Have you had a comprehensive eye exam recently? Even if you don't suspect that you have problems with your vision, getting an eye exam periodically is important. Adults between the ages of 20 and 64 should have an eye exam at least every two to four years, possibly even more frequently if certain risks exist. Determining if you need glasses, contacts, or some type of visual aid is only one reason to get an eye exam. Take a look at a few other reasons why getting a comprehensive checkup with an optometrist is so important. 

Retinal Assessment

Assessing the retina is done by dilating your eyes with a special type of eye drop that causes the pupils to dilate to allow in more light. The eye doctor will use a special microscope to look at the retina, as well as the blood vessels that surround the retina. Through retinal examination, the doctor can determine if you have issues that need to be addressed or monitored. For example, diabetic retinopathy is a condition that affects the blood vessels surrounding the retina. Symptoms of common eye diseases can be discovered during a retinal exam. 

Glaucoma Screening 

Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness. Even though there is no cure for glaucoma, early detection of the disease can mean slower disease progression. In order to examine the eyes for signs of glaucoma, the eye doctor may perform a tonometry test. Tonometry is used to measure intraocular pressure, which is the pressure within the fluid that is encapsulated inside the eye. If the eye pressure is too high, this may be a sign of glaucoma. Therefore, further exams and testing may be done to obtain a proper diagnosis and build a plan of treatment. 

Visual Field Testing 

Visual field testing, which is also known as perimetry, is done to examine your peripheral vision. The peripheral vision is what you can see to the sides of your direct field of vision without actually moving the eyes to focus on outlying objects. The doctor may use several methods during the test. The most common test is a simple confrontation exam that involves you looking at the eye doctor while they hold up fingers to the side and ask questions about what you see. Visual field tests are important because they can reveal visual field loss, which can be a telltale sign of certain diseases. 

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