Vision is undoubtedly one of the most important senses. Without the ability to see clearly, your quality of life can be immensely affected.  To avoid vision problems, it’s imperative that you undergo regular eye exams with an eye doctor.

Eye exams will uncover any potential problems with your eyes, allowing your eye doctor to provide recommendations for proper management and control of any conditions you may have. However, it’s important that you take an active role in your own visual health. While your eyes are being examined, take the time to understand everything the doctor is doing.

If you’re unsure about what to ask, this list will help.

  1. What are these instruments for?

If you’ve never had your eyes examined before or it’s been a while since your last eye exam, you may be unfamiliar with the equipment at the eye doctor’s office. Some of the equipment may look intimidating, but don’t worry as any of it will hurt you in any way.

Some of the most common equipment that you’re likely to encounter includes:

  • Automated Refractor – Measures the ability of your eyes to focus
  • Retinal Camera – Allows the doctor to view the structure of your eyes
  • Slit Lamp – Provides a three-dimensional image of your eye
  • Tanometer – Measures the amount of pressure that is present in your eyes

You’ll also encounter standard tools, like an eye chart (also called a Snellen Chart) and an ophthalmoscope. If the doctor uses other equipment, you can expect a brief explanation of those items too.

  1. Can you go over the eye exam with me?

Eye exams are similar to a standard physical checkup in the sense that you’ll be undergoing long-standing basic procedures. During an eye exam, you can expect to undergo a visual acuity test that will measure how sharp your vision is. The doctor will also determine the ability of each eye to see, which is why you’ll need to cover each eye during part of the test.

To assess your eyes’ movement, the eye doctor will use a small light and have you track its movement with your eyes. These are just the basic tests. Should the doctor determine that you have vision problems, such as myopia, then you’ll undergo further tests that the doctor will explain in detail.

  1. Will these tests have any side effects?

Whenever you undergo any type of physical exam, you’ll want to ensure your safety. Most eye exams can be carried out with minimal intrusion, but it’s best to hear this straight from your eye doctor. If there are any potential side effects, have your eye doctor explain them further.

  1. What can I do to protect and prolong my vision?

Eye exams are performed not just to uncover potential problems with your eyes, but also to help you understand how you can avoid eye problems in the future. It’s important to understand this information especially if you already have vision problems, no matter how minimal they may be.

Keep in mind that vision problems can escalate rather quickly, so it’s best that you know how to do your part in taking care of your eyes.

  1. Is my condition treatable?

Should the doctor identify a problem with your eyes, you’ll want to know if that problem is treatable or not. Many eye problems are permanent or can progress over time. “Treating” such conditions may involve a cure or simply management to minimize your discomfort and slow or halt the progression of the disorder. Always ask your doctor to explain all the possible treatment methods.

  1. When should I return for the next eye exam?

Even if you have perfect 20/20 vision, you should still undergo eye examinations on a regular basis. Your eye doctor will encourage you to have an eye exam every two years, and possibly more frequently depending on the condition of your eyes. If your eyes have problems that could progress, the doctor will need to monitor your treatment and will likely recommend more frequent eye checks.

Don’t worry if you need to undergo frequent eye exams, as doing so will help you safeguard your visual health. With proper treatment and close monitoring, your doctor will be able to help you protect your sight, one of the most important senses you have.


Author Bio:

Dr. Justin Bazan established Park Slope Eye in 2008. Serving the Park Slope neighborhood as well as the greater Brooklyn, NY, area, the practice provides quality vision care for patients of all ages with a particular emphasis on vision care for children and infants.


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