Comprehensive Eye Exams
Need an eye exam in Kelowna, BC?
Regardless of your age or physical health, it’s important to have regular eye exams. During a complete eye exam, your eye doctors, Dr. Brad Almond and Dr. Devin Almond, will not only determine your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses, but will also check your eyes for common eye diseases, assess how your eyes work together as a team and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health.
A comprehensive eye exam at Nuvue Optometry in Kelowna includes a number of tests and procedures to examine and evaluate the health of your eyes and the quality of your vision. These tests range from simple ones, like having you read an eye chart, to complex tests, such as using a high-powered lens to examine the health of the tissues inside of your eyes. Eyecare experts recommend you have a complete eye exam every one to three years, depending on your age, risk factors, and physical condition.
Who should get their eyes examined?
Eye examinations are an important part of health maintenance for everyone. Adults should have their eyes tested to keep their prescriptions current and to check for early signs of eye disease. For children, eye exams can play an important role in normal development.
Vision is closely linked to the learning process. Children who have trouble seeing or interpreting what they see will often have trouble with their schoolwork. Many times, children will not complain of vision problems simply because they don’t know what “normal” vision looks like. If your child performs poorly at school or exhibits a reading or learning problem, be sure to schedule an eye examination to rule out an underlying visual cause.
Some experts estimate that approximately 5% to 10% of pre-schoolers and 25% of school-aged children have vision problems. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), all children should have their eyes examined at 6 months of age, at age 3 and again at the start of school. Children without vision problems or risk factors for eye or vision problems should then continue to have their eyes examined at least every two years throughout school. Children with existing vision problems or risk factors should have their eyes examined more frequently. Common risk factors for vision problems include:
- premature birth
- developmental delays
- turned or crossed eyes
- family history of eye disease
- history of eye injury
- other physical illness or disease
The AOA recommends that children who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses should have their eyes examined at least every 12 months or according to their eye doctor’s instructions. Read more about Pediatric Eye Exams.
The AOA also recommends an annual eye exam for any adult who wears eyeglasses or contacts. If you don’t normally need vision correction, you still need an eye exam every two to three years up to the age of 40, depending on your rate of visual change and overall health. Eye doctors often recommend more frequent examinations for adults with diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders, because many diseases can have an impact on vision and eye health.
If you are over 40, it’s a good idea to have your eyes examined every one to two years to check for common age-related eye problems such as presbyopia, cataracts and macular degeneration. Read more about Vision After 40.
Because the risk of eye disease continues to increase with advancing age, everyone over the age of 60 should be examined annually. Read more about Vision After 60.
What is the eye doctor checking for?
In addition to evaluating whether you have nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, your eye doctor will check your eyes for eye diseases and other problems that could lead to vision loss. Here are some examples of the conditions that your eye doctor will be looking for:
This occurs when the eyes are misaligned or when one eye has a much different prescription than the other. The brain will “shut off” the image from the turned or blurry eye. If left untreated, amblyopia can stunt the visual development of the affected eye, resulting in permanent vision impairment. Amblyopia is often treated by patching the stronger eye for periods of time.
Strabismus is defined as crossed or turned eyes. Your eye doctor will check your eyes’ alignment to be sure that they are working together. Strabismus causes problems with depth perception and can lead to amblyopia.
Many eye diseases, such as glaucoma and diabetic eye disease, have no obvious symptoms in their early stages. Your eye doctor will check the health of your eyes inside and out for signs of early problems. In most cases, early detection and treatment of eye diseases can help reduce your risk for permanent vision loss.
Your eye doctor can detect early signs of some systemic conditions and diseases by looking at your eye’s blood vessels, retina and so forth. They may be able to tell you if you are developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol or other problems.
For example, diabetes can cause small blood vessel leaks or bleeding in the eye, as well as swelling of the macula (the most sensitive part of the retina), which can lead to vision loss. It’s estimated that one-third of Americans who have diabetes don’t know it; your eye doctor may detect the disease before your primary care physician does, especially if you’re overdue for a physical.
What’s the difference between a vision screening and a complete eye exam?
Vision screenings are general eye tests that are meant to help identify people who are at risk for vision problems. Screenings include brief vision tests performed by a school nurse, pediatrician or volunteers. The eye test you take when you get your driver’s license renewed is another example of a vision screening.
A vision screening can indicate that you need to get an eye exam, but it does not serve as a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam.
comprehensive eye exam
A comprehensive eye examination in Kelowna, BC, as mentioned above, is performed by an eye doctor and will involve careful testing of all aspects of your vision. Based upon the results of your exam, your doctor will then recommend a treatment plan for your individual needs. Remember, only an eye doctor can provide a comprehensive eye exam. Most family physicians and pediatricians are not fully trained to do this, and studies have shown that they can miss important vision problems that require treatment.
Treatment plans can include eyeglasses or contact lenses, eye exercises or surgery for muscle problems, medical treatment for eye diseases or simply a recommendation that you have your eyes examined again in a specified period of time.
No matter who you are, regular eye exams are important for seeing more clearly, learning more easily and preserving your vision for life.
Prepare for Your Kelowna Eye Exam
You might be going to a regularly-scheduled eye exam. You may be following a recommendation to see an eye doctor after a vision screening at a local clinic or wellness center. Or your next eye doctor visit could be a response to vision problems or eye discomfort. The more you know going in, the easier the entire vision care process will be.
For regularly scheduled eye exams, expect to talk about any changes in your medical history since the last time you saw your eye doctor. And if this is your first time in our Kelowna practice, you’ll be asked to provide a more complete medical history, including a list of medications you’re currently taking, and any vision problems your parents may have experienced.
In addition, you’ll undergo a series of vision and eye tests that help determine the overall health and quality of your vision. These tests also help to check that your current prescription glasses or contacts (if you have one) is still meeting your vision needs. Your eye doctor will also check your eyes for signs of any potential vision problems or eye diseases. In many instances, your pupil may be dilated (opened) using special drops so that your eye doctor can better see the structures of the eye.
You’ll then have an honest discussion about the current state of your eye health and vision, and your eye doctor may “prescribe” vision correction for you in the form of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Any health concerns or possibly serious vision complications will also be discussed, including the next steps you must take to preserve and protect your sight.
In general, a routine eye exam will last less than an hour depending upon the number of tests you have, and may be partially or completely covered by many vision insurance plans.
More About Vision Screenings
Visiting our eye doctors as a result of a vision screening is also common, but remember: vision screenings offered by health clinics, pediatricians, public schools or local charitable organizations are not a substitute for comprehensive eye exams. Be sure to bring the findings from your screening to your eye doctor—it’s a great way to begin the discussion of your current eye health.
Non-Routine Eye Exams
For eye doctor visits that result from eye pain, eye discomfort or vision problems you actually can see, expect to take many of the steps involved in a routine eye exam, but specific to the symptoms you’re having. There may be a number of additional tests required as well, so it’s important—especially when suffering pain or discomfort—to allow for as much time as possible for a complete, comprehensive eye exam.
And if you feel you are in an emergency situation with your eyes or your vision—don’t wait. Seek immediate emergency medical treatment.
What to Remember – An Eye Exam Checklist
Many vision problems and eye diseases often present minimal, if any, symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to make regular appointments to see your eye doctor. And since vision can change gradually over time, it’s important to know that you’re seeing your best, year after year. Remember the following for your next eye doctor visit:
- Know your medical history and list of current medications
- Know your current symptoms and be able to describe them—write them down if necessary
- Know your family history—some eye diseases like glaucoma and cataracts are hereditary
- Ask in advance about your particular vision insurance plan, and if a co-pay will be due
- Bring your insurance card, identification and method of payment, if necessary
- Bring your most recent prescription for glasses or contact lenses
- Bring your corrective eyewear to the exam
- If undergoing a test using dilation eye drops, bring proper eye protection, like sunglasses, for after your appointment
Most importantly, remember that eye doctors—and everyone within the eyecare practice—are there to help you see your best and feel your best
What to Ask At Your Next Appointment
It’s essential, too, that you make the most out of your exams. We’ve included a range of questions for you to ask during your next eye exam, or if necessary, before your exam to avoid any miscommunication. We hope you find these helpful and that the information will help to facilitate a comprehensive and informed dialogue between you and your eye care professional.
- Do you accept my insurance plan’s vision coverage?
- Is payment required at the time of service?
- What will my eye exam entail?
- How long should I expect to be there?
- Will my pupils be dilated?
- What should I bring with me?
- Do you accept my insurance plan’s vision coverage?Given my age, eye condition and other risk factors, how often should I have my eyes examined?
- At what age should I start to schedule my children for regular eye exams?/li>
- What lens designs and options are a good fit for me?
- Can my glasses block UV rays?
- Do all sunglasses protect my eyes from UV rays?
- What are photochromic lenses and are they a good option for me?
Things to remember
It’s always a good idea to bring any of the following (if available) to your eye exam appointment:
- Your insurance card/insurance information.
- A list of all medications, vitamins and other supplements you are taking.
- All pairs of prescription glasses you currently own.
- If you have it, a copy of your latest eyeglass prescription.
- Information on frames you like, or lenses you’ve researched.
- Don’t forget, if participating in a flexible spending account program, you may be able to use the account to pay for portions of your eye care not covered directly by your insurance plan.