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What To Expect For My Eye Exam?

Annual eye exams are your best friend in making sure you’re eyes are healthy and that you’re seeing optimally. Eye exams are beneficial for people who need vision correction and have 20/20 visual acuity.

We will answer the following questions:

  1. What is an eye examination test and why is it important?

  2. How often should I have my eyes examined?

  3. When should a child have their first eye exam?

  4. How much does an eye exam cost?

  5. Contact lens and glasses prescriptions – what’s the difference?

What is a comprehensive eye examination?

Eye exams are equally important as general medical check-ups by your family doctor. A comprehensive eye exam is done by an Optometrist, to review your overall eye health. An annual eye exam is critical to ensuring your eyes are healthy and that your glasses and contact lens prescription is up-to-date.

Why is an eye exam so important?

A complete eye exam will review these three parts:

1. Vision

Good vision is essential to our daily living. Your Optometrist will test your vision by testing the performance of your

  • Refractive error: Do you have hyperopia, myopia, astigmatism or presbyopia?

  • Perception: Color vision, depth perception, eye muscle coordination

  • Blurry distance or reading vision

  • Eye strain and headaches

  • Sports vision for performance

  • Safety driving

We always recommend that children get their eyes and vision examined to ensure they achieve their full potential for school and learning. A child can be misdiagnosed with having a learning disability if s/he has an underlying eye condition.

2. Prevention of vision loss and eye diseases

Eye exams help to keep your eyes are healthy.

Here are different types of vision loss that are preventable when diagnosed early by an eyecare provider:

  • “Lazy eye” or amblyopia for children

  • Glaucoma

  • Diabetic retinopathy

  • Macular degeneration

  • Cataracts

  • Keratoconus

Prevention and early detection of disease is the best for health including the eyes. If a disease can be diagnosed before any damage is done, vision loss and blindness can be prevented. Early monitoring can only be done with comprehensive eye exams by an eye doctor..

3. Review of your general health

Eye exams are important for monitoring your overall health.

Through an eye exam, Optometrists can diagnose systemic diseases including

  • Vascular diseases: Diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol

  • Neurological diseases: papilledema, Multiple Sclerosis, strokes, nerve palsy

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

  • Cancer: Ocular melanoma, certain brain tumors, familial adenomatous polyposis

How often should you have your eyes examined?

Typically, you should be scheduled annually or semi-annually.

As a practical guideline:

  • Kids <19 should have their eyes examined annually to ensure healthy visual development.

  • Adults should have their eyes examined every 1-2 years for the health of their eyes and to determine any changes in their refractive status ie glasses and contact lens prescriptions.

  • Seniors >65 are recommended to have their eyes examined annually. As we naturally age, we’re at an increased risk of developing eye conditions that often times can be prevented, treated, or corrected.

  • Diabetics

If you notice sudden changes in your vision, if you feel discomfort, or see flashing lights, and floaters you should contact your Optometrist immediately.

When should a child have their first eye exam?

Eye health exams are recommended to start between 6-12 months and continue on annually. If there are any concerns regarding a child’s vision, an examination should be done.

What is the fee of an eye exam?

The fee of visit depends on your specific needs and eye doctor’s expertise. At Respect Eyecare, our fees are

  • Children (<19 years old) = Alberta Healthcare + $50 for digital widefield retinal imaging;

  • $180 for adults 19-64 years. old;

  • 65+ is Alberta Healthcare + $50 for digital widefield retinal imaging

Our appointments are between 15-45 minutes. Most third party benefit programs offer reimbursement for eye exams. We encourage all clients to confirm their medical coverage.

What is the contact lens exam fee?

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:

  • $200 for adults

  • $125 for first time contact lens fitting and assessment includes 1 hr one-on-one proper insertion and removal of contact lens and all follow up visits required to finalize

Contact lens and glasses prescriptions – what’s the difference?

Contact lenses are classified as medical devices and require proper fitting by a Eye Care Professional. Often times the contact lenses prescription is different from a spectacle prescription as contact lenses are positioned directly on your eye.

A contact lens prescription includes additional parameters such as the base curve, diameter, adjusted refractive power, brand, modality, and frequency of replacement.

Why is it important to get a contact lens prescription?

Optometrists assess the health of your eyes, which includes examining the corneas and associated vasculature that is in contact with the lens to ensure rule out any signs of contact lens-related complications.

Read our blog "How much is an eye exam in Calgary" for more information.

About the Author Dr. Steven Hoang received his Doctor of Optometry at the University of Waterloo. He serves as the owner and full-time eye doctor of Inglewood and Ramsay at Respect Eyecare. His special interest is in contact lenses and dry eye syndrome.

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