How is the MOA Annual Eye Physical different from a regular eye exam? Most eye diseases progress without symptoms. Our Annual Eye Physical (AEP) takes a detailed, systematic look at the entire anatomy of your eye from front to back, including your cornea, retina and even the delicate tear-producing glands in your eyelids. This gives us our best chance to catch eye diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration, dry eye and diabetic retinopathy in their earliest stages, long before there is an obvious problem or potential vision loss.
Typical eye exams involve a basic vision assessment and only a superficial look at the health of your eye. The additional testing in the AEP is specifically designed to provide insights on risks for eye diseases and conditions that could otherwise go undetected. Just like X-rays or blood work are taken in other areas of medicine, the detailed imaging in the AEP gives us a critical baseline to reference as we track risk and progression of eye disease over time. This enables us to develop and enact a personalized treatment plan before irreversible damage is done to the eye, offering us the best chance to preserve your vision and eye health long-term.
How is the AEP different from a dilated eye exam? The AEP is different from the standard “dilated” eye exam because it is an age-specific screening exam of eye and whole-body conditions that are more commonly seen at different stages of life. Additional imaging and testing are an important part of the AEP and provide more information and an in-depth look at your eye health. In addition, the AEP includes other elements that are not part of a dilated exam, including blood pressure testing, a lifestyle overview, medical history/medication review and dry eye questionnaire that inform our testing and interpretation of results. These additional steps go a long way to guiding early detection of eye-related and non-eye related health conditions.
In addition to early detection of eye disease, the AEP has helped detect cardiovascular and various neurological conditions, including brain tumors in our patients. Because the eye is the only place in the body where the circulatory and nervous systems can be directly visualized, it gives our doctors a unique opportunity to catch certain issues long before they are discovered by other traditional testing methods. This drives home the fact that an AEP should be a key addition to your annual health and wellness checklist.
What’s the difference between an AEP and an annual diabetic eye exam? Even if you are receiving regular care for diabetes-related eye disease, you could still have other eye conditions that need to be detected, assessed and treated. Diabetic eye exams are focused on a specific set of criteria and symptoms. They are not focused on the full range of eye disease and total eye health the AEP was created to address. It is important to note – the AEP addresses some concerns related to diabetic eye disease, but you still need to get a full diabetic eye exam if you are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Do I need an AEP even though I am already being treated for another eye condition? While you may come to MOA to receive treatment for a specific condition or eye injury, it is still important to schedule your AEP. Just as seeing your family doctor for a sore throat or minor injury doesn’t mean you can skip your annual physical, being seeing for a specific eye health concern does not replace the Annual Eye Physical. The AEP gives patients a proactive solution to monitoring and maintaining total eye health.
Is the AEP covered by insurance? If you have a documented history of eye disease, a portion of the AEP may be covered by medical insurance. The screenings and imaging conducted will require out-of-pocket costs, which the MOA team will detail for you in advance. The testing conducted during the AEP offers significant value in providing a baseline of your eye health. It offers the MOA team the ability to track your risk for or status of undetected eye disease over time and is an important part of protecting your vision and eye health.
The AEP is not covered by vision plans, which are focused on the cost of glasses and contacts.
What do MOA patients think of the AEP? Many patients tell us ‘This is the most comprehensive eye exam I have ever had’ and are impressed by and appreciative of the AEP Report Card summary they are given at the end of exam. The Report Card helps us monitor your baseline status and risk for eye disease and conditions as we take a collaborative approach to maximizing your eye health.