Keeping up with your overall eye health is very important no matter what your age. This is why it is important for both adults and children to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once every year. However, many people think that walking into their local eye glasses shop and having their eye glasses or contact lens prescription updated counts as their yearly visit. This unfortunately common misperception can have some dangerous consequences. This is why it is important to understand the difference between a Comprehensive Eye Exam, that can only be performed by a certified Optometrist, and a Vision Screening, which is much less thorough and does not give as deep an insight into your eye health.
As a first rule, if your spending $30-40 on an exam - your likely not getting the complete picture. While the price may be attractive, as with anything, you get what you pay for. These kinds of exams will test your vision and will be able to determine whether you need new glasses or contacts, but that's about it. Comprehensive Eye Exams, by contrast, go much deeper and will tell you much more.
By contrast, a Comprehensive Eye Exam, along with testing to see if you need new glasses, we will also check for the actual health of your eye. Medical records are consulted and tests are run to see if there is risk of developing any conditions that could harm your overall visual and ocular health. Among the tests performed are tests to see if there are any signs of eye disease such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, which have little or no symptoms until significant damage has already occurred. With diseases such as these, it is essential to catch them early, or else the risk of losing a significant amount of sight increases dramatically.
Besides your eye health, your overall bodily health can be detected through your eyes as well. A Comprehensive Eye Exam also includes examinations of the retina, cornea, blood vessels and nerves for any signs that might signify the onset of tumors, cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes, among other conditions that can be first detected in the eyes.
While it isn't necessarily a bad thing to get your prescription updated from time to time while you're passing by, it is important to know that it doesn't count as your yearly exam. Come see us at least once a year for the full picture!