Common Questions about Optometry
Below are a number of questions and answers regarding eye exams and issues that cause sight problems. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, or if you’re in an emergency situation, please contact us right away.
1. How often should I have an eye exam?
- Patients under the age of 19, who can grow quickly and have rapid vision changes, or those 65 years of age and older, who are more likely to have eye health issues, should have a full eye examination once a year.
- Patients between the ages of 19 and 64 without any underlying medical conditions should have a full eye examination every two years.
- Patients with a medical condition which can affect the eyes, such as diabetes, should have an eye exam at least once a year, or more often if indicated by their optometrist.
2. Does MSP cover my eye exam?
- Patients under the age of 19 are fully covered for a full eye exam once a year.
- Patients 65 years old and up are partially covered for a full eye exam once a year.
- Patients with a medical condition which can affect the eyes, such as diabetes, are partially covered for a full eye exam once a year.
3. When should my child have their first eye exam?
It is recommended that a child should have their first eye exam by the age of six months and have their next exam by three years old. After that, eye exams are recommended yearly until adulthood. Several vision disorders, including amblyopia (the permanent loss of vision in one or both eyes), are more effectively treated if detected at an earlier age.
4. What is the difference between a sight test and an eye exam?
A sight test is when a refraction (the procedure in which the prescription for glasses is determined) is performed as a stand-alone procedure. An eye exam also includes a refraction but optometrists look at much more, including the health of the eyes, to help determine the cause of a patient’s change in vision.
5. What is a cataract?
A cataract is the clouding of the lens found within the eye. Cataracts vary in density and rate of progression between patients, but given long enough, everyone will develop cataracts later in their life. An optometrist can help identify if a cataract is developing and determine if vision is affected enough to warrant a referral for cataract surgery with an ophthalmologist.
6. What is macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration is an age-related disorder of the retina which affects central vision. There are two forms of macular degeneration: dry (vision is lost very slowly over time), or wet (vision is lost quite rapidly). It is very important that this condition be monitored closely as early diagnosis is important as preventative steps, such as taking supplements, can slow the progression of the disease.
7. What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disorder in which the optic nerve suffers permanent damage beginning with a loss in peripheral vision and, if left untreated, can lead to blindness. Glaucoma has no symptoms until it is very advanced, so regular eye examinations should be performed by an optometrist who will screen for it.