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Everything You Need to Know About an Eye Exam

Your schedule is packed, work is stressful, and the holidays are just around the corner — who has time for an eye exam? We get it; it’s tough to carve out time for the essential things on your to-do list, so why would you add to the chaos and go to the eye doctor when there’s nothing wrong with your eyes? 

Because there may be something wrong with your eyes.

We can all agree that our eyesight is one of the most precious senses we have, and losing it would be tragic. Unfortunately, many people lose some or all of the vision because they didn’t catch a condition soon enough. That’s where routine eye exams swoop in and save the day — and your sight.

Here at Wolchok Eye Associates, PA, in Jacksonville, Florida, our team of experienced ophthalmologists, Dr. Stephen Wolchok and Dr. Eugene Wolchok, urge our patients to keep their regular eye appointments, even when they see and feel fine, because many vision problems start behind the scenes and have no symptoms until the condition is in advanced stages. 

But eye exams are fairly quick and quite painless. Aside from a small portion of your day, what do you have to lose? Here’s what’s included in your eye exam and some of the many benefits of keeping up with routine tests. 

Color vision testing

The inability to differentiate colors can happen without your realizing it. Dr. Wolchok shows you several multi-colored patterns with numbers hidden inside them. If you have good color vision, you’ll be able to see the hidden numbers, but if you can’t, it may indicate a problem with your color vision.

Peripheral vision testing

To test your peripheral vision, Dr. Wolchok checks how well you can see objects to either side of you. Poor peripheral vision can affect daily tasks, including driving. Fortunately, like most vision problems, this is correctable.

Visual acuity test

To test your visual acuity, Dr. Wolchok asks you to read the letters on the Snellen chart to determine how well you can see without vision correction. Then, he has you cover one eye and repeat the test, then cover the other eye and repeat it again. This gives him valuable information about the way your eyes function independently and together.

The slit lamp

Some tests in the routine exam focus on the physical aspect of your eyes, rather than your vision, and this is one of them. Also called a biomicroscope, the slit lamp allows us to look at your eyes extremely close up. You rest your chin on a holder and look straight ahead, while we shine a light into your eyes and examine your eyelids, lens, cornea, iris, and the fluid between your iris and cornea. 

If necessary, we may use a special dye that allows Dr. Wolchok to see any damage on the surface of your eye. It’s painless, and the dye quickly fades away, but the information it reveals lets us know if you have conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, or retinal degeneration.

Retina exam

To check your retinas, Dr. Wolchok shines a light directly into your eyes to view the back of your retinas, the optic nerve, the fluid in your eyes, and the blood vessels connected to your retinas. Sometimes it’s necessary to dilate your eyes first so that he can see your retinas more clearly. 

Refraction assessment

Do you need glasses? The refraction test lets us know for sure if you need corrective lenses, and if so, what type and magnification. Dr. Wolchok places a device in front of your eyes and shows you a series of letter sets. With each set, he switches back and forth between them and asks you which set looks clearer. Your answers let him know whether you need corrective lenses or not. 

The pressure test

Glaucoma is a potential eyesight-threatening condition that, if caught early, is highly treatable. The best way to detect it is to measure the pressure in your eyes. To do that, Dr. Wolchok uses a precise test called contact tonometry.  Here, a machine is used to accurately test the pressure of the eye. It may be startling, but it doesn’t hurt.  Every year, Dr. Wolchok dilates your eyes and uses a tonometer on the slit lamp to determine the pressure of the fluid in your eyes. This is one of the ways to help screen for glaucoma.

If you have vision problems, regular eye exams are critical, and if you have no vision problems, they’re just as important. To find out the health of your eyes, whether you have any asymptomatic conditions brewing, and how often you actually need to have an eye exam, contact us today, or request an appointment online and ensure your good vision for life.

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