We now live in a DIY-heavy society. While self-reliance can be a significant strength, there are some things we simply can’t do ourselves. Take vision examinations, for example. While there are many downloadable versions of common eye exam tests (like Color Blind Tests), they should be used in addition to a comprehensive vision exam from a licensed optometrist. They’re meant to be an initial indicator that you should set an appointment. They’re not meant as a replacement for professional care.
Unless you have an extraordinarily offbeat hobby collecting eye doctor tools, it’s unlikely you have what you need to fully examine your eyes. Even if you did have all of the equipment, you don’t have the expertise necessary to use it and make an informed decision on what to do next.
Here are some eye doctor tools with capabilities that can’t be easily replicated:
The phoropter is the large, mask-looking device that measures refractive error. It is used to help determine the necessary prescription power for your contacts or glasses. An optometrist needs to be present as it’s being used, because it depends on compare and contrast answers from the patient. Your optometrist leads you through the process and you’re able to walk out with the perfect prescription to help correct your vision.
This is the tool that you fret over before going to the optometrist. Yes, it’s the old ‘puff of air in the eye’ device. While mildly uncomfortable, the tonometer is actually an extremely powerful and impressive piece of machinery. With that small puff of air, the tonometer is accurately measuring your intraocular pressure. That information can be used to detect harmful eye conditions that need to be caught and treated as early as possible.
The slit lamp is exactly as it sounds: a thin light and a microscope, used to examine your eye’s anterior. With a little light and a closer look, your optometrist is able to spot any trouble your eyes may be experiencing. While you can look in the mirror and see something obvious – like a black eye or a significant scratch – the slit lamp enables your licensed optometrist to pick out things that would go unnoticed to the naked and untrained eye.
This handheld device allows your optometrist to get a better look at the inside of your eye. This can sometimes call for pupil dilation. In either event, this is another instance where a licensed eye doctor and a specific piece of powerful equipment is needed to get a full picture of vision health. The eyes are sensitive and complex – using an opthalmoscope, your optometrist can detect things that can’t be seen without it.
There’s nothing wrong with the spirit of DIY. But, when it comes to vision exams, there’s no substitute for making an appointment with your licensed optometrist. He or she has access to, and experience using, the powerful eye doctor tools that can keep your eyes in check.