Everything You Need to Know About a Comprehensive Eye Exam

You probably already know that having regular eye examinations is simply one part of living an overall healthy lifestyle. Your vision is an important part of your active life, so it just makes sense to protect it and check on things every now and then. 

At Cooper Eye Care, our experts offer comprehensive eye exams, which are designed to detect issues with your vision as well as other areas of interest. How often should you have one? Well, that depends on several factors. What doesn’t change, though, is what we look for during your comprehensive eye exam

For children

Children generally need vision screenings, rather than comprehensive exams. If, during a screening, a problem is detected or suspected, your child will need a comprehensive eye exam. Below are the recommended screenings. 

As your child grows, their eyes change quickly, so it makes sense for children to have more frequent eye exams. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a newborn eye exam, a second screen between the ages of six and 12 months, and then again between 12 and 36 months of age. 

During the first two exams, we’ll make sure your child’s eyes respond correctly to light, that their pupil and blink response are correct, and that their eyes align and move together properly. At the third exam, we use a specialized device to take photos and check for amblyopia, which is sometimes called lazy eye. 

At some point between the ages of three and five, children should have another exam, with additional tests. We check visual acuity, or sharpness, during that visit, alignment, problems with how your child’s eyes refract, and other focus problems. 

When your child is five years old, we check their visual acuity and alignment. Nearsightedness isn’t unusual in children in this age group. 

For adults

As an adult, you should have a comprehensive exam once during your 20s and twice during your 30s, unless you have issues. If you have an infection or injury, eye pain, or notice sudden changes in your vision, book an appointment right away. 

If you wear contact lenses, you should have an exam annually. An eye disease or family history of eye disease may require more frequent exams. If you have diabetes, you probably need to see us more often. 

When you turn 40, you should also have a comprehensive exam. 

What’s included

First, we’ll talk to you about your medical history, any medications you take, and whether or not you use corrective lenses. Then we test your visual acuity — this is the eye chart everyone recognizes — in each eye. If you wear corrective lenses, we make sure they are the correct ones for your current needs. 

We also test your pupils to make sure they respond properly to light. We check your peripheral vision, because problems with your side vision can indicate glaucoma. We make sure your eyes move properly and that your eyes align correctly. 

You can expect us to test the pressure in your eye, which involves a quick puff of air or placing a device near or against your eye. We use a special microscope to look at the front of your eyes to make sure everything is good with your eyelids, cornea, iris, and lens. Finally we use dilating drops so that we can look at your retina and optic nerve. 

If there’s a reason, we may also perform additional tests. You may not need a comprehensive eye exam annually, but it’s important to have one when recommended to make sure your eyes remain healthy for as long as possible. 

Is it time for your comprehensive eye exam? Schedule an appointment at one of our facilities. We have locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and would be glad to see you. 

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