Q: What is a WELLNESS EYE EXAMINATION?
A: This is different to a routine eye exam or vision check, as it also encompasses workplace vision, the most advanced testing of your eye health that is available (Optomap, OCT, visual fields), sun damage evaluation and recommendations on nutrition for eyes and preventative measures for eye health.
Steps that you can expect in a typical optometric examination include:
- Case History – You will be asked about your general health, medications you may be taking, your working environment, hobbies, etc. You will also be asked to describe any vision problems you may have been experiencing.
- External Eye Examination – Your Optometrist will examine the external area around the eye to ensure that there are no abnormalities.
- Internal Eye Examination – Using the slit lamp microscope and an ophthalmoscope, your Optometrist will check your eyes for indications of abnormalities, from front to back. Some problems detected during an internal eye examination may indicate possible disease, such as diabetes or hypertension. If your Optometrist sees any of these warning signs, you will be referred to a physician for further examination.
- Tonometry – Tonometry measures the fluid pressure in the eye and is an important test in detecting glaucoma.
- Vision Tests – A number of tests are used to assess your vision:
- Retinoscopy – The Optometrist can determine the strength of your eyes using various lenses and the retinoscope. This is done without feedback from the patient and is therefore an invaluable instrument for assessing the vision problems of children and others who may not be able to read an eye chart.
- Visual Acuity Tests – Using the familiar wall chart and a hand-held charts, your Optometrist will assess your ability to see small detail clearly at both near and far distances. You may sit behind a phoropter, an instrument containing a combination of lenses. Lens choices are systematically changed until clear focus is obtained.
- Eye Movement – Using a number of different tests, the optometrist will evaluate how well your eyes align or coordinate when working together and individually.
- Peripheral Vision – The Optometrist may evaluate how well you see targets which are not directly in front of you.
Other tests may be undertaken to evaluate your ability to change focus, see colour correctly, or perceive depth correctly.
The items above are typical to a routine eye examination. Your Optometrist will choose those tests required to adequately evaluate your visual system. (Courtesy of the Alberta Optometrists Association)
Q: What should I bring to my first eye examination with Canmore Family Eyecare?
A: Please bring your Alberta Health Care card, along with your most current prescription or glasses, your sunglasses, as well as your contact lens information (boxes or a recent prescription). A list of any medications is also useful.
Q: How long does my eye exam take?
A: Typically you can expect your exam to take approximately 30 minutes. Allow longer if it is your first visit or if you are anticipating choosing a pair of glasses.
Q: Will I need drops in my eyes at my eye exam? Can I drive afterwards?
A: Typically another appointment will be booked if the Doctor needs to dilate your eyes with drops. That way you can plan for no driving. However, if your appointment is for a medical emergency, where you are experiencing sudden flashing lights, floaters or decreased vision, you will be dilated at this same visit.
Q: How long will it take to get my glasses after I order them?
A: About a week for single vision lenses (distance or reading), closer to 2 weeks for progressive lenses.
Q: When should my child have their first eye exam?
A: At six months of age!
Many vision problems can be detected at this stage and the earlier a condition is caught, the higher the chance of correction. If left un-examined, young children may not even realize that anything is wrong because they assume that everyone sees the same way they do.
Q: What does 20/20 vision mean?
A: 20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. If you have 20/100 vision, it means that you must be as close as 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see at 100 feet.
Q: How often should I have my eyes examined?
A: The below list is the recommended minimum frequency for low-risk patients in each age group:
- Children (2-19 years) – Annually
- Adult (20 to 64 years) – Every 1-2 years as recommended by your Optometrist. Contact lens wearers should have an annual eye examination to ensure that the contact lenses are continuing to work optimally, and that the corneas are staying healthy.
- Seniors (65 years and older) – Annually or more frequently if recommended.
Q: Do I have to pay for my eye exam?
A: If you are under 19 years of age, or over 65 years of age, Alberta Health Care covers you for a Wellness Eye Exam. If you are aged 19-64 years and come in for a routine eye examination or to update your prescription, this is not covered. However, medically necessary eye exams are covered for any age-group.
Contact lens fitting services are never covered by Alberta Health care as contact lenses are considered a cosmetic correction.