One commonly asked question when it comes to optometrists is how often one should see one if you dont have eye trouble and have 20/20 vision should you really bother to see an eye doctor? The truth is that all of us from birth need to see an eye doctor from time to time. You got your first eye exam when you were born and another one 6 weeks after that. Your pediatrician may have followed up at 6 months. After that, it was your parents responsibility to make sure that you got an eye exam when you were 3 and then every couple of years after that.
As an adult, the frequency with which you should see optometrist changes as you age. According to www.preventblindness.org, a leading authority on eye care, If you are 20-39 years of age and African-American, you should get a complete eye exam every 2-4 years and If you are 20-39 years of age and Caucasian, you should get a complete eye exam every 3-5 years. They go on to say that if you are 40-64 years of age and African-American, you should get a complete eye exam every 2-4 years and the same goes for Caucasians. Anyone who is older than 65 should get an eye exam every 1-2 years.
There are other factors that will dictate the frequency of how often you visit your optometrist. If you have existing eye problems you should go in for every appointment that he gives you. Additionally, if you have a family history of eye problems such as age-related macular degeneration you should get a comprehensive eye test at least once every year. By doing this the eye doctor can catch it in the early stages of development and slow it down.
What happens during a visit to the optometrist?
When you go in the eye doctor will do what is called a dilation test. This involves dilating the pupils so that the can see right into the eye. It takes about 20 or 30 minutes before the pupils are dilated enough for an exam. This is not just about diagnosing serious eye problems. He is also looking for other symptoms that may show that you have a range of other possible conditions. The eyes are great for diagnosing chronic illness because they are the one place you can see blood vessels up front without the use of x-rays and other such technology.
By looking at your eyes during a dilation test the doctor can tell whether you have high blood pressure, for example. He will see little pools of blood from burst vessels and this means that you can begin treatment immediately. He can also tell whether you have high blood cholesterol, diabetes, a brain or eye tumor and much, much more. Treating these illnesses early it gives you a better chance of survival and a better quality of life as well.
Do children get dilation tests?
As a matter of fact this is the only kind of test they get. This is for two reasons; the first is that kids are fidgety so it is harder for them to sit still for long enough for the optometrist to see inside their eyes. The other reason why kids only get this kind of test is that they have small pupils to begin with. Dilating them allows more light into them so that the doctor can have a better look.
Dilation tests are not painful but you can expect to suffer light sensitivity for a few hours. Bring your sunglasses along to help you cope better afterwards.