Why are eye exams important?
The visual symptoms of poor eye health can manifest themselves gradually. Changes can be so subtle that they go unnoticed until vision is severely affected. Regular comprehensive eye exams can detect eye disease or other conditions that could lead to vision loss if left untreated. Eye exams may also give your Ocala Eye doctor clues to the health of other systems in the body.
Ocala Eye is the largest and most experienced eye care practice in the Heart of Florida. Our medical staff consists of ten ophthalmologists, two optometrists, and a complete staff of trained assistants and nurses. It is our mission to preserving and enhancing the visual health of our patients.
What happens during an eye exam?
Several factors can help determine the extensiveness of the eye exam- the patient’s medical history, any complaints about their vision and how long it has been since their last complete exam. For this example we will discuss a comprehensive dilated eye exam.
Before more detailed tests are performed, there are several initial evaluations that can give your eye doctor some clues as to how your overall vision is functioning. The autorefractor is a device that is used to examine for refractive errors. One eye is tested at a time using a series of pictures. After the autorefractor test, evaluation of the visual fields, pupils, and extraocular muscle function are performed.
After the initial testing, the more detailed portion of the eye exam usually follows a “front to back” analysis of your eyes, beginning with the refraction. While sitting in the exam chair, you will be asked to identify letters on a wall chart. This helps determine your visual acuity. An instrument called a phoropter is then placed in front of your eyes to determine if your vision can be improved with eyeglasses. The phoropter houses a multitude of lenses that can be easily rotated to help the clinician determine is your prescription.
Ocala Eye uses an applanation tonometer to determine the internal pressure of your eye. High intraocaular pressure is an indicator of the potential for developing glaucoma. Numbing eye drops are administered along with fluorescein dye prior to using the tonometer. A blue light is used to assist in the intraocular pressure measurement as well as determining irregularities on the corneal surface.
With the initial data gathered from the aforementioned tests, your Ocala Eye ophthalmologist or optometrist will need to more closely examine the structures of your eye. Examination takes place using a slit-lamp microscope and a head-mounted binocular indirect ophthalmoscope (BIO). This part of the examination requires your pupils to be dilated. Eye drops are administered to relax your iris and increase pupil diameter.
The slit lamp microscope has a support where you rest your chin and stabilize your head. The eye doctor then uses a narrow beam of different wavelengths (colors) of light to show details specific to various eye structures.
The eye doctor first examines the eyes in layers using the slit lamp microscope, starting with the anterior (front) structures like the cornea, eyelids and tear ducts then progresses further into the eye. Middle structures like the lens and vitreous are examined next followed by the posterior (back) structures including the retina and optic nerve.
After the slit lamp evaluation, your Ocala Eye doctor will continue with the examination using the binocular indirect ophthalmoscope. When combined with a hand-held lens, the BIO allows the doctor to see peripheral features of the retina.
When the examination is complete, your Ocala Eye doctor will discuss their findings and give you an overall description of your eye health. With many eye diseases, early detection can have a significant effect on treatment options. Regular eye exams help your eye doctor gather important information that can help to preserve your vision for a lifetime.
To schedule an eye exam or consultation with an Ocala Eye doctor, contact us today.