Eye Care Professionals can’t say it enough: regular eye exams are essential to preserving your eye health and vision.
Why are they so important? How often should you have your eyes checked? How much does an eye exam cost? We’ve answered those questions for you! Whether you require vision correction or have almost perfect eyesight, eye exams are important.
Learn more about eye examinations and why you should keep up to date with yours – scroll through our different sections to find the answer to your questions:
- What is an eye examination test and why is it important?
- How often should I have my eyes examined?
- What age is appropriate for a child to have their first eye exam?
- How much does an eye exam cost?
- How can I prevent my vision from getting worse?
- Contact lens and glasses prescriptions – what’s the difference?
What is an eye examination test?
Eye exams are as important as general medical check-ups, as eyes are entirely part of health care. A comprehensive eye exam is performed by an optometrist, to analyze your overall eye health. A regular eye exam schedule is critical to ensuring your eyes are healthy and that your prescription is up to date.
Why is an eye exam important?
A complete eye exam will analyze three aspects:
1. Optimizing your vision
Needless to say, good eyesight is essential to your daily life! Vision tests are an important part of the examination. Your Optometrist will test your vision by focusing on different aspects:
- Refractive error: Do you have a vision problem such as hyperopia, myopia, astigmatism or presbyopia?
- Overall perception: Color vision, depth perception, object tracking with eye movement
- Blurry distance or reading vision
- Eye strain and headaches
- Sports vision for performance
- Safety driving
It’s also important to examine children’s vision to ensure that have to full capacity to learn. Low vision can be misdiagnosed as a learning disability.
2. Prevention of sight loss, eye diseases or disorder
Eye exams are also important to ensure your eyes are healthy. Did you know that 500,000 Canadians have eye problems that could lead to blindness? 1 person out of 7 is at risk of vision loss which can sometimes be caused by diseases or an eye disorder. However, 75% of sight loss is preventable!
Here are different types of sight loss that are potentially preventable through regular observation:
- “Lazy eye” or amblyopia for children, with a cover test and refraction
- Glaucoma, based on your eye pressure, and examination of ocular health
- Diabetic retinopathy, through a slit lamp exam
- Macular degeneration
Eye health is all about prevention. If a disease can be detected before any damage is done, vision loss and blindness can be prevented. Early detection can only be achieved through regular eye examinations.
3. Indication on your overall Health
Eye exams are also important as they can be indicators of your overall health. As Optometrist Justin Asgarpour says: “Eyes are a window to the body.”
Through an eye test, Optometrists can detect and diagnose systemic diseases. Some diseases that could be detected during an eye examination include:
- Vascular diseases: Diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol
- Neurological diseases such as papilledema, MS, strokes, nerve palsy
- Inflammatory diseases: IBS, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Graves’ disease
- Cancer: Ocular melanoma, certain brain tumors, familial adenomatous polyposis
How often should you have your eyes examined?
Your eyes should be checked regularly. Depending on your own needs, a Doctor of Optometry will provide you with your eye examination schedule. On average, they should be scheduled annually or semi-annually. As a general guideline:
- People under the age of 19 should have their eyes examined every year to check for healthy visual development.
- Adults should have their eyes examined every 1-2 years for the health of their eyes and to determine any changes in refractive power.
- People over the age of 65 should have their eyes examined every year. As people grow older, they are at a higher risk of developing many serious eye conditions that could be avoided, treated, or corrected with regular eye exams.
- People with diabetes
If there are any changes in your vision, if you feel discomfort, or you see flashing lights, and new floaters you should have your eyes examined as soon as possible.
What is an appropriate age for a child’s first eye exam?
Eye health tests should start at 6-12 months and continue annually thereafter. If there are any concerns regarding a child’s vision, an examination should be arranged as soon as possible.
How much do eye exams cost?
The cost of an eye check-up will depend on your needs and your specialist’s expertise. Eye exam prices at Coastal’s partner clinic in Vancouver, Asgarpour Optometry, range as follows:
- Covered by MSP for children,
- $95 for adults between 19 and 65,
- $20 copay with MSP coverage for seniors (65 and above).
Each session lasts approximately 20- 40 minutes. Most extended benefits programs offer reimbursement for eye exams, so make sure to inquire about your coverage.
How much does a contact lens exam cost?
If you want to wear contact lenses for the first time or if you need a new prescription, you’ll require a contact lens eye exam. The consultation will include a general eye exam as well as specific tests to define which type of contacts are best for you.
The cost of contact lens exams varies according to your needs. Each clinic sets its own prices. For instance, the cost of contact eye exams at Asgarpour Optometry can range between:
- $125 and $145 for a contact lens eye exam
- $30 to $50 for a contact lens fitting/ contact lens exam – if you have had an eye exam in the past year (and have your prescription for glasses ready)
If you’re looking for an Optometrist in Vancouver, you can book a comprehensive eye exam online.
How can I prevent my vision from getting worse?
A regular eye examination is the best way to ensure healthy eyes and good vision. For optimal eye health, it is important to maintain a well-balanced diet and exercise schedule, and refrain from smoking.
Essential eye care such as examination, healthy habits, and following your Eye Care Professional’s instruction will help you maintain good eyesight and happy eyes. To learn a little more on the subject, follow our section on eye care – you’ll find out some of our experts’ tips and insight on eye health!
Can I use my eyeglasses prescription to buy over-the-counter contact lenses?
No, contact lenses and prescription glasses are different. To purchase contact lenses, you must first be properly fitted by your Eye Care Professional. Because contact lenses sit on your eye, your prescription will also most likely be modified to correct the difference in where the corrective lens sits.
Also the contact lens prescription includes parameters regarding the shape of the lens that best fits your eye, and the ideal material for the contact lens that works with the anatomy of your eye.
Why is it important to use a valid contact lens prescription?
An Eye Care Professional needs to assess the health of your eyes, which includes inspecting the corneas and the adjacent tissue that is in contact with the lens to ensure the tissue is doesn’t show any signs of contact lens-related complications.
Once this has been confirmed, it is important to assess the fit of the contact lens and ensure optimal vision and comfort.
To learn more about the difference between contact lenses and glasses prescriptions and how how to read them, take a look at our article on the subject.
Book your eye test with your Optometrist and enjoy lasting clarity and happy eyes!
You’re now informed about eye exams and why they are important to preserve your eye health. In addition to these general guidelines, your Eye Care Professional will be able to provide you with a tailored examination schedule based on your eye care needs and will give you precise indication on your health as well as personal instructions to maintain healthy habits.