According to the American Optometric Associations' (AOA) Eye-Q® Survey 2020, nearly all Americans believe their eye health is just as important as the health of their heart, but nearly half of those, ages 23-38, don’t think they need an eye exam if their vision is clear. Additionally only 54 percent of adults get an annual comprehensive eye exam and as many as 16 million Americans have undiagnosed and untreated vision impairments.
One of the best ways to protect the long-term health of your eyes and your vision is to make sure that you attend regular eye exams with your eye doctor. Many eye and vision problems have no obvious signs or symptoms, so you might not know a problem exists. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye and vision problems can help prevent vision loss.
A comprehensive eye exam to assess your visual system and eye health involves a number of different of tests. Unlike a simple vision screening, which only assesses your vision, a comprehensive eye exam includes a battery of tests in order to do a complete evaluation of the health of your eyes and your vision.While tests will vary based on your doctor and your medical history, most comprehensive eye exams include the following:
- Visual Acuity to assess the sharpness of your vision, usually using the “Big E” or Snellen chart.
- Visual fields test to determine if you have blind spots or peripheral vision issues.
- Cover Test, which can identify strabismus or binocular vision problems.
- Retinoscopy, autorefractor or aberrometer to approximate your eyeglass prescription.
- Refraction to fine tune the final eyeglass prescription using a phoropter.
- Slit Lamp exam to detect common eye diseases and conditions. This instrument allows your doctor to examine the structure of your eye to assess its health.
- Glaucoma test, known as tonometry, measures the pressure within your eye.
- Dilation of the pupil and ophthalmoscopy to examine the optic nerve, retina and blood vessels.
A comprehensive eye exam provides your doctor with a picture of your overall health, and can spot more than 270 health conditions or diseases that are non-eye related. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, and cancer.