Seven Reasons to Have an Eye Test

By: Roger Titley

A regular visit to an optician to have you and your family's eyes tested is important. Good vision and learning are closely connected. Children who have limited vision when seeing or interpreting what they see will sometimes have trouble with their studies. Usually, children will not complain of vision problems simply because they don't know what "normal" vision looks like. If your child performs poorly at school or exhibits a reading or learning disability, be sure to have their eyes checked by an eye doctor who specializes in children's eye sight to discard a basic visual cause.

Eye tests are an important element of health maintenance for the whole family. Adults need to have their eyes tested to make sure that their prescriptions are current and to look for early indications of eye disease. And eye exams for children play an important role in ensuring normal vision development and academic achievement of all young people.

As well as testing your eyes for glasses and contacts, your eye doctor will inspect your eyes for eye disorders and other problems that could result in impaired eyesight. Here is a list of some of of the symptons that your eye doctor will be looking for:

1) Strabismus: Strabismus is charicterised by crossed or turned eyes. The examiner will measure your eyes' alignment to be sure that they are working together. Strabismus causes problems with depth perception and can lead to amblyopia

2) Refractive Error: This refers to your prescription, including near sightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Refractive error is corrected with glasses, contacts or refractive surgery.

3) Amblyopia: This occurs when the eyes are turned or when one eye has a much different prescription than the other. The brain will ignore the signal from the eye. Left untreated, amblyopia can inhibit the visual development of the affected eye, resulting in permanent vision impairment. Amblyopia is frequently corrected by patching the stronger eye for periods of time.

4) Eye Teaming Problems: Inspite the fact that your eyes appear to be correctly aligned, it is still possible that they do not operate together efficiently as a team. Such binocular eyesight problems can result in headaches, eyestrain and other issues that can affect reading and other near vision tasks.

5) Focusing Problems: These problems can range from incompletely developed focusing skills in children to normal age-related declines in focusing ability (presbyopia) among older adults.

6) Eye Diseases: Many eye diseases, such as glaucoma and diabetic eye disease, show no symptoms in their early stages. Your eye doctor will check the health of your eyes inside and out for signs of early problems. Normally, early identification and treatment of eye diseases can help reduce your risk for permanent vision loss.

7) Other Diseases: Opticians can identify initial indications of some conditions and diseases by examining your eye's blood vessels, retina etc. Your optician should be able to see if you are developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol or other problems.

As an example, diabetes can cause small blood vessel leaks or bleeding in the eye, as well as swelling of the macula, which can lead to loss of vision. Your optician will probably spot this during a comprehensive eye exam. It is estimated that one-third of Americans who suffer from diabetes don't know it; your optician may identify the disease before your doctor does, particuarly if you're overdue for a check up.

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