Presbyopia Tests & Diagnosis

Published: April 19, 2010

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Overview

Routine eye exams are the best way to diagnose presbyopia and to track whether the condition is becoming worse. It is recommended that people undergo an eye exam at least once a year; however, you may need to undergo eye exams more frequently if you notice that your vision is degenerating quickly or if you need to increase the strength of your prescription so that you can continue to read comfortably.

If your vision is deteriorating at an accelerated rate, you might need additional tests to rule out more serious complications. Normally, during your annual vision exam, the doctor will check for other conditions as part of procedure.

When you go for a vision exam, your opthalmalogist will conduct a series of tests to examine the retina, test your eye muscles, and measure your ability to see. These tests will help determine what kind of prescription you need and whether you are better suited for glasses or contact lenses.

It is normal for your presbyopia to worsen over time, so you should expect to need a stronger prescription when you go for your checkup. The condition will worsen at different rates for everyone, and you may end up with different prescriptions in each eye.

For some people over-the-counter reading glasses are sufficient. Other people will need a prescription for reading glasses, bifocals, or contact lenses, especially if you have other vision conditions such as myopia. Even if you do not need a prescription, you will still need to see an ophthalmologist at least once a year. Only your doctor can tell you whether you need prescription or nonprescription lenses.

Routine Eye Exams

During a routine eye exam, the doctor will begin by asking you about your medical and vision history. Then, the doctor will take a look at your eyes to see if anything appears abnormal. After these basic assessments, the doctor will measure your visual skills, ability to see color, pupil health, and peripheral vision. The doctor will test for abnormalities.

Many doctors complete refraction tests as part of a routine examination. The doctor might also complete functional tests, which measure the eye's ability to focus. A series of additional tests are required to assess whether the eyes are in good overall health.

Make sure that you inform your ophthalmologist if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes. Your general health can affect your vision.

Physical Exams

Some illnesses can cause your vision to change. These conditions include diabetes, brain tumors, and others. For this reason, it is important that you continue to visit your doctor for your routine physical exams, especially as you age.

Make sure that you tell your doctor about any unusual symptoms - especially changes in your vision. Depending on your symptoms and medical history, you might need a blood test or imaging scan to rule out potentially dangerous conditions.

Retinoscopy

This test gives doctors a starting point for determining prescription by measuring how light reflects on the eye. The doctor can use this test to estimate your prescription.

Refraction

A doctor uses this test to accurately determine your prescription. During this test, you are shown two options. One will look clearer than the other. The doctor will ask you to identify the clearer option.

Autorefractors

This device can automatically calculate your prescription based on how the retina is processing images and light. An aberrometer is another device that assesses your prescription power based on how light travels through the eye.

Cover Test

This type of test evaluates how well the eyes are able to work with each other. This test can help doctors assess whether one eye is functioning better than the other.

Slit Test & Glaucoma Test

This type of test assesses whether the eyes are healthy or whether there is a risk for an infection or disease. The doctor uses this test to look at the cornea and iris. This test can identify cataracts, structure degeneration, ulcers, and problems related to diabetes.

Visual Field Test

Sometimes, blind spots can be present in the eye. The doctor can identify them based on this test.

Dilation

The doctor will use drops to make your pupil bigger. This test will help doctors have a better viewpoint from which they can examine your eyes for abnormalities.

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