If you are a person who already wears corrective lenses, then you understand the importance of getting a renewed prescription when you are no longer seeing clearly. What is also necessary to understand is that your eye doctor is also checking for a number of common eye problems. Even when you don't have symptoms, your eye doctor will test for elevated eye pressure, check your depth perception, look for signs of color blindness, and take a careful look at your retinas at the back of your eyes. The earlier eye problems are discovered, the higher your chances are of retaining the vision that you have.
Testing the Pressure Within Your Eyes
Your eye doctor will use an instrument called a tonometer to measure the pressure within your eyes. If your pressure is higher than 21 mmHg in either eye or both eyes at more than one visit, you will be diagnosed with ocular hypertension. This test does not hurt, and feels like a slight puff of air on your eye. While this is a disease all by itself, it is also a major risk factor for developing glaucoma. This does not mean that you are automatically treated for glaucoma, but your eye doctor will want to check the pressure within your eyes more often to ensure that you have not developed other signs of glaucoma.
Checking the Physical Aspects of Your Eye
Using a slit lamp, your eye doctor will take a careful look at the lenses of your eyes, corneas and irises. This is another easy test for you, as you simply place your chin and forehead up against two rests. Your eye doctor can now see the structures of your eyes under significant magnification, and can look for tears or other signs your eyes are not in great health. Many times, your eye doctor will use a type of eye drops to help keep your pupils dilated so that they can get a clearer look at your retinas. Problems with your retinas can include retinal tears, or the more serious retinal detachment. Detachments tend to cause other symptoms such as seeing flashing lights, or floaters, and it is necessary to repair detachments immediately to avoid vision loss.
During an eye exam, your eye doctor will ask about your overall eye health, and talk with you about any concerns that you may have regarding your vision. If you haven't been to your eye doctor in over a year, it's time to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam.