Comprehensive Eye Examination – Greenbelt, MD

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About Eye Exams

Comprehensive eye exams involve much more than testing your visual acuity. They include many other important testing techniques that allow your eye doctor to determine the overall health of your eyes. While some eye diseases have obvious symptoms, such as red eyes, light sensitivity, or flashing lights, many serious, vision-threatening problems have no warning signs. Glaucoma, for example, will present no symptoms until actual vision loss occurs. Proper eye care and evaluations can help prevent vision loss. Comprehensive eye exams can also detect diabetes, hypertension, retinal holes or tears, and other serious, yet treatable, medical conditions.

The skilled staff of ophthalmologists and optometrists at Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons provides comprehensive eye exams at our Greenbelt and Bowie, MD offices. If it has been more than two years since your last comprehensive eye exam, or if you have noticed any issues or potential concerns with your eyes or vision, schedule an appointment for your exam at your earliest convenience.

Who should have eye exams?

Individuals of all ages should have regularly scheduled comprehensive eye exams, even if they haven't had any indications of a problem. Patients 18 – 40 years of age should have their eyes examined every other year. Patients in their 40s and beyond should schedule exams every 2 – 4 years.

Regular comprehensive eye exams are also key for children's eye health. Your child's first eye exam should be scheduled at around six months of age. Their next exam should be scheduled as they are beginning pre-school or kindergarten, and then they should be scheduled every year until they are 18. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), approximately 1 in 5 children has a visual impairment.

What to Expect with Eye Exams

When you contact us to make your appointment for your eye exam, be prepared to describe any current vision problems. In addition, be sure to ask if the eye examination will affect your vision temporarily and if you will need someone to drive you home. You may also want to discuss whether your insurance plan will cover any of the cost and how payment will be handled.

On the day of your appointment, be sure to have this information ready to help answer questions the eye care professional may ask:

  • Symptoms of current eye problems (flashes of light, difficulty seeing at night, temporary double vision, loss of vision, etc.)
  • Eye injuries or eye surgeries (approximate dates, where treated)
  • Family history of eye problems (glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, etc.)
  • Any questions about your vision, glasses, contacts, laser surgery, etc.
  • A list of all prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs currently being used
  • Your general health condition (allergies, chronic health problems, operations, etc.)

You should also bring the following items with you to your eye appointment:

  • Glasses, contact lenses, or both
  • A list of all prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs currently being taken
  • Medical or health insurance card

A comprehensive eye examination at Solomon Eye Associates involves a series of tests designed to evaluate your vision and check for eye diseases. Each test is necessary and allows your doctor to evaluate a different aspect of your vision. Common tests that you might have include:

  • Eye muscle test: This test examines your eye muscles to detect any weaknesses or uncontrolled movements in the muscles that move your eyes up and down and side to side. Your doctor will ask you to sit still and look forward, using your eyes to follow an object, such as a pen. 
  • Visual acuity test: This test measures how sharply or clearly you can see something at a distance. Your doctor will ask you to identify different letters of the alphabet off a chart positioned usually 20 feet away. Your visual acuity is expressed in a fraction, such as 20/20 vision. The top number refers to your distance from the eye chart, usually 20 feet. The bottom number indicates the distance at which a person with normal eyesight could correctly read the line you read. For example, 20/20 vision means that you can see objects clearly from 20 feet away that a person with normal vision could see clearly from 20 feet away. However, if your visual acuity is 20/50, the line you read correctly at 20 feet could be read by a person with normal vision at 50 feet.
  • Refraction assessment: Refraction refers to how light waves are bent as they pass through your cornea and lens. A refraction assessment helps your doctor determine a corrective lens prescription that will give you the sharpest vision. Your doctor will have your look through a phoropter, a device that holds many lenses, and determine which combination of lenses gives you the sharpest vision.
  • Visual field test: Your doctor may request you have a visual field test along with your comprehensive examination. This test is used to determine whether you have difficulty seeing in any areas of your peripheral vision — the areas on the side of your visual field.
  • Slit-lamp examination: A slit lamp allows your doctor to see the structures at the front of your eye using a microscope with an intense line of light to illuminate your eye. The slit lamp allows us to examine the cornea, iris, lens, and anterior chamber of your eye.
  • Retinal examination: A retinal examination examines the back of your eye, including your retina, optic disc, choroid, and blood vessels. We may use special eye drops to dilate your pupils, opening them wider so we can see the back part of your eye. The effects of these drops will not wear off for several hours. Your vision will be blurry, and you'll have trouble focusing your eyes. Depending on your job, you might not be able to return to work immediately after your exam. Your eyes will also be very sensitive to the light so we recommend using sunglasses.
  • Tonometry: Tonometry measures your intraocular pressure (the pressure inside your eyes). This test in conjunction with other more specific tests, such as an OCT, a visual field, and a detailed retinal exam, will help us determine your risk for the development or progression of glaucoma.

If your acuity test shows a visual impairment, we will provide you with a prescription for glasses or contacts that will produce your sharpest vision. If we discover any other issues or concerns, our team of board-certified ophthalmologists and optometrists are at the ready to move forward with treatment or more tests. 

Special Diagnostic Exams

At Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons, our comprehensive eye exams also include special diagnostic techniques that allow us to determine whether patients are suffering from certain serious eye conditions or are at risk of developing these conditions. With the majority of eye conditions, early detection and diagnosis are key to proper and successful treatment, which is why regular comprehensive exams are so important.

Glaucoma
To detect and diagnose glaucoma, our comprehensive eye exams include the following techniques:

  • Visual acuity – measures quality of vision at different distances
  • Visual field – measures the degree of your peripheral vision
  • Dilated eye exam – widens the pupil with eye drops for a magnified evaluation of the optic nerve and adjacent tissue
  • Tonometry – measures the pressure inside the eye
  • Pachymetry – measures the thickness of the cornea, which has been determined to be an independent risk factor of the development of glaucoma

Diabetic Retinopathy and Macular Edema
To detect and diagnose diabetic retinopathy and macular edema, our comprehensive eye exams include the following techniques:

  • Visual acuity – measures quality of vision at different distances
  • Dilated eye exam – widens the pupil for a thorough examination of the retina and optic nerve; signs include leaking blood vessels, retinal swelling, fatty deposits on the retina, damage to the retinal nerve fiber layer, and any changes to the tiny vasculature of the retina
  • Fluorescein angiography – allows easy identification of leaking vessels via injection of a special dye into the arm, which then passes through the vessels of the retina and can be observed and photographed

In many cases, a diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy is a patient's first alert to the fact that they have diabetes. Other times, it can be an indication that a patient isn't managing their diabetes as well as they need to be. This is why it's important to always include testing for diabetic retinopathy, even if you haven't been diagnosed with diabetes.

Eye Exams Follow-Up

Any follow-up appointments will depend on your exam results, as well as your age and any risk factors you may have. If your comprehensive eye exam uncovers any potential problems, we will discuss the next steps and make sure you are scheduled for a follow-up visit for appropriate further testing. For patients who complete the exam with no visual impairment or other issues, it is still important that you schedule regular comprehensive eye exams to stay ahead of anything that might develop.

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Ensure Your Eye Health

Great vision and healthy eyes are integral to being able to live your best life. Many of our patients are amazed at how much better their overall quality of life is after they have their vision or an eye problem properly treated. At Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons, we use cutting-edge technology and the most advanced diagnostic and treatment techniques to ensure you obtain your best vision and eye health. Schedule your or your child's exam at our Greenbelt or Bowie, MD office today.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.