Your eyes adapt and change throughout your life, which is why it’s important to visit your optometrist at least once each year for a comprehensive eye exam in our Belmont, MA optometry office. During your appointment, one of our skilled optometric technicians will perform a variety of tests to ensure that your eyes are healthy, and that there aren’t any problems lingering beneath the surface of your cornea that you may not otherwise notice.
Because we aren’t able to see directly through your eye to make sure that there aren’t problems developing below the surface, we will conduct a series of tests to ensure that they’re functioning properly during your routine eye exam. If we notice anything out of the ordinary, we’ll be able to diagnose the issue and develop a treatment plan before the problem gets any worse.
Using our digital eye chart, we’ll measure the sharpness of your sight by having you read a series of letters and numbers from afar. This will also allow us to gauge whether you’re farsighted or nearsighted, based on which lines you can read the best.
Color blindness tests can detect any hereditary color vision issues as well as alert Dr. Ajoian to any underlying health issues that could be impacting your color vision. The Ishihara Color Vision Test is a common way to screen for this issue. We’ll have you determine the number hidden in several circular, dotted pattern that are each composed of seemingly random colors.
To test your ocular alignment, we’ll ask you to focus on an object across the room and cover each of your eyes at separate times to examine how they adjust to view it. This test allows us to diagnose problems that could cause eye strain, such as having a lazy eye or crossed eyes.
To determine how well your eyes are able to follow moving objects or quickly identify two separate targets, we’ll have you hold your head in one position while following the movement of a hand-held light. This will allow us to determine problems that could cause eye strain or affect other skills, such as playing sports.
Depth perception is simply your ability to be able to identify where an object is in 3D space. To do this, we will have you wear a pair of “3D” glasses and look at a booklet of small circles to identify which looks the closest to see how you perceive an object’s location in space.
To help determine an approximate eyeglass prescription, we’ll conduct a retinoscopy. After dimming the lights in the room, we’ll ask you to focus on one of the letters on the eye chart. To determine how light reflects from your eye, we’ll flip through the lenses and shine it in front of your eyes to estimate the power of your prescription.
Refraction tests allow us to determine your exact eyeglass prescription. This is where Dr. Ajoian will ask you to choose between two or more separate lenses, flipping between them to see which one helps you easily identify the letters on the eye chart.
With your chin rested on a small platform, we’ll use an autorefractor to accurately determine your prescription strength. This is a relatively fast and accurate way to determine prescriptions for patients who may have a difficult time sitting still.
Using a sliding slit lamp and a high magnification lens, we’ll be able to conduct a more detailed examination of the anterior and posterior cavities of your eye. These include your cornea, lens, iris, and even your optic nerve. This test allows us to view signs of cataracts, macular degeneration (the loss of central vision), and a variety of other issues.
Glaucoma is a disease that causes fluid buildup in the front of the eye, which increases the overall pressure in your eye, eventually impacting your optic nerve. EyeSmile is a “puff free” office! Dr. Ajoian will determine your risk for glaucoma by calculating your intraocular pressure using the Goldmann Tonometry, therefore, no there will be no “surprise” puffs of air in your eye during your visit.
Dilating drops allow us to get a better view of the inside of your eye, alerting us to any signs of eye disease. This test will make you sensitive to light, so be sure to bring a pair of sunglasses with you if you know you’ll be having your pupils dilated.
To test for the presence of blind spots, also known as scotomas, in your peripheral vision, we’ll conduct a visual field test. An example of this test is having you describe what’s in your peripheral view.
By bringing your entire family for their annual eye exams, we can help protect your loved ones’ eyes and ensure that there aren’t any problems lingering beneath the surface. It’s important to remember that even if you have perfect eyesight, it doesn’t always mean that your eyes are healthy. In some cases, we’re even able to alert patients to other health issues, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, just from conducting an eye exam!
How much can you expect to pay at your next annual eye exam? You may not realize it, but not all examinations have the same cost attached; the price can vary to a certain degree based on a variety of factors. We’re more than happy to go over said factors with you and discuss some of your options for making your annual examinations more affordable. After all, your eyes are irreplaceable; you shouldn’t have to skip the annual visits required to ensure they stay healthy and functional due to financial concerns!
Naturally, one of the biggest factors that can influence the cost of eye exams is the tests performed throughout the course of the visit. For example, pupil dilation is generally performed for older patients or anyone who has a higher-than-average risk for glaucoma, retinal detachment, and other diseases and conditions; it won’t necessarily be part of every examination, but when it is you can expect to see it reflected in the final price. Also, if you end up purchasing and being fitted for glasses and contacts after your examination, that will end up reflected in the final price as well.
It’s understandable to be worried about the cost of eye examinations, but spending money now to have your eyes checked out can be one of the wisest long-term investments you ever make. Having your eyes checked regularly will let us intervene early on if medical conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts are detected. Such issues can easily cause permanent vision loss or even blindness, but if they’re caught early on, they can be treated before irreversible damage is done. Losing your vision will dramatically impact the quality of your life, and the accommodations you’ll need to function without your sight will come with their own costs; paying for one eye exam per year could ultimately end up saving you a lot of money and trouble.
Medical insurance can sometimes cover a medical eye exam – as in, an examination you undergo specifically because you have a medical eye problem. However, routine eye exams that are performed as a preventive measure usually fall under vision insurance, which is separate from medical insurance. It’s important that you fully understand what’s covered under your medical and vision plans; call your carrier if you’re unsure which benefits are available under each plan.
People who don’t have vision insurance or require services that their plan doesn’t cover can look into CareCredit financing. CareCredit provides a number of easy payment plans that come with little-to-no-interest with payment schedules that are designed to accommodate for all kinds of budgets. We can discuss the details of CareCredit financing during your next appointment, but you can also follow the link on our New Patient page to apply for a plan right now.
Now that you know the basics of what we’re looking for during an eye examination, you probably have a few additional questions about what to expect before the procedure and how you can prepare properly. Our team is always ready to address any concerns you might have; please give our Belmont office a call at any time before your visit if there’s something you want to know. Below are some answers to questions that new patients often bring us.
No. You may experience a small amount of discomfort at certain points during an eye exam, such as when we ask you to look at a bright light or measure your inner eye pressure. You will not, however, experience any pain, and we will take steps to make sure that each test is completely quickly and as comfortably as possible. We aim to make your visit as pleasant as possible, and we ask you to speak up if you have any concerns about the tests we perform.
In most cases, the answer is yes; you should be fine driving yourself home after a regular eye exam. One possible exception is if you have your eyes dilated. This test will render your eyes sensitive to light, and it can make your vision somewhat blurry. The effects can last from 4 to 24 hours depending on the patient. Many patients are able to drive themselves home after eye dilation by wearing dark sunglasses. That said, if you still have safety concerns, it is best to have a trusted family member or friend drive you home instead, so make the appropriate arrangements beforehand.
Yes. Even if you don’t have vision problems, your eyes will still change over time. This is especially true if you’re at least 40 years old, which is when early signs of disease or changes in your vision may start to occur. Eye disease should be identified as early as possible to protect your vision. We highly recommend bringing your entire family in for eye examinations at least once a year; that gives us the best chance of detecting concerning changes as early as possible.
Many health insurance plans do not fully cover the cost of eye exams, but many companies offer separate vision plans that do provide such coverage. Even the most bareboned vision plans will typically help pay for an annual eye exam as well as glasses or contacts if needed, although oftentimes they may be treated like discount plans rather than full insurance. Our team can go over the specifics of your own plan if you call our office with your insurance information; it’s best to have a good idea of what your coverage is before you schedule your appointment.
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