7 Frequently Asked Questions About Eye Exams

by Nov 22, 2021

The world of eyecare can be quite complex and overwhelming at times. This article is aimed to answer some commonly asked questions. Of course, if you ever have other questions do not hesitate to call our office and setup an appointment to speak with one of our doctors!


Q: When should my child’s first eye care exam be?

A: There is variable recommendations in literature, but according to American Optometric Association, a child’s first eye exam should be around 6 months of age. Then again at the age of 3, before starting grade school (between the age of 5-6 years), and yearly after that. If you notice any concerns with your child—an eye turn, excessive rubbing of the eyes, needing to hold toys close to see, etc.—be sure to call sooner.

It is important to get your child in for an eye exam as the eyes continue to develop from birth to around 7 years of age. This is considered the “critical” years of ocular development. If there is a problem with your child’s sight, it is best to get it corrected as quickly as possible as eyesight is crucial for intellectual development—it would be difficult to learn to read, walk, eat, etc. if you cannot see!


Q: How often should you get eye exams?

A: It is recommended that everyone get an eye exam at least yearly, even if you see well and do not think you need glasses. The eyes are unique in that they do not have pain detecting nerves on the inside. If there is an issue like bleeding or swelling within the eye, you will not know unless your vision is affected. Often, in these circumstances, vision loss is permanent. Therefore, prevention is the key to eyecare.


Q: I’m diabetic. Why does my primary care doctor want me to get my eyes checked yearly?

A: Going off of the previous question, diabetes can cause changes to your eye’s health. Diabetes weakens blood vessels. In the eye, this causes blood vessels to become leaky.

In the retina—the backmost structure of the eye responsible for detecting light and transmitting this information to the brain for image processing—leaky blood vessels can cause permanent vision loss, as blood is toxic to the retina.

Not only that, but leaky blood vessels can cause retinal ischemia (death of retinal tissue) as blood is leaking out prior to reaching the tissue needing oxygen and nutrition. When this occurs, the retina sends out a signal to the body to produce new blood vessels—a process called neovascularization.

Neovascularization within in the eye greatly increases the risk for more serious vision loss secondary to retinal detachments.

The number one risk factor for diabetic changes in the eye (called diabetic retinopathy) is how long you have been diabetic. Therefore, even those who have the strictest diet and the best blood sugar control can show signs of diabetic changes in the eye. Early detection and treatment of these changes can prevent further progression and therefore prevent serious vision loss. For this reason, most primary care doctors require their diabetic patients to have yearly eye exams.


Q: I think I have pink eye. Should I call my optometrist or my primary care doctor?

Call us, your eye doctor! We spend years in school and in practice learning the little subtleties between different eye infections. Allergies, bacterial, viral, and fungal infections all need to be treated differently, and we’re pros at picking up on those subtleties! You’d go to the dentist if you had a toothache, so why not go to the eye pros for an eye ache?

Most office staff members are trained on the symptoms of serious conditions too. While regular eye appointments may be booked out for several days, if you have an infection most eye doctors will be able to work you in sooner—often within an hour or two!


Q: Is it true that wearing your prescriptions glasses makes your vision worse and more dependent on glasses in the future?

A: No. Wearing glasses has no affect on your prescription. Your eyes might change, therefore changing the prescription over time, but there is no correlation between wearing glasses and decreased vision.

However, wearing glasses does improve your vision. You may not think your vision is bad until putting on a pair of glasses that improves your vision. Now when you take your glasses off, your once “good” vision is now “ok” vision, and you prefer how you see in your glasses, resulting in you wanting to wear them more often.


Q: Do I need vision insurance to see my eye doctor?

A: No. In fact, vision insurance is more of a discount plan used to lessen your cost of glasses or contact lenses. While vision insurance is helpful for covering yearly eye exams, it is not necessary to come and see us.

Medical insurance will typically cover eye exams that are secondary to medical problems such as eye pain, itchy eyes, double vision, presence of flashes or floaters within the vision, eye infections, or eye injuries.

Worse case scenario, you can always pay out of pocket. Whatever your eye issue may be, we are here to help.


Q: What are blue light glasses? Should I buy a pair?

A: The affects of blue light on the eyes are still under investigation, and therefore this question is tricky to answer. Blue light emitted from electronics such as computers, tablets, and cell phones is within the same UV spectrum as some light emitted from the sun. We know that over-exposure to this light can cause early cataract formation and damage to the macula, resulting in vision loss.

The era of excessive screen time is new to the human race, and has only been around for the past 10 years or so. We can hypothesize that excessive exposure to blue light will have similar consequences to ocular health as UV sunlight, however we do not yet have proof of this.

Blue light glasses filter out these harmful rays of light so that they do not enter your eye, possibly preventing adverse effects on the eyes. For this reason, we leave the choice to purchase blue light glasses up to you.

As additional benefits, many individuals who have purchased blue light filtering glasses have noted a decrease in eye strain and headaches when spending long periods of time on screens. On the other hand, other individuals do not notice any changes while wearing their blue light glasses. It may be worth at least trying a pair of over-the-counter blue light glasses from Amazon or other retailer prior to purchasing a prescription pair.


Our eye doctors at Neal Eye Group in Conshohocken, PA excel in the prescription of contact lenses, glasses and various eye diseases.  Call our optometrists at (610) 828-9701 or schedule an appointment online if you would like to learn more about you or your familys’ eyecare needs.  Our optometrists provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Conshohocken, Norristown, Plymouth Meeting, Lafayette Hill, and Philadelphia.

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