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What is a Comprehensive Eye Exam

Why should I get a comprehensive eye exam?

​Here are 15 reasons why you should see your Optometrist for an eye exam:​

  1. Updating Your Prescription Glasses

  • Have you been noticing headaches, squinting your eyes more, eyes feeling tired, or vision blurry? It might be time to get a refresh of your glasses prescription. Our eyes are always naturally changing and the way we use them with work and leisure.


  1. Foreign Object

  • If you get grit, dirt, chemicals, or object in your eyes you should get help from a medical professional, and no better than your neighbourhood Optometrist.

  • If you're in a pinch and don't have access to help, then try flushing your eyes out with cool, clear water. This will help to remove the chemical or debris from your eye before it causes more damage. If you cannot remove the object this way, we recommend avoiding using your fingers or tweezers to remove it.

  • Avoid eye rubbing as that will likely cause more damage to the eye. If something is stuck in your eye, call your Calgary Optometrist for an emergency appointment or head to the Rockyview Hospital - Eye Clinic as they are the only hospital in the city with an on-call ophthalmologist.


  1. Eye Pain

  • Mild and occasional eye pain is usually not a reason to worry, but if you experience pain in your eyes that is intense or lasts longer than 15 minutes then you should make an appointment with your Calgary Optometrist. Pain can indicate that your eye is infected, or be a warning sign for a more serious health problem.


  1. Eye fatigue

  • Most people spend the majority of their day staring at a computer screen, which can lead to eyestrain and fatigue. Seasonal allergies and even the flu can cause our eyes to feel tired. Optometrists recommend following the 20/20/20 rule of taking a 20-second break, looking out in the distance 20 feet away, for every 20 minutes of up close work. We recommend using a timer on your cellphone to remind you to take a short break. If you find that your eyes are often tired, then why wait for any longer before you should see your Calgary Optometrist.


  1. Eye infection

  • If your eyelids are swollen, itchy, or red, or the whites of your eyes are pink you may have an eye infection. Eye infections usually come with discharge, but even if they don’t that doesn’t mean they aren’t infected. If you're worried that you may have an eye infection, then call in to see your Optometrist.


  1. Blurry Vision or problems focusing

  • Sudden onset blurry vision or problems focusing may be signs of a larger health issue. If this happens, then you should book an emergency appointment with your Calgary Optometrist as soon as you can. If your blurry vision comes and goes, or is limited to one eye, you should schedule a regular exam with your Optometrist as soon as possible. If your vision has been getting slowly blurrier over time there is probably no need to panic. It probably means that your eyes are changing, and may indicate that your prescription has changed.


  1. Light sensitivity

  • Light sensitivity can indicate a more serious, underlying problem and is a common symptom of a number of eye diseases. When in doubt, see your Calgary Optometrist.


  1. Dry or itchy eyes

  • We live in one of the driest climates in the world. On top of that many people have a high

  • computer and digital device usage,

  • caffeine intake, low hydration, and/or

  • maybe on birth control or other medications that have side effects


  • Did we mention natural ageing has an impact on dry eyes? Dry eye is a long-term condition that can be cared for using in-office and at-home treatments.

  • Book an appointment with our Optometrist to see what you can do about dry eyes.


  1. Flashes, floaters, or spots in vision

  • These are usually not a cause for immediate concern. They are caused by protein or collagen that build up in the clear, gel-like material called vitreous, which fills the inside of our eye. As we naturally age the vitreous becomes more fluid-like, making the bits of protein and collagen material more noticeable in our vision.

  • In some cases, floaters (especially those accompanied by flashes of light) may indicate a more serious eye condition called retinal detachment.

  • A few spots or floaters is no cause to raise the alarm, but if you notice a sudden increase in floaters, flashes of light that last more than 15 minutes, or the feeling of a curtain or veil over part of your vision then we recommend getting help asap. Call your Calgary Optometrist for an emergency appointment or if it's late at night because let's face it that's when things tend to happen, then head to the Rockyview Hospital - Eye Clinic.

  • Most retinal detachments can be repaired if they are treated soon, but if they are not treated in time you can have permanent loss of vision or even total blindness

10. Double vision

  • Double vision, medically known as diplopia, can happen in one or both eyes.

  • Monocular double vision may be caused by astigmatism, dry eye, or keratoconus. Abnormalities in the cornea, lens, retina, nerves, or brain can also cause double vision, so it is important to make an appointment with your Optometrist.

  • Double vision that is caused when both of your eyes are open is caused by an imbalance or non-function eye muscle. Binocular diplopia typically happens when our eyes are not aligned perfectly at the same time causing them to send different images to our brains.

  • The best way to determine the cause of your double vision is to book an appointment with your Optometrist.

11. Haloes

  • This can be caused by an uncorrected refractive error requiring correction with a glasses prescription. Other causes can be eye health-related including cataracts or swelling of the macula. See your Optometrist if you're not sure.

12. Troubles seeing at night time

  • Night blindness, when individuals can see perfectly well under adequate lighting but have a harder time seeing well in low light or in the dark, can be part of natural ageing. However, problems with nighttime vision may also indicate that you are beginning to develop cataracts. Your Optometrist can recommend steps to help slow the progression of cataracts. If you end up requiring surgical treatment, then your Optometrist can recommend a trusted surgical center and ophthalmologist.

13. Troubles seeing far away or close up

  • If you find yourself squinting your eyes to see road signs or have to hold your book at arm’s length to make out the tiny print, then you can benefit from seeing your Calgary Optometrist. Changes to your near or far vision typically happen when your prescription has shifted. Even if the changes are mild, we recommend you see your Optometrist to prevent unnecessary eye strain.

14. Headaches or migraines

  • Headaches can be caused by our eyes. Vision changes are typically slow, so you may not notice them over time. However, frequent headaches can show that your vision has shifted and that your eyes are straining as a result. There are rare conditions that are associated with headaches and migraines including pituitary gland tumours. A comprehensive eye exam along with additional testing can help rule these out.

15. Diabetes​​​​​

  • Diabetes affects our entire body in many ways and can cause damage to our eyes if not taken care of well. When there is high sugar in our blood, it causes damage to the delicate blood vessels in our retinas, causing diabetic retinopathy.

  • People who suffer from diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) have an increased risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Serious damage to your eyes may occur before you begin to experience vision loss, so regular eye exams are helpful too for early detection. and prevention.

  • Optometrists recommend people with diabetes see them once a year. The imaging instruments Optometrist has access to have improved significantly. They have the ability to photograph and scan the retina at a microscopic level to assess the retina in-depth.

If It’s Been a While

We like to give the analogy of taking your car for regular tune-ups and maintenance. Your Optometrist is a trusted mechanic for your eyes. A comprehensive eye exam is your chance to check in on how your eyes are doing and help them to work efficiently. Our eyes can benefit from regular eye exams.

The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends

  1. adults with healthy eyes between the ages of 20 and 39 see their Optometrist every 2 to 3 years,

  2. adults between the ages of 40 and 64 once every 2 years, and

  3. adults over the age of 65 are seen yearly.

Children should get their

  1. first eye exam between the ages of 6 and 12 months,

  2. next exam between the ages of 2 and 5 years old, and

  3. School-aged kids yearly

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