Routine Eye Care
One of the most critical and important routine eye care services are, comprehensive eye exams. We welcome and encourage patients of all ages to schedule a routine eye exam with one of our eye care professionals. A highly trained ophthalmologists will check your eyes to determine if glasses or contact lenses will be beneficial and perform a thorough eye exam for advanced eye care needs. Routine eye exams can also allow an eye care doctor to detect any potential problems, many times even before they become symptomatic. Early detection of eye problems by a family eye care doctor can be the key to preventing vision loss. Please use the recommended eye exam schedule below to evaluate your needs and contact us to schedule your comprehensive eye exam.
Types of Eye Exams & Tests
Routine Eye Exam
At a routine eye care exam there are a wide variety of tests and procedures to examine your eyes. A comprehensive eye care exam can take an hour or more, depending on the number and complexity of tests required by your eye care doctor to evaluate your vision and heal of your eyes. Please allow 60-90 minutes when dilation is included in your routine eye exam. Tests that may be performed at a routine eye exam could include the following:
Visual Acuity Test
A visual acuity test measures the sharpness of your vision. These tests are usually performed by an eye care professional using a projected eye chart to measure your distance visual acuity and a small, hand-held acuity chart to measure your near vision.
Ocular Motility (Eye Movements) Testing
Ocular motility testing is performed by your eye care professional to determine how well your eyes can follow a moving object and/or quickly move between accurately fixated on two separate targets.
A stereopsis test evaluates depth perception and appreciation of the three-dimensional nature of objects. In a common stereopsis test, you will wear 3D glasses and your family eye care doctor will have you look at series of test patterns. Each pattern has four small circles and you are asked to point out which circle in each pattern looks closer to you than the other three circles. If you can correctly identify the closest circle in each pattern, you likely have excellent eye teaming skills that should enable you to experience normal depth perception.
Retinoscopy is a test that is performed early in the eye care exam to obtain an approximation of your eyeglass prescription. During this procedure, the room lights are dimmed and you will be asked to focus on a large target. As you stare at the target, your eye care doctor will shine a light at your eye and flip lenses in a machine in front of your eye. This determines which lens power will best correct your distance vision. This test is especially useful for children and patients who are unable to accurately answer the questions the eye care professional is asking.
Refraction is a test used to help your eye care doctor determine your exact eyeglass prescription. During the procedure, the eye care professional places an instrument in front of your eyes and shows you a series of lens choices. They will then ask which of the two lenses in each choice looks clearer. Based on your answers, your eye care doctor will continue to fine-tune the lens power until reaching a final eyeglass prescription.
Autorefractors are alternative ways for your eye care doctor to automatically estimate your eyeglass prescription. With this device, a chin rest stabilizes your head while you look into the instrument at a pinpoint of light or a detailed image. An autorefractor determines the lens power required to accurately focus light on your retina. Autorefractors are especially helpful for determining an eyeglass prescription for young children and other patients who may have trouble sitting still, paying attention and providing feedback that the eye care doctor needs to perform an accurate manual refraction.
Slit Lamp Test
A slit lamp test involves a binocular microscope that eye care professionals uses to examine the structures of your eye under high magnification. During the exam, you will be asked to place your forehead and chin securely against the rests on the front of the instrument and your eye care doctor will begin by examining the structures of the front of your eyes—including your eyelids, cornea, conjunctiva, iris and lens. A wide range of eye conditions and diseases can be detected with the slit lamp exam, including cataracts, macular degeneration, corneal ulcers and diabetic retinopathy, etc.
Glaucoma testing typically begins with your family eye care doctor measuring the pressure inside your eyes. If you have high eye pressure, you may be at risk for or have glaucoma. Typically, there are no warning signs of glaucoma until you already have significant vision loss. For this reason, routine eye care and exams that include tonometry to determine the intraocular pressure are essential to rule out early signs of glaucoma and protect your eyesight.
Pupil dilation is beneficial for your eye care professional to obtain a better view of the eye’s internal structures—using dilating drops to enlarge your pupils. Dilating drops usually take about 20 to 30 minutes to start working. Once the drops have taken effect, your eye care doctor will use various instruments to look inside your eyes. Pupil dilation is very important for people with risk factors for eye disease, because it allows for the most thorough evaluation of advanced eye care and the health of the inside of your eyes. It’s suggested to bring a driver along with you to your appointment. Please allow 60-90 minutes when dilation is included in your routine eye exam.
Visual Field Testing
Visual field testing may be performed in cases where the eye care doctor wants to check for the possible presence of blind spots in your peripheral or side vision. These types of blind spots can originate from eye diseases such as glaucoma. Analysis of blind spots also may help identify specific areas of brain damage caused by a stroke or tumor.
Recommended Eye Care Exam Schedule
- 0-3 years old (if recommended by a pediatrician)
- 4-7 years old: first comprehensive exam (if not done earlier)
- 8-40 years old: every two to three years
- 41-60 years old: every two years
- 61 years and older: every one to two years
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Ophthalmology Associates has been serving the greater Mankato area for over 50 years and our goal has been to provide our patients with the utmost in personal attention and the very best in eye care services. Contact us to set up your appointment today!