Regular eye examinations are an invaluable tool in maintaining eye health by detecting and preventing disease. Some diseases, such as glaucoma, develop gradually without causing pain or vision loss, so patients may not notice that anything is wrong until significant and irreversible damage has been done.

Early detection of eye diseases can allow for a choice of treatment options and reduced risk of permanent damage.


Why should I get an eye examination?

Patients should see their doctor for a comprehensive eye examination every one to three years, depending on their age, risk of disease and overall physical condition. Children should have regular tests to ensure the proper development of their vision and prevent any interference with their academic achievements. Older adults are often at a higher risk for eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. Even if your eyes are healthy, you should still have a regular eye examination to detect any problems as soon as possible and begin necessary treatment.

What happens during an eye examination?

An eye examination is different from a vision screening, which only tests vision and is commonly performed by a school nurse, pediatrician or other health care provider. Only your eye doctor can perform a comprehensive eye examination to evaluate the overall health of the eye and detect any changes that may indicate a vision disorder. During a routine eye examination, your doctor will evaluate your eyes for refractive errors, as well as common conditions such as:

  • Amblyopia
  • Strabismus
  • Presbyopia
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic eye disease

This is done through a series of eye tests that examine all aspects of the eye, including a visual field test, dilation, glaucoma test, slit-lamp examination, cover test, retinoscopy and refraction. These tests can all be performed in your doctor’s office and are safe for all patients.

After completing the comprehensive examination and coming to an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will develop a treatment plan based on the findings of the examination. This treatment plan may include a prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses, medication eyedrops, eye vitamins, recommendations for eye health or surgery for serious conditions.

Common Eye Conditions

The most common eye conditions diagnosed during a comprehensive eye examination involve refractive errors that cause blurry vision for patients. These conditions affect millions of people in the US and often get progressively worse as patients age. Fortunately, refractive errors can be easily treated to let patients enjoy clear vision at all distances.

All of these vision conditions can be effectively corrected through eyeglasses and contact lenses. Eyewear may be used during certain activities, such as watching television or driving, or at all times.