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Most blinding eye diseases can be stopped or slowed if caught early. Unless you have regular eye exams, eye problems that often have no symptoms could creep up without you knowing. An eye doctor will be able to pick up if there is a problem with your eyes before symptoms even start to develop.
First things first…
A vision screening is a quick test to check whether you could have a vision problem that needs to be investigated. There are many types of vision screenings, but they typically involve simple tests such as testing your eyes using the Snellen Chart, colour charts or checking your eye’s reaction to light. As a child, you may have had a vision screening at school. As an adult, you will undergo a screening when you apply for your driver’s license.
Vision screenings are not a failsafe way of assessing vision or eye health. Testing methods are limited, equipment may be inadequate or outdated, and tests are often carried out by people who aren’t trained.
Done by an optometrist, a professional eye exam is the only way to confirm or rule out any eye disease or vision problem. At your eye exam, you can expect to be asked a series of questions, which will be followed by various tests. Your optometrist will determine which tests need to be done based on your age, signs and symptoms, medical history, and any previous injuries.
Each test your eye doctor does, using various instruments, lights, and lenses, will assess a different aspect of your vision and eye health. Together, these tests offer a proper assessment of your vision to identify if you have any problems, as well as what they are. Read more about choosing an optometrist.
Your optometrist may do a combination of these tests during an eye exam:
Regular eye exams are important to identify eye problems early when they are more easily treated. When you have regular eye exams, your eye doctor will note changes to your vision and be able to identify the common causes of blindness such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye and vision problems can help prevent vision loss.
Periodic eye exams are an important part of preventive health care. Children should have an eye exam at six months of age, again at three years old, and before they start primary school. From primary school until 60 years of age, you should have an eye exam every second year. After that, you should have one annually.