Comprehensive Eye Exam at Central Florida Eye Institute
No one wants to even think about life without good vision. So it’s surprising how many people worry more about when to change the oil in their car than when to have their eyes examined. Your eyes are miracles of refractive power, but like most organs in your body, they need some preventive attention in the form of a regular eye exam. This isn’t being obsessive or overly cautious — many eye conditions don’t exhibit symptoms until they are already damaging your vision. And who wants that?
Here’s what is involved in an eye exam at Central Florida Eye Institute in Ocala, FL.
What is Tested in a Comprehensive Eye Exam?
Eye exams are so much more than simply telling a person he or she has 20/20 or 20/100 vision. We take these exams very seriously and continually upgrade to the latest technology to not only allow us to check your refraction quality, but more importantly, to look for the early signs of any type of eye disease.
Here is a list of what we test during an eye exam:
- Refraction Assessment — As light enters the front of your eyes, the rays are bent as they reach the retina in the back of the eye. If the light rays aren’t focused onto the proper spot, you have a refractive error, things like farsightedness and the like. Glasses or contact lenses correct these errors. To fine tune the amount of error and correction we use a phoropter, where alternate lenses are rotated in front of your eyes to find which correction gives you the best vision.
- Visual Acuity Test — This old standby test uses an alphabet eye chart, also called the Snellen chart. We have you cover one eye and read the letters that get progressively smaller the farther down your read.
- Vision Field Test — This determines if you have difficulty seeing in any areas of your overall field of vision. We use an automated perimetry machine where you look at a screen with blinking lights on it. You press a button each time you see a blink.
- Eye Muscle Test — You simply follow an object and we watch your eye movements to check for muscle weakness, poor control, or poor coordination between eyes.
- Color Vision Test — To test for any color vision problems, we show you several multicolored dot-pattern tests during the eye exam. There are numbers and shapes within the dot patterns. If you have some colorblindness, you won’t see the numbers/shapes in the dots.
- Slit-Lamp Examination — The slit lamp is a microscope that illuminates and magnifies the front of your eye. We examine your eyelids, lashes, cornea, iris, lens, and the fluid chamber in your eye.
- Retinal Examination — Sometimes called funduscopy or ophthalmoscopy, this is the examination of the back of your eye, where the retina, optic disc, and various blood vessels are found. For this eye exam, we usually dilate your eye with eyedrops. These keep the pupil from getting smaller when a light is shown on it.
- Glaucoma Screening — Glaucoma is a disease that can cause elevated pressure, damage to the optic nerve, and in time loss of peripheral vision. We check the pressure inside your eye at each eye exam.
It is important to note that the Refraction Assessment portion of the eye exam is usually not covered by insurance. To learn more about why Refraction Assessments are typically not covered, click here to view our informational PDF.
How Often Should I Have an Eye Exam?
Most people know they should go to the dentist twice every year, and after age 40 they should probably have a physical exam every year. But ask someone when they should have an eye exam and they shrug. People often go a decade or more without having their eyes checked, particularly if they have good vision. This is taking a big gamble that could dramatically change your life if you lose. Particularly after the age of 40, sight-robbing conditions such as glaucoma can sneak up without you knowing it.
Here is the timeline from the American Optometric Association (AOA) for when everyone should get an eye exam:
- Children 5 Years and Younger — Children under three should see a pediatrician to check for the most common eye problems, such as lazy eye. Otherwise, children between 3 and 5 should see Dr. Croley and the team at Central Florida Eye Institute for their eye exam.
- School-Age Children and Teens — Your child needs his or her vision checked before they enter first grade. From there, vision should be checked every one or two years to be sure their refraction/vision correction prescription hasn’t changed.
- Adults — If you don’t have vision problems and don’t have a family history of eye disease, below is the schedule for adults. These adult numbers should increase in frequency if you wear glasses or contact lenses, if you have a family history of eye disease, or if you have a chronic disease that can affect your eyes, such as diabetes.
- Every five to 10 years in your 20s and 30s
- Every two to four years from 40 to 54
- Every one to three years from 55 to 64
- Every year after age 65
How Often Should My Child Have an Eye Exam?
Vision is a critical component of learning, so it’s a shame that some kids don’t have their eyes checked to see where their vision stands. The first eye exam for your child is very important so that refractive errors don’t hold the child back in school. Plus, an eye exam can catch childhood vision diseases and conditions before they can cause permanent vision damage. The AOA estimates that from 5-10 percent of preschoolers and one quarter of school-aged children have vision problems.
The AOA recommends that infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Beyond that, the next eye exam should be at age 3, and then again just before the child enters kindergarten or first grade, around age 5 or 6.
My Eyes Seem Fine. Why Do I Need to Get an Eye Exam?
Just as you shouldn’t wait until a tooth has shooting pain to go to the dentist, or wait for that suspicious spot on your skin to turn into melanoma before seeing a dermatologist, if you wait for problems with your eyesight to show themselves you will usually already have lost some vision…permanently.
Glaucoma, where pressure builds inside the eye and damages the optic nerve, usually shows no symptoms until damage is done. Macular degeneration is the same thing, until one day you begin to notice degradation in the center of your field of vision.
With the eyes, prevention is key. Hopefully, you come see Dr. Croley and you breeze through our series of tests and all is well. But each eye test, such as testing intraocular pressure for glaucoma, has a purpose. Even if you only need refractive adjustment, such as changing your eyeglass or contact lens prescription, you’ll see more clearly and effectively. Plus, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing nothing more dangerous is happening behind the scenes with your eyesight.
Does an Eye Exam Hurt?
No. There isn’t any pain involved during an eye exam.
How Long Does an Eye Exam Take?
A complete eye exam takes about 45 minutes to an hour.
Am I Allowed to Drive After My Eye Exam?
Yes, you can drive yourself home. If you’ve had your eyes dilated, which is sometimes necessary to better check the retina in the back of the eye, your eyes will be more sensitive to light, but sunglasses provide adequate protection until they return to normal.
Does Insurance Cover My Eye Exam?
Most insurance covers the medical portion of your eye exam only. The refraction is a “non-covered” service, which means you normally have to pay for that portion of the exam. (Click here to learn more about why this is the case.) However, insurance plans and coverages vary widely, so it’s best to contact your carrier and find out. We work with your insurance company to facilitate coverage.
Schedule Your Eye Exam Today!
For more information or to schedule an eye exam at our practice in Ocala, FL, give us a call at (352) 237-8400 or visit our Contact Us page to request a consultation today! We proudly serve patients in Ocala, Gainesville, Lady Lake, Leesburg, and Inverness, FL and surrounding areas.