For both adults and children, an eye exam is a critical part in maintaining your overall health and well-being, and therefore, regular eye exams should be incorporated into your health routine. Comprehensive eye exams assess your vision and the health of your eye, looking for early signs of disease that may not have obvious symptoms. You should not wait until you experience a vision problem or symptoms of an eye condition to schedule a routine exam.
Depending on your age, family history, general health and eye health, it is recommended to have an eye exam every one to two years. Of course if you experience any serious symptoms that affect your eyes or your vision, you should contact your eye doctor immediately.
The Difference Between an Optometrist (OD) and an Ophthalmologist (MD or DO)
Confusion about the difference between optometrists and ophthalmologists is common, and many people are not aware of how the two eye care professionals differ.
Optometrists or Doctors of Optometry attend optometry school which is usually at least four years of graduate level training. They are able to perform eye exams, provide prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses, and diagnose and treat eye diseases as as glaucoma, dry eyes, or eye infections that may require medication or drops. They can consult with and co-manage patients in pre- or post-op surgical care, however they do not perform surgery.
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors that attend medical school and later specialize in ophthalmology. They are able to do all of the services mentioned above but also perform eye surgeries such as cataract surgery, refractive surgery such as LASIK and deal with more urgent eye conditions such as retinal detachment.
Infant and Child Eye Exams
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA) children should have their eyes examined by an eye doctor at 6 months, 3 years, at the start of school and then at least every 2 years following. If there are any signs that there may be a vision problem or if the child has certain risk factors (such as developmental delays, premature birth, crossed eyes, family history or previous injuries) more frequent exams are recommended. A child that wears eyeglasses or contact lenses should have his or her eyes examined yearly.
Adult Eye Exams
Healthy adults under 40 with good vision and who do not wear eyeglasses or contact lenses are recommended to have an eye exam at least every two years. Those that do use vision correction or have a health issue such as diabetes, high blood pressure or another health condition that can have an impact on your eye health should schedule a yearly exam, unless the eye doctor recommends more frequent visits.
Once you reach 40, you become susceptible to a number of age-related eye conditions such as presbyopia, cataracts or macular degeneration, therefore annual or bi-annual exams are strongly recommended.
As you continue to age, particularly after age 55, the risks of eye disease increase, and early detection can be critical to preventing significant vision loss or blindness. Scheduling a yearly eye exam can make all the difference in maintaining your independence and quality of life.
How to Prepare for Your Exam
Prior to your exam you should decide whether you will be seeking special services such as a contact lens exam or LASIK consultation. These services may cost extra. Check with the doctor’s office or your insurance provider to see if they cover any of the exam expenses.
You need to know if you have medical insurance, vision plan coverage or both. Medical insurance usually does not cover “wellness/refractive” exams for glasses or contact lenses. Vision plans will cover exams for glasses or contacts, but usually cannot be used for red eyes, floaters, or other medical eye health problems. Please bring your insurance cards with you.
In addition to bringing your current pair of glasses or contacts if applicable, it is important to be aware of your personal and family history and to have a list of medications or supplements you are currently taking. Your pupils will probably be dilated as apart of your exam, so plan accordingly.
Consent for Your Tele-Optometry Exam
I understand that:
- During the present covid-19 pandemic in BC the provision of eye care has changed. Optometry clinics are closed and ophthalmologists are seeing only referrals. Optometrists are providing consultations/exams remotely via tele-optometry for the purposes of diagnosing, managing and treating eye conditions. Cases that require an in person exam will be referred to an on call ophthalmologist. There are no options for in person optometry care in BC at this time.
- Pacific Eye Doctors optometrists have the licensure and insurance to provide tele-optometry.
- My Pacific Eye Doctor optometrist will have access to my past PED clinic records and will create a new exam record for this appointment which will be added to my permanent PED clinic record.
- Tele-optometry may not allow me the same degree of privacy.There could be possible breach of privacy or interception of information. Technology may not be 100% secure. Encryption may fail.
- A tele-optometry consultation/exam does not have the full benefit of a face to face exam. There could be a misunderstanding due to lack of visual cues and/or technical limitations. Hands on physical examination will not be possible.
- If communication is lost during my tele-optometry appointment the doctor will phone me to attempt to regain communication.
- MSP (Medical Services Plan of BC) may or may not pay part of the tele-optometry consultation/exam fee. I will pay the portion which is not covered. The exam fee will be $75. If a referral is required there will be an additional fee of $50. Prior to the appointment I will provide my credit card number securely over the phone for processing after the appointment.
- My private extended medical insurance may or may not pay part of the tele-optometry consultation/exam fee. I will submit the invoice to my insurer for possible reimbursement.
I have read and understood the above and have had my questions answered. I consent to proceeding with tele-optometry care with Pacific Eye Doctors.
Patient (& Guardian) Name(s) ____________________________