Use these helpful tips to get the most from your annual eye exam.

As an optometrist with many years of experience, one of my favorite quotes related to vision is, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” As you prepare for your next eye exam, use some of these tips to help make the most of your visit and obtain the most accurate prescription.

Research area doctors
To get the best possible exam, you need to research and choose the right optometrist for your individual needs (kid-friendly, specializes in treating specific conditions like glaucoma or macular degeneration). Word-of-mouth referrals from trusted friends are an excellent place to start. Use various social media outlets like Yelp and Facebook, and read and compare several reviews.

Share your history
Once you’ve chosen a doctor, it’s important to be completely transparent with them about what condition or concern has brought you to their office. If you are aware of any conditions that run in your family, it’s important to let the doctor know at the beginning of your relationship. They’ll be able to look for signs and advise you on preventive measures or help slow the progression of existing conditions

Bring in the old
It’s also good to bring your latest pair of prescription glasses or contacts, allowing the doctor to compare what has changed since your previous visit. This will help the doctor get the most accurate new prescription. They can use the old prescription as a baseline comparison to the new. If your vision has changed drastically, which could indicate a possible pathology, the doctor would not know unless they had the old prescription to compare it against.

When the doctor is conducting the lens comparisons, switching between the various lenses, just relax. Let the doctor guide your responses and be honest. If two of the choices look the same, let them know. Typically, that’s the end point the doctor is trying to find.

Window to wellness
Your eyes are an extension of your whole body, so it’s important to stay healthy and fit to ensure your vision is maintained for a lifetime. The eyes are also a window to your overall health and wellness. Optometrists can detect many systemic diseases through an eye exam, like diabetes. The eyes are the only structure in our body that allows examination of individual arteries and veins without any excision or biopsy. That’s why annual eye exams are an important part in maintaining optimum health.