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Medical Eye Exams

VisionFirst Essentials:

The Importance of Routine and Medical Eye Exams

Can you remember the last time you had an eye exam? If you can’t, that’s often a sign that it’s been too long.

Why are routine eye exams important? Eye exams are one of the only ways to detect certain eye conditions, making them a crucial component of keeping your eyes healthy.

At VisionFirst we are a locally owned practice that is committed to delivering comprehensive and personalized eye care services to the Louisville community and beyond. As the premier optometrist in the area, our skilled team combines expertise with state-of-the-art technology to ensure your eyes receive the care they deserve.

Understanding Routine Eye Exams

The primary goal of a routine comprehensive eye exam is to assess your overall eye health and vision. Eye exams are one of the only ways to detect certain eye conditions, making them a crucial component of keeping your eyes healthy. Routine eye exams should be a part of your necessary annual checkups, like going to the dentist or seeing your primary care provider for physicals. Routine eye exams help patients of all ages maintain good vision and detect issues with their eyes, often before any symptoms occur. Even if you don’t currently wear glasses or contact lenses, it’s recommended that you have a routine eye exam every 1-2 years.

If your optometrist detects a problem with your vision during a routine eye exam, finding something early makes it much easier to treat. In the case of eye conditions that can lead to irreversible vision loss, like glaucoma, routine eye exams are your best defense.

By doing a thorough evaluation of the vision and health of your eyes annually, your optometrist may detect warning signs of an eye condition earlier than if you had not had your routine exam. With some eye conditions, such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, vision loss can be irreversible, so catching it early is crucial for treatment.

Detecting Vision Changes

One of the things that your optometrist evaluates during your routine eye exam is vision changes. Most refractive errors, like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, progress gradually and may not have obvious symptoms. A refraction is conducted to measure these changes, resulting in a new prescription written by your optometrist. Once you have received your prescription for glasses, our opticians can help you find the right set of glasses that help you see and look your best. If your prescription is written for contact lenses, we are happy to help you order an annual supply of contact lenses, granting you clear vision for a year.

Checking for Signs of Eye Conditions

Another thing that eye doctors look for during a routine eye exam is signs of eye conditions. Your optometrist can see early warning signs of common conditions like glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and cataracts by evaluating your eye health. You may not visibly notice any signs of these conditions, but through careful monitoring, your optometrist can track progression of these conditions and treat accordingly.

You may not have any visible signs of these conditions, but through careful monitoring, your optometrist can track the progression of these conditions and treat them accordingly.

The Purpose of Medical Examinations

A medical eye exam is a specialized eye exam conducted on patients with previously diagnosed eye conditions, those showing signs or at high-risk for eye conditions, or diabetes. Medical eye exams are more specialized than routine eye exams and focus on identifying and monitoring specific eye conditions along with treating vision changes.

Common Eye Conditions

Diabetic Retinopathy

Patients with diabetes are at an increased risk for diabetic retinopathy. This eye condition occurs when there is damage to blood vessels in the retina due to high blood sugar. When this happens, the blood vessels can swell or leak, leading to the abnormal growth of new vessels and scar tissue that impairs vision. During a medical eye exam checking for diabetic retinopathy, an optometrist will dilate the pupils or take an image of the retina to look for signs and damage. Patients with diabetes should regularly have their retinas checked to ensure prompt treatment if diabetic retinopathy is detected.


Checking for glaucoma involves measuring a patient’s intraocular pressure levels, looking at the optic nerve, and testing peripheral and central vision for vision loss. A patient with glaucoma will need ongoing exams to determine the best treatment, usually with prescription eye drops or surgery to lower intraocular pressure and preserve their remaining vision.

A medical eye exam will also involve checking for macular degeneration and cataracts. Although preventing them may not be possible, early detection leads to earlier monitoring and treatment.

What is the Difference?

In essence, a comprehensive eye exam is more focused on assessing general eye health and vision correction, while a medical eye exam is geared towards diagnosing, treating, and managing specific eye conditions or health-related issues. It’s important to communicate any specific concerns or symptoms to your eye care professional, as this information will guide them in determining the most appropriate type of examination for your needs. Additionally, the line between these two types of exams can sometimes blur, and your eye care professional may incorporate elements of both during a single visit if necessary.

However, both routine eye exams and medical eye exams are a necessary part of keeping your eyes healthy. Do you need to schedule an eye exam? Make an appointment with our expert optometrists in Louisville, KY. Your vision is our priority!

Eye Exams Available at VisionFirst Eye Care