Why you should see an eye doctor annually

Your vision is a critical part of your overall health. When going in your regular annual physical checkup, it is important to also make sure that you have your vision checked as well. During an eye exam, your physician will check for signs of glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy, among other diseases. So what is part of a traditional eye exam?

Eye Exam

The doctor will perform these typical eye tests as part of your annual exam. The first is the eye muscle movement test, which is meant to make sure that your eyes are aligning normally. Part of the test includes having your doctor ask you to track targets in various directions, then they will observe how your eye moves and note any areas of potential concern. If there are areas of concern, your doctor will prescribe treatments to deal with those concerns.

Cover Test

The cover test is a check of how well your eyes are working in concert with each other. As you stare at a designated target in the distance, the doctor will cover and uncover your eyes one at a time. This will allow them to observe the movements of your eyes, watching to see if one of the eyes turns away from the target. This test can be repeated with the target close by as well.

External Test

During the external exam and pupillary reactions will test your pupils ‘reactions to both light and other objects at close distances. The doctor will also examine the exterior of the eye, looking for any changes in the condition of the white area of the eye and the overall position of the eyelids. If you continue to have a regular annual exam, then your doctor can track any changes over time and address them right away.

Visual Acuity Test

The visual acuity test requires you to sit in front of an eye chart, with letters that get gradually smaller as you read down the lines. You may be required to cover one eye or the other as part of this test. Depending on how good your vision is, you may be able to read the whole chart or be stuck part way down.

If you have difficulties with this chart, then you may be required to get a prescription for glasses or contacts to correct your vision issues. This will mean that you need to have a refraction test to determine your exact lens prescription. Additionally, you may need to have a glaucoma test to check the fluid pressure in your eyes falls within the normal range. The test is painless and usually takes just a few minutes to perform.

There are a few other tests that are included in a typical eye exam, but all these check the health of your eyes and their various parts. These tests are all geared to locating any potential issues with your eyes, but also how they can be indicative of other diseases or potential issues within your body as a whole. Be sure to have your eyes checked annually as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.