When it comes to eye exams in Colorado Springs, we at the Eye Care Center know how important it is that you see well for the vision demands of your busy life. During your eyeglass exam Dr. Bro and Dr. Whitney will perform a detailed refraction that investigates your vision correction and how it relates to what you do. If you spend time driving, working at the computer, reading books, or looking at your computer tablet or smart phone you may benefit from a lens designed to make these tasks easier and more comfortable. We even offer eye exams for children!
What is an Eye Exam, Exactly?
An eye exam is a series of tests designed to evaluate vision and check for eye disease. An eye exam consists of different tests to evaluate different aspects of your vision and eye health. We use a variety of instruments, shine bright lights directly at your eyes and request that you look through an array of lenses.
When Do You Need an Eye Exam?
Many factors determine when and how often you need to have your eyes examined. Some of these include your age, health and genetic and environmental risks of developing eye problems. Also, if you’re experiencing any specific vision problems such as blurry vision or clouding of the eyes, it may be a sign of cataracts or other vision problems that should be examined. Here are some general guidelines.
- Children under 5. For a child under 3, your pediatrician will likely look for the most common eye problems — lazy eye, crossed eyes or turned-out eyes. Don’t assume that young children can’t have vision problems. As with other types of health care visits your child’s willingness to cooperate is largely dependent on you. If you have anxieties keep them to yourself. Explain in an age appropriate manner what the doctor is going to do. Unless your pediatrician detects a problem of some sort, a child’s first more comprehensive eye exam should be done between the ages of 3 and 5.
- School age children and teens. Definitely schedule an exam before your child starts first grade. If your child does have vision problems or you have a family history of vision problems, have your child’s vision rechecked as recommended. Remember, your child is growing and so are their eyes. It’s not uncommon for a child to have good vision at one age and need glasses two years later.
Pay attention to your child as they read and watch television. Frequently they aren’t aware they need glasses so they may not say anything. If your child starts to squint, move a book forward or back as they read or complains of headaches take them to your eye care professional for an examination. Although most schools do basic vision testing, particularly in the primary grades, don’t rely on this as a substitute for professional eye exams.
- Adults. In general, healthy adults should have their eyes checked every one to two years. If you wear glasses, have a family history of eye disease or have a chronic disease that puts you at greater risk of eye disease, particularly diabetes, have your eyes checked once a year. If you have headaches, blurriness or any other type of vision changes always see your eye doctor even if you had your eyes checked recently. Be proactive with your vision.
What Questions You’ll Need to Answer
If you’re seeing us for the first time or if you’re having your first eye exam in several years, you can expect the doctor to ask questions about your vision and medical history. Your answers will help us understand your risk of eye disease and vision problems. Be prepared to offer as much specific information as possible, including:
- Are you having any problems with your eyes now?
- Have you had any eye problems in the past?
- Do you wear glasses or contacts now? If so, are you satisfied with them?
- What health problems have you had in recent years?
- What medications are you currently taking?
- Do you have any allergies to either medications, food or anything else?
- Have you ever had any kind of eye surgery?
- Do any family members have eye problems, such as macular degeneration or glaucoma?
- Do you or does anyone in your family have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or any other health problems that affect your overall health?
If you wear contacts or glasses, bring them with you to your appointment. We will want to make sure your prescription is the best one for you. It will also allow him to see how much your vision has changed since your last eye exam. This is one of the primary reasons it’s good to stay with the same eye care professional. They have your history and it allows them to see if your vision changes suddenly or in important ways.
What to Expect From the Eye Exam
After your medical history is taken your doctor will briefly discuss what brought you in for an eye examination. Be sure to let him know if you have any concerns or if you’re suffering from any anxiety. Being forthright gives your doctor the information she will need to properly assess your vision, as well as make recommendations that are suited to you. Some of the tests you can expect include:
- Visual acuity test: This is the test we are all familiar with, and is also known as the eye chart. You identify letters and numbers on a screen positioned some distance away. The characters get progressively smaller. Your close up vision may be tested using a chart at reading distance.
- Refraction assessment: In this procedure, the doctor shines a light into your eye and measures the refractive error by evaluating the movement of the light that’s reflected by the retina back through the pupil. You may then be asked to respond to a series of choices to determine which lenses will accurately correct your particular refractive error.
- Visual field test: Also known as perimetry, your visual field is the full extent of what you’re able to see to the sides without moving your eyes. This test determines whether you have difficulty seeing in any areas of your overall field of vision. There are a variety of ways to perform this test and most eye doctors’ use multiple methods. You may be asked to cover one eye, look at the doctor as he moves his hand in and out of your visual field and say when you see the hand and how many fingers she is holding up. Most doctors use an automated perimetry test as well. This is a computer program that flashes lights as you look into a special instrument. You press a button when you see the lights.
- Retinal examination: Usually your pupils must be dilated with eye drops for this important test. This allows your doctor to evaluate the back of the eye, including your retina, and the underlying layer of blood vessels that nourish the retina. At Eye Care Center of Colorado Springs, we recommend the Optomap retinal examination to provide the best and most thorough eye health examination.
- Glaucoma screening: Your doctor will carefully measure the intraocular pressure of your eyes with a painless screening procedure that does not require eyedrops or even a puff of air. We will also evaluate the health of your optic nerve during your retinal examination, and collect important information about other risk factors of glaucoma including diabetes and a family history of glaucoma.
After Your Eye Examination
After your eye exam, we will give you the results of each test we performed as well as discuss the meaning of each one. We will tell you if you have any early eye problems and what you can do to minimize their worsening. Of course you may also need a prescription for corrective lenses. You can talk about the benefits of glasses or contact lenses and what the best solution is for you.
Remember, your vision is a vital part of your overall health. Regular examinations are vital to maintaining your vision and can frequently assist in alerting you to other health problems as well. If you’ve never worn glasses before you will be amazed at how much better your life is once you can see clearly!
Why Choose the Eye Care Center of Colorado Springs?
We’ll ask questions and listen carefully to help provide the best solution for your individual needs. This is where the guidance and advice of our doctors and optical professionals can make all the difference in your visual comfort every day. As part of your exam for glasses we will optimize your vision for the specific tasks and working distances you encounter.
Eye glasses lenses have changed a lot and even if you think your eyes haven’t changed there are new lenses that can make you see more comfortably for the things you do. It’s our mission to make sure your get the fit that’s right for you and your lifestyle.