The Importance of an Eye Exam

The eye examination is an extremely important part of diagnosing and preventing eye disease. The optometrist can visualize the inner structures in the back of the eye and detect the presence of glaucoma, macular degeneration or retinopathy. If eye disease is diagnosed early, the optometrist may be able to prevent further injury and save the affected person’s ability to see. Regular Eye Exams are especially important in people who suffer from diabetes, have eye disease in their family history or are experiencing changes in their vision.

Prepare for Eye Drops

Your eye doctor may include eye drops that dilate your pupils to provide him with a better visual of the structures behind your eyes. After approximately 20 minutes, the pupils are opened wide enough to provide access to view the back of the eye or the fundus. This structure contains the living cells of nerves, blood vessels and the retina. Depending on the type of exam, your eye doctor may elect to use drops to numb the surface of the eye to provide comfort. The effects of the eye drops usually wear off in 30 to 45 minutes.

The Ophthalmoscope

As part of the exam, your optometrist may shine a light into your eye as he instructs you to look in a certain direction. This instrument, known as an ophthalmoscope, has magnification properties that enlarge the structures of the fundus. He routinely will examine these structures for problems related to the retina, blood vessels, the optic nerve and signs of disease or conditions.

Common Eye Conditions

The impairment of vision is generally characteristic of macular degeneration. Affected people may look at a page of print and notice pieces of the text are missing. Although there are improved methods of treating this condition, early detection may greatly improve the prevention of further loss of vision. Glaucoma is usually described as a condition of a high and persistent eye pressure that damages the small blood vessels and structures of the eye. It is imperative to treat this condition early and prevent blindness. Damage to the retina, which nourishes the optic nerve, may cause blindness if not treated in the early stages.

Prevention: The Eye Exam

The importance of regular eye exams can diagnose early disease or conditions and save your vision. Visit your eye doctor and ensure your glasses prescriptions are current, and report any visual concerns you may experience.

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