At Illinois Eye Associates, we strive to provide comprehensive, primary eye care for the whole family. Preventative and routine eye exams are important to maintaining good eye health. Often, eye and vision problems do not have obvious symptoms or signs, but are easily diagnosed by a trained eye doctor. By diagnosing eye and vision conditions early on, our optometrist is able provide treatment options and in many cases restore or prevent vision loss. The American Optometric Association recommends a minimum of yearly eye and vision exams.
During an eye exam, our staff will ask you questions about any symptoms or issues you are experiencing, medications you are currently taking, your work environment, and your overall health. Family history and previous eye or vision conditions will also be discussed during this part of the examination. Our doctors will consider this information when determining any treatments or recommendations.
Regular vision testing and evaluations ensure that you always have the clearest vision possible. Our doctors will measure how each eye is seeing by using a computerized eye chart. The results of these tests are portrayed as a fraction, with 20/20 being the standard for normal distance and reading vision. Depending on the results of your vision test, our doctors may prescribe corrective glasses, contacts, or eye exercises.
Eye Function Testing
In addition to vision testing, an eye exam includes testing eye functionality. Our staff performs several tests to evaluate depth perception, color vision, eye muscle capabilities, peripheral vision, and responsiveness to light. Several other simple tests are completed to determine whether the eyes are focusing, moving, and working together properly. The test results enable our doctors to diagnose any underlying conditions that may be impairing the eyes ability to focus or work together.
Eye health is determined by visually inspecting the surface of the eye and eyelids using magnification and a bright light. To examine the internal structures of the eye, we may dilate the pupils. Increased eye pressure may be an indicator of glaucoma, so we utilize a more precise “no air puff” form of tonometry to measure eye pressure. After completing these short tests, our doctors review the results and discuss any treatments with you. Contact us today to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.
Why Do We Dilate Your Eyes?
Our staff and doctors utilize the latest technologies and diagnostic tools available to examine your eyes, provide the best possible vision, detect any diseases, and recommend treatment. This includes dilating your eyes. The two main reasons to dilate the eyes are to better detect diseases that can threaten vision and to provide the most accurate prescription for glasses and contacts. Many patients think that since their vision is good or because they've had vision correction surgery they simply do not need a dilated exam. In reality, sight threatening conditions can often be detected before a patient starts noticing symptoms such as flashes, floaters, or decrease in vision.
Most of the eye diseases we are familiar with (cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinal detachments, and melanomas) occur in the back of the eye. Without proper dilation it is often difficult to detect these conditions. Some new wide angle cameras claim to be able to allow patients to be examined without being dilated. However the images these cameras provide are one-dimensional. They often fail to show if a lesion is elevated or flat and may not provide a full view of the entire retina (the lining of the back of the eye).
After placing drops in each eye, the muscles of the iris (the colored part of the eye) will relax and allow the pupil (the black center portion) to become larger. This provides a much larger opening for our doctors to see into the eye and provides a wider field of view for our diagnostic equipment if further testing is needed. The dilation process also relaxes the muscles inside the eye that help with our near vision. In some cases, these muscles flex and relax when they shouldn't, making it harder to detect the patient's accurate prescription. Dilation relaxes these muscles completely and provides a more accurate prescription.
The most frequent question asked of patients is "Can I drive after being dilated?' The answer is YES, most patients are comfortable to drive after being dilated. Your eyes will be light sensitive and your near vision may be blurred with glasses or contacts on for a few hours but wearing sunglasses or the shades we provide allow our patients to drive after dilation.