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annual eye exams

Eye Examination Services in Manassas, VA

With everything going on in your life, it’s tough to make time for any medical checkup, let alone an eye examination. Yet your eyes are your window to the rest of the world, and getting a vision check once a year will keep your eyesight healthy for life.

Roughly half of all Americans suffer from some sort of vision impairment, ranging from myopia and astigmatism to total blindness. Some of these conditions are treatable with the right solutions, while others could have been prevented entirely with early intervention. Either way, a yearly visit with a qualified eye doctor is the best way to preserve your eyesight.

If you’ve never searched on terms like “the best place for eye exam in Manassas, Virginia,” don’t wait – do it now and save your sight.

Why Do I Need an Annual Eye Examination?

The answer to this question is simple: to protect your eyesight.

As anyone with vision problems will tell you, life is more challenging when you can’t see very well. Just as an annual checkup is essential to treating minor problems and preventing larger ones, an annual eye examination is critical to healthy eyes and good vision.

Unfortunately, many people don’t get their eyes checked, even those most likely to have eye problems. Their top three reasons are:

  • They have perfect vision and it seems unnecessary
  • They can’t afford what an eye exam costs
  • They’ve never thought about it

For these people, a yearly eye exam might be an inconvenience now, but the consequences of NOT getting one are much greater.

Everyone’s Vision Gets Worse With Age

It can seem pointless to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist if there’s nothing wrong with your eyes. This actually creates a greater need for an eye exam later.

You vision can be normal for many years. Then, sometime around age 40, you notice things are blurrier than they used to be, or your field of vision is riddled with little spots or big dark streaks. Whether these changes are minor annoyances or major obstacles, you’re already dealing with an eye condition, such as:

  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Myopia or some other uncorrected refractive error

preventable blindnessHealth experts expect a surge in some of these conditions as the U.S. population gets older and the incidence of diabetes increases. That doesn’t mean your fate is out of your hands, though. In fact, research show that 80 percent of all cases of blindness are preventable with the right interventions, including annual eye examinations. You vision may be perfect now, but regular checkups will keep it that way.

Eye Exams Cost Less Than Vision Problems ...

Eye exams can be expensive or cheap, depending where you go. Sure, they can seem like a waste of money when your vision is fine. They’re a bargain, however, when you compare the cost of an eye exam to the cost of impaired vision or total blindness.

According to research performed by Prevent Blindness America:

  • The visually impaired spend an average of $1,000 each year in related medical expenses; those living with total blindness spend twice that amount.
  • Lower productivity costs $6.3 billion in labor force participation and $1.73 billion in decreased wages.
  • The total cost to the economy is $35.4 billion a year.

Spending a few dollars on an eye exam today will save you thousands of dollars in the future.

… and Are Less Inconvenient

If your vision is 20/20, it probably doesn’t cross your mind to investigate where to get an eye exam in Manassas or any other city. However, if you skip a regular exam and end up facing a serious eye problem, you’ll have no choice but to think about it. Impaired vision makes many everyday activities difficult, including:

  • Driving a car, particularly at night
  • Reading small print
  • Playing sports
  • Taking pictures
  • Watching movies or TV shows
  • Moving around in low light
impaired vision makes activities difficult

Over time, this will impact every area of your life. For example, instead of reading your favorite book, you’ll either need to find a large-print version or a book on tape. Instead of driving to visit a friend or relative, you’ll need a cab or have to wait for them to visit you. It’ll be harder to stay active because it’s tough to play a game, or even take a walk around the block, with impaired vision.

If it’s not convenient to get an eye exam, it’s even less convenient to live your life with bad eyesight.

Do I Have to Get a Vision Check?

Ideally, everyone would get an annual eye exam, but every two to three years is fine for young adults with good vision. For children, exams at 6 months, 3 years, and just before starting school are recommended. However, some people need to pay special attention to their eyes, whether they’re having trouble seeing or not, because they’re at a higher risk for problems down the road.

You should have an eye exam at least once a year if you belong to one of these groups:

People Who Wear Glasses or Contact Lenses: Vision changes over time, so the glasses that gave you perfect eyesight five years ago might not work today. An annual exam ensures you always have the right prescription lens for your eyes. Contact lens wearers, in particular, need to schedule these appointments because long-term use could deprive the cornea of oxygen, which could cause abnormal blood vessel growth.

Older Adults: When it comes to eyesight, the phrase “It’s all downhill after 40” is appropriate. That’s when presbyopia sets in and makes reading glasses necessary. If you’ve had good vision up to this point, you can visit your eye doctor every 18 months or so. After age 60, visit every year – by then, you’re at much greater risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and other age-related eye diseases.

Diabetics: Among the complications associated with diabetes, diabetic retinopathy is one of the most prevalent. In fact, it affects 80 percent of all long-term diabetics (10 years or longer) and is the leading cause of blindness in adults. If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, visit an ophthalmologist once a year, or more often if you have any of the symptoms outlined by Mayo Clinic and other health organizations.

People With a Genetic Predisposition: If a parent, grandparent or sibling had eye problems, chances are good that you will, too. Color blindness, glaucoma and other eye diseases tend to run in the family, so an eye examination should be a bigger priority if some of your relatives have a history of eye problems.

Workers in Visually Demanding Professions: Not everyone needs 20/20 vision at work, but for some people it’s a job requirement. Pilots, auto mechanics, photographers, surgeons and law enforcement officials need perfect vision to do their jobs well. Some professions require an annual exam before you can do the job at all. Even if you’re not subject to that regulation, an annual visit will protect your eyesight – and your career.

What to Expect During the Eye Exam

If you’ve never had an eye examination before, the thought of getting one might make you nervous, or even a little squeamish (someone will be manipulating your eyeballs, after all). For the most part, though, the process is noninvasive and painless, and it usually takes no longer than an hour.

The scope of your exam will depend on where you go, because not all eye professionals are the same.

  • An optician focuses on glasses and, on occasion, contact lenses, primarily assembling and fitting them. You probably won’t visit one unless you’re already in the market for corrective eyewear.
  • An optometrist has some medical training and can diagnose and treat a wide range of eye conditions. Many eye patients visit an optometrist to prescribe corrective eyewear or to manage common eye diseases.
  • An ophthalmologist is recommended for more complex and comprehensive eye needs. He or she can prescribe eyewear and medications, like their counterparts, but can also perform eye surgery if required.

Wherever you get your eyes checked, your exam may include the following.

medical history iconA Medical History: During your first visit to a new doctor, you’ll be asked about the symptoms you’re experiencing, past problems with your eyesight, whether any conditions run in your family and any medical conditions that could affect your vision. The information will impact how the doctor manages your eye health, and even whether you should go to another doctor for more specialized care.

distance vision iconVisual Acuity/Distance Vision: This test determines how well you can see from a distance. With one eye covered, you’ll read from a chart with several rows of letters, each row smaller than the last, until you can no longer read the letters. You’ll then repeat the test while covering the other eye. If you wear glasses, you’ll put them on when the chart is too hard to read, just in case your current prescription needs to be updated.

laser eye iconEye Muscle Test: Using a laser or a bright light, the doctor will ask you to follow object as it moves left to right and up and down. In addition to measuring the muscles in your eyes, this test also shows whether or not they’re moving in tandem. For instance, one eye moving faster than the other could indicate amblyopia, or lazy eye, which could lead to poor vision if left untreated.

external eye exam iconExternal Exam: The primary goal of this step is to see how well your pupils react to bright light. In the process, your doctor may also check for visible signs of problems – for instance, droopy eyelids or discoloration in the whites of your eyes. If you wear or are getting contact lenses, the doctor will also perform a refraction assessment to measure the curvature of your corneas.

eye pressure iconEye Pressure Test: Elevated eye pressure places you at greater risk of glaucoma. This test helps with early detection. Some doctors prefer to numb the eyes and use a tonometer to measure eye pressure. Others prefer to use ultrasound waves to measure the thickness of your corneas. However, many people prefer a puff of air in the eye, since it provides a measurement without actually touching their eyeballs.

retinal eye exam iconRetinal Exam: This is usually the most invasive part of the eye exam. The doctor will place drops in your eye to dilate your pupils. Once they’re fully dilated, he or she will shine a big, bright light in them to examine the back of your eye, checking the retinas, optic disks and blood vessels for damage or other changes that might be affecting your vision.

Some eye exams require additional testing because of the patient’s health and age. For instance, diabetic patients must get their pupils dilated during every exam, while school-aged children may undergo tests to check for lazy eye or crossed eyes.

A good doctor might also recommend that you make some changes to protect your eyes and prevent further damage to your vision. If you smoke, he or she may tell you to quit, since smokers are three to four times more likely to develop cataracts or macular degeneration. You might also hear advice on buying the right sunglasses, stepping away from your computer screen, or adding more essential vitamins to your diet.

Now that you know what to expect during eye exams, you might wonder if you can afford them. All those machines and procedures must cost a fortune, right? Not as much as you think.

What Does an Eye Exam Cost?

As with all things medical, people worry about whether they can afford to pay for an eye exam. Your actual eye exam cost will depend on where you go, where you live, what type of exam you get and whether or not your health insurance covers the cost.

The best place for an eye exam in Manassas, Virginia is right here at Prince William Eye. An eye exam in our top of the line facility costs between $50 and $90, which is the typical price you’ll find in Manassas for most routine eye exams.

If your eye problems are more complex you may need a more detailed eye exam with an ophthalmologist, who can perform all the usual tests as well as any additional procedures you may need. Because of their additional resources and training, these professionals may charge as much as $200 for an eye exam.

All the costs listed above can be cut dramatically with insurance, as long as your plan covers them. For instance, some plans will cover an eye exam once every two to three years, while others require you to buy a supplemental policy. Under new health-care laws, children under 19 are eligible for pediatric eye exams, while some eye exams for issues like diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma can be covered with a referral from your primary physician. In these cases, the copay can range from $5 to $35, depending on your policy.

Whatever the rate, the end result will be clear vision, which is priceless. You miss a lot when your vision is less than perfect. Get an eye examination every year and you won’t miss a thing.

Not sure where to get an eye exam in Manassas? Make an appointment with Prince William Eye Associates today and keep your world looking crystal clear.

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