What to Expect at an Eye Exam
Tests Doctors Use To Evaluate Your Vision
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to take care of your eye health. You should see an eye doctor at least once every year to have your eyes examined.
A nurse or doctor's assistant usually handles the initial part of the eye exam that includes getting your medical history and checking your sight. If you take any prescription medications, you should bring them with you since the doctor will list them in your medical history. Tests performed during the eye exam may include:
- Visual acuity
- Visual field tests
- Glaucoma screening
- Retinal exam
Visual acuity is measured by reading letters and numbers on a chart placed a distance of several feet from where you're sitting. The type in the chart goes from large to small to measure your distance vision. The doctor may check the muscles in your eyes by having you follow an object with your eyes.
Testing the visual acuity is done when the doctor moves an object or hand in and out of your vision field. Another of the tests to check visual acuity is by having an object move on a screen to check when the object appears and disappears.
A Tonometry is a test that checks for glaucoma. The doctor measures the pressure in your eyes to determine if there's any damage to your optic nerve. Additional testing may be done to determine if you have glaucoma since some patients may have signs of the condition without elevated pressure in their eyes.
The retinal exam requires dilating the pupils of the eyes before the examination. The duration of the exam is approximately 10 minutes, but since your eyes are dilated, they may be blurry. The blurred vision may take several hours to correct itself.
A color test may be done to find out if you have trouble distinguishing between colors. If you do, it could mean that you have a deficiency in your eyes that may require treatment. A refraction assessment is usually done during the exam to determine if you need glasses or an updated prescription.
During the routine exam, the doctor may check to see if you're developing cataracts, a condition most often seen in older patients. You should see the doctor on a regular basis if you are developing cataracts so a course of treatment may be prescribed.