4 Levels of Eye Care
We want the best vision for every patient; that’s why we’ve invested in multiple diagnostic technologies. Nearly all vision loss is preventable; very little vision loss beyond refractive error is reversible. Therefore, a lifetime of prevention is best! Take action today with a comprehensive eye exam; we recommend Level 4 preventative iHealth wellness testing for all new patients and Level 3 or 4 every year thereafter. Don’t be confused by the options when you get your next eye exam; there are essentially 4 levels of care beyond a the minimum tests at a wellness eye exam.
Level 1: At every eye exam in Illinois, you should have the opportunity to receive a dilated eye examination. The eye drops and specialized equipment is guaranteed as part of your eye exam for all who have a medical indication. This is still the medical standard because it is the best way to view the entire retina, but mild side effects have made it less popular with patients.
Level 2: Subjective tests like visual field and macular pigment testing can detect early vision loss and measure your risk for vision loss in the future. They require a response from you to provide the doctor with more information about your eyes so that the best prescriptions can be written. All testing (except for these subjective tests) is appropriate for all ages; the reliability of the responses limits the usefulness of this data.
Level 3: Photography imaging of the retina can detect diabetes up to 6 years sooner in 20% of those undiagnosed with the systemic condition. Imaging the blood vessels inside the eye can evaluate change year to year in the appearance of your arteries and veins; this informs the doctor about cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and hypertension. Optic nerve and retina pigment changes are detected decades sooner when the doctor can use photo comparison.
Level 4: Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) is the new medical standard for imaging the eye. It can detect eye disease sooner than traditional imaging, and when paired with photography, it’s an amazing tool for your doctor. With this information, s/he can tell you with absolute certainty that presently you do not have any eye disease or condition that needs addressing. This was not the case for this otherwise healthy 36 year old pictured to the right; he was monitored closely and returned to normal after months of management. This testing saved his vision.
We don’t advocate that everyone become a hypochondriac, but everyone needs more wellness and preventative care in their lives; take action to ensure you are indeed healthy. It only takes one visit annually to your primary care doctor, eye care professional, and dentist to know that we are living healthy. The right time to get an annual wellness exam is while you are well; don’t wait for irreversible vision loss. And yes, when done at the time of a wellness eye exam all of this technology is affordable; the most advanced level of iHealth Preventative Care at 4Sight iCare bundles together all 4 tests for less than $70 per year.