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What is a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

Joseph Senall, a doctor of optometry with Simon Eye Associates, describes the elements of a comprehensive eye exam.


Hi I'm Dr. Joe Senall and I'm with Simon Eye Associates.

Sometimes when people get a screening at motor vehicles or at a school they'll say "I had an eye exam because I looked at an eye chart and I could see 20/20 or 20/30," but really that's just one tiny component of a comprehensive eye exam. It's important to also get the full eye exam every 1 to 2 years at a doctor's office.

A comprehensive eye exam in our office includes a complete analysis of the visual system, correction of the vision with glasses, contacts or laser surgery, and a complete medical evaluation with dilated pupils checking for glaucoma, cataracts, retinal disease as well as going over the patient's lifestyle and making recommendations--both medically and visually to handle all of their needs.

Dilating the pupil consists of instilling drops into the eyes so that the pupil gets larger and then we can look into the eyes and see all of the structures inside that we can't see easily when the pupil is small.

We're looking for signs of glaucoma, signs of retinal disease, evidence of any systemic disease they may have that's affecting their eyes, like hypertension or diabetes and of course looking at the peripheral retina to make sure that there's no holes or tears in the retina or any other serious conditions that might be starting.

Original Post Date: February 2012

Last Review: 08/30/13

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