About Eye Exams
Routine eye exams for eye health, vision correction for eyeglasses and contact lenses as well as cataract eye exams, LASIK eye exams, eye exams for retina problems including floaters, retinal tears, retinal detachment, diabetic eye problems & age related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma eye exams are performed by our team of eye doctors and staff. We strongly recommend that all patients have routine eye examinations on a regular basis.
How Often Should I Have My Eyes Examined?
The frequency of your eye examinations depends on many factors. Your age, general health, family history of eye problems, and history of treatment for any eye conditions or diseases in the past will determine how often Matossian Eye Associates eye doctors suggest that you schedule your visits. If you are scheduling a comprehensive eye examination with us, it will consist of complete testing of your vision and a comprehensive medical evaluation of the health of your eyes.
Health & Eye History
A complete history will be taken from you regarding your current general health, any previous eye problems or conditions that you have experienced and a review of any problems that you might be experiencing with your vision or your eyes. This will be important information to provide during your screening process. If you have any chronic health problems, even if they are currently stable, it is important that you share this information as well. Please be sure to tell your eye doctor about any medications you are taking for these medical conditions, including over the counter medications or eye drops that you may have been using. They are all important. Your family history will be reviewed with you as well. Please tell us about any health problems that run in your family such as diabetes and high blood pressure. We should also be aware of any eye problems that your family members may have experienced such as glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration (AMD) as they tend to run in families.
The Eye Examination
Your eye examination will begin with a measurement of your vision, or visual acuity, with your current eyeglasses or contact lenses. Chances are that if you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, some of the letters on the “Big E” eye chart will be blurry without them. You will be asked to read a chart projected across the examination room that consists of numbers and letters that get progressively smaller and more difficult to read as you move down the chart. This test, called “Snellin Acuity” or just “Visual Acuity” is an important first step to understanding how well you see.
Refraction will be performed in order to determine the most accurate eyeglass or contact lens prescription necessary to fully correct your vision. This entails having you sit behind an instrument called a Phoroptor, so that the doctor or technician can present a number of lens combinations to determine which corrects your vision most precisely. For those patients who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, you have probably experienced the “which is better” test called refraction. The movement of your eyes, or “Ocular Motility” will be evaluated in order to understand how well the eye muscles function together and how effectively they move your eyes into the different positions of gaze. By shining a fairly bright light in your eyes, the reaction of your pupils to the light will be evaluated. By shinning the light into your eyes in different directions, the doctors can learn a great deal about how well your Optic Nerve is functioning.
You will then be asked to sit comfortably behind a specialized instrument called a Slit Lamp Biomicroscope which helps to examine the condition of your eyelids, eye lashes, eyelid margins and tear film. The slit lamp will also be used to carefully examine the sclera or “white of your eye” and the cornea, or clear dome shaped tissue in front of your pupil. By focusing the slit lamp through the pupil or the dark center of the iris-the colored part of the eye-your doctor will be able to examine the health of the crystalline lens, which is where cataracts form. In order to check for one of the signs of glaucoma, eye drops will be placed in your eyes so that the pressure, called Intraocular Pressure (IOP) can be measured.
Once your eye doctor has completed the examination of the “front of the eye”, it will be time to begin the examination of the health of the “back of the eye”. At this time, additional eye drops may be placed in your eyes in order to dilate or widen your pupils. After the dilation drops are placed in your eyes, it will usually take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes for the eye drops to fully work and dilate your pupil. Please be patient. You will be asked to relax in one of our comfortable waiting areas while the eye drops work. The thorough examination of the health of the retina and optic nerve through a dilated pupil is not uncomfortable. However, the fully widened pupil may make you somewhat sensitive to light and may also blur your vision, especially your near vision, for a few hours after your eye examination. If you have not had a dilated exam in the past, it is a good idea to have a driver on your exam day. It is important to bring a good pair of sunglasses with you in order to lessen your light sensitivity.
Eye Exams for Adults & Seniors
If you are in overall good health, and to the best of your knowledge you have not been diagnosed with any eye health problems or eye diseases, scheduling an eye examination every two years is usually sufficient. It is important that, if you have any family member who has been told that they have glaucoma, macular degeneration (AMD) or you are diabetic you will need to be examined at least each year or as directed by your eye doctor or family doctor. A number of eye problems and eye conditions become more frequent with age. In particular, cataract formation and other age related macula problems increase in frequency for patients over 55-60 years of age and even healthy people should consider scheduling a routine eye exam each year if they fall into this age group. Anyone over 40 should have an eye exam and glaucoma testing each year and anyone over 50 with a family history of macular degeneration should also be examined annually.