The best way to preserve and protect your vision is through regular professional eye examinations. For teens, if corrective lenses are needed, it’s also a matter of determining if you’re “ready” for contacts. This may not be based on any sort of age guidelines – only your willingness to care for and wear lenses properly.
Between examinations, if you notice a change in your vision – or your eye is injured in any way – tell your parents so they can contact your optometrist as soon as possible.
What can you expect from a comprehensive Eye Exam?
Each optometrist has a routine, but most comprehensive eye exams follow a similar pattern. First, the optometrist will review your personal and family health history to check for eye disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or poor vision.
Then, your optometrist will conduct tests to check for:
- Vision – The optometrist can check for short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism and presbyopia. While you look at an eye chart, the optometrist will assess your vision for long distance and reading, and, if necessary, determine a prescription for corrective lenses.
- Coordination of eye muscles – The optometrist will assess how well your eyes work together by asking to you to look at different objects while they cover and uncover your eyes.
- Visual fields test- The optometrist will use a piece of equipment called the visual field screener to assess the full horizontal and vertical range and sensitivity of your vision, which can be a good indicator to the health of your visual system.
- Pupil response to light – The optometrist will shine a light in your eyes and watch the pupil’s reaction.
- The health of the front and the back of your eyes – The optometrist will use either a handheld torch called an ophthalmoscope or a table-mounted microscope called a slit lamp to look for any abnormalities.
- Measurement of eye pressure – The optometrist will release a puff of air onto your eye using an instrument called a tonometer. This tests the pressure inside the eye, an early indicator of Glaucoma.