Common Questions


  • Why is eye examination done?
  • When to have an eye exam?
  • How to prepare?
  • What you can expect from your doctor?
  • What you can expect from eye exam?
  • What are the results?
Why is eye examination done?

An eye exam helps detect eye problems at their earliest stage — when they’re most treatable. Regular eye exams give your eye care professional a chance to help you correct or adapt to vision changes and provide you with tips on caring for your eyes.

When to have an eye exam?

Several factors may determine how frequently you need an eye exam, including your age, health and risk of developing eye problems. General guidelines are as follows:

Children 5 years and younger. For children under 3, your pediatrician will likely look for the most common eye problems — lazy eye, crossed eyes or turned-out eyes. Depending on your child’s willingness to cooperate, he or she could undergo a more-comprehensive eye exam between the ages of 3 and 5.

School-age children and adolescents. Have your child’s vision checked before he or she enters first grade. If your child has no symptoms of vision problems and no family history of vision problems, have his or her vision rechecked every one to two years. Otherwise, schedule eye exams based on the advice of your eye doctor.

How to prepare?

Three kinds of eye specialists may perform an eye exam:

  • Ophthalmologists. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who provide full eye care, such as giving you a complete eye exam, prescribing corrective lenses, diagnosing and treating complex eye diseases, and performing eye surgery.
  • Optometrists. Optometrists provide many of the same services as ophthalmologists, such as evaluating your vision, prescribing corrective lenses, diagnosing common eye disorders and treating selected eye diseases with drugs. If you have a complex eye problem or need surgery, your doctor can refer you to an ophthalmologist.
  • Opticians. Opticians fill prescriptions for eyeglasses, including assembling, fitting and selling them. Some opticians also sell contact lenses.
What you can expect from your doctor?

If you wear contact lenses or glasses, bring them to your appointment. Your eye doctor will want to make sure your prescription is the best one for you. Also be prepared to remove your contacts or glasses during the exam. Tests that use dye (fluorescein) to temporarily color your eyes may permanently discolor your contact lenses, so you’ll be asked to remove them for those tests.

If your eyes are dilated as a part of your eye exam, you may want to bring sunglasses to wear after your eye exam is complete, as daylight or other bright lights may be uncomfortable or cause blurred vision. Also, consider having someone else drive you home.

What you can expect from eye exam?

An eye exam usually involves these steps:

  • You’ll be asked about your medical history and any vision problems you might be experiencing.
  • Your eye doctor measures your visual acuity to see if you need glasses or contact lenses to improve your vision.
  • You’ll be given numbing drops in your eyes. Then your doctor measures your eye pressure.
  • Your eye doctor checks the health of your eyes, possibly using several lights to evaluate the front of the eye and inside of each eye. To make it easier for your doctor to examine the inside of your eye, he or she will likely dilate your eyes with eyedrops.
  • Your eye doctor discusses what he or she found during the exam and answers questions you have about your eyes.

Part of the examination, such as taking your medical history and the initial eye test, may be performed by a clinical assistant.

Several different tests may be performed during the eye exam. The tests are designed to check your vision and to examine the appearance and function of all parts of your eyes.

What are the results?

At the end of your eye exam, you and your doctor will discuss the results of all testing, including an assessment of your vision, your risk of eye disease and preventive measures you can take to protect your eyesight.

Normal results from an eye exam include:

  • 20/20 vision
  • Good peripheral vision
  • Ability to distinguish various colors
  • Normal-appearing structures of the external eye
  • Absence of cataract, glaucoma or retinal disorders, such as macular degeneration

Your doctor may give you a prescription for corrective lenses. If your eye exam yields other abnormal results, your doctor will discuss with you next steps for further testing or for treating an underlying condition.



Digging Deeper


  • What are Vision Screenings?
  • Are children’s vision screenings helpful?
  • Passing a vision screening
  • Do adults need more frequent eye exams?
  • Low-THC and Medical Cannabis
What are Vision Screenings?

Vision screenings are not comprehensive eye exams. Screenings usually take only a few minutes and are often performed by volunteers who are not eye care professionals.

In many cases, vision screenings are nothing more than a visual acuity test where you’re asked to identify the smallest letters you can on a vision chart across the room.

Vision screenings typically are designed to only detect subnormal visual acuity and major vision problems — as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. They generally are ineffective for detecting more subtle vision problems and potentially sight-robbing eye diseases.

People who fail a vision screening (usually because their visual acuity is worse than 20/40) are made aware of this and are encouraged to visit an eye doctor so they can have their vision problem professionally diagnosed and treated with eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgery.

Are children’s vision screenings helpful?

Good vision is essential for children to reach their full academic potential. It’s been widely stated that roughly 80 percent of what children learn in school is presented visually, and vision problems can have a profound effect on learning.

According to the American Optometric Association, an estimated 20 percent of preschool children have vision problems. Other research shows that 24 percent of adolescents with correctable refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism) don’t have their vision fully corrected with up-to-date prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Passing a vision screening

Even if your child passes a school vision screening, it doesn’t guarantee he or she has perfect vision or has all the required visual skills needed for optimum performance in the classroom.

In fact, a number of studies have identified significant challenges and shortcomings of children’s vision screenings, including:

  • Children with significant learning-related vision problems being able to pass simple school vision screenings
  • Poor consistency of screening results among different volunteers conducting the testing
  • Parents being unaware their child failed a vision screening
  • Lack of follow-up to make sure children who fail screening actually have an eye exam
  • Also, poor standardization of vision screening standards among different states and lack of reporting requirements make it impossible to adequately evaluate the effectiveness of school vision screenings.
Do adults need more frequent eye exams?

On the other end of the age spectrum, many older Americans often forgo routine eye exams and falsely believe that free vision screenings offer adequate monitoring and protection of their eyesight.

This is extremely dangerous, since the most common causes of blindness — glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration — increase with age. Vision loss often can be prevented or reduced if these conditions are diagnosed and treated early. But the only way this can be done is to have routine comprehensive eye exams.

Don’t take chances with your eyesight as you get older. It may be sufficient to have a comprehensive eye exam every two years in your early adult life. But if you’re over age 60, have an annual eye exam to preserve your vision and make sure you are seeing the world as clearly as possible.

Low-THC and Medical Cannabis

Amendment 2 was passed in the state of Florida in November 2016 and went into effect on January 3rd, 2017. The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 charged the Florida Department of Health with overseeing the regulatory infrastructure for medical cannabis in the state. After the Act was signed into law by Governor Scott, the department established the Office of Compassionate Use (OCU) to write and implement the department’s rules for medical cannabis, oversee the statewide Compassionate Use Registry, and license seven Florida businesses to cultivate, process, and dispense medical cannabis to qualified patients.

Section 381.986, F.S. permits qualified physicians to order low-THC cannabis for a eligible patients suffering from (1) cancer or (2) a physical medical condition that chronically produces symptoms of seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms, to alleviate symptoms of such disease, disorder, or condition, if no other satisfactory alternative treatment options exist for the qualified patient. See section 381.986, Florida Statutes. The statute also allows a qualified physician to order medical cannabis for an eligible patient with a terminal condition that is attested to by the patient’s physician and confirmed by a second independent evaluation by a board-certified physician in an appropriate specialty for that condition.

Florida law defines a terminal condition as a “progressive disease or medical or surgical condition that causes significant functional impairment, is not considered by a treating physician to be reversible even with the administration of available treatment options currently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, and, without the administration of life-sustaining procedures, will result in death within one year after diagnosis if the condition runs its normal course.”



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