It is often said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. This may be true, but the eyes are definitely a window to your health. A competent eye doctor can detect various diseases and problems early enough to save your life, just by giving you a thorough eye exam. This is so critical to your health and so well known that most states have laws that determine minimum requirements for a complete examination.
In our office we have discovered early signs of diabetes, glaucoma, cancer and even brain tumors, just through a routine eye exam. The minimum requirements for “Vision Analysis” in the state of Florida (see: Florida Statutes 64B13-3.007, and 4B13-.012) are important minimum guidelines for a routine and complete eye exam. But because most consumers don’t know these statutes exist, or what is required, many unscrupulous facilities will only check for a prescription, thus putting you in jeopardy. What you don’t know … can kill you.
Rather than list the entire statute (which you can read at this link: http://flrules.eregulations.us/code/rule/64B13-3.007) I will list some of the most important aspects of it, so you are well armed with the information that could save your life or that of a loved one.
(2) A comprehensive eye examination shall include the following minimum procedures, which shall be recorded on the
patient’s case record:
(a) Patient’s history (personal and family medical history, personal and family ocular history, and chief complaint);
(b) Visual acuity (unaided and with present correction at initial presentation; thereafter, unaided or with present
(c) External examination;
(d) Pupillary examination;
(e) Visual field testing (confrontation or other);
(f) Internal examination (recording, optic nerve health, blood vessel status, macula health, and any abnormalities);
(g) Biomicroscopy (binocular or monocular);
(h) Tonometry; (with time of measurement);
(i) Refraction (with recorded visual acuity);
(j) Extra ocular muscle balance assessment;
And, this analysis is to be preformed by a licensed practitioner, preferably an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist who is licensed in Florida. Florida laws are very stringent in this regard and are more protective of your health. If the doctor is licensed in this state s/he has the knowledge to pass the difficult examination process and therefore to protect your health in better ways.
Some local optical establishments have no licensed doctors on staff (or opticians). These facilities will often use a machine called an auto-refractor to determine a final prescription. This is not an eye exam. This machine is supposed to be used as a starting point for a thorough exam, to aid the licensed practitioner in arriving at final diagnosis. By itself, this machine is inadequate determining an accurate prescription, so it is important to find out ahead of time what is entailed in the office’s exam process.
Protect yourself and your loved ones, don’t be taken in by Free Eye Exam offers, as they are worth what you pay for them. Go to a professional who takes your vision and your health seriously.