What Is Done During an Eye Exam?
When you visit the eye doctor for a routine eye exam, the doctor looks at many factors to get a feel for your overall health and eye conditions. There is a lot more happening than most patients realize – more than reading the letters on a wall chart.
This full range of procedures and testing is vital to measure your vision and identify potential treatments. Our team at EyesNY can assist with all diagnostic and testing procedures you need to maintain good vision and healthy eyes.
What Tests Are Done During an Eye Exam?
Specific tests are typically included in a comprehensive eye exam, with additional testing options available when the eye doctor identifies certain signs of eye problems.
Standard testing used during eye exams include:
- Visual Acuity: The testing that most people are familiar with, measuring how sharp your vision is when looking at an eye chart on the wall. The test measures each eye individually as well as both eyes together. Then, you read the letters out loud, moving down the chart until you can no longer read the letters.
- Visual Field: Using this test, the eye doctor will check your peripheral vision (side vision). It is a measurement of how much you can see to the side when your eyes are looking forward.
- Pupil Responses: Object movement and changes in lighting are used to see pupil reactions. The eye doctor is observing how the pupil sizes get bigger and smaller.
- Cover Test: The eyes need to be working together to optimize overall vision. This test covers one eye at a time to see how much the eyes move with an eye covered. If there is a movement to adjust focus, it could indicate an alignment issue.
- Eye Alignment: Another test for eye alignment involves eye-tracking to follow a target. The eye doctor will observe your eye movement when watching the moving target.
- Retinoscopy: If you need vision correction lenses, such as glasses or contacts, the eye doctor will look at how light is reflecting in the eyes. This is done by looking at a specific point. Then the doctor flips different lenses on the machine you are looking through.
- Refraction: An eye doctor can determine your optimal prescription by flipping back and forth between different lenses. If you hear the eye doctor asking: “Which is better – 1 or 2?” then it means that the doctor is using a refraction test.
- Glaucoma: After numbing your eyes, a tonometer is used to touch the eye’s surface and determine the fluid pressure.
- Slit Lamp: This device offers a high magnification to look for signs of eye conditions. A slit lamp provides a view of the anterior chamber of the eye, as well as the lens, iris, and cornea.
- Dilation and Retinal Exam: To complete a retinal examination, the eye doctor uses dilation drops to increase the pupil size. You will wait for 20 – 30 minutes for the pupils to dilate. Then the doctor can view the back of the eyes and see the optic nerve head, vitreous, retinal blood vessels, and the retina.
Routine Eye Exams: More Than Your Prescription
While it’s essential to identify the accurate prescription if you need glasses or contact lenses, the prescription isn’t the only purpose of an eye exam.
It’s also essential for an eye doctor to look for “silent” eye problems that could result in vision loss, including:
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Age-related macular degeneration
How Long Does an Eye Exam Take?
Most eye exams take between 30 – 60 minutes. Factors that can increase the necessary time for an eye exam include whether your eyes need to be dilated and any additional testing procedures the doctor would like to use.
For example, if your eyes are dilated, you will visit the doctor at the start of the appointment. Once the dilation drops are put in the eyes, you must wait for up to 30 minutes so the pupils can open up. Then, the doctor will complete the rest of the examination.
Dilation appointments usually require the entire hour. Keep in mind that even though the exam only takes about an hour, the dilation effects can last for 4 – 6 hours after the appointment.
Also, people often need additional time in the office after their eye exam is over. For example, you might want to pick out eyeglass frames or have a contact lens fitting during the same visit—plan extra time for these activities after you are done with the eye exam.
Other Things to Consider for a Successful Eye Exam
During the examination, your eye doctor will want to know additional information about your overall health and other conditions that could be affecting your eyes. If you have any of the following risk factors, then it’s essential to share this information with your eye doctor:
- High blood pressure
- Medication use
- Frequent time looking at computer screens
Also, don’t forget to bring your current eyeglasses and contact lenses. If you are visiting a new eye doctor, the doctor will need information about your current prescription.
How Do They Perform an Eye Exam?
Each eye exam uses specialized equipment and tools, depending on the unique testing procedures necessary for your situation. Rest assured, knowing that everything is painless and safe.
The goal is for the eye doctor to determine your prescription (if needed) and look at the inside and outside of the eye for signs of illness or disease.
A comprehensive eye exam includes everything in a regular eye checkup, with additional testing and screening based on the findings in the earlier tests.
Additionally, the specific steps of the eye exam are determined based on your risk factors, age, and other underlying health conditions.
Is It Time to Schedule an Eye Exam?
How long has it been since you visited an eye doctor for an exam and checkup? Whether your vision is changing or it’s time to see an eye doctor for a routine appointment, our team is here to assist. Contact us at EyesNY to book an appointment.
We provide comprehensive services for the entire family and offer multiple locations in the area. Call our office any time to learn more about available services.