Eye Tests — Why They Are Important

Protect yourself from eye diseases like glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy with regular eye examinations.

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Protect your eyes and eyesight with regular eye examinations! Eyesight is one of the most important and valued senses we have. Clear vision involves a complex and intricate process of gathering, focusing and translating light into images. As we get older, the eye and its sensitive mechanisms are susceptible to damage and disease. Being alert to changes in vision is important in picking up eye diseases.

Some eye diseases such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy have no symptoms in their early stages, so you may not know you have a problem until the disease is in its later stage. This can make treatment more difficult and the problem harder to manage. Regular eye examinations are essential for early diagnosis and treatment of any problems that may crop up. Early detection and treatment can slow down or even reverse the progression of eye disease.

What Happens During an Eye Examination?

An eye examination doesn’t hurt. Your eye doctor will usually conduct a basic eye examination which consists of an external check of your eyes, eyelids and the surrounding areas. Parts of the eye, such as the conjunctiva, sclera, cornea and iris, will also be inspected for signs of disease.

Most eye examinations also include:
• Testing vision (with or without corrective eyewear)
• Assessing the reflexes of your pupils
• Checking general eye muscles
• Peripheral (side) vision testing
• Examining the front of the eye using an upright microscope (a slit lamp)
• Eye pressure tests
• Examining the back of the eye

How Often Should I Go for an Eye Exam?

For babies (aged three and below):

Ensure that your child has his or her eyes screened during regular paediatric appointments. Some childhood eye conditions to look out for include squints (crossed eyes), lazy eye (amblyopia), and childhood myopia.

For children and teenagers (aged four to 16):

The child’s vision should be tested at the age of four years old. Ensure that the child has an eye examination every one to two years during routine health check-ups.

For young adults (Aged 17 to 39): 

Have a comprehensive eye examination if you have a family history of eye disease or you are suffering from an eye injury.

For adults and seniors (aged 40 and above):

As you get older, age-related eye conditions are more likely to crop up. Look out for common eye symptoms like vision changes or pain, flashes or floaters, distorted lines, dry eyes that itch and burn. To keep tabs on any vision changes, adults should get a baseline eye screening when they are 40. Your doctor will assess how often you need to return for follow-up screenings.

For anyone with risk factors:

If you have a risk factor for eye disease (you have diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of eye disease like glaucoma, or are taking prescription medications which affect the eyes) you should see your ophthalmologist more frequently. Ask your eye doctor what the ideal interval between check-ups are.

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Eye Tests — Why They Are Important

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