Eyecare Is Self-Care: Why Routine Eye Exams May Not Be Enough

If truth be told, many Filipinos only visit an eye specialist to check their vision or upgrade their prescription. Instead, it has become a top priority to be in good shape or have clear skin without blemishes. While there’s nothing wrong with any of that, remember that eye health is just as important as physical health.

Dr. Lareen Dawn Tan performing the Ishihara Test on a patient.


Contrary to popular belief, eye care is not just about maintaining a 20/20 vision. Even if you see objects clearly and without a hassle, you should still visit an eye clinic. Just like any other illness, symptoms of eye problems may seem trivial. But still, it’s best to confront them as early as possible.


The typical scenario of a regular eye checkup is simple. Usually, an optometrist or ophthalmologist performs a routine eye exam to see if you suffer from vision impairments. When the shape of the eye interferes with light, this causes your brain to interpret what you see differently. Thus, patients with refractive errors may experience symptoms such as double vision, glare and halo around bright lights, eye strain, and headache. The most common conditions are myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism.


To assess your condition, the eye specialist conducts a set of simple vision assessments such as:

  • Visual acuity test, where you read letters that get smaller to measure the sharpness of your vision using the “Big E” or the Snellen chart.

  • Cover test, where one eye is covered to determine if you have any ocular deviation.

  • Color blindness test, a screening test aimed to identify your color vision using color charts like the Ishihara test.

All tests can be done within 30 minutes. After completing a routine eye exam, your eye doctor will decide what prescription works best for you and whether you should wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. And in most cases, you only have to visit your doctor at least once every two years.


Routine Eye Exam vs. Comprehensive Eye Exam


While a routine eye exam could be your first step on your eye care journey, it doesn’t stop there. A common misconception among many people is that it is the same as a comprehensive eye exam. Well, that is not actually the case.


To have a better understanding of comprehensive eye exams, think of your eyes as an iceberg. A routine eye exam only looks over the tip, but a comprehensive eye exam goes deeper than. It examines the entirety of the iceberg, or in this case, your eyes. Unlike a routine eye exam, a comprehensive eye exam involves a thorough and in-depth assessment of your vision.


As a matter of fact, ophthalmic clinics with more advanced diagnostic facilities can offer you numerous clinical procedures, divided into three components:


1. Comprehensive Visual Exams


A comprehensive visual exam does not only involve a visual acuity exam where you will be asked to read a letter chart, but you will also receive cycloplegic refraction and retinoscopy where diagnostic eye drops will be used to dilate and fully relax your eye muscles in order to have better precision in evaluating the amount of your refractive error. These are best for patients who are partially or legally blind, have low vision, or require more advanced visual examination methods.


2. Comprehensive Eye Health and Color Vision Exams


Every anatomical part of your eye such as the sclera, cornea, conjunctiva, retina, optic nerve, and macula will be extensively examined. This also includes a physiological examination of the visual system, which contains the eyes and other parts of the brain responsible for the vision pathway. Aside from the Ishihara Color Vision Test, a Farnsworth Lantern Color Vision Test, a more intricate color test, may also be performed especially for pilots and seamen.


3. Comprehensive Binocular Vision Exams


A binocular vision assessment studies the coordinated control of both left and right eyes in creating a unified image. These tests are designed to check how your eyes work together. If you are having trouble doing so, the exam can determine whether you have neuro-vision disorders such as strabismus (squint), amblyopia or suppression (lazy eye), and diplopia (double vision),.


Depending on your age and specific needs, your attending eye doctor will then provide you with a personalized treatment plan.


Prioritize your eye health


As you grow older, you should consider taking a comprehensive eye exam annually. Keep in mind that eye exams are essential, especially for those who are exposed to computers and other gadgets. Age-related diseases like presbyopia, glaucoma, cataracts, and other serious eye-related issues typically appear more in adults. These eye problems are very easy to manage when diagnosed early.


Of all the human senses, it’s our sight that keeps us away from danger. This is why sustaining good eye care is important. Clear vision and healthy eyes help us perform better in our day-to-day activities.


Taking care of the eyes is still highly underrated. In 2021, the Philippines garnered the highest social media and internet usage, averaging 11 hours per day. Of course, this implies that many Filipinos are prone to eye problems, especially those who live in the cities. However, eye clinics with state-of-the-art facilities are mostly located in Metro Manila. If you’re living in Davao City or nearby areas, there are a few clinics that can compete with those renowned eye institutes in the capital region.


Remember that not all eye clinics are built the same. Many eye diseases can be silent and some need profound treatment that can only be provided by premier ophthalmic, non-surgical clinics such as Eyecare Deluxe. With vast experience in providing non-surgical eye treatments like effective eye drops, eye supplements, vision therapy, low vision rehab, orthokeratology, Gas (Oxygen) Permeable lenses such as corneal lenses and scleral lenses, aside from providing premium eyeglasses and contact lenses, Dr. Lareen Dawn Tan is more than happy to let you know that eye care is self-care.


Book an appointment with us today!