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What Is A Comprehensive Eye Checkup?

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Leena Doshi 91% (46ratings)
MS - Ophthalmology, DNB Ophtalmology, Advanced Training Fellowship in Refractive Surgery & Cornea
Ophthalmologist, Mumbai  •  26years experience
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I am doctor Leena Doshi,specialised in cataract, Lasik and glaucoma. Well today I am going to talk to you about what is a comprehensive eye check up? What do you mean by comprehensive checkup? What do you mean by vision check up? What does happen at a free eye camp and what is the difference between a free eye camp and visit to a doctor. What happens in a free eye camp usually is vision check. Now what is a vision check? Vision check is what you see on the board where you are made to read something, maybe alphabets, maybe numbers that you count and one person checks your eyeglass number that is a vision check and refraction that is normally which happens usually at a free eye camp wherein they dispense free glasses that also happens at optician shop, so what happens is only a vision check. Now what is the difference between what happens at optician, free eye camp and comprehensive eye check. So you also need to know where you have to go for comprehensive eye check. For a comprehensive eye check you do need to visit an eye doctor's clinic, so what does happen at an eye doctor's clinic? In eye doctor's clinic a comprehensive eye check is done.

Now what you mean by comprehensive eye check? comprehensive itself says a complete check. Now the eye has a lot of functions and one of its functions is to see, now what is measured in a vision check? It is just the quantitative part you can read from 1 to 10 that is the quantitative measurement of your vision so that is all that is checked in a vision check and number glass is given to you and when they cannot make you read further or you can not read the last line, they sometimes refer you back to an eye doctor, please go to an eye doctor and get your eyes checked and come because your vision is not improving. So what happens at an eye doctor is the eye is checked up completely, the eye has various parts and various functions one of the functions is to see, so quantitative vision is only measurement, now we also have quality of vision, what do you see, how clearly do you see, is it blurred, is it clear, do you see contrast, do you see colour, do you see depth, do you see the whole world as itself, do you have binocular vision, is it 3D can you see all of it, now all of this compromises quality of vision check. Now this happens at an eye doctor's place, so for a comprehensive eye check what does happens is once you go to the doctor's clinic vision is checked first. Now vision, the part of the test which was done at an optician or at free eye check is first done.

First your vision is checked because the most important function of the eye is to see, so quantitative measurement of your vision is definitely done and the best corrected vision is checked what I mean by that is the glasses that you accept and see best that is what is calculated and written on the paper, so that doctor knows that your vision cannot improve further than that with your glasses. Post that sometimes the assistant might just do further tests like eye pressure measurement check, now what is an eye pressure? Eye pressure is because of the eye is a closed cavity and it has a certain pressure, it is not your blood pressure and it is not related to your blood pressure so it has a pressure of its own which if it goes haywire does cause a lot of problems in the eye and gives a condition called glaucoma. So a basic eye pressure test is done based on your age, what systemic problems you have, so mostly people above the age of 40 do undergo an eye pressure check as well. We do muscle balance check, we do colour vision test so all these things will happen at the basic level of the assistant checking or sometimes even the doctor does that. So next what happens there is the history taking which happens with the doctor.

The doctor will talk to you about what all you have gone through, if you have any family history of systemic diseases or are you taking any medications, can you see properly, how is it that you see, what is the kind of work that you do, is it digital work, what are the postures you have, so all these things will be discussed and heard by your doctor. Post that he will test you on certain machines which is called as slit lamp microscope. It is a microscope wherein we see the entire eye in magnified view, so that we see each and every single part of the eye through that microscope, so after seeing this the doctor sometimes might just say you need a further examination of checking your numbers because your numbers are high or they are camouflaged because you are a child are you might need retinal examination because you are diabetic or you have some other long-term diseases which are there in the eye so the doctor would want to to check that.

So what he would do next that he might advise you, you will have to wait for a while your vision might go blurred and he will put some drops in your eyes so you will be sent back to the doctor's office outside the waiting room, the drops will be put maybe two to three times or four times at an interval of over 5 minutes and then the assistant is going to look at your eyes and the pupil whether it is dilated or not. Now what we mean by pupil dilation is the black colour of your eyes that portion when it opens up we can peep inside your eye, when we peep inside your eye, the eye is supposed to be called as the window to the inside world, we can see your actual blood vessels right through your eyes and that is why eye check is a must when you have diabetes, blood pressure and other systemic disorders.

So once full dilatation happens the doctor will see you again in his chamber see what it is, whatever problems you have, if you have a cataract that will be told to you, if you have raised eye pressure with some changes that will be told to you and based on whatever you have the doctor might further advise you what tests need to be done to corroborate his findings so that the diagnosis gets confirmed and if you need any management beyond that you will be asked to come back for follow up.

So this is what happens in a comprehensive check. Now the doctor might also advise you to go and see another physician maybe a physician because he might see for the first time that he is seeing some changes which are equivalent to diabetic changes or equivalent to hypertensive changes or equivalent to some raised pressures because nerves of the eyes directly connected to the brain now sometimes you have severe headaches now when there are severe headaches and you do not know what's the cause and you'll end up with an eye doctor for number check because you think you have glasses while it may not be the glasses it could be something else altogether there are cases who land up with us and we diagnose brain tumors because they are compressing there on the eye causing the headache and we can see that through your eyes because the nerves of your eyes starts talking about something else which is there inside and which was missed all together by you.

So it could be just a small check but yes we can diagnose a lot of things from just a routine eye check. Now glaucomas for example, diabetic retinopathy for example, amblyopia or lazy eye where the child might not complain that I cannot see with one eye, colour vision, colour blindness and many other things like thyroid, all these things are not diagnosed by you or they may not have any symptoms and when they do not have any symptoms you will not know that there is something wrong with your eye, so how will you know that there is something wrong with your eye.

The only way you can know what is wrong with you eye is going to a doctor. So the next question is how frequently do I need to go? How frequently means a person right from the age of first eye check I would suggest 3 and half years to 4 years when a child starts communicating and is able to read a chart or communicate to say that I can see something before that if the child or the baby is having some symptoms like eye squinting, the child is not following you, if you feel there is something grossly wrong then a visit before that is a must but a first eye check up at around 3 and half to 4 years is mandatory and around one and half year to two years maximum and after that for lifetime because anybody can have any kind of eye problem, so that is the reason why you need to go have a comprehensive eye check. Next question is do you need a specialist?

Like pediatric ophthalmologist for your child, if the child really doesn't have any specific problem it is just a routine check, a general ophthalmologist or any eye doctor can do examination for you and if there is anything specific further that cannot be managed by that doctor and needs specific attention like maybe a cataract or glaucoma in the child or a squint in the child then yes you will be referred further to a pediatric ophthalmologist, so this is what happens in a comprehensive checkup and that is the reason why you need to go for followups regularly because certain things which allows you from going blind, certain things allows you to keep your eyes healthy are only seen by a doctor and only this can be advised and your eyes can remain healthy for a long time to come. If you need to connect more with us and you want to know more and want to follow us again and see more of my videos or articles you can follow me on

Thank you so much.

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