Dilated Eye Exams Offer Protection Against Eye Disease

Woman gets dilated eye examYou might think you do not have time to add another item to your to-do list, but consider this: yearly eye exams prevent disease and protect your vision.

Dilated Eye Exams Help Detect Cataracts, Glaucoma and More

Millions of Americans suffer from low vision or eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. If left untreated, many of these conditions can cause permanent vision loss or even blindness, but they can be diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam with dilation.

A full eye examination includes:

  • a visual acuity test to evaluate the sharpness of eyesight
  • a visual field test to check for blind spots or peripheral vision problems
  • a slit lamp exam to view the structure of the eye
  • dilation of the pupil to examine the optic nerve, retina and retinal vessels

You should make regular appointments with your ophthalmologist, even if you have never had vision problems. Because vision changes are often gradual, you may not even notice you have a problem with your eyesight until permanent damage has already occurred. Diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration rarely present symptoms in the early stages, so dilated eye exams are instrumental in preventing irreversible vision loss.

Eye Exam Frequency Depends on Several Factors

The recommended interval between eye exams varies from person to person. Age and family history are two major risk factors for eye disease, so ask your ophthalmologist how often you need to have your eyes examined. If you are a diabetic, for example, you may be at high risk for diabetic retinopathy and your ophthalmologist might want to see you more frequently. If your inner eye pressure is a concern, your doctor may want you to make additional appointments for an eye pressure check to detect developing glaucoma.

Clear vision, like good health, is a precious gift. Good eyesight is something that most of us take for granted, so make an appointment with your ophthalmologist for a full eye exam with dilation. If you would like to find a board-certified ophthalmologist in your area, Find a Physician by entering your zip code above the orange search box.

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