Oral & Vision Health Blog

A Comprehensive Eye Examination: What is it and Why do you Need One?

Find out why its so important to have a comprehensive eye examination and how often.

We are all familiar with the saying “the eyes are the window to the soul.” But did you know that your eyes are all seeing, not just for your visual health, but for your overall health as well? A comprehensive eye examination is used to access all the secrets that lie behind your eyes. It is one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal in your efforts to be healthy.

What does a comprehensive eye examination involve?

The exam has three major segments. They include:

  1. Medical History Review: Part of a comprehensive eye examination is a review of your medical history. This tells your provider about any underlying medical conditions.
  2. Overall Eye Health: Your eye care provider will examine your vision and eye wellness. They will check for any abnormalities, irritation, redness, dryness, or pain.
  3. A Variety of Tests: As part of your comprehensive examination, there are tests designed to provide a full picture of your eye health and visual functionality, such as:
    1. Visual acuity: This indicates how well someone is seeing―both close-up and at a distance
    2. Refraction: Determines whether there is farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism.
    3. Depth perception: This helps us determine how close or far away objects are. It is critical for learning, sports, and driving. It is also needed for occupations such as police officer, firefighter, pilot, and lifeguard.
    4. Peripheral vision: This helps us detect objects that surround us without turning our heads. We need good peripheral vision while our eyes are facing forward.
    5. Color vision and perception: This test helps pinpoint several issues with distinguishing color. This includes complete color blindness.
    6. Focusing skills: Your eye doctor will determine if your eyes can change focus quickly and effectively. This type of muscle contraction needs to be maintained for reading or desk work.
    7. Eye teaming skills: These skills allow both eyes to work together in a precise and coordinated way. It is critical for maintaining a single and comfortable vision for a sustained period. We need this for reading words across the page and comprehending their meaning.
So, who should do this exam and how often?

All adults aged 18 to 60 are suggested to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once every two years. Then, adults 65 and over should have annual eye exams.

What can the eyes tell us about our overall health?
A comprehensive eye exam can uncover issues with your overall health. There are many telltale signs that can easily alert your provider to various medical conditions or diseases, such as:

  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • High-stress levels
  • Thyroid disease
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Nystagmus

With a comprehensive eye examination you and your eye care provider can ensure you are keeping your vision as healthy as possible. It will enable both of you to create a plan to address any issues found. And because of the connection between your eyes and your body, this evaluation will help you on your overall health journey. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam today to stay on top of your visual and overall health!

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