As Scottsdale ophthalmologists, we urge our patients to have regular eye exams to maintain healthy vision. But do you truly understand the importance of regular eye exams? From 6 months old through your final years, every age, every race, and every gender needs to maintain regular eye exams.
Why Do I Need Eye Exams?
Even if you have no family history and have seemingly perfect vision, eye exams are still a necessity to evaluate your eyes for a variety of conditions, many of which are not hereditary. Children should have their vision checked at 6 months, 3 years and before first grade. Adults should see an eye doctor every 2 – 3 years. Seniors over the age of 60 should visit their eye doctor every 1 – 2 years. If you have diabetes or a family history of eye conditions, your eye doctor might recommend more frequent exams.
What Happens At the Eye Exam?
The most common question we get during regular eye exams is in regards to the ‘puff of air’ test, which monitors eye pressure. Scottsdale Eye Physicians & Surgeons does not use this screening test to check for glaucoma since more accurate tests are available. We also have available the iCare handheld tonometer, a device that makes eye pressure measuring a more pleasant experience for the patient, especially those who are in wheelchairs or are unable to get an accurate reading with more traditional methods. More common tests performed during a regular eye exam include:
- Eye Muscle Movement Test: When a police officer conducts a field sobriety test and asks you to follow the pen with your eyes, he or she is looking for a slight twitch that can occur when intoxicated. If your eye twitches at less then 45-degrees, it is a good indication of high blood-alcohol concentrations. In the Eye Muscle Movement Test here at Scottsdale Eye Physicians & Surgeons, we will have you track a target in many different directions to ensure that your eyes are normally aligned.
- Pupillary Reactions: During this test, your eye doctor will evaluate how your pupils react to light and objects viewed at close distance. This is important as it can reveal neurologic problems. Your eye doctor will be able to determine from this test if your pupils react properly.
- Visual Acuity Test: Everyone knows this test, and everyone’s done it at least once in his or her lifetime. The Visual Acuity Test measures the strength of your eyes as you convey the letters of an eye chart. This test is used at driver’s license bureaus and many other organizations to check your ability to see clearly.
- Refraction: This is another one of those eye exam tests we’ve all either seen or done at least once in our lifetimes, hopefully more. The refraction is a test that uses a phoropter (an ophthalmic testing device with multiple lenses) and that eye chart again. Your Scottsdale ophthalmologist can get an accurate approximation of the eyeglass prescription you might need. Scottsdale Eye Physicians & Surgeons is also one of only a handful of Arizona ophthalmologists who offer a high-definition wavefront refraction using the Zeiss iProfiler. The scan, known as an iScription, creates a blueprint unique to your eyes and that information is used to provide the most precise eyeglass prescription available. Glasses made in our Scottsdale Eye Optical Boutique with the Zeiss iScription technology are known for providing better night and low-light vision, better contrast, and better color vision.
- Slit Lamp Examination: Using a powerful slit lamp microscope allows Dr. Kilpatrick to examine the health of the front part of your eye and look for cataract, among other diseases.
- Retinal Examination: Also known as ophthalmoscopy, this test assesses the inside parts of your eyes, including the retina, retinal blood vessels, vitreous, and optic nerve head. In order to perform the most thorough retinal exam, Dr. Kilpatrick will dilate your pupils, which is not always done by other eye doctors. This exam can help detect a host of vision conditions, such as macular degeneration and diabetes, which not only affect your sight but your overall health.
While these are just some of the eye exams and tests your ophthalmologist will perform, this list gives you some insight into exactly what will take place at your regular eye exam. If you’re ready to schedule your eye exam appointment, call today.