If your vision is a little blurry, it’s tempting to go to the store and buy an inexpensive pair of reading glasses. This may seem to solve the problem but ‘fixing’ your vision isn’t a do-it-yourself kind of project. An annual eye exam offers a more thorough look at your eyes and may uncover the real reason for that blurry vision.
Eye exams usually include several routine tests that are designed to detect certain abnormalities. The eye chart gives a basic idea of what you can see and will start to pinpoint areas of possible concern. While the eye chart may seem like the most important aspect of an exam, it literally only begins to assess your vision.
The refraction test will determine your exact prescription to help you achieve optimum 20/20 vision. Normally, we think of this procedure as only diagnosing nearsightedness or farsightedness, but the results of this test can help determine other conditions. This test has been known to help identify ulcers or infections on the cornea, blockage of the small blood vessels near the retina, or even a retinal detachment.
Checking your peripheral vision is also a routine test that diagnoses health issues that can be treated. Your peripheral vision is the area of vision that is outside the center of your gaze. A decrease in this vision field is often associated with nerve damage, possibly caused by injury or glaucoma.
Tests for Patients over 40
The aging process definitely affects your vision, therefore there are certain routine tests for this age group. Dilation of the eye is painless and involves administering eye drops to cause the pupils to become larger. By shining a bright light into the eyes, the overall condition of the eyes can be evaluated. Early signs of common, and often treatable, eye disorders can be diagnosed this way. Evidence of tumors, cataracts, and macular degeneration can be seen and an effective treatment plan put into place.
A test for glaucoma involves measuring the pressure in your eye. This is a relatively simple procedure that can have lifelong benefits. While glaucoma can cause significant damage to the optic nerve and create vision loss, if it is diagnosed in an early state, it can be treated. Vision loss from glaucoma is not reversible, which makes this routine test very important. The best treatment plan for glaucoma is early detection.
Checking for cataracts is also important for patients over 40. The lens of the eyes consists of water and protein, but with age there is a tendency for the protein to clump together and form a cataract, thereby making the lens cloudy. This creates blurry vision and reduces the ability to see at night. Routinely checking for cataracts can spot this condition in an early stage and surgery can be scheduled to remove them.
Eye exams are more than just walking out the door with a pair of new glasses. There can be a medical reason for that blurry vision; you could have a treatable condition that needs to be diagnosed. Buying reading glasses in the supermarket may not be in your best interest. Don’t be tempted to ‘fix’ your vision on your own; use all the available tests to make the right choice for your eyes.
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