Eye Exams for All Ages
Regular eye exams test for the development and progression of refractive errors and help your optometrist provide a proper prescription if eyeglasses or contact lenses are needed. Exams are also an invaluable tool in the early detection of eye disease.
Children should have their first eye exam at about age two, although it’s never too early to test a child’s vision and eye health. Comprehensive eye exams are essential in the diagnosis and treatment of vision problems, injury and disease. Early detection allows for treatment to begin before the child experiences difficulty in school due to poor vision, or before any permanent damage has been done to the eye(s). Exams test visual acuity, eye tracking, and focusing skills, and detect problems such as near- and far-sightedness, amblyopia, crossed eyes, dyslexia, and color blindness.
My eyes don't hurt and my vision is clear. Why should I have an eye exam?
Regular eye exams are an invaluable tool in maintaining your eyes’ health by detecting and preventing disease. Some diseases, such as glaucoma, develop gradually without causing pain or vision loss – so you may not notice anything wrong until significant and irreversible damage has been done. Early detection of any problems can allow for a choice of treatment options or prevent further harm.
The cornea is a thin, clear, spherical layer of tissue on the surface of the eye that provides a window for light to pass through. In a healthy eye, the cornea bends or refracts light rays so they focus precisely on the retina in the back of the eye.
There are many diseases that can affect the cornea, causing pain or loss of vision. Disease, infection or injury can cause the cornea to swell (called "edema") or degrade (become cloudy and reduce vision). Common diseases and disorders that affect the cornea include:
- Bullous Keratopathy
- Conjunctivitis ("Pink Eye")
- Dry Eye
- Corneal Dystrophies including Fuchs' Dystrophy and Lattice Dystrophy
- Glaucoma (High Eye Pressure)
- Keratitis (Viral Inflammation)
- Ocular Herpes
- Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
- Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
Treatment for corneal disease can take many forms, depending on the underlying problem as well as the patient's preferences. Some conditions resolve on their own and many can be treated with medication. If the cornea is severely damaged or if there is a risk of blindness, a corneal transplant may be recommended to preserve vision.
Learn more about the cornea and corneal disease from the National Eye Institute.
Glasses & Contact Lenses
Over 140 million people in the U.S. wear eyeglasses, and over 30 million wear contact lenses. Glasses and contact lenses improve vision by adjusting the way the eyes bend and focus light. Ideally, light rays are refracted (bent) as they pass through the cornea so that they focus on the retina in the back of the eye. In a healthy eye, this means that objects can be seen clearly. However, many people’s corneas have a shallow or steep curvature which causes light rays to focus in front of or behind the retina. Objects may then appear blurry at certain distances or at all distances.
Glasses and contact lenses correct these refractive errors. Prescriptions are measured for each eye so patients can enjoy optimal vision clarity, usually 20/20. Eyewear may be used for certain activities, such as reading for farsighted (hyperopic) patients and driving or watching television for nearsighted (myopic) patients, or may be worn at all times.