An eye screening is a comprehensive eye examination that is performed to check your visual acuity as well as the overall health of your eyes. Eye screenings can help determine early signs of serious eye problems, including macular degeneration and cataracts. It usually lasts between 30 minutes to an hour. A licensed eye doctor such as an ophthalmologist or optometrist can perform this kind of examination. If you are interested in getting your eyes checked in Singapore, here are some of the important things to know:
Your Health and Medical History
Before proceeding with the exam, your doctor will ask details about your health and medication history. The country’s Ministry of Health revealed that 60% of patients who have had diabetes for 15 years or more have some blood vessel damage in their eyes. The optometrist will ask if you came for a routine check-up or other specific reasons. You will also have to inform your doctor whether you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medication.
Your doctor might ask about your line of work or if you are involved in any sport. Your lifestyle and activities can affect your eye health. Other than your own medical history, your doctor will also ask details about your family’s health history. An example of question your doctor might ask is whether your parents wear glasses or not.
Eye Screening Procedure
After asking about your overall health history as well as your family’s, your eye doctor will then check both the inside and outside of the eyes. Your doctor will use an ophthalmoscope, a special torch that shows the internal structures of your eyes.
Part of the eye screening is assessing the reflexes of your pupils. Your doctor will see if your eye muscles are functioning well. He will check the front and back of your eyes.
The doctor can also proceed with a Keratometry test to measure the curvature of the cornea. It is often done to determine if your eyes are a proper fit for contact lenses. Eye Screening Costs
How much does an eye screening cost in Singapore? There are a lot of factors that determine the cost of eye exams. It will depend on how comprehensive your eye screening is, the level of expertise of your doctor, and your citizenship.
According to the Singapore National Eye Centre, an eye screening in Singapore ranges from $37-$56 per visit in a subsidized center. Singapore citizens usually pay less than permanent residents or non-Singaporeans who obtained an Entry Permit from the country. As always, consultations in private clinics are more expensive. An examination with an associate consultant costs $95 for the first visit regardless if you are a Singapore citizen, permanent resident, or a foreign resident. Senior consultants normally charge high.
If you are ready to have your eye tested, consult an optometrist ASAP. Feel free to ask all the costs involved. You may also make your appointment online via the Singapore National Eye Centre. Making an online appointment is available for both local and international patients.
Eye Screening vs. Vision Screening
In Singapore, vision screening is part of the health examination conducted in all schools. Should you be content if your child passed the school’s vision screening? No, because vision screening may overlook plenty of serious eye problems. Vision screenings provided by schools can correctly identify myopia, a condition that is prevalent among children in Singapore. However, school and pediatric vision screening usually cannot identify other eye conditions such as hyperopia and astigmatism.
When to Visit an Eye Doctor
People suffering from an eye injury or those who have a family history of eye disease are advised to get a comprehensive eye exam regularly.
It is best to see an eye doctor if you are experiencing vision problems, like dry eyes, sore eyes, and blurry eyesight. However, you have to keep in mind that not all eye problems indicate signs or symptoms. Subcapsular cataract, for instance, is a type of cataract that does not produce any symptoms until it is well-developed. A comprehensive eye screening should be done to determine whether you are a good candidate for any type of procedure, such as the Lasik surgery.
SingHealth further revealed that around 90% of people suffering from glaucoma are unaware of it. Glaucoma refers to the disease that damages your eye’s optic nerve over time. Only a comprehensive dilated eye exam can detect glaucoma. Regardless if you passed your work or school’s vision screening, it is still important to get your eyes checked. As the line goes, it is better to be safe than sorry.
How Often Should You Get Your Eyes Checked?
You should consult an eye doctor at least once every two years if you are aged 18-60. If you are 18 years old and below or over 61 years old, you might be required to visit the doctor annually or as often as recommended. Experts recommend getting a baseline eye disease screening once you reached 40. This is because it is normal to develop age-related eye conditions as we age.