It all starts with an eye exam!
Comprehensive Eye Exams
Periodic eye exams are an important step toward preventing and detecting eye disease in the early stages. Annual or bi-annual eye exams are often called routine eye exams. Whether an exam is routine or not is frequently a distinction for insurance coverage rather than a medical issue. Vision Associates’ yearly exams are comprehensive eye exams and all of our patients are treated the same, regardless of their insurance.
A comprehensive eye exam is an evaluation of all the important parts of an eye and their functions. During the exam, your eye doctor will be conducting the following eye tests.
Patient Background and History
The eye appointment will begin with a review of your health history. This information will alert your eye doctor to any conditions that should be monitored, and inform decisions about preventative eye care measures that should be taken to keep your eyes healthy. Your eye doctor will also want to hear about any eye or vision problems that you are currently experiencing, like blurry vision or chronic dry eye.
Visual Acuity – A visual acuity test is what most people think about when they imagine a visit to the eye doctor. This is where you will be asked to read a standardized eye chart, one eye at a time so that your eye doctor can determine how well you see at various distances.
Eye Movement and Muscle Balance – An ocular motility test will evaluate the movement of your eyes, and is used to ensure proper eye alignment and muscle balance. This test will look at your eyes’ ability to move quickly in all directions as well as their ability to slowly track movement.
Slit Lamp Exam – A slit lamp is a type of microscope that allows the doctor to examine the internal and external parts of your eye in detail. This test will enable the eye doctor to examine the eyelids, cornea, iris, and lens for signs of cataracts, macular degeneration, retinal detachment and any scratches or scars on your cornea.
Tonometry – This is a type of test used to detect glaucoma. It will measure the intraocular pressure(the pressure inside your eye) to detect glaucoma.
Pupil Dilation – By enlarging your pupils using dilating eye drops, your eye doctor will have a better view of the back part of your eye, including the optic nerve and retina. Typically, the drops take between 20-30 minutes to take effect and may last several hours following the exam. Dilation causes you to be more sensitive to light, so be sure to bring a pair of sunglasses to wear until the drops wear off.
Refraction – A measurement of the presence of any refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism) determines your need for corrective glasses or contact lens.
Depending on what the doctor finds during your comprehensive eye exam, he or she will determine if any further appointments are necessary.
Check your Insurance Prior to Your Appointment
Eye exam costs can vary as some insurances will not cover the refraction portion of the exam. Check with your insurance company to be sure you understand what portions of the exam are covered, and what you may be responsible for out of pocket.
Additionally, some patients have two different eye insurance providers. One insurance company may cover routine eye exams and eyeglasses, while a separate insurance company will cover exams that are recommended due to specific problems (like red eye). In this case, patients will need to come in for two different visits in order to receive full insurance coverage.