How often should you see a doctor of optometry? Ideally, you need to have your eyes examined every year or every two years but that would depend on how old you are, your susceptibility to certain eye conditions and if you are wearing contact lenses or eye glasses.
Even if you don’t have any symptoms it is important that you undergo regular eye examinations. Keep in mind that there are patients with existing eye problems who are completely asymptomatic meaning they do not exhibit any abnormal signs and symptoms. Without undergoing an eye exam, these patients will continue living their lives without knowing that they have a problem with their eyes. The downside to this is that these patients will not be receiving any form of treatment to correct the problem simply because they weren’t’ diagnosed in the first place. If the problem gets worse and continues to go untreated it could lead to permanent loss of vision.
Eye examination is important so that your optometrist can evaluate the overall condition of your eyes, come up with an early diagnosis and establish a treatment plan based on your case to prevent further damage to your eyes.
The signs and symptoms you manifest coupled with your optometrist’s findings will conclude the kinds of tests you need to undergo. What constitutes a comprehensive eye examination? Eye examination includes the following comprehensive history taking and measuring of the patient’s visual acuity.
History taking is necessary as this will serve as your baseline record. In this phase, your optometrist will ask you a series of questions regarding your vision as well as your overall health. Typical questions would include what kind of symptoms you have been experiencing lately, when did these symptoms begin, what kind of medications are you currently taking and any environmental factors that may have contributed to your visual problem. The optometrist may also ask about your family history like if there are members of your family who have also experienced similar symptoms in the past.
Measuring Visual Acuity
Visual acuity measures how sharp our vision is or how clearly you can see. One way of measuring visual acuity is by reading charts. The eye chart will include letters, which you will read at a certain distance. After reading the eye chart your optometrist will give you the results. The results will be shown in fraction form like 20/40. The number at the top is the standard distance where the chart is placed and that is 20 feet. Meanwhile, the number at the bottom is the smallest size of the letters you were able to read correctly. When a patient gets a 20/40 result it means that the patient must be within 20 feet to be able to see the letters that should have been clear at a 40 feet distance. To get a perfect result you must have a 20/20 visual acuity.
If your optometrist sees potential problems after the eye exam, he or she will perform several other exams to come up with an accurate diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis is essential so that the right treatment plan will be made and to ensure success of the treatment.