Comprehensive Eye Care
The doctors at Cornea Consultants of Albany are specialists, but we also take care of your overall general eye health. Our comprehensive eye care includes diagnostic testing, medical, and surgical services such as:
- Screening and treatment for common eye diseases through routine eye exams
- Pediatric evaluations and care
- Evaluation of patients who may have visual loss or complaints, but do not have a diagnosis
- Glasses and contact lens prescriptions
A comprehensive eye exam acts as the entry point to more advanced sub-specialty care for patients needing additional medical or surgical services.
Here are some common vision tests you might have during your comprehensive eye exam:
- Visual Acuity Test: One of the primary tests in any comprehensive eye exam, this test will measure how much you can see using an eye chart.
- Retinoscopy: This test will determine your approximate eyeglass prescription. Your doctor will be able to get close to your prescription by judging how light reflects from your eye while flipping lenses in front of your eye.
- Refraction: This determines your exact eyeglass prescription using an instrument known as a phoropter that allows him to show you a series of lens choices, and then will ask you which lenses look clearer. This will continue until your doctor narrows down the lens power and reaches your true prescription.
- Pupil Dilation: Your doctor may need to enlarge your pupil using eye drops in order to see more of the internal structures of your eyes.
- Visual Field Test: This test checks for blind spots in your peripheral vision.
- Color Blindness Test: Besides just checking if any color blindness is hereditary, this test can also determine other possible eye health issues that could be causing your color blindness.
- Cover Test: This test can indicate if you have a binocular vision problem that causes eye strain or amblyopia, also known as “lazy eye”.
- Autorefractors and Aberrometers: These will automatically determine your eyeglass prescription by accurately focusing light on your retina to determine the lens power.
Slit-Lamp Examination: The slit lamp, or biomicroscope, gives your doctor a highly magnified view of the internal structures of your eye to determine eye health and look for signs of infection.
- The Glaucoma Test: Typically, your doctor will perform a “puff-of-air” test, or non-contact tonometry (NCT), that literally puffs a tiny bit of air at your eye to see how the eye resists to the air. This will allow the machine to calculate your intraocular pressure, which helps determine if you are at risk of developing glaucoma.
How often should I have an eye exam?
The frequency of eye exams depends on your age, and your risk for developing eye problems. These are the general guidelines provided by the American Optometric Association for when different age groups should get their eyes examined:
- Children 5 years and younger — Children under three should see a pediatrician to check for the most common eye problems, such as lazy eye.
- School-age children and teens — Your child needs his or her vision checked before they enter first grade. From there, vision should be checked every one or two years to be sure their refraction/vision correction prescription hasn’t changed.
- Adults — If you don’t have vision problems and don’t have a family history of eye disease, this is the schedule for adults:
- Every five to 10 years in your 20s and 30s
- Every two to four years from 40 to 54
- Every one to three years from 55 to 64
- Every year after age 65
These adult numbers should increase in frequency if you wear glasses or contact lenses, if you have a family history of eye disease, or if you have a chronic disease that can affect your eyes, such as diabetes.
How does vision change with age?
Once children’s vision settles into where it will be, vision in teenagers and young adults stays pretty stable. But as we get older, our vision changes, much like other changes that accompany aging elsewhere in our bodies. Some of these changes, such as presbyopia, which makes virtually everyone farsighted at age 40 and above, aren’t related to any disease and are common. Cataracts are technically age-related, but they are so common that they really denote a relatively normal change in aging vision.
But there are age-related diseases that increase with the passing years. These include the serious vision threatening diseases of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration.
Here are common vision changes by age. These kinds of things get started at age 40.
- 40s — Presbyopia becomes almost universal sometime after we turn 40. This means our eyes have trouble with near vision focus. Get used to the idea of reading glasses. The risk of having dry eye or computer vision syndrome increases now, too.
- 50s — Risks increase for cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Often these show no symptoms until damage is already done. This is why it’s important to have eye exams at least every two years. Dry eye increases, especially with women exiting menopause.
- 60s — Risks for the above-mentioned eye diseases increase significantly. Your ability to see in low lighting decreases. You will develop and see more floaters and spots in your vision, especially when looking at a blank background such as a clear blue sky. You need to have physicals every year to check for problems such as diabetes that can lead to eye problems. Also, while just about everyone develops protein globs in the interior of their eyes that create shadows on the retina (floaters), if they develop suddenly, that’s a problem that needs instant attention.
- 70s & 80s — By this point, research shows that four out of five seniors either have cataracts or have already had corrective surgery. Surgery to replace the clouded lens is the only treatment, and it is around 99% successful. Color vision declines. We also lose some peripheral vision by this time — the loss can be up to 30 degrees.
What is the benefit of having regular eye exams?
It’s funny in an odd way. People are often more concerned about hitting the completely arbitrary deadlines set for their car oil changes than caring for their eyesight. They hit that every 3,000 number for their oil changes but haven’t seen an eye doctor in 20 years. You could call that rolling the dice. For adults, serious vision issues such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy often don’t exhibit early symptoms before permanent vision damage has already been done. The risk of developing these types of conditions increases with age. Catching them early is key to successful treatment, but we can’t catch something like glaucoma early if you skip your regular eye exams.
Does insurance cover my regular eye exams?
Most health insurance plans do cover your regular eye exams. They are treated as preventative medicine. We work with your insurance carrier to ensure you have the most coverage possible.
What’s the difference between a screening and a comprehensive eye exam?
People can get confused. They think that because their child received a vision “screening” at school that they’re good. Same is true for some arbitrary eye tests they have on a phone app or they receive at work.
The reality is that our eye testing at Cornea Consultants of Albany is anything but “regular.” Our eye exams are far more than simply testing your refractive accuracy; eye exams also check the structure of your eyes. Dr. Eden and Dr. Schultze test for glaucoma, a condition where the pressure inside your eyes becomes elevated and damages your vision. The slit lamp exam detects a wide range of eye conditions and diseases, including cataracts, macular degeneration, corneal ulcers, and diabetic retinopathy. An ophthalmoscope is used to check the retina at the back of the eye and the surrounding structures. We test your depth perception, and eye tracking ability. We even test how your eyes work together.
Many eye conditions don’t show symptoms until damage has already been done to your vision. That’s why regular adult comprehensive eye exams are important.