Eye screening is a brief exam that looks for potential vision problems and eye disorders. If a problem is found on a vision screening, one is referred to an eye care specialist for diagnosis and treatment. The purpose of a vision screening is to identify vision problems in an early and treatable stage, provide education, and provide a referral to an eye care provider for a comprehensive eye exam if needed. It should be done regularly because Timely and periodic screening is critical for the detection of visual impairment and its etiology and to plan early intervention hence preventing loss of vision.
The basic eye check-up in Singapore consists of an external checking of the eye, the eyelids, and the surrounding areas. Parts of the eyes such as the conjunctiva, cornea, and iris are also inspected for signs of diseases. A complete examination includes:
- Testing of vision with or without corrective eyewear- this enables testing of distance and near vision
- Assessing the reflexes of the pupils to be able to know the amount of light that enters the eye
- Checking of eye muscle function to evaluate any weakness or other defects in the muscles which result in uncontrolled eye movements.
- Peripheral (side) vision testing helps detect if side vision has been lost
- Slit lamp- this is the detailed examination of the cornea, lens vitreous, retina, optic nerve, and macula.
- Tonometry –this is the checking of the eye pressure using a non-contact device.
Importance of eye screening
- Myopia is becoming an epidemic. The number of people who are developing myopia is growing faster than ever. And more people are getting nearsighted at a very early age. Scheduling annual eye exams is the best way to assess a person’s risk of developing myopia. On early detection, control measures of myopia can be taken to slow the progression and reduce the risk of serious eye problems later in life
- Regular eye checkup can detect other hidden and serious health issues. During a comprehensive eye exam, an ophthalmologist can observe and evaluate the health and condition of the blood vessels in the retina, which are a good predictor of the health of blood vessels throughout the body. Conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia are all visible by changes in the appearance of the retinal blood supply and blood vessels.
Key to successful vision screening programs is that they be well-designed and properly administered. Otherwise, they fail in their intended role to advance the vision, eye health and Prevent Blindness. The vision screening should be conducted by a certified ophthalmologist who has gotten training from a reputable school. People should also adopt the tendency of going for eye checkups regularly in order to prevent them from serious eye problems that may develop in the future. The basic eye check-up in Singapore must include the use of advanced good quality approved eye checkup apparatus, provide easy to understand results to either the person or the one in charge of the person being screened.