Think eye exams are just about getting glasses or contacts? They’re actually good for your head-to-toe health. Here’s everything you need to know about the all-important vision checkup. 

Routine vision checkups are an important part of taking care of your overall health. They don’t just identify vision problems or evaluate eye health—Regular eye exams provide a window into what’s going on in your entire body.

Here, we provide answers to some common questions about eye exams.  

How often should I get my eyes checked? 

Dr. Carlsson of Carlsson Family Eye Center recommends having a comprehensive eye exam once a year, regardless of whether or not you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, have certain risk factors, or a family history of eye disease. 

“The eye is the keyhole to the general health of the body,” Dr. Carlsson says, “We can see so much in the eye, and can even notice certain diseases manifest in the eyes, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer.” 

Children should have their eyes examined annually, as well. Dr. Carlsson recommends bringing your child in for his or her first exam when they are two to three years old, and then annually after that. 

What will my eye doctor look for? 

An eye exam is about more than checking your vision. Your eye doctor will make sure that the entire visual system—from the visual cortex of the brain all the way to the eyeball itself—is functioning normally. 

Early detection and treatment of life-altering eye diseases is also a goal of a complete eye exam. Common diseases like age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy can cause permanent vision loss or blindness if left untreated. 

Your child’s eye doctor will watch for “lazy eye” or amblyopia, which is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children. The onset of lazy eye is between one and eight years of age, which is a key developmental time for the brain. 

What can I expect during an eye exam?

At Carlsson Family Eye Center, you’ll be greeted by welcoming staff and receive responsive, personalized service. Dr. Carlsson and the rest of the team love getting to know patients and their eyeballs! 

Your exam will typically include four to five steps. Be ready to tell us about your medical history, any medications you’re taking, and any eye problems in your family history. 

Step 1: Eye Health Exam

Step 2: Refraction

This step is also known as a vision test, and this is where your doctor will determine whether or not you need a prescription. 

Step 3: Fundus Photography

During this step, a digital camera is used to take photos of the back portion of your eye (the “fundus”). 

Step 4: OCT Screening

Optical Coherence Tomography is helpful in diagnosing any conditions of the eye, as well as disorders of the optic nerve. 

Step 5: Dilation (optional)

Purposefully increasing the size of the pupils allows your eye doctor to better examine the retina and optic nerve. 

How frequently will my prescription change?

On average, people replace their glasses every two years, but your prescription could change yearly. 

For children, vision can change dramatically in a single year, so it’s particularly important to keep current with exams. Having an accurate glasses or contacts prescription helps children perform better in all their activities, including at school and in sports. 

Ready to have your eyes checked? We’d love to see you at Carlsson Family Eye Center. Give us a call today.