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Saturday, 21 June 2014 00:00

Your Eye Exam and Common Vision Conditions

A regular eye exam is an important part of a person’s overall health. Many eye problems have no symptoms and rarely any pain. Doctors of Optometry recommend that adults have a comprehensive eye examination every two years, and children and seniors annually. In some cases, more frequent visits may be required.

A complete vision and eye health exam starts with a series of questions to determine your general health, family history and how you use your eyes at work and play. Then, using specially designed equipment, your Doctor of Optometry conducts an external and internal examination of your eyes, evaluates the alignment of your eyes, your ability to judge depth and colour, your peripheral vision, and how well you see.

Doctors of Optometry also test for common vision conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. The tissues and structures inside the eye are carefully examined, looking for eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration, as well as tears in the retina, bleeding and tumours. Based on the results, your Doctor will advise you about corrective lens options most suited to your personal needs, or will refer you to a specialist if further evaluation or treatment is required.

Common Vision Conditions

  • Nearsightedness (myopia): A common condition in which near objects are seen clearly, but distant objects appear blurred. Myopia can occur at any age.
  • Farsightedness (hyperopia): Distant objects are easier to see than near objects. The extra effort required to see clearly at close range can cause blur, fatigue, muscle tension, discomfort and headaches.
  • Astigmatism: Either the cornea and/or the lens inside the eye is slightly irregular or cylindrical in shape, resulting in vision being blurred or distorted at all distances.
  • Presbyopia: A natural effect of aging, usually occurring after the age of 40, in which the ability to focus on close objects decreases over time. It can cause headaches, blurred vision, tired eyes and the need for more light.
  • Cataract: Occurs when the lens inside the eye becomes cloudy and vision becomes blurred and/or distorted. Initially, vision is improved with changes to eyeglasses or contact lenses, but eventually surgery may be required to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an intraocular lens implant.
  • Glaucoma: Refers to a family of diseases that damage the optic nerve. In the early stages, glaucoma has no symptoms until significant damage has occurred. If left untreated, it results in blindness. Treatment is mainly with prescription eye drops but can also involve laser treatment or surgery.
  • Macular Degeneration: A disease that results in permanent changes to your central vision. It is a leading cause of central vision loss and sometimes blindness, with the risk increasing directly with age.
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