Adults should have a complete eye examination at age 40, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. It is at around this time that early signs of disease or changes in vision typically appear. Finding eye diseases early is essential to early treatment, which can help preserve your vision. Adults should see an eye doctor earlier than age 40 if they have eye disease or are at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure or have a family history of eye disease.
The risk for eye disease increases with age, which makes it important to closely follow scheduled check-ups and follow any additional advice your eye doctor gives you as you get older.
To start your visit, a staff member will ask you to for a complete medical history. Some patients choose to bring a printed list, while others prefer to verbally discuss their medical history. Expect to be asked about your family’s medical history, including family eye health history. Also, note any medications you take. You will be asked about whether you wear corrective lenses, or if there are specific activities you engage in for which you may require specialized vision care or eyewear.
A visual acuity test involves reading an eye chart with one eye covered to determine how well you see at various distances. This test provides a helpful baseline and helps Dr. McConnell know how far from 20/20 each person is seeing. Visual acuity is expressed as a fraction, such as 20/20. Having 20/20 vision means that your visual acuity at 20 feet away from an object is normal. If you have 20/40 vision, for example, that means you need to be 20 feet away to see an object that people can normally see from 40 feet away.
A test with a non-contact tonometer is done to measure the pressure of your eye and assess your risk of developing glaucoma. Untreated glaucoma can result in permanent damage of the optic nerve and visual field loss. Identified early, glaucoma can be effectively treated. The test may involve a quick puff of air against your eyeball while you are staring at a light source. It is quick and painless. To read more about glaucoma, click the button below.
A binocular slit-lamp examination looks at the front part of your eye. A slit-lamp microscope will light up the front part of the eye, including the eyelids, cornea, iris and lens to check for cataracts, scars or scratches on your cornea. This magnified view of the eye structures allows the doctor to check for signs of a wide range of potential eye diseases and conditions.
When the eyes are dilated, Dr. McConnell is able to get a better view of the structures inside the eye. Special eye drops will be placed in your eyes so the inner structures of your eyes can be examined. Pupil dilation is performed to purposefully increase the size of the pupils during an eye exam so that the eye doctor can fully examine the health of the optic nerve and retina. The exam is critical to preventing and treating eye conditions that could potentially lead to vision loss.
Ophthalmoscopy is the act of looking at the inside of the eye. This important inspection should be part of every comprehensive eye exam. Through ophthalmoscopy, Dr. McConnell can find evidence of many kinds of eye problems including, but not limited to, glaucoma, high blood pressure damage, retinal diseases, diabetes, eye tumors, and many other problems.