The saying goes that the eyes are the windows to your soul. But your eyes are also a window to your health and wellness as a whole. Your eyes can help diagnose a variety of health conditions, but only if you’re seen regularly for eye exams. It may seem easy to skip an eye exam if you don’t need an updated glasses prescription or contacts prescription. However, here are the top reasons it’s essential to see your eye doctor regularly, as well as some of the most commonly asked questions about prescription eye care.
• Are eye exams different than vision screenings?
• What happens during an eye exam?
• Can you take an eye exam online?
• Glasses prescription vs. contacts prescription
• Common eye conditions
Vision Screening vs. Eye Exam
Having your eyes checked by a professional can mean a lot of different things. In many cases, your doctor or nurse will complete a vision screening as part of your annual physical or another routine medical appointment. Vision screenings typically involve a basic assessment of your vision needs as well as any other health concerns you have regarding your eyes. Although these screenings are important, they’re not a substitute for an eye exam from an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Eye exams are a much more in-depth version of a vision screening and include tests that determine the need for a glasses prescription or contacts prescription. Not only are optometrists and ophthalmologists trained to complete a thorough assessment of your vision, but they also look for a variety of diseases or other issues that you may not even realize you have.
Who Should Get an Eye Exam?
According to the American Optometric Association, eye diseases often present themselves with few or no symptoms, which makes regular eye exams even more critical. Children should have their eyes checked as early as one year of age. This can help diagnose nearsightedness and farsightedness, astigmatism, how the eyes move, and how the eyes react to changes in light and dark environments. As you grow older, adults should have regular eye exams to ensure that they are developing appropriately and to address any concerns that may be present.
What Happens During an Eye Exam?
If you haven’t been to an eye doctor in a while, you may not be familiar with the steps that doctors take during a routine eye exam. The frequency with which you will need to visit the eye doctor, whether or not you can get by with an online eye test, as well as exactly what happens during your exam depends on your age, your eyes, and your family history.
If you are relatively young and have no eye issues, your doctor may feel as though you only need routine tests once every two years. If you’re older than 40, doctors recommend having your eyes checked every one to two years. However, if you’ve experienced eye issues in the past, have a family history of eye issues, or need a glasses prescription or contacts prescription, you must visit an eye doctor every year.
When you arrive for your eye exam, an office staff member will go over your medical and vision history. Then, your doctor or a nurse will walk you through several eye tests. The most common eye tests include:
Cover test: This test determines how well your eyes work together. During this test, you will look at an object or image far away. With the increase in technology, this test is almost always conducted with a piece of equipment rather than by hand. As you watch the image, your doctor will cover and uncover each eye to see how much your eyes move. If your doctor notices that one eye is turning away from the image, you may have a condition called strabismus.
• External exam and pupil reactions: When you look at a bright light, your pupils become smaller. In darker rooms, your pupils become more substantial. This exam will test how your pupils adjust to the light, as well as the health of the whites of your eyes and your eyelids.
• Eye muscle movement test: If you’ve ever watched an episode of Cops, you’ve probably seen this test performed. This part of the exam tests your eye’s alignment by seeing how well you can follow a target – such as a pen or your doctor’s finger – as it moves in different directions.
• Visual acuity test: This test is the most common type you picture when thinking about visiting an eye doctor. During this exam, you’ll read across several lines of letters while covering one eye. If you can read the largest chain of letters, you’ll go to the smaller line below until you can no longer read the letters.
• Refraction test: If you need a glasses prescription or contacts prescription, you’ll need to take this test to determine what strength vision correction your eyes require to help you see better. A portion of this test can be done with a computerized refractor, but the doctor may also make manual adjustments by flipping back and forth between different strength lenses and asking you which version helps you see the best.
Can You Take An Online Eye Test?
With the COVID-19 pandemic throwing all of our regular activities out the window, more people than ever are asking if it’s possible to take an online eye test. Although there are still some kinks to work out, technology has helped turn the dream of an online eye test into reality.
An online eye test can check for a variety of issues, including:
• The sharpness of your vision
• Whether or not you suffer from astigmatism
• Your eyes’ sensitivity to light
Online Eye Test for Contacts
If you need a contacts prescription, an online eye test is also an option. As with an online eye test for a new glasses prescription, you’ll need to wear your contacts during your test unless the site says otherwise. Once you take the online eye test, an eye doctor in your state will review your results to ensure accuracy. The doctor will then send you your contacts prescription so you can place an order for your new contacts online. Be sure to check your state’s requirements as well as whether or not your insurance will cover an online eye test. If you’re buying contacts online for the first time,
here’s a great list of everything you need to know!
An online eye test can be helpful in several situations, including if you’re traveling and need a new glasses prescription or contacts prescription or like right now, in the event of a pandemic. Although an online eye test is a great resource and will likely continue to get better as we increase technology, an online eye test can’t fully replace regular visits to your eye doctor. While an online eye test can tell you if you need a new prescription, it can’t tell you about the true health of your eyes.
Common Eye Conditions
As we’ve mentioned before, one of the most important reasons to see an eye doctor in person regularly is to screen for diseases that an online eye test cannot. There are two standard tests that eye doctors use to look for signs of eye conditions:
• Retinal examination/ophthalmoscopy
The slit lamp, also known as a biomicroscope, helps magnify and illuminate the front of the eye. The light allows a doctor to get a better look at the cornea, lens, iris, and back of your eye to check for the presence of a variety of eye conditions.
A retinal examination is another crucial aspect of your eye exam that is unable to be conducted through an online eye test. During a retinal exam, a doctor uses a device called an or ophthalmoscopy to see the back of your eyes, including your retina and the surrounding blood vessels, the vitreous fluid, and your optic nerve. Although this test typically requires the dilation of your pupils, technology has enabled doctors to see more of our eyes without the need for dilation.
As we said earlier, eyes often give doctors a more in-depth look at our overall health and wellness, something that doctors can’t accomplish during an online eye test. The blood vessels in the retina give doctors a glimpse at not only our eyes but the health of the rest of our bodies as well. Changes in the appearance of blood vessels in the retina can be an indication of conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia.
There are also a variety of eye diseases that can be detected — and treated — through regular eye exams!
• Dry eye disease
• Macular degeneration
Glaucoma is a disease that impacts how the optic nerve works. The optic nerve is the part of the eye that helps send the images we see to our brain. If the optic nerve becomes damaged, it can lead to vision loss and even permanent blindness. A doctor can examine the pressure of your inner eye as well as the shape and color of the optic nerve to determine if it has damage. Cataracts occur in old age and are caused by a gathering of cells over the lens of the eye. The cells turn yellow and cloudy, affecting your ability to see clearly.
If you’ve ever had pain, burning, and itching in your eyes, several things could be the cause. One issue that is frequently seen by eye doctors is dry eye disease. This condition results from a lack of lubrication and can be incredibly painful. Patients who have a contacts prescription and wear contacts frequently may be at additional risk for dry eye disease. Thankfully, there are several treatment options that your doctor can recommend that will provide relief and prevent vision damage. Over the counter eye drops, lifestyles changes, and prescription medicines can make a massive difference for sufferers of dry eyes.
The final common eye disease that can be diagnosed and treated by visits to an eye doctor is macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration. This condition can result in blurry vision in the center of the eye that, although gradual at first, can worsen and affect one or both eyes. Although age-related macular degeneration doesn’t cause blindness, the loss of central vision can make it hard for people to drive, read, recognize faces, or live a normal daily life.
More Than Eye Health
The importance of regular eye exams, beyond the need for a contacts prescription or glasses prescription, has to do with the way that the eyes can indicate other health problems throughout the body. For example, changes in eye health and eyesight can indicate high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, and high cholesterol. The American Diabetes Association says that diabetes is the “leading cause of new-onset blindness in working-age people.” When high blood sugar levels exist in the body, it can cause damage to blood vessels in the retina, alerting eye doctors to a potential problem. The health of the blood vessels in the eye can also point to signs of heart disease before any other symptoms become apparent.
Glasses Prescription Online
Whether you’re looking for a new glasses prescription or contacts prescription or are
shopping for new frames or lenses, the team at WebEyeCare is here to help. WebEyeCare offers incredible deals on contact lenses and glasses, as well as an online eye test.
To complete the online eye test, visit the WebEyeCare website, and select Get RX from the menu. If you need a new contacts prescription, select Contacts Lens Vision Test. If you’re shopping for new glasses and need to update your glasses prescription, select Glasses Vision Test. The website provides the list of qualified states as well as an explanation of the difference between a refractive test and a comprehensive eye exam. Once you complete the test, an eye care provider with a license in your state will email you your new prescription within two business days, sometimes sooner!
Whether you’re shopping for glasses, need to purchase a new supply of contacts, or want to learn more about vision in our knowledge center, WebEyeCare is here to help you look and feel your best!
Whether you choose glasses or contacts,
WebEyeCare is here to help you find the best vision correction options for your needs. Shop its variety of contacts and glasses or read up on a variety of eye care topics on our blog!