Testing the sight test

The importance of routine eye examinations is supported by new research


A new US study on asymptomatic eye examinations adds more weight to the profession’s support for routine optometrist visits.

Researchers at Canada’s University of Waterloo in Ontario found that nearly three in five asymptomatic patients who came in for a sight test required at least one significant change to their vision correction or eye health management.

University researcher, Dr Elizabeth Irving, tracked 6400 patients at an optometry clinic over a one-year period. About 40% of these patients were asymptomatic.

Of these, 41% of patients needed an update to their prescription, 31% required a change in the management of their existing condition, while 16% were diagnosed with a new condition, in the paper published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science.

The paper’s conclusion that 58% of patients needed one or more significant changes provides further hard evidence for the profession to demonstrate the importance of routine eye examinations.

Dr Irving highlighted that: “Given an overall, greater-than-50% detection of significant change, routine eye examinations do appear to be productive in asymptomatic patients, and this appears to increase with age.”

Speaking of the paper’s findings, Optometry and Vision Science associate editor, Anthony Adams, commented: “Often people fail to see the need for symptomless eye examinations, but our authors make the case that there are numerous sound reasons for routine and regular eye examinations.”