Regular eye exams at Papale Eye Center in Springfield, MA, are important in maintaining eye health. Early intervention is crucial in preventing vision loss from a disease such as glaucoma, which may not cause symptoms until significant and irreversible damage has taken place. Early detection of eye problems gives a patient a choice of treatment options and reduces the risk of permanent damage. During a comprehensive eye exam, eye diseases or other abnormalities that are not yet causing symptoms can be detected.
Benefits of Eye Exams:
During a comprehensive eye examination, simple refractive errors are detected, and serious eye problems or diseases, including the following, are diagnosed:
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
- Eye-tracking difficulty
- Diabetic retinopathy
The Comprehensive Eye Examination Procedure
A comprehensive eye examination differs from a vision screening. The latter only tests visual acuity, and is commonly performed by a school nurse, optician, pediatrician or other healthcare provider.
To evaluate the eyes thoroughly and detect any problems, the following tests are performed:
- Visual acuity
- Visual field
- Retinal examination under pupil dilation
- Tonometry (tests intraocular pressure (IOP))
- Keratometry (measures the curvature of the cornea)
- Tonometry checks for the presence of glaucoma, and keratometry for astigmatism. All of the above tests are safe for all patients.
Based on the diagnostic findings of the examination, eyeglasses or contact lenses, medication for infection or inflammation, vision therapy, and vitamins or other supplements may be recommended. In some cases, eye surgery may be necessary.
Common Refractive Errors
The most common eye conditions diagnosed during a comprehensive eye examination involve refractive errors that cause blurry vision. Here are the most common diagnoses:
Myopia (nearsightedness or shortsightedness)
It is a condition of the eyes in which nearby objects are clear, and distant objects are blurry. Almost a third of people in the United States have some degree of nearsightedness.
Astigmatism occurs when the curvature of the eye is irregular. There are two astigmatisms: corneal, in which the shape of the cornea (the clear covering of the eye) is irregular, and lenticular, in which the lens is imperfectly formed. Corneal astigmatism is more common. Astigmatism can result in blurred vision at any distance.
It is a condition of the eyes in which the focus on distant objects is better than the focus on objects closer to the eye, making nearby objects appear blurry. The eye is designed to focus images directly on the surface of the retina; with hyperopia, light rays focus behind the surface of the retina, producing a blurry image.
This is a condition in which the eyes lose their ability to focus on close objects. It is considered a normal part of the aging process. Symptoms typically begin when patients are between 40 and 45 years old.
All of these vision conditions can be effectively treated with either eyeglasses or contact lenses. Corrective lenses may need to be used only during certain activities, such as reading, watching television or driving, or may be needed at all times.
Comprehensive eye examinations are essential in checking for vision problems, eye diseases, refractive errors and overall health. How frequently the eyes should be examined is based on the patient’s age and specific circumstances.