Optometrists provide many services that help you to protect your vision, yet many people aren’t aware of just what happens during an eye exam. You may also be wondering what the purpose is for specific tests or how your eye care needs will change as you age. Whether this is your first eye exam ever or you just want to get the most out of your annual exam, you can use these five questions as a springboard for a conversation with your eye doctor about your general optical health.


What Tests Are You Running Today?

Most people are familiar with the typical eye tests used for vision screening, such as reciting the letters that you see in a row on the screen. However, there are other tests that optometrists use to assess eye health. For example, you may need a test that sends a painless puff of air into your eye. This is called an intraocular pressure measurement test, and it is used to check for glaucoma. A slit lamp exam is another type of test that your eye doctor will use to check the internal structures of your eyes. Finding out about tests that require dilation can also help you understand what you need to do to prepare, such as wearing sunglasses to increase your comfort after the appointment.


What Is My Risk for Developing an Eye Condition?

Many eye conditions are associated with other health issues. For instance, having diabetes or heart disease can increase your risk of developing problems with your vision due to reduced blood flow to the eyes. Some eye conditions have a genetic component, while others could involve risks that you experience in the workplace. Your optometrist can ask you questions about your health and lifestyle to see if they need to conduct further or more frequent testing to minimize your risk of developing long term eye problems.


How Do I Manage This New Diagnosis?

If you do receive a new diagnosis, then you should expect for your optometrist to help you understand the reasons behind the treatments that you are prescribed. They should also outline exactly what you need to do to preserve your eye health. For instance, you may need to use special eye drops if you have glaucoma or dry eyes. You may also need to do things such as keep other health conditions under control. Even receiving a new prescription for corrective eyewear may generate questions about how to care for your vision. For example, wearing contacts for the first time often leads to questions about how to clean them or replace them properly. Take time to ask all of the questions that you need about a new diagnosis, and remember that you can always reach out if you come up with a new one after you get home.

What Can I Do to Protect My Eye Health?

Eye care sometimes gets brushed aside in favor of other types of health topics. However, your eyes help to keep you safe, and you need to be able to see to do things such as read your nutrition labels. Talking to your optometrist about preventative strategies that you can use at home gives you an edge on delaying problems that interfere with your ability to see. Depending upon your specific needs, you may need to do things such as wear protective eyewear at work or avoid exposure to too much sunlight to help your eyes stay healthy.


When Should We See Each Other Again?

The frequency of your next visit may depend upon whether or not you have current or new eye issues to treat. However, most people need to see their optometrist annually or biannually. You may need to come back even sooner, such as in one or two weeks, if you get a new contact prescription. Always ask this question if they don’t bring it up, and you may even be able to pre-schedule an appointment so that you can pick the best time that works for you.

Your vision allows you to see and engage in the world around you. Most people experience some eye health issues as time goes on, and you need to know what you can do to preserve your vision. If you have any other questions that come to mind, be sure to write them down and bring them to your next appointment with the eye doctor. They’ll be happy to give you the answers that you need to take care of your eyes between appointments.