Everything You Should Know About Eye Exams

eye exams

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Eye Care Professionals can’t say it enough: regular eye exams are essential to preserving your eye health and vision. Eye exams are as important as general medical check-ups, as taking care of your eyes is a crucial part of maintaining your overall health. A comprehensive eye exam is performed by a Doctor of Optometry or Ophthalmologist, to analyze your overall eye health. A regular eye exam schedule is critical to ensuring your eyes are healthy and that your prescription is up to date.

How much does an eye exam cost? What can be seen in an eye exam? Why are they so important? How often should you have your eyes checked? We’ve answered those questions for you! Whether you require vision correction or have almost perfect eyesight, eye exams are important.

Learn more about eye examinations and why you should keep up to date with yours – scroll through our different sections to find the answer to your questions:

How much do eye exams cost?

The cost of an eye check-up will depend on your needs and your specialist’s expertise. Eye exam prices at Clearly’s partner clinic in Vancouver, Asgarpour Optometry, range as follows:

  • Covered by MSP for children,
  • $95 for adults between 19 and 65,
  • $20 copay with MSP coverage for seniors (65 and above).

Each session lasts approximately 20- 40 minutes. Most extended benefits programs offer reimbursement for eye exams, so make sure to inquire about your coverage.

clearly eye exam

How much does a contact lens exam cost?

If you want to wear contact lenses for the first time or if you need a new prescription, you’ll require a contact lens eye exam. The consultation will include a general eye exam as well as specific tests to define which type of contacts are best for you.

The cost of contact lens exams varies according to your needs. Each clinic sets its own prices. For instance, the cost of contact eye exams at Asgarpour Optometry can range between:

i. $125 and $145 for a contact lens eye exam

ii. $30 to $50 for a contact lens fitting/ contact lens exam – if you have had an eye exam in the past year (and have your prescription for glasses ready)

If you’re looking for an Optometrist in Vancouver, you can book a comprehensive eye exam online.

How much is an eye exam without insurance?

If you have insurance, your policy will cover a portion of the costs and you will only pay a stated rate of co-payment. If you don’t have insurance, you’re paying the full price. Insurance policy individuals have distinct expenses depending on their coverage, which can differ from insurance provider to insurance provider.  Most extended benefits programs offer reimbursement for eye exams, so make sure to inquire about your coverage.

4 reasons you should regularly get your eyes checked

A comprehensive eye exam can measure your visual acuity, detect eye diseases or disorders, and diagnose systemic diseases. A complete eye exam will ensure the health of your vision, set your kids up for success in school, prevent eye health problems, and detect other health problems.

1. Ensures the health of your vision 

Good eyesight is essential to your daily life. Vision tests are an important part of the examination. Your Optometrist will test your vision by focusing on different aspects:

colour vision test

i. Refractive error: Do you have a vision problem such as hyperopia, myopia, astigmatism or presbyopia?

ii. Overall perception: Colour vision, depth perception, object tracking with eye movement

iii. Blurry distance or reading vision

iv. Eye strain and headaches

v. Sports vision for performance

vi. Safety driving

2. Sets your children up for success in school

It’s important to examine children’s vision and eye health as early as possible. To ensure their eyes are functioning well together gives them the capacity to learn and focus in the classroom, sports and other activities.

Good vision sets your kids up for success in various ways such as learning, reading, motor development, and many other skills, while poor vision can be misdiagnosed as a learning disability.

The proverbial saying “prevention is better than cure” substantiates that many vision problems are preventable. They are a lot easier to treat when caught early while the eyes are still developing.

Kids may not talk about having vision problems because they may think that’s the way everyone sees, but they will often find ways to show adults they’re struggling. Check out signs your child may need corrective eyewear.

3. Prevents eye health problems

Eye exams are also important to ensure your eyes are healthy, as well as prevent sight loss, eye diseases or eye disorders. Did you know that 1.5 million Canadians have eye problems that could lead to blindness? One person out of seven is at risk of vision loss which can sometimes be caused by diseases or an eye disorder. However, 75% of sight loss is preventable.

Here are the different types of sight loss that can be prevented through regular assessment:

i. “Lazy eye” or amblyopia for children, with a cover test and refraction

ii. Glaucoma, based on your eye pressure, and examination of ocular health

iii. Diabetic retinopathy, through a slit lamp exam

iv. Macular degeneration

v. Cataracts

vi. Keratoconus

Eye health is all about prevention. If a disease can be detected before any damage is done, vision loss and blindness can be prevented. Early detection can only be achieved through regular eye examinations.

4. Detects other health problems

Eye exams are also important as they can be indicators of your overall health. As Optometrist Justin Asgarpour says: “Eyes are a window to the body.”

Through a comprehensive eye exam, Optometrists can detect and diagnose systemic diseases. Under the definition from the MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, a systemic disease “affects the entire body, rather than a single organ or body part.”

Some systemic disorders that could be detected during an eye examination include:

i. Vascular diseases: Diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol

ii. Neurological diseases such as papilledema, MS, strokes, nerve palsy

iii. Inflammatory diseases: IBS, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Graves’ disease

iv. Cancer: Ocular melanoma, certain brain tumors, familial adenomatous polyposis

Diagnosis and treatments at the earliest stage can be one of the best things you can do to protect your health and wellness. Thus, exhorting the importance of a regular comprehensive eye exam is imperative.

eye exam machine

How often should you have your eyes examined?

Your eyes should be checked regularly. Depending on your own needs, a Doctor of Optometry will provide you with your eye examination schedule. On average, they should be scheduled annually or semi-annually. As a general guideline:

i. People under the age of 19 should have their eyes examined every year to check for healthy visual development.

ii. Adults should have their eyes examined every 1-2 years for the health of their eyes and to determine any changes in refractive power.

iii. People over the age of 65 should have their eyes examined every year. As people grow older, they are at a higher risk of developing many serious eye conditions that could be avoided, treated, or corrected with regular eye exams.

iv. People with diabetes should have their eyes examined at least every year, depending on the recommendation of the Eye Doctor.

If there are any changes in your vision, if you feel discomfort, or you see flashing lights, and new floaters you should have your eyes examined as soon as possible.

What is an appropriate age for a child’s first eye exam?

Eye health tests should start at 6-12 months and continue annually thereafter. If there are any concerns regarding a child’s vision, an examination should be arranged as soon as possible.

How can I prevent my vision from getting worse?

A regular eye examination is the best way to ensure healthy eyes and good vision. For optimal eye health, it is important to maintain a well-balanced diet and exercise schedule, and refrain from smoking.

Essential eye care such as examination, healthy habits, and following your Eye Care Professional’s instruction will help you maintain good eyesight and happy eyes. To learn a little more on the subject, follow our section on eye care – you’ll find out some of our experts’ tips and insight on eye health!

Can I use my eyeglasses prescription to buy over-the-counter contact lenses?

No, contact lenses and prescription glasses are different. To purchase contact lenses, you must first be properly fitted by your Eye Care Professional. Because contact lenses sit on your eye, your prescription will also most likely be modified to correct the difference in where the corrective lens sits.

The numbers you see in your SPHERE, CYLINDER and AXIS, as well as your ADD power, could change from your glasses RX to your contact lens RX.

Also the contact lens prescription includes parameters regarding the shape of the lens that best fits your eye, and the ideal material for the contact lens that works with the anatomy of your eye.

The power of a lens changes depending on the vertex distance—how far the lens is from your eye—and your brain may prefer a slightly stronger or weaker correction than what the change in vertex distance does to the lens.

The professional fitting your lenses will ask you what you prefer during an “over-refraction”—putting a slightly stronger or weaker lens in front of your eye while you’re wearing your lenses.

Also, patients requiring toric lenses for astigmatism may require the axis of their contacts changed from their glasses prescription to account for the way the fitted contact lens sits on their cornea.

Why is it important to use a valid contact lens prescription?

An Eye Care Professional needs to assess the health of your eyes, which includes inspecting the corneas and the adjacent tissue both before wearing the lenses and also after a period of time wearing those same lenses. This way the professional fitting your lenses has the opportunity to make sure the contacts are providing your corneas with enough oxygen.

Once this has been confirmed, it is important to assess the fit of the contact lens and ensure optimal vision and comfort.

To learn more about the difference between contact lenses and glasses prescriptions and how to read them, take a look at our article on the subject.

Book your eye test with your Optometrist and enjoy lasting clarity and happy eyes!

You’re now informed about eye exams and why they are important to preserve your eye health. In addition to these general guidelines, your Eye Care Professional will be able to provide you with a tailored examination schedule based on your eye care needs and will give you precise indication on your health as well as personal instructions to maintain healthy habits.

Have a valid prescription for glasses and contact lenses? Take a look at our eyewear and contact lens selection online and enjoy a large variety of brands, prices, and styles!

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