ADULT EYE EXAM
An adult comprehensive eye exam includes spectacle prescription optimization, an evaluation of how your eyes work together, and it also includes an extensive look at the health of your eyes.
Our eyes change as we age; in particular, people over the age of 40 may be at an increased risk for age-related eye conditions, some of which may have no visible symptoms until the condition is advanced and difficult, or even impossible, to treat.
An eye exam can also uncover underlying, and potentially life-threatening, health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, MS, certain vascular diseases and brain or eye tumors. Many people are completely asymptomatic when they have eye diseases and this is why early detection is key and comprehensive eye examinations are recommended every two years for adults aged 18-64, and annually after the age of 65. Other health conditions assessed by your Doctor of Optometry may also warrant more frequent eye examinations.
AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT
Dilated eye examinations are very important to evaluate the health of your retina and the back of your eye.
Dilation drops enlarge the pupil to have a thorough look at the structures at the back of the eye; without the drops, the view is quite limited and not all structures can be seen. For example, cataracts are very difficult to assess without dilation eye drops as well as retinal problems.
Your Optometrist will decide if dilation is necessary based on the results of your exam, your age, your eye health and the risks of developing any eye diseases. There are a few instances where dilation is recommended at each visit: for diabetic eye exams, high prescriptions and for everyone over the age of 50. For someone who is young that has no prescription or eye health concerns, routine dilation may be recommended every 4-5 years.
The main side effects of the dilation eye drops include blur at near (depending on your spectacle prescription), as well as light sensitivity. Some people feel comfortable driving however if you are unsure, it is recommended to bring a driver or wait a few hours until you feel safe to drive. The effects of the drops usually last between 2-4 hours but can be longer depending on the person. Don’t forget to bring your sunglasses!
The Kennedy Eye Clinic performs retinal imaging on all of our patients, including children. The test itself has a low-intensity flash of light that takes a second to complete. We believe it is vital to document the appearance of the back of the eye and compare these images over time to detect any potential health risks or ocular changes. Some systemic diseases that can be first detected in the eye include: diabetes, high blood pressure and multiple sclerosis. Other risks involve diseases of the eye such as: macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinal tears/detachments.
At the Kennedy Eye Clinic, we offer two types of fundus photography:
Regular fundus photos
Clarus fundus photos which provide an ultra-wide field image
Regular fundus photos are performed on all children’s and diabetic eye exams but for a small additional fee, Clarus photos can be taken. On all of our adult comprehensive eye examinations, Clarus photos are taken and are automatically factored in to the cost of the exam.
As you can see below, Clarus imaging provides a much wider field of view of the back of the eye. This allows more diseases in the back of the eye to be detected and therefore managed over time.
Traditional Retinal Image
OCT of a Macula in a Healthy Eye
OCT of Various Eye Diseases
OPTICAL COHERENCE TOMOGRAPHY
The OCT, similar to an ultrasound, provides a unique scan of the eye beneath its surface. People over the age of 40 may be at an increased risk for eye-related conditions, some of which have no visible symptoms until the condition is advanced and difficult, or even impossible, to treat.
As such, OCT scans are routinely done on every patient over the age of 40 as a preventative and prophylactic screen that is included in the examination fee, however every patient under the age of 40 can choose to have it done as well at an additional cost. The test is non-invasive, painless, simple and fast and is an invaluable tool to monitor over time and detect certain eye diseases that are not visible to the naked eye.
Some common conditions include: macular degeneration, diabetes, glaucoma, macular holes and vitreous detachments.
OCT Glaucoma Scan
•THE MOST COMMON EYE PROBLEMS AMONG ADULTS•
Near sightedness, or myopia, is the inability to see far away and if significant enough, can be corrected in glasses and/or contact lenses.
Far sightedness, or hyperopia, is the inability to read up close. If the amount of hyperopia is significant enough, spectacle correction will be required to see far away as well.
Astigmatism is a common vision condition that causes blurred vision. It is often described as “shadowed” vision that can result in seeing starbursts and halos at night. Most people have some degree of astigmatism and in very small amounts, will not require spectacle or contact lens correction. Astigmatism can be present on its own, or with near sightedness, far sightedness, and/or presbyopia.
Presbyopia is a natural effect of aging in which the ability to focus on close objects decreases over time. Presbyopia can cause headaches, blurred vision, sore eyes and the need for more light.
Cataracts cause distorted or cloudy vision and are caused by the lens inside the eye losing its transparency and elasticity over time. Cataracts can require changes to your glasses and/or surgical removal.
Diabetic retinopathy is a weakening, swelling or developmental of tiny blood vessels in the retina or front of your eye. If left untreated, blindness can result. This is why SK health care covers one visit a year for people diagnosed with diabetes.
Macular degeneration is a disease that results in degenerative changes to your central vision, and is a leading cause of vision loss among adults. It is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss for people aged over 60.
Glaucoma is referred to as the “silent thief” and often has no symptoms until significant damage has occurred to your peripheral vision. Glaucoma can be caused by elevated pressure within the eye, and can lead to serious vision loss if not detected and treated at an early stage. This is why the dreaded “puff of air” test is so important – to make sure your eye pressure is not elevated!
DRY EYE SYNDROME
Dry Eye Syndrome can be caused by several things including not producing enough tears or not producing enough oil in your tears. Burning, itching, redness, and blurry vision can result.
Blepharitis is an inflammatory problem that can cause red, irritated, itchy or burning eyes. It can also cause oily discharge or scaly skin around the eyes and can compound issues with dry eyes.
Keratoconus is an eye disease that causes thinning of the cornea and can eventually lead to blindness. Early detection is key as there are some surgical interventions that can be performed for prevention.