Around this time of year, many of us start thinking about the value of health and wellness goals. For the past several years, these goals have often revolved around losing those holiday pounds (or, this year, that COVID 20!). This year, the primary New Year’s resolution may be to stay healthy. What it means to stay healthy can differ for everyone. In addition to slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, we have the usual health matters to attend to. Vision is one of them, and to attend to vision means to do more than have your vision checked. It means to have a comprehensive eye exam that evaluates all vital parts of the eyes. Here, we discuss what that entails.
Your Annual Eye Exam
Routine eye exams with an ophthalmologist are different than the vision checks you get from an optometrist. Yes, we may perform a vision screening to check your acuity. However, an ophthalmic eye exam is much more comprehensive than measuring how well you see at the time of your appointment. Dr. Croley may also perform screenings to evaluate how well you see in the future. These include:
- Slit-lamp exam. This screening involves shining a bright light at the front of the eye. It does not hurt and only takes a few moments. The slit-lamp exam lets the doctor observe the structures at the front of the eye, including the cornea, lens, tear film, and iris.
- Retina and refraction screening. The retina is a structure at the back of the eye. It is where light lands before it is transferred to the brain. A refractive error is a condition that bends rays of light before they hit the retina, causing distortion. Common errors include astigmatism, presbyopia, nearsightedness, and farsightedness.
- Glaucoma screening. A person who has glaucoma has too much pressure inside the eye. A certain amount of pressure is needed to hold all structures in place. Too much pressure can damage the optic nerve that sends signals from the retina to the brain. A person can lose their eyesight if the optic nerve is damaged from this compression. The glaucoma screening is a painless measurement of intraocular pressure, often using a quick burst of air.