Comprehensive Eye Exam
Having a comprehensive dilated eye exam is especially important because some eye diseases may not have warning signs. This exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages, when they are easier to treat.
The exam includes several tests:
- A visual field test to measure your side (peripheral) vision. A loss of peripheral vision may be a sign of glaucoma.
- A visual acuity test, where you read an eye chart about 20 feet away, to check on how well you see at various distances.
- Tonometry, which measures your eye's interior pressure. It helps to detect glaucoma.
- Dilation, which involves getting eye drops that dilate (widen) your pupils. This allows more light to enter the eye. Your eye care provider examines your eyes using a special magnifying lens. This provides a clear view of important tissues at the back of your eye, including the retina, macula, and optic nerve.
When to Have an Eye Exam
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following:
- Adults in their 20s: If you are healthy and have good vision, you should have a complete eye exam by an ophthalmologist once in your 20s.
- Adults in their 30s: If you are healthy and have good vision, you should have a complete eye exam by an ophthalmologist twice in your 30s.
- Adults in their 40s: Early signs of disease or changes in vision may appear in your 40s, and early detection can prevent vision loss. All adults should have a complete eye exam and eye disease screening in their 40s. Based on your health and the health of your eyes, Dr. Washington will recommend an eye exam schedule going forward.
- Adults 65 and older: Senior citizens should have their eyes checked every year or two. Dr. Washington will check for signs of age-related eye diseases such as:
Exceptions include the following:
- If you have an infection, injury, or eye pain, or you notice sudden floaters and flashes or patterns of light, contact our office for an appointment.
- Patients who wear contact lenses should see their eye specialist every year.
- Patients with diabetes or who have a family history of eye disease, talk with Dr. Washington about how often your eyes should be examined.