All people should have periodic eye examination as a part of the routine primary care.
Like most of the diseases of the body, some eye diseases are silent or asymptomatic, therefore early diagnosis provided by routine eye exam is very important for the eye health.
A series of tests are performed to evaluate visual acuity, eye movement, tearing function and any potential eye disease.
First the ophthalmologist asks a series of questions about medical and eye health history and evaluates visual acuity by determining the smallest letters that a person can read on a standardized eye chart.
Your doctor will also test for refractive errors. A refractive error means that the shape of your eye doesn't refract the light properly, so that the image you see is blurred.
There are four types of refractive error:
Myopia (nearsightedness):Close objects look clear, but distant objects appear blurred.
Hyperopia (farsightedness): Distant and close objects are blurry.
Astigmatism: Vision is blurred for both near and far objects.
Presbyopia: The eyes gradually lose the ability to change focus from distance to near.
Many people will have one or more of these refractive errors, which could be corrected with the help of glasses or contact lenses.
In addition, by using some diagnostic test your ophtalmologist will examine:
• Coordination of eye muscles
• Pupil response to light
• Intraocular pressure
• Anterior segment of the eye
• Peripheral vision
• Color vision
• Posterior segment of the eye, including the retina
After the examination your doctor will discuss the results with you. If there is any eye disease, treatments with medication, including eye drops, may be recommended. In some cases, certain eye diseases require laser surgery or other surgical procedures.
If you have a family history of certain eye diseases, diabetes or history of eye injury, you may need to see your ophthalmologist more often than recommended below:
Since it is possible for your child to have a serious visual problem without being aware of it, his or her eyes should be screened. Vision testing is recommended for all children starting around 2-3 years of age.
If there is a family history of eye problems or if your child appears to have any of the following conditions, he or she should be examined by an ophthalmologist as soon as possible:
• Strabismus (crossed eyes)
• Ptosis (dropping of the upper eyelid)
School-age to 19
To ensure your child or teenager's eyes remain healthy, his or her eyes should be examined every two years. Without a proper eye exam many children have vision problems that remain undiagnosed, and may even be misdiagnosed as a learning disability. And early detection of certain eye problems, such as lazy eye, makes treatment much more likely to be successful.
Age 20 to 39
Most young adults have healthy eyes, but they still need to take care of their vision by wearing protective eyewear when playing sports, doing yard work, working with chemicals, or taking part in other activities that could cause an eye injury.
Have a complete eye exam at least once between the ages of 20 and 29 and at least twice between the ages of 30 and 39.
Also, be aware of symptoms that could indicate a problem. See an eye physician if you experience any eye conditions, such as:
• Visual changes or pain
• Flashes of light
• Seeing spots or ghost-like images
• Lines appear distorted or wavy
• Dry eyes with itching and burning
Age 40 to 64
The adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease should get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40 which is the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. Based on the results of the initial screening, the ophthalmologist will prescribe the necessary intervals for follow-up exams.
This evaluation can also uncover evidence of many forms of systemic disease that affect the eyes, like hypertension and diabetes. With appropriate intervention, potentially blinding diseases such as glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy often have a favorable outcome.
Age 65 and Over
Seniors age 65 and over should have complete eye exams by their ophthalmologists every one to two years to check for cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other eye conditions.