Everything about an eye exam you should know
We often hear from experts that it is important to always go for regular eye checks but unfortunately, not all of us follow this advice. Going for eye exams is not an indication that something is wrong; rather it should be done just to make sure that nothing is wrong. But how much is an eye exam? What would you have to pay with or without insurance? We provide answers to this and more in this article.
Why is an eye exam important?
Many people feel that they don't have to go for an eye exam because they can see clearly and so, they assume that nothing is wrong with their vision. But how wrong they are. Eye exams are important but why?
Whether for children or adults, eye exams are important because they help you assess the current state of your eyes. When you check your eyes regularly, signs of diseases or harmful conditions will be identified on time.
As you may know, certain conditions don't become evident in time but over time, they begin to affect vision quality. Even for children and infants, it is still important as regular checks will help experts identify and correct certain defects that may get worse as they grow older.
What is included in an eye exam?
Eye exams have certain routine procedures the patient has to go through. These procedures are relatively painless and quick. If you pass all of them, then it means that your eyes are in great condition. So when you visit an optometrist for a routine eye exam, just bear in mind that some of the eye disorders and complications they may be checking for include
· Dry eye
· Age related issues
There may be more issues the doctor may check for depending on your situation but the ones listed above are by the most common symptoms they check for.
So here are the routine checks included in an eye exam.
Pre Exam Test: During a pre exam test, the optometrist will perform a few basic tests on you to better understand your vision since all patients have unique visual features. These tests include an air puff test for glaucoma. A color sensitivity test, peripheral vision test, a cover test to see if both eyes are working in perfect unison and a special test that requires an auto-refractor for measuring your eye prescription.
All these and more are included in a pre-test exam.
The next stage is to check your pupils to ensure they are working well. With the aid of special lighting, the medical expert will test the functionality of both pupils. The eye surface will be examined as well as the corneas for any injuries. Bacteria checks will also be conducted.
A slit lamp test is conducted with a special tool called a biomicroscope. The doctor will use a vertical light in this tool to magnify your eyes. This magnification will embolden the cornea, lens and iris.
The purpose of this test is to check all the essential components to be sure that they are in good condition. You may be asked to blink several times or to stare in a particular direction as the doctor examines you with the tool.
This is by far the most popular exam. For this one, you will be provided with a reading chart. You will be asked to call about the letters or numbers you see in the chart with either both eyes or only one eye. Your performance will then help the doctors determine your prescription needs should eyeglasses be required to aid your vision.
Another part of a comprehensive eye test is pupil dilation. Dilation helps to determine your retina and nerve health. Doctors do this by applying a few drops of a special liquid in your eyes that cause your pupils to expand in size.
When do I need an eye exam?
When do you need an eye exam? The answer to this question is as regularly as possible or based on your doctor's instructions. Some doctors recommend every 6 months to 1 year. In special cases, they may recommend a test every few months. Here is a helpful timeline for exams depending on age.
1. Infants/Children (3 years and below)
For children and infants, eye exams are important and track their development. Doctors will recommend how often the child should be brought for examination. Child eye exams check for cross eyes, lazy or misaligned eyes.
2. School age children and adolescent
Once the child starts school they will start using their eyes more than ever. At this stage, they need to be taken for checks at least every 6 months or as often as the doctor recommends.
For adults with no prior conditions, the American Academy of Ophthalmology advises people who are 40 years and above to always go for eye exams at least once a year or sooner based on their doctor's recommendation. For older adults 60 years and above an eye exam every year or two is advised.
On a general note, you should have your eyes checked if you
1. Have a family history of one eye defect or the other
2. Wear prescription glasses or lens
3. Suffer from a chronic disease that may affect your vision, e.g. diabetes
4. Are taking certain medications that have serious side effects.
The average cost of an eye exam?
How much is an eye exam? That will depend on
1. Where you take the eye exam
2. If you have insurance or not
The average eye exam costs about $100 but may cost more if you go to a private clinic. If you have insurance, it may cost you far less because many insurance plans provide cover for eye tests.
So how much is an eye exam? That will depend on the place you take the exam and whether or not you have insurance.