A comprehensive eye exam is a complete analysis of your visual system, including the correction of your vision with either glasses or contacts, laser surgery potentially an option as well. A comprehensive eye exam is also a complete medical evaluation of the the eye, performed by dilation of the pupils to check for diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, retinal diseases as well as going over the your lifestyle and making medical and visual recommendations if needed.
Dilation consists of instilling drops into the eyes that induce the pupil to become larger and the Optometrist can look into the eye and see all of the visual structures inside that we can't see easily when the pupil is small. See the video below, from the National Eye Institute, why dilation of the pupil is important. Again, the eye doctor is looking for signs of glaucoma, signs of retinal disease, evidence of any systemic diseases, like cancer. Ocular Melanoma has been a big topic of conversation in Huntersville, NC due to the increased cases of such rare disease. The doctor will also be looking for other diseases that may be affecting your eyes, like hypertension or diabetes and of course looking at the peripheral retina to make sure that there's no holes or tears in the retina or any other serious conditions that might be starting.
If you have a history of poor vision, are experiencing discomfort or irritation, or have additional compromising medical conditions, you may need to have an eye exam more frequently. Have a glance at our blog article: 10 signs of bad eye heath to get started.
Many different factors determine how often you should receive an eye exam, including age, race, health, and vision risk level. Here are some general guidelines according to the AOA:
* Birth – 2 years old -> Between 6-12 months.
* Children 3 – 5 -> At least once those years.
* Children 6 –18 -> Before first grade and annually thereafter.
* Adults 18 – 39 -> At least every two years.
* Adults 40 – 64 -> At least every two years.
* Adults 65+ -> Annually
Whether you have blue eyes, green eyes, brown eyes or are heterochromic (what's that!), it is our mission at Tradewinds Eye Care to provide excellent eye health care to all of our patients in the Lake Norman area.
Step 1: At Tradewinds, as part of your eye exam, we ask for any previous/current health information: such as any medications you may take, your overall health, and of course any concerns you might have now about your vision. We also want to know about what we call “visual demands” or, in other words, the kinds of tasks you perform every day. Your visual demands may include frequently using a computer, working in an outdoor environment, having hobbies such as knitting or fly-tying, or even playing sports. All of these questions allow us to better tailor the exam to your specific needs.
Step 2: We evaluate your visual system by using a variety of techniques to checkyour visual system. This means checking the ability of your eye to control movement, checking your peripheral vision, evaluating eye alignment, determining whether you may have any color deficiencies, and ensuring your pupils function properly. This process is key in our ability to not only evaluate how well you see, but how well your eyes work independently and together.
Step 3: We determine your eye power! Yes! We do that too! This is what many people think of as an eye exam. During this step, which is called a “refraction,” we will ask you to view an eye chart. They will then make various adjustments and ask you to identify whether a letter or series of letters is more or less clear. Other measurements may also be taken during this time, all of which are designed to determine whether you need glasses, or other correction.
Step 4: We focus on your eye health. Ocular health is a key component of good vision. That’s why our eye doctors thoroughly evaluate both the front surface of your eye as well as the retina, which is located on the inside and back of your eye. As they do so, they will look for potential concerns like dryness, eye infections, cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. It may also surprise you to learn they’re evaluating other conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even diabetes. See our latest blog article on how to improve your eye health.
Watch the video below, from the National Eye Institute to learn about why dilated eye exams are important to your overall health. Pupil dilation is performed to purposefully increase the size of the pupils during an eye exam so that the eye doctor can fully examine the health of the optic nerve and retina. The exam is critical to preventing and treating eye conditions that can lead to vision loss.
Whether eye dilation during an exam is necessary depends on the reason for your exam, your age, your overall health and your risk of eye diseases. The eye drops used for dilation cause your pupils to widen, allowing in more light and giving your doctor a better view of the back of your eye. Eye dilation assists your doctor in diagnosing common diseases and conditions, possibly at their earliest stages.
They include: Diabetes, High blood pressure, Macular degeneration, Retinal detachment, and Glaucoma. Eye dilation also makes your vision blurry and your eyes more light sensitive, which, for a few hours, can affect your ability to drive or work. So if eye dilation is greatly inconvenient, ask your doctor about arranging another appointment. Alternatives to dilation are available, but they aren't as effective for allowing a careful examination of the back of your eye.
Tradewinds has invested in the latest technology for a number of reasons. It gives us the ability to have the most in-depth data to analyze and provide crucial diagnostic feedback to you and your other physicians. For example, one of our instruments scans your eye creating a topological map of your eye. Eyes are not flat and have many curvatures to them, think Astigmatism. By understanding this information, we are able to inform the lab the specific way to cut your lenses for your glasses. This provides clear vision like you have not had before! It is truly amazing. We also use this same technology to customize your contact lenses so they are comfortable for all-day use without fatigue.
One of the biggest complaints we here from patients is that they cannot stand when the Optometrist takes their pressure of their eye. This involves an instrument blowing air into your eye and scare the living daylights out of you. 'Aint nobody got time for that! We invested in tools to take your eye pressure without the use of an air puff. Expensive? that's relative! It sure makes the visit so much more pleasurable without having to change your underwear. With our technology, you will never know we even took a pressure! No more Air Puff!
We use other tools diagnose eye diseases that can be painful. In the past, Optometrist could see these diseases but were not able to show the patient, but now with the latest cameras and lasers we are able to walk you through exactly what is going on inside that painful throbbing, blurry vision, or spots in your eye. We’ll even send you home with a picture at no additional charge! :)
Technology is a balance of not having too much and not having too little, at Tradewinds we have the right amount where it saves you time and money while also providing us with all the information we need to provide the gold standard of care.
We are your Lake Norman-area optometrist that will provide you personalized eye health care and recommendations based on your exam results. We accept a wide-range of insurances, including BlueCross BlueShield, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, and more. Depending on the services conducted during your exam, the price of your visit will vary. If you are uninsured or have concerns regarding your current insurance coverage, call our office at 704-997-8199 and we will be happy assist you.