indicator of your overall general health, we will also be looking for health issues as well as eye diseases. During an eye exam with the pupil dilated, the doctor is able to directly view the blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye. Because these blood vessels are some of the only blood vessels directly visible in the body without invasive surgery, your eye doctor can often observe how other diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and inflammatory diseases, are affecting your health. Sometimes an eye exam is even the first way that a disease is detected.

5 Reasons You Should See Your Eye Doctor Regularly

Many serious vision problems are symptom-free and go undetected until it’s too late. With a dilated comprehensive eye examination, the doctor is able to determine your eye health as well as your need for glasses. Remember, the key to saving sight is with early detection and treatment.

Ninety percent of people over 45 years of age need corrective lenses; many for the first time due to their inability to see things up close. Cataracts can be slow growing and affect vision in such a gradual way that you don’t even realize that you have lost vision. Half of all people with glaucoma risk permanent damage because they are unaware they have it. And diabetics with diabetic retinopathy are asymptomatic at the most treatable stage. A yearly comprehensive eye exam can determine whether you have any of these problems and if treatment is needed

While parents recognize the value of routine dental care, quite often they underestimate the importance of testing their child’s vision. One in four children have an undiagnosed vision problem, and since 80 percent of all learning is through the visual system, decreased vision can significantly affect educational and sports performance. Many times, children will not complain of vision problems simply because they don’t know what “normal” vision looks like. We recommend a child have their first eye exam by age 3, and then again just before they enter kindergarten. Of course, any child performing poorly at school should have an eye exam to rule out an underlying visual cause.

The eyecare industry is constantly advancing and improving. There are many wonderful new technologies now available for conditions that we may have been unable to treat in the past. Since your vision is among the most valued of all senses, it’s time well spent to have an eye examination as part of your yearly health schedule.

Your eyes can tell a lot about the overall health of your entire body. During a comprehensive eye exam, we look for signs of potential medical conditions. Through dilated pupils, the presence of undiagnosed hypertension, multiple sclerosis, strokes, diabetes, kidney problems, and even brain tumors can be revealed to your eye doctor. Find out more in our patient education section.

Eye Exams

How often do I need an eye exam?

We feel that a yearly eye exam is good for most people. If you have some other eye disease such as glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy, then you may need to be examined more often.

What happens during an eye exam?

Steps in your exam are customized to your vision and medical needs so they may not be in this order. 

  • Aberrometer Autorefractor (an aberrometer uses advanced wavefront technology to detect even obscure vision errors based on the way light travels through your eye.)
  • Symptom Interview
  • Extraocular Movements
  • Confrontation Visual Fields
  • Pupillary Tests
  • Visual Acuity Test
  • Refraction
  • Ocular Motility Testing
  • Stereopsis Test (depth perception)
  • Tonometry Test for Glaucoma
  • Dilation Drops
  • Dilated Fundus Exam
  • Slit Lamp Exam by the Eye Physician
  • Retinoscopy by the Eye Physician

There could also be other testing performed, like a visual field, TearLab testing, OCT, and angiography, for example, that can make your exam take longer if your doctor deems that extra testing is needed to make a diagnosis.

What is a refraction and Why do I need it?

A refraction is a critical diagnostic test that the physician uses to evaluate your vision, and without it, we are not able to fully assess the health and function of your eyes. It helps the doctor determine whether your vision is reduced by a medical disease (such as cataracts, macular degeneration, etc) or if it can simply be improved with glasses. Just like your primary care doctor uses bloodwork to make decisions about your treatment plan, a refraction is necessary to fully assess the health and function of your eyes. Refractions are NOT optional.

Are refractions covered by insurance?

Unfortunately, no. Refractions are NOT a covered service by Medicare nor most insurance plans, even though they are an essential part of a comprehensive eye exam. We feel that they should be covered but insurance companies have chosen not to include this important exam component.

Medical Comprehensive Eye Exams

What is a medical comprehensive eye exam?

At The Eye Associates, our patients receive a medical comprehensive eye exam, which is defined as one that includes full dilation.

What is dilation and why do you do it?

Dilation is when special drops are placed in your eyes to dilate (widen your pupils) so that the doctor can get a better view of the back of your eyes. We dilate all patients so that we can look for eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinal detachment, to name a few.

The eye is pretty amazing because through a dilated eye you can see blood vessels. This is the only place that blood vessels can be viewed without invasive surgery. Eye doctors are often the first to identify other general medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and MS, to name a few.

How long does dilation take?

This varies from patient to patient and even condition to condition. Some might be ready for their exam with the doctor in 20 minutes while other may take 45 minutes to dilate. Each person is different.

What are the drops that they put in my eyes?

There are basically 2 drops that are always used. One is the dilation drops that we talked about earlier. The other drop is for numbing your eyes in order to take a tonometry test for glaucoma. We do this test for glaucoma at every visit because glaucoma is an eye disease that usually does not have symptoms until damage is done to the eye.

How to Prepare for your Medical Comprehensive Eye Exam?

What should I bring to my medical-grade comprehensive eye exam?

Always bring all of the glasses that you are wearing (distance glasses, sunglasses, computer glasses, reading glasses….to name a few). Also, bring a list of medications that you take. You may also want to bring questions that you would like to ask the doctor.

How long will I be at the office for my medical-grade comprehensive eye exam?

We recommend that you plan on being here for about 2 hours. Because The Eye Associates performs medical-grade comprehensive eye exams, we do more testing that you might have gotten in the past at other places. We want to give you a thorough eye exam that checks for eye diseases in addition to giving you a prescription for glasses. Also, as mentioned before, some people require longer for dilation than others. All of this can lead to a 2-hour exam.

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