The Importance of Eye Exams

It’s not only about getting glasses! As quarantines are lifted, be sure to include an eye exam in your self-care list of things to do.

May 14, 2020
Dr. Sahanna Balendran, O.D & Dr. Mathuraa Sasitharan, O.D

When was your last comprehensive eye exam? Do you feel like your vision is perfect? You may think an eye exam is just a vision test which may prompt you to not go in for a checkup. However, not only do optometrists check how well you can see, but we also assess the health of your eyes.

We always start off with your medical history, such as asking about any systemic diseases, medications, eye injuries, and surgeries, etc. You may be wondering why optometrists need to know such details about your medical history. This is because we can detect signs of certain diseases and medications which can affect your vision and eye health. This includes diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune conditions, cholesterol, and even brain tumours. We can see initial signs, even if you do not have any symptoms at all.

Did you know that diabetics in Ontario are covered once a year for an eye-exam under OHIP? Why? Because diabetes can affect the blood vessels of the whole body, including the eyes. Specifically, we look at the retina, behind the eye. We look for any bleeding or decreased oxygen. This is called diabetic retinopathy. The longer a person has diabetes, the more at risk they are of developing this.

In addition, we can also detect blinding eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and corneal disease at an early stage. We as optometrists thoroughly inspect the health of the front surface of your eye and dilate your pupils to help us look in the back of your eye as well. Additionally, dilation allows us to observe and evaluate the retina. Even if you do not wear glasses, it does not mean you don’t need an eye exam. It’s important to get your eyes checked every two years for those between 20-64, and yearly if 19 or younger or 65 and older. For more information on eye-related issues and tips on eye health, please follow our Instagram blog @twoeyedocs. You can also access online services here.

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