Many people neglect to go for routine eye check-ups since they don’t regard it as a pressing health issue. Since eye diseases very rarely show any symptoms, people often miss out on early detection and the possibility of a complete cure. The common idea of an eye exam entails determining the lens or glasses prescription. What ophthalmologists actually do other than check for weak eyesight is a thorough examination of the eye in order to check for various types of disease.

What the Ophthalmologist Checks for

There are certain things that the doctor checks for in a comprehensive eye test. The first and most obvious element is checking for any refractive errors. This refers to the strength of eyesight which determines the prescription of lenses. The next thing that the doctor checks for is alignment between the eyes. This can lead to detection of Strabismus which is an eye disorder that leads to problems in depth perception. Strabismus is more commonly known as the crossing of the eyes which means that both eyes are not working together.

The doctor may also check for Amblyopia which is the slight turning of one eye. This can also occur when one eye has a different prescription from the other. The brain is sometimes unable to process the image generated from the two misaligned eyes and shuts down the eye with the lesser prescription leading to stunted vision.

The ability of children and sometimes adults, to focus clearly is also tested in an eye exam. Although Presbyopia is not a serious disease it can lead to trouble in children who are currently studying and need to focus on boards in schools.

Checking the eye pressure of the patient is a very important part of the eye test. This can help in early detection of glaucoma which is painless and doesn’t show any symptoms until it has considerably progressed.

An eye test can also be a glimpse into the overall health of the body. The ophthalmologist may examine the retinal blood vessels which may be an indication of other diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

How Often Should you go for an Eye Examination?

Routine check-ups of the eye are important at every age. Children who are below the age of three should have an eye examination in order to detect any problems that may develop early, especially crossed eyes, wandering or lazy eyes.

Routine check-ups every two years are recommended for those under the age of twenty. Eye check-ups beyond the age of twenty should take place every 18 months especially if an individual feels that they are at risk of eye disease and are experiencing pain in the eye, floaters or flashes of light.  Since the risk of age-related eye diseases such as glaucoma, retinal degeneration and cataracts increases, those beyond the age of 60 should get check-ups annually to detect these problems early. People who have been diagnosed with diabetes should get annual eye exams regardless of what age they are.

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