An eye exam is important because the eye is one of the body’s most complex organs. It requires the skills of a highly trained eye care specialist for a thorough examination. Many visual disorders and eye diseases lack symptoms in the early stages, thus regular eye exams are important. We look for early stages and signs of Glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and many other eye diseases. The appropriate frequency of eye examination varies from one individual to the next, based upon current vision, age, family history, general health, and eye health.
At Relf EyeCare Specialists, a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant will initiate your examination, performing many of the entrance tests for the doctors. A comprehensive eye exam includes “refraction”, which determines your current eyeglass prescription. Drops will be instilled to allow measurement of your intraocular pressure. Your eyes will also be dilated, which can cause difficulty with reading and sometimes driving for three hours or more.
After your eyes are dilated (this takes 20 to 30 minutes), one of our doctors will examine the structures around and inside your eyes. Your doctor will then report on the health of your eyes, comment on any findings relevant to your general health, and recommend a course of action best suited to your individual needs. We firmly believe that every patient deserves a “game plan”, which should be understood by all parties involved. We are happy to communicate our findings to your primary care provider.
You should set aside 60 to 90 minutes for your initial eye exam to ensure you have enough time, as you may need to select eyeglasses, sunglasses or try contact lenses after the exam with the doctor.
Follow-up visits for various eye conditions generally require less time, although additional testing is often required during these visits. We try to let you know how much time follow-up exams might take so that you can plan accordingly.
Eye Exam FAQ’s
At what age should my child have his/her first eye exam?
Most children should have a complete eye exam before starting school, around age 5. Although Pediatricians and Family Medicine doctors are trained to screen for eye problems in children under the age of 5, certain findings or conditions may prompt earlier examination by an eye care specialist. Call us if you have questions about this.
Can I bring someone into the exam room?
Certainly. Family members and friends are welcome and encouraged to join you in the exam room. We are also happy to phone family members who are unable to be present if you so desire.
Is it safe to drive after eyes have been dilated during an eye exam?
We get the question, “Is it safe to drive after my eyes have been dilated?” a lot. Most people are comfortable driving after their eyes have been dilated; you should use your judgment. Patients with conditions such as macular degeneration or glaucoma might be wise to arrange for a driver. Sunglasses may be useful on your way home; a complimentary pair will be provided.
What should I bring with me to my eye exam?
- Insurance information
- Referral letter (if needed)
- Glasses and contact lenses (including package)
- List of current medications, including eye drops
- Name of primary care physician
How often should I have my eyes examined?
Following your initial comprehensive exam, your eye doctor will let you know when you should come in next. We have a “reminder system” to track and schedule your next appointment if you are not able to schedule it when you leave.