Your Eye Exam and Common Vision Conditions

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A regular eye exam is an important part of a person’s overall health. Eye problems can have very few symptoms and rarely any pain. Doctors of Optometry recommend that children should have their first eye exam at six months, then at three years, before entering school and annually thereafter. Adults should be examined every two years and seniors annually.  For adults, a complete vision and eye health exam starts with a series of questions to determine your general health, your family health history and how you use your eyes at work and play. Then, using specially designed instruments and microscopes, your BC Doctor of Optometry evaluates the health of your eyes, the alignment of your eyes (muscle function), your ability to judge depth and colour, your peripheral vision and, of course, the clarity of your vision.

We will test for common vision conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. The tissue inside the eye is carefully examined, looking for eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration.  And finally, based on the results, we will advise you about the corrective lens options most suited to your personal needs, or will refer you to the appropriate medical specialist if further evaluation is required.

Common Vision Conditions:

Nearsightedness or myopia: The eye’s focusing power is too strong, and distant objects appear blurred. A person’s close vision is usually clear. Myopia can occur at any age, but it commonly develops after age six.

Farsightedness or hyperopia: The eye’s power is not strong enough. Details up close may appear blurred and sometimes distant objects don’t focus easily either. It is very common among young children and is often not detected during “vision screenings.”

Astigmatism: Either the cornea or the lens inside the eye is irregular or oblong. This creates varying degrees of blur in different directions, and affects vision for both near and far. Astigmatism can be found at any age. 

Presbyopia: The loss of the eye’s ability to change focus from distance to near. This is a normal aging change, usually occurring after age 40, and most commonly results in blurred vision when looking at near objects.

Cataracts: Occurs when the lens inside the eye becomes cloudy and vision becomes blurred and/or distorted. Initially, vision is improved with changes to eyeglasses or contact lenses, but eventually surgery is required to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an intraocular lens implant.

Glaucoma: Refers to a family of diseases that damage the optic nerve. The most common form is associated with increased pressure in the eye and causes permanent, painless loss of vision that initially may go unnoticed by the individual. Treatment for these diseases is mainly with eye drops but can also involve laser or surgery.

Macular Degeneration (AMD):  A disease that results in permanent changes to your central vision. It is a leading cause of vision loss and sometimes blindness, with the risk increasing directly with age

BC Doctors of Optometry provide a full range of vision and eye health care and are your first stop for comprehensive, doctor-delivered care.  For more information about your vision and eye health, speak to your BC Doctor of Optometry or visit our website at www.myeyecare.ca

Written by Cowichan

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