Periodic eye and vision examinations are an important part of preventive health care. Many eye and vision problems have no obvious signs or symptoms. As a result, individuals are often unaware that problems exist. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye and vision problems are important for maintaining good vision and eye health, and when possible, preventing vision loss.
A comprehensive adult eye and vision examination may include, but is not limited to, the following tests. Individual patient signs and symptoms, along with the professional judgment of the doctor, may significantly influence the testing done.
Determining refractive error with a phoropter and retinoscopeRefraction is conducted to determine the appropriate lens power needed to compensate for any refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism). Using an instrument called a phoropter, your optometrist places a series of lenses in front of your eyes and measures how they focus light using a hand held lighted instrument called a retinoscope. The doctor may choose to use an automated instrument that automatically evaluates the focusing power of the eye. The power is then refined by patient's responses to determine the lenses that allow the clearest vision.
This testing may be done without the use of eye drops to determine how the eyes respond under normal seeing conditions. In some cases, such as for patients who can't respond verbally or when some of the eyes focusing power may be hidden, eye drops are used. The drops temporarily keep the eyes from changing focus while testing is done.
Determining refractive error with a phoropter and retinoscopeContact lenses are medical devices, so you need a contact lens prescription in order to buy them, and your eye doctor is required to make sure that your vision examination for your contact lens prescription involves finding the right fit for your lenses.
A contact lens fitting involves both a consultation and measurement.
Your eye doctor will ask you about your lifestyle and preferences. Some contact lenses may be better for athletes with active lifestyles, for instance; others may be better for frequent travelers who might need to occasionally sleep in their contacts. Your eye doctor will also ask you about whether you prefer colored contact lenses or disposable contacts.
Your eye doctor will also need to gather several measurements. The most common is the curvature of your cornea, your eye’s clear front surface. In some cases, your pupil and iris size will also be measured. If you tend to have dry eyes, your eye doctor may also perform a tear film evaluation to make sure you’re prescribed contact lenses that keep your eyes sufficiently moist.
Remember, your eye doctor is your ally in making sure your eyes get what they need to stay healthy and perform at their best. Make sure you seek professional advice whenever you’re encountering or making changes involving your eyes and vision.
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