What are eye exams?

An eye exam is a comprehensive evaluation of the health and function of the eyes. During an eye exam, an optometrist or ophthalmologist will use a variety of techniques and instruments to assess the vision, eye muscles, and structures of the eyes.

What does the Optometrist do?

The exam typically begins with the doctor asking questions about the patient’s medical history and any current symptoms they may be experiencing. The doctor will then perform a series of tests to evaluate the patient’s visual acuity, depth perception, color vision, and peripheral vision.

What is the doctor looking for?

The doctor will also examine the internal structures of the eye, including the retina, optic nerve, and blood vessels, using a special instrument called an ophthalmoscope. Other tests may include tonometry to measure the pressure inside the eye, and visual field testing to assess the patient’s peripheral vision.

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What happens with the exam results?

Based on the results of the exam, the doctor may recommend corrective lenses, such as eyeglasses or contact lenses, or other treatments for vision problems or eye diseases. Eye exams are typically recommended on a regular basis, even for people with no known vision problems, to detect and address any issues early on.

What tests will I have to do?

During an eye exam, a variety of tests may be performed to evaluate the health and function of the eyes. Here are some of the most common tests:

  1. Visual acuity test: This test measures the sharpness of your vision, usually by asking you to read letters on an eye chart.

  2. Refraction test: This test determines your eyeglass or contact lens prescription by measuring how light bends as it passes through your cornea and lens.

  3. Cover test: This test checks how well your eyes work together by having you focus on an object while the doctor covers and uncovers each eye.

  4. Color vision test: This test assesses how well you can distinguish colors.

  5. Eye movement test: This test evaluates how well your eye muscles work and how your eyes move.

  6. Retinoscopy: This test helps determine your eyeglass or contact lens prescription by shining a light into your eyes and observing how it reflects off your retina.

  7. Slit-lamp exam: This test uses a special microscope to examine the front and back parts of your eyes.

  8. Tonometry: This test measures the pressure inside your eyes, which is important for detecting glaucoma.

  9. Visual field test: This test checks your peripheral (side) vision, which is important for detecting certain eye diseases.

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